Uncanny X-Men #2
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils & Colors by Chris Bachalo
Inks by Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, Al Vey, and Victor Olazara
Review by Joey Braccino
Back in November, Brian Michael Bendis took the X-Universe in a new and exciting direction with All-New X-Men. For the few months after the critically acclaimed #1, Bendis’ All-New X-Men continued on a nearly bi-weekly shipping schedule, facilitating his nuanced characterization and distinctive decompressed storytelling mode. Just two weeks ago, Uncanny X-Men returned to the Marvel catalog with a brand new #1 under the very talented direction of Mr. Bendis and artist Chris Bachalo.**
**You can check out Talking Comics’ very own Travis McCollum’s overwhelmingly positive review of Uncanny X-Men #1 here!!!
So here we are two short weeks later and Uncanny X-Men #2 has hit the stands. Does it maintain the high standard Bendis has set for himself with the debut issue and his run on ANXM? Simply put, #%$& yes.
Unlike his work on All-New X-Men (which seemed to depend on the rapid shipping schedule to mediate the decompressed storytelling), Bendis covers a lot of ground in this one issue of Uncanny X-Men. We start with a stellar opening sequence with Emma Frost and Scott Summers that warmed the cockles of my Emma/Scott ‘shipper heart. Bendis has gained a much better grasp of Emma’s voice since his lackluster treatment of the character back in All-New X-Men #3. There still are some lapses (I doubt Emma would ever say “Kid” as casually as she does in this issue), but overall Bendis seems poised to put the complex and nuanced relationship between Scott and Emma at the heart of UXM.
From there, Bendis takes us into the new briefing room of The New Charles Xavier School (formerly Weapon X) as Cyclops, Magneto, Magik, and Emma introduce their new recruits to their new existence—i.e. “A World that Hates and Fears Them.” It’s here that Chris Bachalo’s artwork really shines. It is no coincidence that last year’s break-out X-series, Wolverine & The X-Men, debuted with Bachalo on art duties; his unique panel lay-outs and exaggerated physicality create a distinctive, fresh, and fascinating visual aesthetic that automatically sets the book apart from anything else on the stands. Though Bachalo’s style can be divisive (and at some points his experimental style results in cluttered or awkward panels), there is no denying that any book he illustrates will be packed cover-to-cover with innovative comics storytelling. In this regard, Bachalo’s pairing with Brian “How Many Words Can I Fit on a Page?” Bendis seems like a match made in comics heaven.
I go back to this idea of “new.” While All-New X-Men was Marvel NOW!’s X-book, Uncanny X-Men truly is the flagship title of the X-Universe. Much like Remender’s Uncanny Avengers is the NOW! experiment and Hickman’s Avengers title is the core series, there is a weight to the legacy title that calls for a certain caliber of storytelling As an avid reader of all things X for the better part of the last decade, I can say first-hand that the X-books were on one heck of a roll under progressive writers like Grant Morrison, Mike Carey, Joss Whedon, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, and Kieron Gillen. I may have reservations with how we’ve gotten to this new status quo in X-Universe (Fie upon AvX! FIE!), but Bendis is now writing two X-books worthy of the legacy of Marvel’s longest running team franchise!
Buy it. I’ve tried to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible and instead reflect on Bendis and Bachalo’s fresh and invigorating approach to the Uncanny X-Men legacy. Whereas issue #1 focused on the “twist” of the new series, issue #2 settles into its groove by exploring the new digs, the new characters, and the new powers of our merry band of mutant revolutionaries. I don’t know if POINK is the new BAMF (yet), but Uncanny X-Men is definitely an exciting new chapter of Marvel’s X-story.