Continuing the chronicles of my foray into Marvel comics, today I will be reviewing Uncanny X-Men #1 by Kieron Gillen. Coming off of Wolverine and the X-Men #1 I was very excited to read Uncanny #1, so excited that I read it before any of my DC books. Did the book meet my expectations? Find out after the jump!
Uncanny X-Men appears to be a book that is more standard super hero fare that its sister title, Wolverine and the X-Men. While Wolverine and the X-Men deals with Logan’s attempt at revitalizing the Westchester school, Uncanny deals with Cyclops and the group of mutants remaining with him on Utopia, specifically Cyclops’ new “Extinction Team”. This is a team of some of the most powerful mutants, and characters for that matter, in the entire Marvel Universe. This is a point Cyclops stresses in the book, resenting the claim that the Avengers are “the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”. This is definitely something I can get behind. As cool as the upcoming Avengers movie looks, I’ve never been interested in the team the way I am the Justice League. The traditional Avengers line-up of Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk, etc., just doesn’t appeal to me. Even though I’m not completely familiar with some of the new Extinction team (Danger, Hope, and Magik for instance are relatively unknown to me) I can already tell this is a team I can get behind. This is mostly due to the great team dynamics. There is the brother-sister combo of Colossus and Magik, the apparent love triangle between Cyclops, Namor, and Emma Frost, the mutant messiah Hope, and Magneto, nuff said.
I won’t really get into the actually plot of this book too much because to be honest, not a lot happens. I’m not very familiar with Mr. Sinister but from what I understand he doesn’t have a clear background or origin, though it looks like it might be revealed in this arc. The battle with Sinister is the least important part of this issue, with the emphasis being on Cyclops and his team. However, this book manages to avoid most of the “getting the band together” tropes often seen in team books. This is likely due to the fact that these characters have for the most part already been a team. The ground work for this book was laid in the last volume of Uncanny, which ended with issue #544, also written by Gillen. This issue does a great job of catering to the new reader, in a way that some books in the New 52 haven’t been able to achieve. On the art side of things, Carlos Pacheco’s work is easily accessible and much like the rest of the book, standard super hero fare. Still, this book has some great art moments, such as when the extinction team is first called into action and the exploding celestial. This is a really fun comic book, in a good summer blockbuster kind of way.
X-Men has always been a great platform for commentary on issues of social justice and politics. Charles Xavier and Magneto are often compared to MLK Jr. and Malcolm X, and the mutant communityis a metaphor for any persecuted minority.There is a heavy political charge to the book. Cyclops sees Utopia as a rogue state, one possession WMD’s (the mutants themselves). This is an interesting point of view, and parallels are made to real world conflicts with Iraq and North Korea. The issues presented in this book are presented in a way that I think is believable in a real world setting. If a minority had this kind of power, this is how they would deal with the world around them
This book forms a great dichotomy when placed next to its sister title. These two titles compliment each other incredibly well, and together they are greater than the sum of their parts. Wolverine and the X-Men and Uncanny X-Men, in one issue each, have managed to turn me into a die-hard X-Men fan.
Uncanny X-Men #1 Rating-8.5/10