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Uncanny X-Men #17 Review

5

The newest crop of mutants are dropped into a completely unpredictable, unforeseeable situation where their lives are in danger at every turn. TRAINING!

The Good

I mentioned that this is my favorite roster in terms of the X-Men titles in the weekly Essential write-up and this issue is a great example of why that is so. We get more of a taste of the new mutants than we’ve gotten between establishing the staff and having cross-over events, and it definitely feels like Brian Bendis, or editorial, or both felt like an issue of this kind was needed. There’s very little plot advancement and no new plots begin, but this isn’t a filler issue either partially because it takes place independently of any greater storyline and partially because it is 100% focused on establishing where these new recruits are at. They’re dropped into a hostile, foreign environment and tasked with, very simply, surviving. Actually, they aren’t even tasked with THAT, as it more or less organically comes up in the course of the issue. I’m not going to list all the recruits by name nor go in-depth on their great moments because this review would wind up being a six page text wall, but suffice it to say that everyone gets at least a MOMENT to shine, though some definitely get more than others.

The art by Chris Bachalo, with a shocking THREE inkers in Tim Townsend, Al Vey, and Jaime Mendoza is a revelation in this issue. I’ve always been a fan of Bachalo’s chaotic, cartoonish style, but in this case he shines as brightly as I’ve ever seen because the issue has a frenetic, rapid pace that meshes with his style perfectly. I could actually see an artist like him requiring that many inkers by simple virtue of his style being so bombastic and wild that it almost literally can’t be reined in by one person. It reads more like a high-quality cartoon that you’re blinking significantly through as you can ALMOST hear the sounds that are happening between panels, though another part of that is definitely due to the skillful placement of word balloons at the borders of panels.

The Bad

It’s unclear how much time actually passes during this exercise. This wouldn’t normally be a problem, but one character experiences what is apparently an incredible trauma and even personal transformation in what seems like the space of under an hour while off-panel. Longer may have gone by, but it’s hard to get a handle on exactly how much that was. Cyclops at one point comments that they were there for around fifteen minutes, but he could be speaking hyperbolically (he’s extremely angry) and if it was fifteen minutes, I’m curious as to exactly what could have happened as that doesn't feel nearly long enough for the entire issue.

Speaking of Professor Visor, there’s a panel in which his facial expression doesn’t at ALL match what he’s saying. He’s shouting at a student for failing their training, his dialog indicates he’s absolutely furious, but he’s got this odd smirk on his face. And I say odd because it doesn’t look intentional, it looks out of place.

The Verdict

This issue was, ultimately, necessary. The new students of Cyclops’ school were in danger of fading into the background of a book dominated by more established characters and larger storylines, so I’m happy to see it return to the core concept of training the next generation of mutants.

16 Comments
Posted by mcgregorp

really good issue

Edited by PunyParker

Why is that everything Bendis writes gets a 5-star rating?!...

Oh yeah!....Bendis.....never mind. :P

Posted by Aero_gt

I really wanna see the good X-men team flourish and only care about said team.

Posted by Lukas988

I'm really looking forward to see what eva went through. she had her hair longer when she reappeared so I think she was gone for a long time

Posted by Maddpanda531

I think what happened to Eva has to do with her powers. They even hinted at it earlier in the issue. I think.

Posted by sparty-dbq

Oh, well. Hijack seemed too old for the junior recruit superhero-in-training schtick anyway. What was he, like 30 years old?

Edited by Mercy_

I...liked this issue and am interested at something it sets up, but I didn't find it to be overly compelling? It was a good filler issue, but that was really all that it felt like to me.

@lukas988 said:

I'm really looking forward to see what eva went through. she had her hair longer when she reappeared so I think she was gone for a long time

This was my thought as well. Definitely want to see how that unfolds in the future.

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Edited by Ishkafel

The smirk on Cyke's face at the end despite showing anger just a few panels before, I always assumed because him telling Hijack that he's out is the same as when he let Eva visit her family, all a ruse and that he had a plan to begin with and there will be an eventual pay off. As for Eva I guess I'm also curious as to what happened to her, the longer hair sure does seem to indicate that she may have accessed part of her power that she was unaware of and that she spent time outside the present but I wonder what traumatic event could have made Eva not want anyone to know where's she's been.

Posted by LiveForever

New mutants are still not grabbing me. I HATE Goldballs. He seems like he's there just for the stupid Bendis lines he can't resist throwing into everything he writes.

I like Bendis, but his dialogue tires me out. I miss his Daredevil where every conversation wasn't a rapid back-and-forth between two characters.

Posted by Owie

Glad to have a good character issue. I'm sure Hijack will be back. It's not like the other students always listen to Cyclops. Eve's look was interesting there at the end, reminded me of Savage Land Rogue. Not that it's unusual for ladies in jungles to start losing their clothes in strategic locations. I was a bit annoyed with the issue. It felt a little claustrophobic, although I'm not sure if it's because of the squished-in visuals, or the squished-in constant dialog. I like the dialog, and I like the art, but it just came together a bit too much of a crowded fashion this issue.

Edited by tomlikesfries

I dunno, I think kicking out Hijack isn't a permanent thing, it seemed pretty harsh on him. Anyhow, they've got like four telepaths on their team, if they were actually planning on kicking out Hijack, they'd at least wipe out his memory before sending him back home.

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Posted by RaggedScarecrow

Yeah, the whole Hijack thing was BS. One mistake and you're out? Please, two of Scott's three (other)teachers made colossal mistakes and they're still around. So Hijack almost gets them caught, big deal, Magik nearly killed reality by unleashing Legion (insane god-mutant Legion, not loveable weirdo Legion) on the Elder Gods and Emma has literally tortured people on behalf of the Hellfire Club and put a friend in a coma.

Other than that, I thought the issue was decent and it was nice to see both Tabula Rasa and Bachalo's art return to the series. The Tempus bit was intriguing and I'm interested to see what happened to her in the time she was gone.

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Posted by Alak

Like the others, I'm sure Hijack with be back. I'm really curious about what happened with Eva, though...

Edited by cobra88king8

I found what happened with Eva really interesting. I wonder where they're going with this

Posted by Tyrannotaur

Cyclops comes off like a real A Hole in this issue lol (kinda his thing lately I guess). I do think that the whole kicking Hijack thing out was just a ruse to get SHIELD to pick him up and have him spy on SHIELD or something. Even Cyclops isn't that big of a jerk to just kick him out for doing something stupid...right?
Also I'm curious as to what happened to Eva. Did she get eaten by a monster or something worse?