After two gorgeously illustrated, but confusingly busy issues, the first arc of Uncanny X-Men #3 is starting to live up to the name "X-Men: Disassembled." We've been fairly lukewarm on this title so far, but now that the writing trio of Ed Brisson, Kelly Thompson and Matthew Rosenberg, along with artists Yildiray Cinar and Rachelle Rosenberg, seems to have found a groove. While we still stand by the earlier assessment that this book has far too many characters populating its pages, and it doesn't remotely feel like an easy entry point into X-Men comics, we're pleased with the first act of a massive 10-part story has ended with a bang. Literally.
To avoid spoilers, we're not going to divulge the dirty little details regarding the secret behind Jamie Madrox's assault, nor why in the world Legion has shown up at the doorstep of his father's institution. However, we will tell you that how they relate to one another is pretty cool. (Wait, is that too much of a spoiler?) So let's talk about what makes this issue feel like a huge step in the right direction, and why it works a lot better than the issues that preceded it.
The pacing in Uncanny X-Men #3 is solid, save for one or two over-sized frenetic panels that seem to have dialogue in them for the sake of having dialogue in them. But overall, the action scenes are great, and the more quiet moments (and yes, there are a few) are handled wonderfully. One scene involving Bishop and a member of the anti-mutant protesters outside Xavier's School is particularly poignant and effective. It tells us all we really need to know about how these X-Men view the world and those who hate them for being different, which, as it turns out, is with a healthy dose of pity.
Uncanny X-Men #3 starts to pull everything together in interesting ways, and brings the bloated cast of characters closer together. While a clear-cut villain has yet to be truly defined (this is an X-Men comic, after all; not many mutant villains are completely devoid of some sort of morality), a plot is beginning to form that will lead us to what must be the central conflict of "X-Men: Disassembled." And despite throwing even more characters into the mix, the creative team pulls it off admirably.
The writing is still fairly cohesive, despite having a trio of scribes. We're certain one of the three took the lead in certain issues, or perhaps in certain plot lines, but even when the team is broken into factions, the tone of the book remains consistent. We also have to applaud the writers for keeping up with the splash-page cliffhanger, which makes us happy the first 10 issues of Uncanny X-Men are on a weekly release schedule.
The biggest drawback to Uncanny X-Men #3 is the art. It's by no means bad -- not by a long shot. Yildiray Cinar is a fantastic artist, but there are times when his thick line work sometimes makes the characters look as if they were pulled from a coloring book. His use of heavy inks also don't jibe with Rachelle Rosenberg's colors as well as previous artists' contributions did.
Overall, Uncanny X-Men #3 may not be an outstanding issue, but it has piqued our interest in what's to come. X-Men comics are always scattershot when it comes to their inter-connective narrative, but if you're willing to let them take your hand and lead you through a story of psychic battles, time travel, persecution and murderous robots, you might just find yourself having a good time. Uncanny X-Men hasn't quite hit that weirdo sweet spot, but at this rate, we might be there soon.