Comic Vine Review

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Uncanny X-Men #20 - Uncanny X-Men vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. Part 2 Review

3

Scott Summers gears up for his possible war against S.H.I.E.L.D., but is his target the right one? And just what IS going on in Madriproor?

The Good

Brian Bendis does his usual amazing work with the characters in this book, making them equal parts witty and sympathetic, no matter which side they’re on. We get to see the Cuckoos pierce the veil of Maria Hill’s mind and what they uncover is partially expected, but there’s definitely another part that, if we’re to believe it, is an amazingly excellent development and I’m glad we’ve got a front row seat to it. Meanwhile, someone discovers the source of the sweet, sweet MGH on Madripoor, but Mystique knows they know and things definitely get a little bit weirder than they already are...and that’s WITH a hostage taken.

Chris Bachalo’s pencils are, as always, beautifully detailed and amazingly rendered, each character looking distinct and different from one another. The facial features as well are lovingly rendered, giving the book a great emotional core. The Legion of Consistently Toned Inkers returns with Tim Townsend, Wayne Faucher, Jon Holdredge, Jaime Mendoza, Victor Olazaba and Al Vey giving definition and detail to Bachalo’s pencils while Bachalo himself handles the colors that make the characters pop and gives some of the best imagery in comics.

The Bad

This is another holding pattern issue and we’ve had quite a few of those over the last few. It’s taken Cyclops THIS long to simply have the Cuckoos probe Hill’s mind to see if she’s behind the Sentinel attacks (I could swear they couldn’t do it because of her psychic defenses before, but I may be misremembering), and while parts of what they find are great, they themselves admit that, as a highly trained agent, she could be faking everything they’re reading...so why are they doing it in the first place? It almost seems like a waste of time at this point. The whole Dazzler sub-plot is veering into some very strange territory and I truly can’t see where it’s going other than to show people that, yes, that is STILL Mystique, but we just had a jumping-on issue, so I hope it’s not going to be a regular thing that we’re reminded that Agent Dazzler isn’t really Agent Dazzler. We’re also reminded that Hijack is still not only in play, but still under S.H.I.E.L.D. surveilance and...this is seemingly treated as a major plot development/twist.

The art is fantastic on a character level, but a lot of backgrounds on this issue fall flat and lack detail. There’s a whole lot of negative space this time around.

The Verdict

This is a fine issue in a strong title, and I’m not ready to throw in the towel by a LONG shot (19 great issues VS 1 “merely” good one isn’t so bad). The characters are still fascinating and the art is still, mostly, amazing, but the plot itself needs a shot in the arm that I’m hoping next issue will bring. This is a lot of setup, and I'm normally okay with that, but it feels like it comes after a great deal MORE setup, and it feels time to deliver. This is a piece of the puzzle, but it’s a minor one.

14 Comments
Edited by brinkthemoviemyfavoritemovie

"19 great issues"? I feel like you're forgetting about the trash that was #18...but besides that, yeah, I do agree that this was a bit of a letdown where pretty much nothing happened, but is still probably my favorite X-title.

Edited by wessaari

I would have given it a four. The new Mystique development is weird, and too much time was given to Hijack if he isn't going to be in play atm, but that confrontation between Scott and Hill was so freaking awesome it made me bust out laughing and pulling a Mordecai and Rigby "OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH"

Bacahalo is still top notch, and though this book does take its time, it ususally is a fun ride with stellar art.

Edited by CheeseSticks

Wait what? This was the only good issue in the whole run with the Magneto one. Since the start of the serie Bendis slow pace and horrible characterization is ruining the serie. This was the onlyissue were something actually happened.

Edited by Jonny_Anonymous

I cheered at the last scan

Posted by Flopsop200

I feel like this was the best issue of the series. We actually get momentum on multiple fronts, probing S.H.I.E.L.D., interaction with Jean Grey School, and too a lesser extent the Madripoor scene. All of which were handled really well. 4.5/5 imo.

Edited by sparty-dbq

"We get to see the Cuckoos pierce the veil of Maria Hill’s mind and what they uncover is partially expected, but there’s definitely another part that, if we’re to believe it, is an amazingly excellent development and I’m glad we’ve got a front row seat to it."

I really hope you're not talking about what I think you are. I can't hide spoilers when posting on my phone, so I won't say what I'm thinking you mean, but I audibly said "Oh God, no" when I read it.

