Matthew Rosenberg is ruining the X-Men.
…Wait, no, not like that. He’s taking what’s left of Marvel’s Merry Mutants and ruining their lives.
What Rosenberg has done in the Uncanny book has been a thrilling ride of highs and lows as he’s reunited Cyclops and Wolverine — two pillars of the X-Men mythos — while also killing off B-level favorites left and right. This 18th issue continues the trend as we bid adieu to yet another one of those minor-league X-members (who actually happens to be one of my favorites…THANKS MATT), and watch the team progress further into turmoil.
It starts off with Wolverine finally having enough of this last-ditch effort of the team to try and even their karmic scales. Seeing how Logan and Scott have evolved as characters since they came back has been incredible: Scott is not the unforgiving zealot he was, and Logan isn’t the blunt instrument of violence he was. Now Cyclops is questioning his own leadership, and Wolverine is quitting the team because he views nothing heroic or worthwhile about this mission. The fact he announces his decision to Illyana was a nice touch, as he views her similarly to himself in that she’s a pragmatic soldier.
This is an issue with a LOT of stuff going on: The team continues to ponder the revelation of the last issue wherein nobody remembers Emma Frost except for Juggernaut, and Havok nearly dissipates himself fighting the Sinister clones. This of course gets Cyclops’ utmost concern, which is comical considering how much Emma helped him progress as a character and how much he loved her – his casual dismissal of the mystery is outweighed by his concern for his lil’ brother.
The reader is also introduced to a new wrinkle where the Marauders seem not to know about the assault on the Morlocks, which doesn’t stop Chamber from attempted murder. This, plus the ominous cameos from Emma and Mystique later in the issue, continues to add more layers to an already engrossing story.
I was expecting a drop in quality going from Salvador LaRocca to Carlos Villa (with no offense intended: Sal is one of the best modern X-artists around), but his work in this issue has been stellar. He renders the subway action scene with great detail, and manages to succinctly capture Alex’s attempts at light-hearted humor in the hospital. In fact, emotions are running quite high in this issue, and Villa does each individual expression justice.
Additionally, the cover by vintage X-artist Whilce Portacio is simplistic and gorgeous. I’m thoroughly enjoying seeing the artists whose work I adored in former X-Men books coming back and contributing.
Honestly, Rosenberg’s run on Uncanny has been one of the best I’ve read in a criminally long time, and it continues here. He is brutalizing the remaining mutants, tearing the X-Men down to the bolts and reestablishing this flagship book as an intriguing, emotional familial story…just how the X-Men function best. I, along with most every other Marvel reader, am quite excited for Jonathan Hickman’s rebooting of the X-Books, but Uncanny’s quality makes the wait far more tolerable.