Comic Vine Review

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Uncanny X-Men #5 Review

5

Hell has come to Cyclops and his school. Or at least Limbo has, and its lord isn’t thrilled with Magik’s various comings and goings.

The Good

Bendis. Irving. Limbo. ‘Nuff. Said. Whattya mean that’s “not enough?” Oh fine. Frazer Irving is one of my absolute favorite artists when he’s on the right project. Nowhere was this made more apparent than his strange, surreal, gothic talents on display in Seven Soldiers of Victory wherein he drew the Klarion the Witch Boy's segments. So when I heard he’d be tackling the storyline of Uncanny X-Men where the team (in particular Magik) was dragged into Hell (or Limbo), I literally couldn't think of an artist I wanted to see tackle that subject matter more. And he did not disappoint. It’s a fine line to walk, making things clear yet incomprehensible, but everything Irving draws seems like it could be torn from the shattered dreams of HP Lovecraft. Even his mundane panels are excellent, particularly when characters are embarrassed (highly exaggerated, expressive faces being one of his unsung specialties), but the book positively comes to life when it’s time for Illyana to be shunted to Limbo. From the denizens of that strange dimension to the dark lord himself, everything looks exactly as it should: torn from a scream-yourself-awake nightmare.

I don’t even know if there’s anything left to say about Bendis, at this point you either love him or you hate him or you’re somewhere in the middle. We catch glimpses of SHIELD hand-wringing and worrying about Summers’ school, and of course plenty about Illyana, but there’re plenty of great, hilarious moments back at the school (in particular involving their newest recruits and the Stepford Cuckoos). Bendis is often accused of making all his characters speak with the same voice, and honestly I can see that in some titles. Even issue-to-issue, everyone has that sort of David Mamet/Aaron Sorkin “we're all clever and witty,” but in this series in particular I feel that he’s given all the characters their own voice, particularly the new ones. It’s hard enough introducing new characters to the Big Two, so I absolutely love his tactic of slipping them into books with already popular and well-established casts. Better yet, they all have their own voices. I fall squarely into the “love him” camp, so all I’ll say is that his writing of these characters continues to be top-notch.

The Bad

I got nothing. I said last review that they need to start differentiating this book from All-New X-Men and making it feel much more like its own standalone title, and whattya know, that’s exactly what this issue does. ESPECIALLY the end cliffhanger, which lets the reader know that this problem will, at least, be extending for multiple issues.

The Verdict

Uncanny X-Men has been an unstable, but always great, title, but this arc feels like they’re finally going to start breaking new ground and setting the team’s place in the Marvel Universe. Magik in particular has been an enigma, and was a little too close to falling into the “smug know-it-all” for my taste, but this book reels that particular worry in. She’s always been a tricky character to handle, and not just because her powers are as nebulous as most magic users in the Marvel Universe, but because she herself seems to be at the writer’s whim, at times compassionate and loving, and others being cold and standoffish. And let’s not forget her ill-suited foray into X-Infernus and the whole “Darkchild-thong” look. Though that side of her is brought up, it’s done with a great deal more terror than titillation, which is a refreshing change. I truly can’t wait to see what the future of this book is, it’s one of the most intriguing concepts in Marvel’s wheelhouse. It’s the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants but without the Evil.

24 Comments
Posted by Professorreid

Great issue, that sets up some cool things for next issue.

Posted by NathanXplosion

Was kind of let down when I saw that Chris Bachalo didn't do the art for this issue.

Posted by akbogert

While some of the character pages of this book (especially the students) were just too weird for my taste, I absolutely loved the limbo art. And I agree, this issue finally made Illyana seem relatable, and I'm really interested to see where this arc goes.

Oh, and that bit with the Cuckoos and Triage was hilarious.

Posted by Mucklefluga

You can't go wrong when Irving's on the right story.

Edited by Owie

I thought this was a great idea for a new enemy for Illyana. By the time this is done, it should make for some interesting stuff on the battles board! The one splash page of her was just awesome looking.

Edited by LiveForever

I like this book after an uneven first few issues, but man, Bendis writes every female character the same. Magik = Emma Frost = Ultimate Gwen Stacy = Ultimate Mary Jane. Everyone's a valley girl. It's like he doesn't even try to curb the teenage girl persona he gives to everyone.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Can't wait to read this. Art will be amazing and Bendis ain't dissapointing.

