Every comic book reader knows the feeling of dread when a comic they love drops back to #1 with a new writer and artist. Why change a good thing? Why mess up the numbering? Will my favorite characters be the same? Well, Marvel Comics did just that with Uncanny X-Men, giving writer Brian Michael Bendis the reigns. So far it’s been okay at best, taking its time to get to the point and find an identity. Issue #5 hit shelves today and seems to be changing gears by focusing on Magik, but is it good?
Uncanny X-Men Vol. 3 #5 (Marvel Comics)
Last issue we learned Angel from the original X-Men joined Cyclops’ Xavier school along with the Stepford Cuckoos. All seemed well, until Magik started to bug out. They actually recap it themselves here:
This issue opens with a quick primer on how SHIELD views Cyclops’ new team and then quickly gets into what the hell was going on with Magik. If you’ve ever read Bendis’ work you’ll know he likes to add pop culture and odd asides wherever applicable. For some it’s a frustrating experience as it’s not really to the point, but others love it as it gives the comic character. Aside from a few odd instances I enjoyed most of the dialogue in this issue.
8 Mile reference, yah heard?
Anyone unfamiliar with Magik should go pick up X-Infernus to get a primer on what her deal is in this issue. When she turns into a demon with goat legs many folks might be extremely confused. It’s not explained, but then again it’s not that necessary to the story. She’s turned into a demon because it’s inside her, but the backstory will be lost on many.
Killer movie. Can’t wait for the sequel.
Frazer Irving takes over on art this issue from Chris Bachalo and he does a great job with the scenes set in limbo. The fire and darkness all have a layered feel to them which add to the atmosphere and increase the stakes for Magik. When we cut back to the real world though the backgrounds are rather blank and boring. Not that there is much to draw in the background, but Bachalo was capable of lending the school a bit more gravitas in the most boring scenes.
But do you know?
I do have some reservations for the characterization on display, but it may be more due to the awkward dialogue than anything else. For instance, the Cuckoos meet one of the new students and their first action is to threaten messing with his mind. Emma then smirks as if, “Girls will be girls.” Dude that’s totally okay with you?! I’m sure some readers wouldn’t take issue with this considering their past, but the choice seems odd in some sense. Then again, maybe this is just another example of the dysfunction of this team.
I wonder if he’d start hitting on the boys if they did this.
Then we have Angel’s introduction to the team. So far we’ve only seen him standing around and have yet to be given an explanation for his arrival, which makes the dialogue in this issue strange coming from him. He doesn’t seem to be happy with his choice and he just arrived. On top of that he talks in a very stilted way. I know the current Angel basically had his mind wiped, but this older version is a normal person right? Instead of being interesting and introspective the dialogue comes off as confusing largely because I have no idea his motives for even being there.
Guy looks around for two minutes and calls it a dump. What a jerk.
- Moody art
- Always glad to see more Magik stories
- Blank backgrounds
- Awkward dialogue
It’s starting to become apparent this series is the dysfunctional version of the X-Men. The new members are super green, Magneto is double crossing left and right, Magik is losing her mind and the older members’ powers are wonked out. This is a good thing, because in years past most X-books are just an extension of each other. More of the same. This book has its own identity which means different types of stories.
Is It Good?
Yes if you love Magik. Fans of anybody else on this team could easily skip this one.