March was a rough time for the X-Men. Not only were mutants in the midst, or should I say “mists” (the jokes don’t get better than this, fair warning), of an inhuman war, but three of their series were cancelled: Extraordinary X-Men, All New X-Men, and Uncanny X-Men. Cullen Bunn had headed Uncanny since issue one and had written some good, but inconsistent arcs for the series. So when it comes to his very last arc Superior, is it good?
Before we get into volume 4 in particular, let’s set the scene. The X-Men are locked in a war with the inhumans over their use of Terrigan mist which, while essential to unlocking the powers of other inhumans, has proven fatal to mutants. This war is being fought on many fronts within a number of different storylines contained within the “Inhumans Vs. X-Men” tie-ins. With that being said, volume 4 of Uncanny X-Men contains three tie-in issues to this story-line, the final issue of the series at #19, and the one and only annual.
Due to most of the issues consisting of tie-ins, this volume is not particularly reader friendly and serves mostly as various independent stories surrounding mutant/inhuman conflict rather than a continuous storyline that builds upon itself. I, personally, have limited knowledge of the current X-men status quo and the only recent knowledge I had coming into this volume is what I gathered from Civil War II. While it was entertaining at times, I found it somewhat difficult to fully appreciate considering it details so many different characters and their current roles in this war, including Karnak, Jean Grey, Fantomex, Sabretooth, Monet, Xorn, Psylocke, Magneto, Domino and one hero brought back from the grave, Elixir .
Each of these issues takes place in a different location featuring a different cast of characters and while that’s not a bad thing, it doesn’t make for a clean, coherent storyline that some readers may assume they are getting based on the back cover synopsis. These issues are a nice opportunity to solely focus on characters that are deserving of more panel time and first person narration, such as Xorn or Sabretooth, especially within the context of this ethics-challenging war with the inhumans. So while Superior is a volume of various snapshots and integral character support that can be appreciated by longtime readers, it isn’t a storyline in and of itself.
The annual is shared by two independent storylines, one featuring the return of a hero whose circumstances are vital to the inhuman war storyline, and one that’s a Domino action story that really has absolutely nothing to do with anything else, which is unfortunate because it’s the last issue contained in the volume so it ends on a rather odd note. The art is solid throughout each of these issues thanks to the talented hands of Salazar, Lashley, and Piper. However, I have to give special credit to Nolan Woodard who does some noteworthy coloring and creates that surreal impression of Limbo.
Is It Good?
Uncanny X-Men: Superior contains the final issues of the series as it documents various X-Men perspectives and contributions to the inhuman war. Between the three tie-in issues and the annual, this volume is more of a collection of character support pieces rather than a complete and succinct story. If you’re a fan of the featured characters and have followed the series, you’ll enjoy the read, but it can be considered unfriendly to new readers.