The X-Men are a different type of superhero team. More than just feared by the world at large, they are wanted dead. It doesn’t even end just there — many prefer that no mutant can never be around again. Uncanny X-Men #13 explores this theme in a dark but enjoyable comic.
Superheroes being hated is not a new thing in X-Men books or even comic books in general. One of the biggest themes of the X-books is they are a team that have sworn to protect a world that hates them. All the while they’re also trying to help better mutantkind. It is an interesting dynamic that makes for fun stories.
Writer Matthew Rosenberg turns the theme into an issue-long debate. Those familiar with the X-Men may immediately turn up their noses — who wants to see another disagreement between Cyclops and Wolverine? Thankfully, Rosenberg makes the argument about more than just those two. Unlike previous writers who have at times given the debate little more than lip service, Rosenberg makes it an integral part of the story. This is a great decision since it’s at the core of who the X-Men are.
There is more to issue #13 than how the team should deal with their enemies, however. The book is as much about the characters finding their place in the world. Again, this seems like a typical part of every X-Men book ever written, but Rosenberg makes sure to change things up just a little. Some characters have been transformed and are completely happy with it. Others see it as adapting to the future. Then there are the ones who do not seem to care either way. Rosenberg also make sure that the book’s villains are having to deal with the world’s many changes.
This is an X-Men comic, so of course there is plenty of action as well. The fights are of the standard X-Book variety — the first fight finds the team exploring and they come across enemies who they proceed to battle, for example. The issue features two large battles, and both of them are not only exciting but do a great job of showcasing how high the stakes have become. They aren’t fought just for the sake of it.
For some, the best part of the book will be a very powerful bit of fan service. To many fans, the X-Men — and the comic book industry as a whole — peaked in the 1990s. Many fans look back on those times fondly. Along with the books, there was the animated series and some popular video games. There is a nice little callback to those times that will bring a smile to many faces.
Salvador Larroca’s work is at its best during the battle scenes in Uncanny X-Men #13. The scenes look frantic while highlighting teamwork. Cyclops and his crew are able to hold their own against their foes, but they are able to do so well due to the fact they are working together. It’s a great job since the writing is getting across how fractured the team truly is.
The art also works on a more visceral level. Dark Beast and Havok have some especially great moments in the issue. That being said, there are some odd facials in the book. In particular is one of Wolverine that just does not look right. However, for the most part, the book looks great with the first battle being the stand out.
Uncanny X-Men #13 is a familiar X-book in all the right ways. The team is trying to deal with a world that fears and even hates them, all the while trying to figure out what they need to do. There is none of the angst that has bogged the mutant books down in the past. The Uncanny X-Men are out to make a world that does not want them a better place, which makes for a great read.