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Comic Review: Uncanny X-Men #4

Uncanny X-Men #4 Magik cover by Townsend

Dying to know who joined Cyclops at the end of All-New X-Men #10?

Well, Brian Michael Bendis is classy: he doesn’t give it up on the first date.

Uncanny X-Men #4 spends more time plugging holes than it does charting new territory as Brian Michael Bendis retraces his steps from All-New X-Men to tell the Uncanny point of view. Yes, you’ll find out who joined Scott’s crusade, but Bendis is going to take his sweet time getting there.

In fact, you’ll have to sit through a partial rehash of the last All-New before Bendis gets to the reveal, and even then, it ends up being more of an afterthought than an Oh My God moment.

Everyone took it for granted when the Stepford Cuckoos defected to join Emma Frost at Cyclops’ side, but Uncanny X-Men #4 proves that their decision was far from a sure thing. Much of the dialogue from All-New is repeated in the opening pages of this comic, but Bendis maps a mental conversation between Emma and the Cuckoos over top of it.

Chris Bachalo is the best part of that mental conversation. He strips away the details and even the colour as the conversation intensifies, and on one page he deftly mixes a blank white sheet with a furious Phoenix flashback to intensify the mental struggle going on.

Bachalo does an even better job with the new mutant scenes that are interspersed between the main narrative. He’s got time-shifting Tempus’ look down by now, and you can tell he’s having fun with Fabio “Goldball” when he gives him some spectacular Danger Room treatment.

As has been the case early on, the new mutants remain the emotional heart of this comic. Bendis’ characteristic snappy dialogue fits best in their conversations, and he’s writing them in a very three-dimensional way. They may be with Scott now, but they’re constantly asking the right questions about their situation – and many of those questions are the same ones the original X-Men have been asking.

Soon, we’ll get the chance to see how they interact with one of those originals.

The story is very light on Cyclops and Magneto, and also surprisingly light on Magik, given her presence on the cover. However, her few scenes are very important.

Fact is, this girl is a ticking time bomb.

When will she blow?

Uncanny X-Men #4 is a great supplement for its companion title All-New X-Men #10. It strengthens the existing story more than it progresses it, but it’s still a well-written, superbly-drawn experience.

8 out of 10

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