Brian Michael Bendis’ tendency for lengthy bouts of dialogue, makes for a couple of engaging sequences in “Uncanny X-Men” #28. Artist Kris Anka helps this along with the usage of panel layouts spread out of two facing pages when possible, making for some real page-turning moments that don’t actually require as many pages to be turned.
Anka doesn’t quite have the flair that Chris Bachalo normally brings to the title, but his simplicity brings a kind of no-frills cleanliness to the issue; Bendis’ story can be told without the worry of excessive word balloons cluttering out the art. A four-page, fifteen-panel exchange between Beast and Storm is leisurely structured, and darkly lit with subdued colors by Anka, so that Bendis can calmly deliver a dialogue that evokes some genuine emotion. The Beast’s desperation over Cyclops’ latest radical move, and Storm’s own uncertainty, are plain and palpable.
Ditto for Cyclops’ confrontation with new mutant Matt Malloy, which is carefully constructed by Anka and Bendis that convincingly shows Scott’s ability to reach out to the terrified but very dangerous teen. This sequence, while effective, does run a little long in more typical Bendis fashion and suffers near the end as Bendis tries to stretch out the drama a little too far. Anka helps extend this lengthier scene’s expiration date by breaking from his usual style and illustrating the sequence with individual panels that pay homage to past key X-Men stories, rendered in styles evocative of past artists associated with these arcs such as Jim Lee, John Byrne and Walt Simonson. These snippets compliment Bendis’ words as he references past foes, but they go unmentioned and instead are only shown by Anka, which adds dimension to Bendis’ script without any redundancy.
Anka’s symbolic cover featuring an imposing Magneto doesn’t seem to foreshadow any of the events shown inside the issue, but upon completion its relevance is made clear. While the storyline passing through “Uncanny X-Men” #28 is still lingering as a tie-in from the concluded “Original Sin” event, this particular chapter is one of the stronger ones.