With regret, I have to say that Uncanny X-Men #34 made me question what Marvel’s intentions are for the X-Men series as a whole, especially with Secret Wars creating a brand new universe.
Due to the drama at the X-Mansion, Illyana Rasputin plans a spontaneous getaway for herself and teammate Kitty Pryde in Uncanny X-Men #33. The plan: Find and save a mutant somewhere on an island filled with gigantic kaiju-like monsters.
After a quick skirmish, the pair follow Illyana’s portable Cerebro and discover a young girl, Bo, abandoned in a cave. Bo speaks a little English, and she explains how she accidentally hurt her mother before she was dropped off by her father. When Magik threatens to kill Bo’s father for leaving her, a monster comes to Bo’s rescue, leaving the young girl with no other choice than to unleash her powers.
The end is near.
As issues approach the Uncanny X-Men #600 mark that will end the series in time for Secret Wars, it looks like the spotlight has landed squarely back on Cyclops.
Matthew Malloy’s existence threatens all else.
And so Uncanny X-Men #31 brings the X-Men to the point of no return as Malloy wipes out the entire Jean Grey School, leaving Eva Bell and Professor Charles Xavier the dubious task of retroactively removing him from the picture.
My biggest criticism of the Uncanny X-Men series thus far has been its lack of a solid narrative with defining points.
The current volume started out strong as Cyclops gathered up his closest allies while being hunted by S.H.I.E.L.D. and the other X-Men. After that, the plotting began to meander through various storylines that started off with huge potential only to fizzle away. Between focusing on the new members or developing the complex tensions between Cyclops and his own team — and don’t forget the bitter emotions embroiling Cyclops and his former X-Men — the story at large seems pretty watered down due to a lack of solid impact.
Things have not been easy for Scott Summers.
As Professor Xavier’s brightest student, young Summers bore the weight of the mutant world during a time of awakening for all mutantkind. Leading a team of peers in a war against public opinion was one thing — Scott also had to fight his mentor’s battles as well by taking on the likes of Magneto and anyone opposed to the ideology of humans living in peace with mutants.
To recap — Back in issue #17, Bell and her teammates were stranded in Tabula Rasa by Magik for a bit of a training session. The crap hit the fan when a giant beast attacked, sending the team in panic. Caught under the heel of a giant bird-lizard-dinosaur, Eva time-bubbled her way out of trouble, leaving Fabio behind.
When she returned, much older and a little worse for the wear, the Stepford Cuckoos discovered what happened. And for the past year, the truth has been a guarded secret to be finally let out in Uncanny X-Men Annual #1 which follows Bell’s journey as her powers take her to the past and future for a startling reveal.
Starting with an encounter with Jonathan Raven, Earth-616’s version of Killraven, Bell almost takes a laser beam to the face before her powers save her by teleporting her to the Wild West where she meets the Rawhide Kid. The Kid, one year removed from meeting the Avengers, scares Bell into porting again, and she’s taken by the X-Men of year 2099 to the Sorcerer Supreme.
Inside the cover in the credits, you’ll see something that only recently started happening. At the bottom where the creator credits once only mentioned Stan Lee, a new name has been rightfully added. Though we don’t know the full details of the settlement between the Kirby family and Marvel, one thing we know is that Jack Kirby is finally getting creator credit.
That is awesome on so many levels.
The other thing — Chris Bachalo’s name is on the cover, but the art this issue belongs to Kris Anka.
And third — yes, Hank McCoy, Cyclops is right.
Scott Summers’ tried and not-so-true friend finally gets it, and for once, he doesn’t know what to do. It’s a bittersweet moment that’s filled to the brim with history between two characters, one named after a one-eyed mythological figure and the other whose callsign only described his physical capabilities. More on this later.
Let’s get into Uncanny X-Men #27 — an issue that sees the ship righting itself with a brisker pace. We have some development, Cyclops finally stands up for himself and proves he’s the man, and Matthew Malloy waves his hands around and destroys things without so much as a grunt.
When I compare this current volume of Uncanny X-Men to the last, I’m astounded by the contrasts.