With the conclusions of both “X-Men: Schism” and “Fear Itself” around the corner, Kieron Gillen, Greg Land, and Jay Leisten wrap up their throwdown with the Juggernaut this issue, but they seem much more interested in the aftermath than the actual conclusion.
The idea of Colossus as the new Juggernaut is interesting, and in many ways the core of the issue’s strength. Gillen treats that shift as a form of demonic possession; it’s still Colossus at the core, but the touch of Cyttorak is so overwhelming that it beats down your own emotions, inhibitions, and self-control. It’s a great move from a storytelling perspective. A different person utterly controlling Colossus wouldn’t be quite so interesting, but having that mixture of Colossus and Juggernaut inside his body sets up a struggle that has a lot of story potential.
Less interesting, though, is the fight between Colossus and the old Juggernaut. It wraps up so quickly that it feels like an afterthought. Gillen seems determined to quickly shuffle Juggernaut off-page (and presumably back into either “Fear Itself” or “Thunderbolts”). And similarly, while the “Emma is going to kill Hope” subplot from last issue was surely not going to succeed, it’s dispatched with such ease that it’s a little underwhelming. This feels like the decks getting quickly cleared so “X-Men: Schism” can split the book’s cast in half and shuffle everyone in their new (presumably temporary) directions.
Land’s pencils are Land’s pencils. Some won’t be able to take his blatant referencing of photographic pieces that results in static expressions and strange figures (like Cyclops’ fat face), others will love the slick, clean lines from him and Leisten. At this point, I’ve grown tired enough of the faults from the former to be able to appreciate the latter, and I’m more than ready for Land to move on to a different title.
Even with a so-so ending, this story has been fun enough that I’m feeling that Gillen has gotten a good feel for the book. His setup for future stories is intriguing, and I like his take on Cyclops as a master strategist. I’m less than thrilled about the split into two titles that’s around the bend, but I’ll certainly continue to read “Uncanny X-Men” with Gillen still at the helm.