“Uncanny X-Men” #7 wraps up Brian Michael Bendis and Frazer Irving’s story plunging Cyclops’s new team of X-Men into Magik’s dimension of Limbo, and it ends up being a much more important story than one might have originally thought. It clears up and settles some of Magik’s storyline, both answering the question on how her powers were now different and also the status of Limbo itself. But more importantly, it’s the new recruits’ first adventure as X-Men, and in doing so it teaches them an important lesson.
As someone who was a big fan of Magik back in the day, a good story set in Limbo is something to cheer for. Bendis has tweaked the idea of Limbo and how it relates to Magik, but considering that every writer since Chris Claremont has done so, it’s not that far off of what was already established over the years. What’s important is it feels like there’s forward momentum for both Magik and Limbo for the first time in a while. Too many writers have gone back to the same well for these two, and it’s nice to see that there’s something different for both on the horizon.
I think what might slip past everyone’s attention, though, is that for all of the new kids that Cyclops and company recruited, this was their first time tackling something dangerous. Unlike most stories along those lines, Bendis takes a slightly different tactic. These kids all have mutant powers, but that doesn’t mean they’re all ready to be heroes. I appreciated that when the dust settles, the line-up in “Uncanny X-Men” is now different. After all, just because you can run fast doesn’t mean you’ll have the discipline or even the inclination to become a long-distance runner. Why do all of the mutants found by the X-Men over the years have to end up as natural born heroes? It’s a good and realistic point to make, and Bendis does so without dragging it out or clubbing readers over the head.
Irving’s art is a great choice for a story set in Limbo. His dark and moody art swirls around the page, and when Magik makes her final strike, his use of blacks and glimpses of light is eye-catching with its dramatic nature. It’s a great look for the book, and I appreciate that Irving is just as good with the scenes set in Limbo as he is with the ones in the real world. My only complaint is that sometimes the Limbo scenes get a little too hellish and chaotic; every now and then it gets a little difficult to pick out who is who, although perhaps that’s the whole point.
Where does “Uncanny X-Men” go from here? I feel like it’s on a good path. I’m looking forward to seeing the next step for Magik (whenever that may be), and I like seeing some parts of the team coming together while others splinter off. It feels right. For now, “Uncanny X-Men” is a rock-solid comic.