Uncanny X-Men #18
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Ron Garney
Colors by Jason Keith & Morry Hollowell
Review by Joey Braccino
Cyclops lays some verbal smackdown on Magneto! Magik and Colossus talk snowflakes! Emma and Scott eat steak! Kieron Gillen yet again delivers on the X-Front with Uncanny X-Men #18—something that has been sorely lacking from the Avengers Vs. X-Men crossover proper. This issue is the perfect companion to Avengers Vs. X-Men #11, and it ties up the storylines of the rest of the Phoenix Five pretty nicely going into the big (fiery) finale.
Not too much in the spoilers department because I really do recommend this issue, but I will talk briefly about the final sequence: Emma Frost and Scott Summers engage in some psychic fine dining whilst doing battle with the combined might of the Avengers and X-Men (as seen in AvX #11). Revelations and wine ensue, and Gillen succeeds in lending Scott and Emma the tragic pathos that they have so sorely lacked during in primary AvX series. And it’s exactly the kind of high concept storytelling that Gillen has consistently brought to Uncanny, and I hate to see him bring his run on the series to an end in just two issues. Gillen knows these characters well, and he’s crafted their complex relationship (and its almost devolution) over the last 30 issues.
The secondary plot in this issue deals with Magik and Colossus. While it is the perfect conclusion to the whole Cyttorak storyline, it also perfectly captures the nature of the Phoenix force. In a few panels, Gillen deftly ties up the metaphorical consequences of absolute power (“We brought a heaven to Earth. And then we brought hell along, too…”) in a way that the main crossover series could never hope to. Kudos.
Ron Garney’s art tells Gillen’s story well. There is some innovative paneling during the Magik/Colossus sequence, particularly when it becomes apparent that something super crazy is going on, but overall Garney’s style is clean, clear, and consistent. Unfortunately, Jason Keith and Morry Hollowell’s colors aren’t as consistent, jumping between washed out whites and yellows and thick reds and blacks. The coloring is a distraction in some panels, detracting from an otherwise perfectly serviceable visual experience.
Art issues aside, this issue of Uncanny X-Men is a must-read companion to Avengers Vs. X-Men. Heck, Kieron Gillen’s Uncanny X-Men is a must-read series in general. Nuance, high concepts, and actual emotional resonance make this X-Book X-cellent!
Wow. I just did that. Really though, I do hope Emma and Scott stay together after this whole mess is over and done with. And Kitty and Colossus somehow get back together. I’ll take whatever other consequences are coming out of this AvX thing, just so long as those two things happen. #shipping