By the end of Uncanny X-Men #10, everything changes for the X-Men. It’s an age-old X-Men trope that we’ve heard countless times before, but I can’t write this review without saying it myself. And you know what, by the time you finish this comic — the final part of the 10-part “X-Men Disassembled” — you’ll be saying it too!
That’s about as spoilery as I’ll get about this issue’s conclusion, because while I appreciate you reading this review, I always want you to go buy comics and judge them for yourself. With my weekly anti-spoilers lecture out of the way, let’s jump into the grande finale of “The Dark X-Man Saga.”
And let’s be honest, Uncanny X-Men #10 is only somewhat of a finale, considering it’s designed to launch the much-teased “Age of X-Man” and, in a way, what comes next in this series with Cyclops and Wolverine. Still, in their final outing as co-writers, Ed Brisson, Matthew Rosenberg and Kelly Thompson manage to deliver a semi-conclusion packed with heroic moments and more depth from Nate Grey than we thought the mesh shirt-loving, fingerless glove-rocking mutant from another universe was capable of.
Now, if you ended last issue excited about seeing Maggott, Tempus and other more obscure X-Men back in action, well, I’m sorry to say the big players in this book continue to get the spotlight. Don’t get me wrong, some fan-favorite characters definitely play a role in the final battle, but it’ll never compare to what X-Fans have no doubt dreamed about since last Wednesday. With that said, Kylun does indeed get some screen time and, apparently, knows Gabby!
In the last stand against X-Man and his Horsemen, several of the X-Women truly shine. Psylocke, specifically, kicks major ass with her new psychic weapons that were introduced way back in Uncanny X-Men #1. When readers look back on “X-Men Disassembled,” I hope they agree that the creative team did some of their best work redefining Betsy for modern readers who didn’t grow up ogling Jim Lee’s take on the character. There’s a moment in this issue that continues to make me want to see more from Psylocke and Archangel’s constantly changing relationship. But I guess any further developments on that front will have to wait until we’re out of the “Age of X-Man” (IF we ever leave).
But aside from Betsy, Jean Grey continues to shine since her resurrection (thanks again, Matthew Rosenberg). You can really tell just how much creators missed having Jean to play with, because between X-Men Red and now Uncanny X-Men, the original X-Woman has had some of her coolest moments in recent X-comics. This time around, we get a major heart-to-heart or, I guess, a mind-to-mind between Jean and her “son.”
I often like to point out how long I’ve been purchasing X-Men comics–right before “The Age of Apocalypse” kicked off with no breaks since. As a result, I remember when Nate Grey first appeared, and I remember how excited I was to read the milestone X-Man #25, which featured Nate and 616 Jean together for the first time (against Madelyne Pryor of all people). Then, I watched as creators worked very hard to forget about X-Man and distance themselves from the ’90s. So, the fact that in 2019, I can read a comic that hasn’t forgotten about Nate and Jean’s relationship, and the fact that, yes, she and his “father” Cyclops really weren’t there for this kid, is astonishing.
And no, these nods to continuity are never “new-reader-friendly” (whatever the hell that even means in serialized storytelling), but for long-time readers like myself, they mean the world, and I thank Uncanny X-Men’s creative team for dropping them in.
On the art front, Pere Perez is last at bat, showing off his talent for drawing the X-Women’s long, wet hair in the rain. Ironically, Legion/X-Man’s towering hairdo never falls–how David Haller hasn’t gotten a side gig as a hairspray spokesperson, I’ll never understand. Anyway, I mentioned several heroic moments earlier in this review. They wouldn’t be so heroic without Perez’s dynamic pencils. Just as Uncanny X-Men #9 had that gorgeous two-page Jean spread, Psylocke and Storm fans will get images of their own for their desktop backgrounds. OK, and Jean gets another awesome page.
The downside to this issue is one that’s been present from the very beginning: too many characters. It’s a classic X-Men problem that impacts the franchise in all its forms, so it’s pretty unavoidable. But the end of Uncanny X-Men #9 promised a major battle with X-Men old and new, but there really isn’t much time for that to unfold in this regular-sized comic. It’s not the biggest deal (for me), but I can see how other X-Fans will be disappointed. It definitely deflates a bit of the air in this issue’s tires.
Yes, comics have tires, you didn’t know that?
Similarly, there have been enough pleasant character moments throughout this story arc that I’m very excited to see how they continue to develop, only I fear that won’t happen with the “Age of X-Man” event kicking off. Now, I’m sure no one has any intention of completely abandoning subplots that were set up in “X-Men Disassembled,” it’s just a bummer stuff like a deeper exploration of Warren’s current mental state will have to wait.
But, with Scott and Logan returning next issue, I have a sense X-Fans will be plenty distracted with what these two frenemies get up to. I, for one, am very excited to see where Rosenberg and Salvador Larroca take this title in the months ahead with Cyclops back at the helm.
And I’m not just saying that because Scott’s my favorite comic book character of all time and I’m currently organizing AiPT!’s “Cyclops Week,” which kicks off January 21 and runs through January 27.