Uncanny X-Men #19.NOW
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Chris Bachalo
Inks: Tim Townsend, Al Vey, Jaime Mendoza, Mark Irwin, & Victor Olazaba
Colors: Chris Bachalo & Jose Villarrubia
Review by Joey Braccino
Hijack gets hijacked by Maria Hill and SHIELD!!! Cyclops and the New Mutant Revolution fall into a supersized sentinel trap!!! Secrets revealed!!! And just where has the real Dazzler been!?!?
All this and more in the latest, All-New Marvel NOW!-iest issue of Brian Michael Bendis’ more subversive X-book, Uncanny X-Men. I’ve been a big fan of this series in particular since the original Marvel NOW! launch last year. Bendis hits all the right notes for long-time X-fans with this book moreso than he does with All-New X-Men: he attempts to redeem Cyclops; he brings the wit and humor each and every issue; he keeps the supporting cast angsty and all “coping-with-being-different”; he keeps the “World that hates and fears us” subtext alive and kicking. Uncanny X-Men is worthy of its adjective—this is one X-book that knows what it means to be a mutant.
In issue #19.NOW, Bendis juggles several different plot threads. A few issues back, Cyclops kicked Hijack off the team for almost revealing their secret location to SHIELD. This issue kicks off with SHIELD literally catching Hijack with his pants down and browbeating him for said location. Maria Hill is super sassy here, and Bendis effectively uses the sequence to catch up old and new readers alike to the New Mutant Revolution and SHIELD’s interest in Cyclops’ activities. He also takes the opportunity to reintroduce the names of all the new mutants on Cyclops’ team, which is always helpful because, while they’re all really cool, sometimes I just can’t remember what their names are…
The issue goes on to reveal just what’s been going on with the real Dazzler since Mystique took over her identity. It’s a brutal sequence and one that certainly made my stomach churn just a bit. Like I said: Bendis doesn’t hold anything back with Uncanny. Subversive all the way. And finally, when Cyclops gets a ping on Cerebro, the X-Men whisk away to Chicago for what they hope will be a new recruit. Needless to say, it’s not. It’s a trap. And explosions abound!!!
Chris Bachalo is the perfect artist for Uncanny X-Men. I know his artwork is sometimes divisive—it’s hyper-stylized and exaggerated—but it fits the revolutionary, punk-rock aesthetic of the story. If anything, the faces are expressive, the action super kinetic, and the layouts enthralling, such that Uncanny is always an engaging, fascinating visual experience.
And hey! Goldballs has a new costume!!!
So how does this NOW issue hold up as a “jumping-on point” for new readers? It’s exciting, it’s thrilling, and it’s filled cover to cover with a rich, engaging story. There’s humor, too, that helps carry readers through some of the more plot-heavy moments. For long-time readers, a certain shady super-mastermind makes his return in the cliffhanger. We still don’t know much about him, but things are escalating nicely here and I actually look forward to Cyclops letting loose and going after everything and everyone. CHECK IT OUT!!!