Uncanny X-Men #20

"Uncanny X-Men" #20 checks in on Cyclops and some other members of his Extinction Team in Kieron Gillen's final issue of the series. Picking up fairly quickly after the end of "Avengers Vs. X-Men," this issue opens with a triptych focusing on Cyclops, Danger, Colossus and Magik. Gillen divides the opening half of the book into three parts, giving each of those characters even panel and page time.

One of my first and most alarming concerns was Cyclops' confinement. I'm not a slave to continuity (especially when it comes to the X-Men who I do not regularly follow) but I had seen enough of Cyclops imprisoned in a ruby quartz cell with a power-dampening helmet on to immediately question what was going on here. Through the course of the story, however, Gillen makes it quite clear that we are witnessing the immediate aftermath of the final Phoenix conflict. While the writer dials in on Cyclops, Danger, Magik and Colossus, he really only bringing closure to the Rasputins, but drives a wedge between them opening up a whole new conflict. That conclusion is mostly satisfying, but quick and somewhat ill-timed.

Colossus and Magik also seem to be the most interesting segment for Carlos Pacheco to illustrate. Although Magik's soulsword is variable in length, the artist's passion for the characters shines through, giving them some quality moments as they struggle against one another. Pacheco makes some odd choices beyond that, such as the attire of Kate Kildare (who is dressed more for turning tricks than public relations) and pushing the anatomy of the mechanical Danger. As is the expectation with Pacheco's art, the lines are clean and smooth, enabling Guru eFX to provide some pleasing color work.

Unfortunately, this issue doesn't do much to wrap up all of the loose ends that may have been dangling from Gillen's run or even from the event crossover, but with Marvel NOW! on the horizon, it really doesn't need to. After all, it has been made pretty clear that Sinister will likely face off against the Uncanny Avengers and we've also already been exposed to things that happen to Cyclops after this story. All in all, this issue ends the series with a shrug and low grunt instead of a celebration or a shock ending. In short, the series ends, but the story really doesn't.

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