Brian Michael Bendis' time on the X-Men titles is being released in drips and drabs, with "Uncanny X-Men" #35 his penultimate issue on the series. Ever since Cyclops disbanded his team of X-Men, each issue has focused on the future destinations of different characters, and here we see the new team members get closer to their new path. What could have taken four-to-six issues is all compressed into one, and Bendis and Valerio Schiti's comic ends up feeling that much more satisfying as a result.
"Uncanny X-Men" #35 is essentially the rise and fall of Goldballs, with the rest of the remaining team swept along for the ride. In many ways, it's a familiar story, which is why having it pushed into a single comic makes it work that much more. There's no lingering over the details, stretching things out when we can all see where it's going.
Instead, Bendis' script focuses on the parts we want to see the most. We get glimpses of the Marvel Universe's magazines treating superpowered people as celebrities, and Goldballs appearing on entertainment television. We get the young X-Men team successfully working together to stop a fellow mutant's rampage. There are glimpses of the old Hellfire Club, and there's also tragedy around the corner. In short, this is a best-of/remix that hits all of the fun points and makes it fun, even when things are grim.
Schiti's art is new to me, but he's very much in the current, popular style of smooth and clean lines. He's definitely at his best when drawing Fabio during the height of his popularity; his entrance on the "Tonight Show" set is gleeful with just a tiny bit of awkwardness, for example, and I love his "Falling Stone" cover, which feels perfectly posed in the way that the real "Rolling Stone" covers look. Schiti's art is energetic and cheerful looking, but that just makes the grim final act of the comic that much more potent; he's able to handle not only the violence bursting onto the page, but also the response from the other characters in a way that feels genuinely dangerous.
"Uncanny X-Me" #35 is fun and fast-paced. With some witty dialogue and a strong emotional core for the characters, it's a good lead-in to this fall's conclusion in "Uncanny X-Men" #600. It's a shame that's not until October, because we're going to lose some momentum with that large of a delay. Still, Bendis seems determined to go out with a bang. So far, so good.