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Uncanny X-Men #22 Review

4

The villain behind the X-Men and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s woes at long last stands revealed!

The Good

The characters are the highlight of this issue. From Cyclops to Emma to Magik to Iceman, and everyone else, this is a character-driven, character-centered issue. And if there’s one thing that Brian Bendis does extraordinarily well, it’s write a massive, diverse cast with individual voices and motivations and that is what goes on here. Hank McCoy shines especially bright as he frantically tries to fix the shattered pieces of the X-Men’s already shaky alliance with S.H.I.E.L.D. and Dazzler, the real Dazzler that is, makes her reappearance and re-evaluation and WOW, a lot happened in this issue. I haven’t even been able to catch my breath to mention the insane, wild action and breakneck intensity that permeates almost every page and panel from cover-to-cover, which winds up being something of a mixed bag, but more on that later.

For now, let’s talk Chris Bachalo’s pencils. Bachalo’s a polarizing artist, as most highly stylized ones are, and I land squarely on the side of being an unrepentant fan. He illustrates in a sketchy, super detailed look that's somehow both jagged and smooth, chaotic and clear. It’s a hard look to pull off, but he does it amazingly well. The inks, done by Tim Townsend, Marc Deering, Mark Irwin, Jaime Mendoza, Victor Olazaba and Al Vey, are generally good and do their job of containing Bachalo’s wild, kinetic pencils, helping add to the smoothness, while Bachalo himself and Jose Villarrubia bring a beautiful, dark, razor-sharp palette to the story.

The Bad

This story ends very abruptly and the revelation of the mastermind behind it not only seems to come out of left field, but has very little impact. It’s one of my favorite villains and it just comes and goes, having very little story significance in either long or short term. This title has had this many artists on it for the last few issues and, for the first time, I feel that it’s become somewhat problematic. Some pages are rendered flat, some of the inks are too much, and some of them reduce the finer details of certain panels.

The Verdict

The ending of this arc is somewhat weak, but only in comparison to how great the rest of it was and this certainly isn’t a BAD issue. I’m not sure if it was cut short to make way for an Original Sin tie-in or if it was always the plan to have it end on such an abrupt note, but either way that’s the ending we get. The art is still worth gawking at, the few flaws absolutely do not ruin it, and the characters are as well-written as they ever have been, particularly the one or two who get a new lease and a new outlook on life. I can’t wait to see where these characters go, and despite my misgivings, I absolutely can’t wait for the Original Sin tie-in as secrets are something this team has no shortage of.

19 Comments
Posted by mksystem74

Totally agree with the first sentence in "The Bad". Disagree with the artwork, not my kind of style, thinks it hinders the book a bit.

Posted by Rubear

O... him. It's very bad if|that they decide to kill them all off after all.

Posted by AndySynn

I definitely really enjoyed this issue, even though it did feel a bit rushed, and with a kind of rough resolution.

But with this and WatX... am I cautiously hopeful that this Schism is FINALLY coming to an end?

Yes, yes I am.

Posted by Paste_Pot_Pete

So who was the mystery mutant?

Edited by nateb1211
Posted by cr4zytr4in

I picked this issue up although I've actually fallen off this book after Battle of the atom. Brian Bendis did a great job in catching readers up to what was happening. Really enjoyed the issue.

Posted by AndySynn

@nateb1211: I'm not sure it was originally meant to be however...

Posted by Overlander

It looks like we are in agreement on the narrative and the art...Though the score feels a star too high to me. That's why I gave it three.

Posted by Paste_Pot_Pete

@nateb1211: Aww, was hoping for a bigger surprise, though last issue Beast looked a lot like Dark Beast.

Posted by MideonNViscera

haha Something got mixed up with Magneto's dialogue I hope.

Posted by Owie

Yeah, the villain was a little random.

Good issue though.

And I hope this nano-sentinel idea (which is cool) ends up being dealt with, as Beast seems to be able to, in the other related titles, like Magneto etc., and they get their powers back.

Posted by The Mighty Monarch

Kinda saw the villain coming last issue when he was taunting Beast specifically.

