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“The Photograph Is In My Hand.”

Uncanny X-Men #19

Written by Kieron Gillen

Art by Dale Eaglesham

Colors by Matt Milla

Review by Joey Braccino

“I say hello to a redheaded girl. The universe readjusts forever to her slight presence.”

Stunning. Simply stunning. This is what I’ve so desperately wanted since this whole Avengers Vs. X-Men thing went down the path of demonizing Scott Summers. Kieron Gillen and Company put together a fantastic, Watchmen-esque sequence that explores Scott’s mind at the apex of his ultimate Dark Phoenix power and finally adds some desperately needed emotional resonance to the character’s fall from grace.

The panels for the majority of the book are jagged, flame-laced images of destruction, devastation, and history. Gillen and Eaglesham take the juxtaposition-of-moments-in-time route for this issue, a la Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s Doctor Manhattan chapter in Watchmen, to show both Cyclops current acts of horror as well as his heroic past. Gillen gives Scott simple narration throughout the issue, akin to the “I am that I am” omnipotent language you would associate with a God-like entity, but still oddly innocent and unadorned. Some excellent examples:

“He made me everything I am. I make him nothing.”

“I’m fighting a man with claws.”

“I’m betraying everything.”

Again, it’s simply stunning. The final sequence takes place right before the ending of Avengers Vs. X-Men #12, and Gillen handles Scott’s characterization with much more tact and nuance.

Dale Eaglesham’s artwork delivers. His clean pencils and traditional style capture the historical moments perfectly, while his innovative paneling and skill with layouts and background illuminate the violence and fire of the current battle. Furthermore, Eaglesham imbues the final page spread with the perfect blend of defiance and resignation. It’s spectacular. And it will be my desktop background forever.

Verdict

Buy it. You must. I’m so very sad that my beloved Uncanny X-men is ending (again), especially due to Kieron Gillen’s strong gasp of the X-mythos and the importance of the Cyclops character. This issue is the perfect companion to Avengers Vs. X-Men—nay, it’s absolutely essential reading. Pick it up, and then pick up the final issue in a couple of weeks. X-celsior!

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