“Uncanny X-Men” is a series that has a fairly huge cast these days. In theory that’s a good thing because it means that the book can rotate through different characters and bring some or all of them to the forefront at any given moment, with the whole, “Everyone’s a member of the X-Men” concept.
So why, then, is an issue starring Hope from “Generation Hope” rolling down the pipeline? Considering she (and the “five lights” characters) has a book of her own, it’s a little puzzling. It’s a simple enough plot, with Hope and some of the other newest mutants going shopping, only to get kidnapped by the Crimson Commando. I like the core of the idea, that sooner or later depowered mutants will catch wind of Hope and her ability to “activate” the various “lights” and wonder if she can do the same to those who powers have been deactivated courtesy the Scarlet Witch.
Unfortunately, the issue itself is a little dull. It’s a standard capture/escape story, and I found myself unconvinced of any big revelation on Hope and Wolverine’s relationship that we didn’t already know. It’s just more of the same, only instead it’s more of the same in a book that should in theory be about some other characters that don’t have a second comic to fall back on. As the capture/escape cycle begins to roll around, it’s hard to keep your attention focused. (Even a bit of the plotting is a little suspect, like the idea that when potentially the most important mutant on the planet is kidnapped, Cyclops would think sending only Wolverine would be a good idea.)
Ibraim Roberson’s art, on the other hand, isn’t quite so lackluster. Roberson’s soft character designs are beautiful here. Idie and Laurie from “Generation Hope” look the best they’ve ever been thanks to Roberson; in particular, this is the first time I’ve been sold on Laurie’s head-fins and their presumed streamlining purpose for when she flies. And Crimson Commando’s plight comes across much more gruesome and disturbing thanks to Roberson’s drawings, rather than anything the character actually says.
Gillen’s solo-run on “Uncanny X-Men” started off with a story that was probably one chapter too long, and this new issue isn’t jumping out as anything big either. “Uncanny X-Men” quietly took the flagship title crown from “Astonishing X-Men” a few years ago, but right now it’s starting to look like it’s ready to relinquish that position. “Uncanny X-Men” needs to be great, not just all right.