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Uncanny X-Men #7 Review

4

Everything is falling apart at the worst possible time in the worst possible place. Powers backfire, psyches break down, the new team fractures to their core!

The Good

Brian Bendis writes. Frazer Irving draws...you need more? Alright, fine. Cyclops and Emma Frost’s team of newly realized mutants have been drawn into the nether world of Limbo due to the misfiring powers of Magik. Illyana herself is battling Dormammu for control of the realm, and herself, a battle that could go either way as her fellow mutants are menaced by Mindless Ones and the other denizens of the Dark Dimension and Limbo. Finally, Cyclops unleashes his unstable power, but even that might not be enough, nor are the powers of any of the leading X-Men. All this is framed in narration by Magik seeking help from the Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Strange in his Sanctum Sanctorum.

Bendis has given us a glut of new characters in this book, all with completely divergent powers and backstories, and this issue illustrates why he’s a master of his craft: even the ones that are barely on-panel (which is most of them) have their own voice firmly established. When a character says a piece of dialog, it absolutely seems natural that they’d say it and it’d be hard to hear anyone else saying it. The book is almost entirely focused on Magik, though, and it’s for the best: her narration helps make sense of what could potentially be a hard to follow issue because of how abstract and bizarre everything is, which brings us to the art.

Frazer Irving continues to supply us with some of the strangest, most surreal art in comics, and his talents are put to absolutely pitch-perfect use in this issue. The demonic realm is appropriately chaotic, images bleeding together and becoming intentionally indistinct, but never entirely baffling. His gothic characters, even when not in Limbo, are perfect at establishing the tone of the book, everyone looking at all times equal parts horrified and horrifying. Emma Frost, Magneto and Scott Summers in particular look stretched to their limits, both physically and mentally, by their ordeals and the strain of using their warped powers.

The Bad

I absolutely adore Frazer Irving’s art but a few pages seem a little corner-cut. One has a full third of the page cut off by exposition, another has a two-page spread of total blackness followed by a few panels of mostly-darkness. Likewise the backgrounds on some of the pages looking more minimalist than they should, all of which seems to be in service of accommodating the book’s frantic two week release cycle. I’m fine with the cycle itself, but the art in this issue especially seems rushed. There’s also a time travel plot that I won’t spoil but needless to say that, very suddenly, these are popping up all over (and not just in Bendis books either), and Marvel’s staunch, canonical explanation for time travel not working seems to be getting thrown to the wayside with increasing, and alarming, casualness.

The Verdict

Minor quibbles aside, this book still stands as a great example of balancing style with characters. Irving’s terrifying visuals somehow find a home in a story about mutant children learning how to use their powers, and Bendis’ writing remains solidly focused on giving each character their moment, however fleeting. Despite rehashing a contrivance that has gone from almost-never used to being dangerously close to over-used, I am fascinated to see where the story goes and can’t wait to pick up the next issue.

19 Comments
Posted by 34g3f3ert3t43

Why must all these books be $3.99?!?!

Posted by ptigrusmagus

I think Marvel plans to sell all their comics at $4 in the near future.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Why must all these books be $3.99?!?!

IKR!

I think Marvel plans to sell all their comics at $4 in the near future.

Oh hell naw!!!!

Posted by wessaari

Magik's gone :/ She was my favorite character in this book too!

Posted by Owie

What fantastic art!

I've said this before, but I think the X-Men are the perfect group for Bendis' conversational style of writing. It never quite clicked for me with the Avengers; they've always been sort of a stuffy group. But the X-Men talk and laugh and play tricks on each other family-style, and Bendis' voice fits in perfectly with that.

But honestly, time travel? Didn't Bendis just finish writing a series about time travel ruining the universe? Or wait, was that in his other book where there's a bunch of time traveling characters? Hmm, can't remember, my mind is too full of alternate realities.

Posted by IllyanaRasputin

I don't think this is necessarily going to revolve around time travel, at least the Uncanny X-Men book. I think since Magik is all mighty time traveller of time and space she's going to just be the one time travelling and I don't think it will necessarily affect the team. She's with past Dr. Strange to control her magic, let's just hope she appears in the book sonner rather than later. She was a real good comedic character this time around.

Posted by Icon

@owie said:

What fantastic art!

