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This is horrifying. Flame bird. Pseudo-Victorian Sinister. Supervillain. Shadows. Scary.

Uncanny X-Men #16

Written by Kieron Gillen

Art by Daniel Acuña

Review by Joey Braccino

The Phoenix Five take it to the Sinister(o) Corps in this week’s issue of Uncanny X-Men! Issue #16 features laser beams, explosions, and merry (Phoenix-infused) mutant action from start to finish, but, of course, because this is Kieron Gillen, there are some super witty, hyper fantastical moments that push this comic book above and beyond traditional smash-‘em-up, four-color superheroics.

Gillen starts this issue with Magneto, Storm, Danger, and Psylocke: a.k.a. the four super-powerful-but-not-ALL-powerful-like-the-Phoenix-Five members of the Extinction Team. What are our scorned mutants doing? Sitting around a table on Utopia in silence, straight up TO’d. It’s an ambiguous scene, and Gillen brilliantly cuts straight to the P5 v. Sinister(o) Corps action on the very next page. And action there be plenty of: explosions, Phoenix fire blasts, reconverted-blasts-from-a-giant-cannon-on-Sinister-Castle, and more explosions. But because it’s Kieron Gillen and because his Sinister-epic has been so delectably whimsical, we loyal readers are also treated to some twisted machinations. To name a few:

  • An exploding cavalcade of exploding Gambits!
  • Marauder Abomination Clones!
  • KRAKOA!
  • COWS!!!!!!!

How can you say no? We also get to see Namor breaking ranks with Cyclops and his Phoenix-infused pals, a direct reference (precursor?) to his actions in the larger Avengers Vs. X-Men crossover. Continuity!

Daniel Acuña is still on art duty for this issue, and he delivers another solid issue. As I mentioned in my review of issue #15, his stylized lines and inking elicit a classic pulp, horror feel. Last issue, his artwork didn’t quite match Gillen’s script. For this issue, though, Acuña’s sharp lines and heavy inks fit the chaotic, almost frightening violence of the battle. Especially Krakoa. His Krakoa is nuts. There is one fantastic moment in which Acuña illustrates an explosion inside the onomatopoeic “BOOM!” It’s a creative layout choice that reflects the innovative, experimental styles of contemporary artists.

Verdict

Check it out! If you’re not reading Gillen’s Uncanny X-men, start now because we’ve all just learned that it won’t be around much longer. The series will end this October, but not before Gillen gets the opportunity to bring his Sinister-epic to what will surely be an extraordinary close. Read it! Read it now!

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