Uncanny X–Men #14
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Dustin Weaver
Colors by Jim Charalampidis
Reviewed by Joey Braccino
Reminiscent of issue 4, this week’s Uncanny X-Men outing features very little of the eponymous merry mutants, instead focusing entirely on Mr. Sinister and his mischievous machinations since his “defeat” in San Francisco. What exactly has he been up to? Apparently, continuing his narcissistic cloning mission while constructing a fully functioning, Tron: Legacy-esque, Victorian-era London in a former Moloid underground cavern. By fully functioning, I mean he included cows, because, as Sinister says, “Milk is Splendid.”
Kieron Gillen frames the story around one of the Sinister clones that populate Sinister London who gets the opportunity to interview Mr. Sinister… King Sinister… Sinister the First… Sinister Prime—yes, let’s go with Sinister Prime. The Sinister clone, however, thinks of himself as a revolutionary, and plans to undo Sinister Prime’s rule by exercising his free will over his “creator.” It may seem lofty, but under Gillen’s deft pen, the story drips with wit, humor, and an accessible–albeit frightening–“free will vs. genetic determinism” debate. As a fan of his earlier Phonogram series, which also dealt with magic/science, fatalism, and British-ness, I find Gillen’s Sinister equal parts refreshingly debonair and horrifyingly intellectual. Gillen’s Uncanny has been building up a new mythos around Sinister and everything he represents for our mutant heroes, and it plays to his strengths as a writer.
Dustin Weaver art has the same scope and detail that made the SHIELD miniseries so visually evocative. Weaver’s linework is crisp and, with Jim Charalampidis’ rich coloring, creates the eerie, quasi-historical atmosphere necessary for Sinister’s new Victorian London. It’s almost as if the entire issue is washed in the same grey-blue that makes Sinister himself look so haunting. The artwork reminds me of Simone Bianchi’s work on Astonishing X-Men from a few years back, except much more subtle, naturalistic, and expressive.[Weaver also did the cover art for this week’s buzzworthy issue of Astonishing X-Men! Reviewed here by Talking Comics’ own Steven Seigh!]
No spoilers as to the rest of the book, but I ensure you that this “Interview with the Supervillain: The Sinister Chronicles” builds to a profound and satisfying climax, followed by a promising reveal and revealing promises about the future of Uncanny X-Men!
This issue of Uncanny X-Men just works on every level. The artwork, the writing, and the overarching themes weave together to create a very enjoyable, fascinating comic book experience. While some may be bummed that it doesn’t directly tie into the ongoing Avengers v. X-Men event (especially considering Gillen’s brilliant characterization in the last two tie-in issues of UXM), this issue does promise some crossover in the very near future. And this particular reader is very excited to see how the devious Sinister combats the omnipotent Phoenix Five.