Gorgeous Art and Awesome Awkwardness
Uncanny X-Men #539 surprises in many ways. Along with the addition of new artist Ibraim Roberson, this issue features the return of Hope and her squad to the realm of Uncanny, from which they have been absent for ten issues. Hope is an interesting, if polarizing, character, and I (along with many other fans, I'm sure) have been waiting for the awkward confrontation between Hope and Wolverine. We get that in this issue, and it does not disappoint.
At the beginning of the issue, Hope, Idie, and Laurie (now called "Transonic") are discussing shopping while Wolverine and Teon spar. I am a little annoyed by the fact that almost every time Laurie has a speaking role, it concerns shopping, but I am glad to see some more character development for these teens.
After being kidnapped whilst shopping by lackeys of the Crimson Commando, which is random, but not implausible, Hope is released from captivity by none other than the Wolverine. The awkward dialogue between them is just great to read. For example, when Hope asks Wolverine, "We get cut to pieces over each other and you won't even talk?" and he replies, "You remind me of an old road. The idea of going down it again has me worried going on scared." It is obvious that Hope's similarity to Jean Grey and Phoenix is bugging Logan out and putting him in a rare vulnerable position. Extra kudos are awarded for the brutality in the Crimson Commando's assault on Hope. Good thing Logan and his deux ex machina healing power was in the vicinity (however I would have enjoyed seeing a panel of Hope with her nose cut off)!
All in all, this issue is an excellent beginning to one of the last important arcs for the Uncanny X-Men. In my opinion, this issue will be an important reference to the happenings in "Schism," but we shall see. May I now take this time to extol the greatness of the artwork in this issue? It is marvelously gritty, yet refined and precise. Bravo! Additionally, the cover, by Simone Bianchi, is stunning. This issue, in summation, is a must-have for the art alone, but the story is great too.