Many readers have complained that the relaunched Uncanny X-Men was overstuffed with characters and subplots, or that three issues in, the story was taking too long to get going. While I feel there was plenty to enjoy about issues 1-3, I understood some of these nitpicks. But to any X-Fans who might be viewing Uncanny X-Men #4 as a make-or-break issue–please give this week’s issue a chance, because this is some damn good, crazy pants X-Men.
And “crazy pants” is very much a compliment here, because where else will you find an X-Men story featuring X-Man giving orders to Magneto, Kitty Pryde bickering with Apocalypse, a megalodon and Glob Herman walking into a bar?
Glob Herman walks into a bar… it sounds like a joke Uncanny co-writer Ed Brisson would tell (and probably is), but it’s actually just canon in this crazy new X-era!
It’s the sense of fun the Uncanny writing trio of Brisson, Matthew Rosenberg and Kelly Thompson bring to this high-stakes series issue after issue that makes it such a breath of fresh air. While there have been many great–and depressing–X-Men stories, it’s nice to pick up a Marvel comic and have a little fun too. Yes, being a mutant is no picnic, but there should always be time for Iceman to workshop jokes in battle.
If you read last week’s Uncanny X-Men #3, you know that the two main troublemakers in “X-Men Disassembled,” Legion and Nate “X-Man” Grey, have finally been revealed. And to save the X-Men from X-Man’s Horsemen of Salvation (the physically and mentally warped Magneto, Angel, Omega Red and Blob), Jean Grey and Psylocke must make their adversaries think they died when the Xavier Institute was blown to smithereens (again). From there, we finally gain some insight into both X-Man and Legion’s master plans, which is very welcome after three issues loaded with mysteries.
As someone who read X-Man’s solo series on a monthly basis back in the ’90s, I have to say, I like this new take on Nate. He’s always been a pain in the ass, and now he’s being annoying on a global scale. But it’s very on brand for the Summers family, as both his parents proved that with a little too much power, they sure can make a real mess. I can’t wait to see how this all plays out, because as Iceman hilariously points out, a guy named “X-Man” bringing about the apocalypse has to be bad for X-Men PR.
Beyond Nate, this issue is packed with nice character touches that make it very enjoyable. For instance, I love how Legion is portrayed as a character who’s fed up with not being taken seriously by the X-Men, but also can’t help but shoot himself in the foot with his manic dialogue. The way David Haller’s word bubbles are displayed is brilliant, and helps create a rambling effect–you pretty much understand what he’s saying, but also, you don’t quite get it all.
Legion’s frustration reflects one of the overall themes of this story that really comes into focus this week. The previous generation has made a mess of the world, so it’s time for the kids to set things right (shout out to Kid Cable). The slow-burning tension between the X-Kids and the elder X-Men finally comes to a head and we get an all-new, all-different schism between Armor and Jean. Now, speaking as someone who’s been a manager for the past several years (you know, when I’m not writing about X-Men), I’m totally on #TeamJean here. Kids gotta respect the hierarchy! But I’m sure many fans of the younger X-Men will love everything about their defiance (how long before #ArmorWasRight starts appearing on Twitter?).
As you can no doubt tell, this issue covers a lot of ground, from the much-needed return to the Apocalypse-Kitty-uhhh, human senator guy whose name I forget cliffhanger to yet another cliffhanger. This has to be the best paced issue of the new Uncanny X-Men so far. And, if I’m being honest, one of the best illustrated thanks to artist Pere Perez. I was a very big fan of Perez’s clean line work on the Rogue & Gambit mini-series and a few issues of X-Men Gold he drew, so it’s nice to see him graduate to Marvel’s main X-title, like R.B. Silva before him. I especially enjoy his take on this new Big Lebowski-style Nate Grey (hey, a bathrobe is a step up from everything else he wore in the ’90s).
Clearly I loved this issue. So much so, in fact, it’s hard for me to find any flaws (he said before being pummeled with negativity in this review’s comment space). I guess I wasn’t super excited to see the X-Men break into two squads and leap into battle again by issue’s end, as that’s what we’ve been doing since the series started… but there are megalodons to stab, right?
Anyway, for you TL;DR fans: Buy this comic!