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Pointillism FTW.

Uncanny X-Men #15

Written by Kieron Gillen

Art by Daniel Acuña

Review by Joey Braccino

In this week’s issue of Uncanny X-Men, Kieron Gillen once again manages to continue his own running plot threads within the ongoing continuity of events in the Avengers Vs. X-Men mega-crossover. After years of company-wide events at the Big Two, readers have resigned themselves to editorially shoehorned plot developments, retcons, and out-of-character characterization in any of the satellite tie-ins. Thus far, however, Gillen’s AvX tie-ins in Uncanny X-Men have featured organic storytelling, pitch-perfect characterization, and complex emotional material not even seen in the core Avengers Vs. X-Men miniseries. Issue #15 proves no different.

Here’s a spoiler-free rundown of the events of the issue:

1)    We open with a meditative moment with Kate Kildare, the X-Men’s Public Relations extraordinaire!

2)    We see the other Extinction Team X-Men (Psylocke, Storm, Danger (?), and Magneto) grappling with semi-irrelevance in the company of their Five Phoenix Powered Playmates.

3)    UNIT!

4)    We get a gripping conversation between Phoenix Colossus and Cytorrak, which has some interesting ramifications for our Soviet Superhero!

5)    War Council!

6)    The Phoenix Five search for Sinister

7)    Sinister Prime (which is confirmed to be the maleficent geneticist’s ID! Called it!) waxes poetic while preparing his Sinister Corps for battle! Sinestro Corps? Alas, it’s taken…

8)    To be continued!

If that seems like a lot, it’s because Gillen packs his 32 pages (minus adverts) with plenty of story. There are a lot of $3.99 books on the stands right now, and Uncanny X-Men is one of the few that merits the price tag (included with all Marvel $4 books is a digital download, which makes it even more semi-bearable). Highlights of Gillen’s script include some exploration of Colossus and Magik’s emotional development when they’re not being all Omnipotent and enflamed, the aforementioned character work on Magneto and Psylocke, and, of course, Sinister’s grandiose verbosity. Our merry mutants are enjoying some very good times under the pen of Mr. Gillen, and I’m looking forward to the rest of this 3-part Sinister story arc.

Though Daniel Acuña’s Sinister London can’t quite match the elegance of Dustin Weaver’s rendering last issue, his heavy linework and inking always makes for a visually fascinating comic book. To some extent, Acuña’s artwork doesn’t appear to fit Gillen’s script perfectly. The heavy pulp-influence and deep, dark lines were perfect for the espionage action of the recent Black Widow series and the horror-inspired Empath arc in Mike Carey’s X-Men: Legacy. Still, the artwork in this issue is a stunning blend of retro-pulp design (Magneto’s hairstyle is a throwback to the ‘80s) and ominous inking. The artwork stumbles a bit when Acuña has to illustrate the expansive floating islands of Utopia, the fields of Alaska, and Sinister London. Overall, Acuña’s artwork tells the story well enough, is not distracting, and is stunning its own unique way.

Verdict

Read this issue, and read this series. If you’re a fan of the X-Men, read it. If you’re reading Avengers Vs. X-Men and you want to see more of the X-side of the characters, read it. If you’re interested in starting a new series, this is the first part of a three-issue arc, so I suppose it could be a good place to jump on. Uncanny X-Men is enjoying a renaissance right now, and is finally coming into its own as the flagship title on the X-side of the Marvel U.

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