Cyclops shows his sensitive side when Illyana Rasputin, aka Magik, falls victim to mysterious and violent fits that incapacitate her.
Revealing she’s been summoned back to Limbo against her will by Dormammu, Illyana also tells Cyclops that her power, though stronger, are actually broken and affecting her abandoned kingdom. Dormammu, claiming leadership, is defeated in battle when Magik’s alter ego, Darkchilde, shows her face.
Frazer Irving takes over as artist for the issue, and Uncanny X-Men #5 has a very different look than the first four books of the series. It might look like Irving’s using markers, but according to his website, it’s all pixel work.
Irving’s artwork works best in the Limbo sequences with fire bursting from the page. Seeing Illyana as Darkchilde is frightening, and Irving’s artwork is effective in setting the tone of Limbo with its abstract elements. Cyclops facial features look pretty sketchy, and that’s where Irving’s art is the weakest, but overall, it looks like Irving was chosen to be this issue’s artist for a reason, and there’s a lot to appreciate in his artwork.
Brian Michael Bendis writes a narrative-heavy issue that’s probably the most serious so far, even with confrontations with the Avengers and X-Men. It’s a Magik-centric issue, which seems long overdue, and while she was a prisoner under Cyclops care when the X-Men were united, she’s now one of his most loyal teammates. She’s also out of Colossus’ shadow, and she’s beginning to come into her own as an independent character. This story arc looks like it will add development to her character, and it feels important.
While the All-New X-Men deal, presently, with a future they couldn’t imagine, Cyclops’ team also finds itself out of its natural element as they’re all teleported to Limbo. It’s a situation they’re not prepared for, especially with the team’s newly recruited students — which now includes past-Angel, by the way — and there’s a fear the team’s way out of their league. How the team adapts and uses it mutant powers in battle will show off the team’s power and tactical prowess as the members find themselves in a realm where magic comes into play.
It’s interesting and unexpected territory, and the creative team looks like they’re set up to effectively tell a different sort of story. It makes sense that Magik gets her time in the spotlight, and she could be the first to have her powers rehabilitated, but there could be surprises. She could find herself stronger than before, or her powers can be taken completely away. The Phoenix affected these X-Men, and the team has held it together pretty well, considering.
This is Cyclops’ Extinction team, but they’re broken. Bendis does well in showcasing how the changes affect the team dynamics, morale, and relationships. What the future holds for this team is uncertain, and it’s likely it will be uncanny.
Uncanny X-Men #5 (2013)
Words: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Frazer Irving
Letters: Joe Caramagna