I've said this before, but I think the X-Men are the perfect group for Bendis' conversational style of writing. It never quite clicked for me with the Avengers; they've always been sort of a stuffy group. But the X-Men talk and laugh and play tricks on each other family-style, and Bendis' voice fits in perfectly with that.

Yeah, totally agree.

Posted by ScarletBatman

Why must all these books be $3.99?!?!

Because our currency has been debased. Also, because we continue to pay for the comics at that price.

@owie said:

What fantastic art!

But honestly, time travel? Didn't Bendis just finish writing a series about time travel ruining the universe? Or wait, was that in his other book where there's a bunch of time traveling characters? Hmm, can't remember, my mind is too full of alternate realities.

Totally disagree with the art. Those faces... *shivers* Not amazing in the least. Everything else was really good though.

This won't focus on time travel. It's only Magick who whisked herself away. Also, just because the Universe is dieing, doesn't mean you can't travel through time. The Apocalypse Twins have been doing it. as has Kang and many others. We won't know the long term consequences of AoU until Infinity gets underway, or maybe even longer.

Posted by chiq

@wessaari said:

Magik's gone :/ She was my favorite character in this book too!

She can been seen in the preview of issue 8

Online
Edited by sparty-dbq

Am I the only one who's just not a fan of Frazer Irving's art? I mean there are artists who can be very polarizing (JRJR, Bachalo, etc), but everyone's gushing over Irving, and I just don't get it.

Edited by GonnaRain

Great issue, minus the art which I'm no too comfortable with. His style is quite good overall, and unique, but his faces are not, the expressions look weird, and he just can't pull Emma properly, specially not her hairstyle.

Aside from that, I really liked it. And as always, can't wait for next issue. (:

Keep it awesome team Cyke!

Posted by dcguy

Artwork is okey not so good not so bad either (I prefer Chris Bacholo) but my problem is story. Serie started really good then it starts to be boring. It's really slowed down and the new characters are not looks interesting except Eva Bell which is okey. I hope they drop Fabio in next issue , he is just an annoying douchebag . Saddly All new X-men slowed down too but I make my comment on it's review .

Posted by SummersBlood

Regarding the artwork...look again at the two page spread of blackness.....it's not quite as total black as you think. I found this to be one of the most interesting two page spreads I've ever seen in a comic, once I took the time to really look at it.

Posted by Perfect 10

loved this issue. loved the entire storyarc, magik getting her shine as she deserves. what i think should have happened in the 80s finally happened: magik trains under dr. strange. long over do. when she rejoins the team she's going to be just so boss

Posted by akbogert

Actually, @undeadpool, that spread wasn't completely a black-out. I actually thought it was pretty sweet, considering.

I have enjoyed Irving as a guest artist for the limbo stuff but I am ready for Bachalo to come back.

One thing about time travel: why do people think that Magik going back in time means she can't be in the book for a while? If she's being trained in the past, she can easily return just moments after leaving in the present. Her absence needn't be noted at all. Granted, she could come back at a different point, but I'm just saying her being in the past doesn't preclude her being in the present.

Posted by Gray_Star

Why every explanation in Marvel is with time travel now? That line of Dr. Strange was a little confusing to me.

Posted by AlKusanagi

Calling it "time travel" could be the wrong idea. Magik has hopped to alternate timelines multiple times during the original New Mutants run, which could be considered different realities with the whole Multiple Worlds Theory and all.

Posted by jonesy10

Personally, I'm getting tired of Bendis using essentially the same story structure for ANXM and Uncanny.........he's relying too much on flashbacks as (whoever it is today) recounts the action of the story. I also didn't see why it was such a horrible sacrifice when Illyana took Limbo into her. And the new mutants are still lame. They should all go, except for the girl who can stop time. Also, I love Frazer Irving's art. He does great facial expressions (but that two page spread was a waste of black ink!)

Posted by Shadowcloak

Wow, someone preferred Chris Bacholo. He was doing a horrendous job. Frazier Irving did an amazing job this issue; heck, the art was my favourite aspect of this issue. The simple palettes were refreshing. The comeplete darkness panels were very suitable--in fact, the writing and art were so in-tune at this point that the reading energy was surprisingly large and my mouth was wide open as a read those few pages.

The faces were also quite well-done. Their expressions were well-communicated, and so much emotion was received throughout this issue. Even Magik's Darkchilde face felt anguished.

Bacholo's art, beforehand, was just bland. I'm beginning to wonder if the first issues of the Uncanny series were boring largely because of him.