Either way the climax seemed very rushed and considering how much built up to this it was more of a disappointment than 4 stars. Not BAD bad; but not that great.

Posted by andreww154

I really enjoyed this issue. When Bachalo is the artist, for me, Uncanny X-Men is as enjoyable as All New X-Men.

Edited by God_Spawn

@owie said:

Yeah, the villain was a little random.

Good issue though.

And I hope this nano-sentinel idea (which is cool) ends up being dealt with, as Beast seems to be able to, in the other related titles, like Magneto etc., and they get their powers back.

I don't know if the nanotech sentinels were what Beast was referring to as far as Scott's broken powers. If you've read the last few issues, Scott's, and virtually his whole team at that, have either had their powers blocked or "shut off" in the battle with the sentinels 2-3 issues ago. I think what Beast was directly referring to was when Magik and Scott were on the JGS lawn and Scott let off a blast and Magik had Limbo pouring out of her when they didn't activate their powers. Beast fixed that part and that is what he meant by when his powers weren't under his control.

Also, as far as Magneto goes, Bunn said in an interview earlier this week that Magneto's powers are still weakened through the AXIS event. Since all members of Scott's team were at the JGS, then I would find it weird that they wouldn't have all gotten their powers fixed or Scott wouldn't have mentioned it. Especially since it's been one of their major goals and it's as simple as Beast turning them off and then they crap it out later. I also heard that Anka said their powers were still going to be "broken" for awhile longer, and he's supposed to be getting more involvement on the book starting with Xavier's will. But either way, Bendis kind of made the whole powers issue ambiguous there.

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Posted by Maddpanda531

I was seriously disappointed when they revealed that the villain was Dark Beast, then proceeded to immediately kill him off. It was so incredibly anti-climatic.

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Posted by Owie

@owie said:

Yeah, the villain was a little random.

Good issue though.

And I hope this nano-sentinel idea (which is cool) ends up being dealt with, as Beast seems to be able to, in the other related titles, like Magneto etc., and they get their powers back.

I don't know if the nanotech sentinels were what Beast was referring to as far as Scott's broken powers. If you've read the last few issues, Scott's, and virtually his whole team at that, have either had their powers blocked or "shut off" in the battle with the sentinels 2-3 issues ago. I think what Beast was directly referring to was when Magik and Scott were on the JGS lawn and Scott let off a blast and Magik had Limbo pouring out of her when they didn't activate their powers. Beast fixed that part and that is what he meant by when his powers weren't under his control.

Also, as far as Magneto goes, Bunn said in an interview earlier this week that Magneto's powers are still weakened through the AXIS event. Since all members of Scott's team were at the JGS, then I would find it weird that they wouldn't have all gotten their powers fixed or Scott wouldn't have mentioned it. Especially since it's been one of their major goals and it's as simple as Beast turning them off and then they crap it out later. I also heard that Anka said their powers were still going to be "broken" for awhile longer, and he's supposed to be getting more involvement on the book starting with Xavier's will. But either way, Bendis kind of made the whole powers issue ambiguous there.

That would make sense if he was just referring to their power malfunction on the schools lawn, I guess. Originally I had read those malfunctions as being part of the same history of problems they've been having since the phoenix, an assumption which is partly strengthened by the fact that the characters whose powers malfunctioned at the school were some of the same ones who had their powers screw up from the phoenix. But you're right, he could have just been referring to the recent problems. I was kind of hoping this whole weakened power thing was over because it's been dealt with so inconsistently; I don't think it really helps the stories that much.

Edited by God_Spawn

@owie: I originally read it as their powers were fixed too. But I went over it a few times thinking that was all there was to their powers getting fixed? And I remember when it started shutting down everyone's powers, students included, that it made sense the sentinels could either shut down or activate their mutant powers against their wills. But that wouldn't be responsible for the swirly beams, weakened magnetic, or inverted telepathy powers since the sentinels seemed to only have those two functions.

