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Chain Reactions | Uncanny X-Men #1

by  in Comic News Comment

Uncanny X-Men returned this past Wednesday with a new #1, just two weeks after the previous run ended. Written by Kieron Gillen with art by Carlos Pacheco, Cam Smith and Frank D’Armata, the story revolves around Cyclops and his post-Schism “Extinction Team” of Storm, Hope and a bunch of folks who couldn’t participate in a game of “raise your hand if you’ve never gone through a stage that others characterized as ‘mainly super villain.'” The book features a more serious tone and mission for the team than their back-in-Westchester friends appearing in Wolverine and the X-Men, as well as the villainy of Mr. Sinister and cameos by most of the other “Team Cyclops” mutant characters who decided to stay on the West Coast.

So what did folks think of this issue? Here’s a sampling of reviews on Uncanny X-Men #1:

Ron Richards, iFanboy: “Uncanny X-Men #1 is everything that Wolverine & The X-Men #1 was not, and I mean that in absolutely good way.  Where Aaron delivered a whimsical, comedic at times, fresh new start for Wolverine and the mutants at the new school in Westchester, Gillen’s representation in Uncanny X-Men #1 is a serious, more adult world that these mutants live in. And that’s exactly how it should be.”

Chris Sims, ComicsAlliance: “[Gillen] goes right into this world where the sheer madness of a guy made of metal getting crazy magic powers that turn him into an even tougher guy made of metal is ‘business as usual,’ a world where a constant series of increasingly ludicrous changes is just the way things are, and puts the focus onto someone who’s been trying since he was a teenager to figure out a way to control it all. That alone is what twists this into being a great first issue — it actually introduces the X-Men as they are, with the important stuff playing out on the page while the rest of the noisy clamor of the franchise happens in the background.”

Poet Mase, IGN: “One of Uncanny X-Men #1‘s high points can be found in Gillen’s characterizations. The book’s cast, even those given little face time like Namor (who speaks in a total of four panels), feel like distinct and tremendously interesting individuals. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to those familiar with Gillen, as it’s probably his greatest strength as a writer, but it struck me as particularly effective here. Carlos Pacheco does a lot to heighten this effect, especially when bringing the duality and desperation of a character like Colossus to the page. Through little more than posture and Gillen’s sparse dialog, Pacheco perfectly conveys the conflict and crushing weight of Colossus’ raw power and his desire to be a kind person. The threads involving Emma Frost are tight and enticing as well, bubbling steadily as the story progresses.”

Chad Nevett, Comic Book Resources: “Carlos Pacheco has flirted with a full-time return to the X-books, producing the Point One issue of Uncanny X-Men earlier this year as well as the first issue of X-Men: Schism. He’s a good fit with Gillen’s writing, providing a clean and clear artistic vision of the group. His art, combined with Frank D’Armata’s colors, makes the team look a little futuristic — modern, bright and shiny. D’Armata’s coloring isn’t as overbearing as it sometimes is as the colorist seems to have a good understanding of how to complement Pacheco’s pencils best. When the issue turns to action, Pacheco’s art really shines. He’s always been a great superhero action artist and Gillen plays to his strengths well.”

Dean Stell, Weekly Comic Book Review: “Emma Frost with stringy hair? I don’t think so. And there are a few places where the storytelling is just sub-par, like when a lady gets her neck snapped the only indication of the snapping is the word ‘SNAP’ since her head isn’t twisted or anything. This isn’t an art disaster, but after the masterpiece that Chris Bachalo gave us last week on Wolverine and the X-Men this was a really a so-so effort. There’s nothing to please folks who are seriously into comic sequential art fans. It’s like the X-group is too content to have ‘average’ art. The coloring wasn’t doing this issue any favors either. Too much of that digitally highlighted stuff for me.”

David Pepose, Newsarama: “But I think the big problem with this book isn’t so much Gillen’s fault, or that Cyclops and his ‘Extinction Team’ isn’t a smart idea — it’s just that years of other people’s storytelling choices are finally coming home to roost. It doesn’t matter if Gillen recently told an awesome issue of Colossus becoming the Juggernaut if the character really hasn’t gotten any other room to breathe and endear himself to readers since, well, Astonishing X-Men. Storm is another kind of glaring example — for much of the past decade she’s really been shuffled to the background of the X-books and seen mostly a Black Panther supporting character, so it’s really hard now to root for her and understand her potential as one of the big guns in Cyclops’s arsenal. And whereas Jason Aaron was able to pull some real surprises into his lineup, like the teenage Brood or Kid Gladiator, we’ve seen all of Gillen’s team before, and there’s no wild card to stir up the pot, to really get you excited and invested in this team.”

Martin Gray, Too Dangerous for a Girl: “I can see the more hardcore X-Men fans loving this book. It’s very well crafted, includes fan favourite characters and continues the ‘nobody like us, everybody hates us, think we’ll go and eat worms’ storyline of the last 20 years or so. I’ll certainly give it an issue or two more, see where it goes. But I suspect I’ll be packing my bags and moving the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning full-time. At least until the X-Men become a group of heroes again.”