Filed under: Comic Reviews, Marvel Comics | Tags: generationhope, gillen, marvel, pacheco, schism, uncanny, xmen
Being an avid Generation Hope fan I was hoping to treat the events of ‘Schism’ and the ensuing #1’s as my route in to the Marvel Universe. This plan has worked well for Wolverine and The X-Men (you can read our review of this here) but surprisingly less so for Uncanny X-Men.
I have long been loving Gillen’s writing on Journey into Mystery and Generation Hope. He seems to have a knack for taking stories in interesting directions and for laying down natural and witty dialogue but there is something wrong with this book. Several things in fact.
Firstly, because I’m an idiot I pre-ordered a blank variant edition and I’m not sure why. I’m usually more a fan of colours and lines than plain white. The cover above is what I could have had.
Secondly, it is not unknown for me, these days at least, to be found preaching about the accessibility of Marvel to new readers. Uncanny X-Men goes well out of its way to make me out a liar by only introducing some of the team. I get to the end of the issue and still have no idea who the Bugsy Malone type chap is.
Instead of introducing all the ‘goodies’ on page 1, the book’s creators/ editors choose to include a ‘baddie’ which has the effect of ruining any suspense or wonder about who in the entire Marvel universe could be behind the attack on the X-Men. Never before have I had a comic book spoiled by the actual comic book. Unbelievable.
The dialogue is not to Gillen’s usual standard. I feel in this issue as though he is trying to write like Bendis but just ends up wasting panels. For example, Namor and Colossus discussing how nice the chairs are in their meeting room in Utopia. These panels lead on to Cyclops laying down his vision for the team. There is zero discussion about this from the supposed ‘Team’ and later on the issue the usually independent and argumentative Hope even calls him ‘Sir’ when carrying out his instructions. There is something weird going on in Utopia and I will be happy if it turns out to be intentional.
The art in this comic book is equally wasteful. It is certainly slick, but uninspired and conformist. Much like these X-Men of cyclops’.
Overall this book is incredibly bland and forgettable. I’m hoping that their has just been some sort of problem and Gillen has now started being awful. Or maybe this is intentional. Or something. Uncanny X-Men issue # 2 there is a lot riding on you.
I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree with Linsay on this one (don’t worry, it wouldn’t be the first time!) I really enjoyed this issue – it had everything I’ve come to expect from both the X-Men and Gillen, joined in perfect harmony.
As I said in my review of Wolverine and the X-Men, I’ve been scared to get too involved with collecting issues of X-Men, relying more on graphic novels to continue my enjoyment of the characters, but the recent regenesis has sparked my interest and got me involved again. It does mean that I’ve not yet read Gillen’s previous X-Series Generation Hope so can’t offer a comparison, however I would say that if there’s one writer suited to creating dialouge for these characters, it’s him.
For me the X-Men boils down to a few key things – a great team action comic, dealing with diversity and quick witted banter between characters. Uncanny has all of this nicely wrapped up in issue #1, whereas I felt Wolvie maybe only had two out of three of these attributes. It doesn’t just throw all of them together either, this is a comic of two halves – a serious sit down to discuss the way forward of the “extinction” team, followed nicely by their first mission. I really loved the transition between these though – it’s not just the case that a big red siren goes off to alert them of danger while they’re all sitting chatting. Instead we’re given a montage of what the team busies themselves with while there isn’t any impending doom scenarios.
Like film remakes of comics and books, there’s the fear that the writer will put in their own interpretation of a character, meaning they won’t turn out quite as you remember them, and there’s the same fear when it comes to reading comic characters by different writers. Gillen, however, treats each of these characters with respect, not favouring the development of any one in particular, each with their own personalities shining through. Everyone’s “voice” is spot on, and for some reason I felt reminded of Gillen himself when Scott (Cyclops) was giving his speech to the team. One down side to the schism is that Hank McCoy (Beast) isn’t in the Blue team featured in Uncanny – which is a shame, because if there was one character that Gillen could nail, it would be him, however we’re treated to equally sarcastic comments from Emma Frost instead, so it’s win-win.
I actually really enjoyed the artwork provided by Carlos Pacheco, Cam Smith and Frank D’Armata – a nice clean cut realistic portrayal of the team, adding to the seriousness of the book. I particularly loved the burnt orange sunrise colours of San Francisco that featured prominently throughout the book.
If I had one negative, it would be the issue’s cliffhanger – it all seems a little surreal for a serious X-Men book, but I could be wrong. This could just be the hook to get you to read the next issue where we’ll find that it isn’t as bizzare as we think. Overall though I enjoyed this more than Wolverine and the X-Men, but reckon that the two books work well together as the cornerstones of the new X-Men world.
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