Posted by LemmyCaution

The best use of Magik that I have seen in many, many years... and she's been pretty interesting lately. This was a great read with an ending that makes me want to read more. I don't know why I enjoy Bendis on these X-Men books better than I ever did when he was on the Avengers. I just do.

Posted by Overlander

It was a great issue. I didn't much care for the cover or for anything having to do with Limbo, but the internal art was very good. As great as Chris Bachalo is, Irving is more consistent. I appreciated that. It made Bendis' writing all come together nicely.

Online
Edited by Lokheit

I loved the portray of Magik, how she tried to show herself under her cold shell, showing human emotions and worrying and accepting Cyclops "freindship" hand but still struggling to tell the whole truth and not controlling her darker self. I have to say this is the best protray I've seen of her since her return.

The art "tone" was great, but there were parts I didn't like, many ties the colors seems like unfinished or just scribbled (there is one pannel showing Emma's shoulder from behind where the black is completly scribbled).

It has some great humor points, specially the Cuckoos scene and I totally loved the "jealous deadly gaze" Emma threw to certain character when she said Scott was handsome. I hope Emma and Scott end up together again, they deserve it and they're a perfect couple together.

Posted by Grey56

Was kind of let down when I saw that Chris Bachalo didn't do the art for this issue.

What this man said. Hopefully it isn't permanent. Four issues is ridiculous if so.

Posted by Kerrigan

This is still keeping my attention, although I think All New is clearly the main X-book now, and I suspect the one Bendis is devoting most effort to.

Fun, with occasional irritations. Illyana is a scary, hell-raised, soul-damaged Russo-American girl. Bendis can't get her voice right. Or Frost, come to that: he's clumsy with his characterization.

Posted by LiveForever

@grey56 said:

@nathanxplosion said:

Was kind of let down when I saw that Chris Bachalo didn't do the art for this issue.

What this man said. Hopefully it isn't permanent. Four issues is ridiculous if so.

It won't be. It's double-shipping, just like All New X-Men. That means fill-in artists every other arc most likely. My guess would be Bachalo for 4, someone else for 2 or 3, back to Bachalo for 4 or 5. It just let's the regular artist turn in a bunch in short order.

Posted by wessaari

Was kind of let down when I saw that Chris Bachalo didn't do the art for this issue.

I love his art on this as well, it was one of the main reasons why I picked this up, but Irving does an amazing job so its so worth it

Posted by tximinoman

I loved this one, the art was just awesome.

Posted by ScumDestroy

"at this point you either love him or you hate him or you’re somewhere in the middle".

Ha! Anyone know if Bachalo will be drawing any of the limbo/hell stuff or is Irving doing the whole arc? Either way - stoked!

Posted by Grey56

@liveforever: I certainly hope so - thanks for sharing the info no matter the outcome.

Posted by jonesy10

I love Irving's art and look forward to seeing his next issues......I actually have a bad feeling about this adventure

Edited by NathanXplosion

As much as I love Bachalo's art, Frazer Irving did a great job. I especially loved the parts that took place in limbo. The only thing that bothered me about the art was Angel's face. He looked way older than he is supposed to be.

Also I'm not that familiar with Maria Hill but her dialogue seemed off. Was that just me or did anyone else feel that way?

Posted by Bat_Mite51

Am I the only one who thought the line: "Scott Summers dropping the mic on the Avengers like its 8-Mile" line a little lame? Haha although I thoroughly enjoyed this issue, I feel like that line just oddly stuck out to me.

Posted by akbogert

@bat_mite51: It did stick out to me, but I laughed at it, so I didn't really care.

Posted by Jack_Omally

I hate Cyclops and most of the team he has. They are pretty despicable and I'm just waiting for them to all crash and burn

Posted by Cyclops4President

@bat_mite51: The line is perfect. Scott "beat" the Avengers without lifting a finger, similar to a rapper beating his apponent using only his words. Cyclops and his team never threw a punch but to the world his team beat the Avengers, and the Avengers are now thoroughly embarrassed, just like a rapper who has been beaten on stage. I think the line has a lot of relevance.

Posted by Cyclops4President

By my screen name and posts, I obviously disagree with your point of view. Cyclops is the most dynamic character for XMen. He was Xavier's first student and chosen successor. He is a true leader who has overcome more challenges than any other character at his power level. He beat the freakin VOID for Gods sakes! Everyone believes in him, evident when Emma states "Scott will take care of it. Don't worry" when Magik was screaming in pain to help ease the others students nerves. Cyclops was also the only one to be able to beat Norman Osborns dark avengers. Cyclops is a winner, a leader, and a badass.