And I'm kind of mixed with the whole broken powers. I do like Cyclops' blasts right now. It's no secret he's my favorite character if you have a common interaction with me on here, but they've finally done something different with his powers and they don't do that too often. I do wish Emma had her telepathy, but I do kind of like how she's been a conduit for the Cuckoos and Jean Grey because she can use telepathy in ways they can't yet due to inexperience, but I wouldn't care if they gave her full telepathy back. Magik's amp has been cool. Magneto's weakening hasn't been fun. And I have no idea what is happening with Colossus since CATXF and he's been a meaty/metal jigsaw needing a switch. So some of the things I've liked with the whole ordeal, others have been meh.

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Posted by Owie

@owie: I originally read it as their powers were fixed too. But I went over it a few times thinking that was all there was to their powers getting fixed? And I remember when it started shutting down everyone's powers, students included, that it made sense the sentinels could either shut down or activate their mutant powers against their wills. But that wouldn't be responsible for the swirly beams, weakened magnetic, or inverted telepathy powers since the sentinels seemed to only have those two functions.

And I'm kind of mixed with the whole broken powers. I do like Cyclops' blasts right now. It's no secret he's my favorite character if you have a common interaction with me on here, but they've finally done something different with his powers and they don't do that too often. I do wish Emma had her telepathy, but I do kind of like how she's been a conduit for the Cuckoos and Jean Grey because she can use telepathy in ways they can't yet due to inexperience, but I wouldn't care if they gave her full telepathy back. Magik's amp has been cool. Magneto's weakening hasn't been fun. And I have no idea what is happening with Colossus since CATXF and he's been a meaty/metal jigsaw needing a switch. So some of the things I've liked with the whole ordeal, others have been meh.

Yeah, I kind of wish the powers were just straight-up weakened instead of being inconsistent. It would push them to become stronger in ways they haven't had to before, to make up for their weaknesses in other areas. But I feel like they usually don't suffer too much from their weaknesses. A Cyclops (I like Scott a lot too) with a consistently weak beam would be a really interesting problem for him, and an interesting challenge. But I feel like generally speaking he always manages to luck out with a random super-powerful blast whenever the chips are down, so it hasn't really made him push himself in new ways. Emma is certainly changed, for her I do think it works. And Magik is amped, but at least a fair amount of that has been her studying with Strange in the past, so the way the phoenix affected her is unclear. Magneto often talks about how he's weaker, but I don't know if there are a lot of examples where he hasn't been able to do something he really wanted to do. In his solo book he certainly goes for lower-level moves, like whipping the barbed wire or whatever through those bus drivers, but I'd be curious to see it quantified a little more, where for instance he gets in a situation where he really wants to be able to lift a oil tanker, but can't.

Posted by God_Spawn

@owie:

I do like what's going on with Scott, but I can see where you're coming from since it's basically an inverted situation. How I take the new Cyclops blast is that he doesn't know when it's going to go into overdrive. Scott, even under Bendis' pen, has been showing to get better control of his powers again, but he still does that one big blast unintentionally and it drains him instantly for awhile. I think they should expand upon that a bit and get him in a situation when the one big blast won't work and he's on his own. Whenever his big blast didn't work, it was because of it being against Dormammu, or the sentinels that were tailor made to nullify his powers. Because not only would Scott be like oh "oh, damn. That didn't work", but it leaves him vulnerable and he doesn't have a time controlling mutant or a demonic sorceress to back him up.

Magik's problem I think was said to be accidentally drawing on too much energy from Limbo upon using her powers, which was wreaking havoc on the dimension and causing problems in others I think, which caused Dormammu to come in and try and take over. Magik was kind of in a spot similar to Scott where her attacks were stronger but she didn't have the instant repercussions like he did where he would be gassed out. But I do like how she used her time powers to meet with a classic Dr. Strange and started to gain control and also just further learn spells.

There has been instances with Magneto when he couldn't do things he wanted to. When he wanted to stop the truck carrying Emma. When he could only dismantle like 2 sentinels at once. I guess you could say there really just hasn't been a lot of times where's tried it, though. He's doing the lower moves because he can at least do those. I do know in UXM 16 when he left, Mystique asked if he could lift or dismantle a tank, he said no, but he can shoot knives or bullets. Aside from that, Bendis did show when he got angry enough, he seemed to pump up in power for a burst when he destroyed a skyscraper. I want to see that expanded on.

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