Also, I'd like to point out that if Magneto had bothered to send a message to Cyclops before he ran off to be the mutant Punisher, Mystique's cover would be blown and the real Dazzler wouldn't be strapped to a soiled bed in the ass-end of the Asian-Pacific. I don't care how he feels about SHIELD, he kowns damn well that Mystique is far too dangerous in that position.

Edited by LiveForever

Wait what? This was the only good issue in the whole run with the Magneto one. Since the start of the serie Bendis slow pace and horrible characterization is ruining the serie. This was the onlyissue were something actually happened.

I mostly agree with this. And despite being a huge Cyclops fan and really liking his roster (at least the veterans), this book has had me jump off a few times (but I haven't stayed off for long). I didn't like Frazier Irving's arc at all, the "girls on the town" issue was skippable drivel... but this issue was pretty solid.

I think the reason they keep harping on the Dazzler stuff is to explain how some mutants are getting their powers back. This could be Bendis covering an oversight of his own by portraying Blob as having powers again, OR, people jumped the gun on screaming at Bendis for re-powering Blob because he didn't have a chance to reveal the why/how yet. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

One last thing I have to nitpick in the review is:

@undeadpool: "Chris Bachalo’s pencils are, as always, beautifully detailed and amazingly rendered, each character looking distinct and different from one another."

This made me chuckle, because before the Cuckoos all changed their hairstyles, there were 5 blondes that were sometimes indistinguishable! Part of that was just poor costume design choices, but that was also on Bachalo. I'm fine with them changing the cuckoos hairstyles (helps differentiate them) but I feel like it was done because Bachalo was drawing every blonde chick exactly the same.

Can someone tell me in a spoiler-block what the hell was happening in the last page? Did the helicarrier begin bombing them? The art there was really unclear to me.

Posted by LiveForever

On a more positive note, I love Bachalo's Beast.

Posted by CheeseSticks

@liveforever: I think that Cyclops was mentally assault and he fired an optic blast on Storm an co.

Posted by bladewolf

I keep waffling whether to pick this title up again. IMHO, it's really inconsistent: the opening few issues were good, then things went downhill fast, before a brief pickup around issue #9, and then Battle of the Atom which I feel put it off track again.

Posted by HAWK2916

I gave this issue four stars as well. It happens to be one of the better issues despite Bendis' ridiculous lame ass characters and his continual refusal to use Emma as anything more than the occasional snarky one line spouting wallpaper that she's become. Along with the Magneto issue its one of the best of the whole run. LMFAO at the official review. "19 great issues", what a joke!!!

Posted by Owie


@undeadpool: "Chris Bachalo’s pencils are, as always, beautifully detailed and amazingly rendered, each character looking distinct and different from one another."

This made me chuckle, because before the Cuckoos all changed their hairstyles, there were 5 blondes that were sometimes indistinguishable! Part of that was just poor costume design choices, but that was also on Bachalo. I'm fine with them changing the cuckoos hairstyles (helps differentiate them) but I feel like it was done because Bachalo was drawing every blonde chick exactly the same.

Ha! I totally agree...I can't tell them apart either. It helps a little that he has Illyana wear the black horns in her hair when she's in costume, but when she's not, it's tough. At one point Illyana had bangs and Emma didn't, but I think that has changed. I like Bachalo a lot, but this one factor always screws me up when he has a panel that's cropped down to just a heads, and I can't tell who is saying what.

As a Cyke fan, I enjoyed seeing him show off how much of a boss he can be, in terms of how he played Maria Hill. We hear about him being such a strategic and tactical genius a lot in this volume, but don't really get to see it much. So it was nice to see his dominant use of his resources in action.

Posted by oldnightcrawler

I'd say 17 great issues versus 3 utter duds.

#12,13, and 18 were all fairly disappointing, and completely skipable.

this issue was actually one of the more interesting ones in my mind, I would have given it at least 4 stars.

Edited by PiggyV01

How are the X-men still pissed at Scott for Xaviers death...he was possessed by the Phoenix force that was forced on him by the Avengers*! Jean killed BILLIONS when she was possessed nut they forgave her. Wolverine is ALWAYS getting possessed or brainwashed and he killing folk. Also, why did Hank bring the past X-men to the future? There is still no logical reason a smart man would make such a stupid move. Everything since schism has been forced nonsense.

*Had the Avengers just let Scotts plan for the Phoenix force/Hope play out, AVX wouldn't have happened and Xavier wouldn't have died. Instead they accidentally split it amongst the 5 then hassled them til war happened and then, in the end, Hope gets the Phoenix and Scott's original plan plays out.