Uncanny X-Men #17 was definitely a completely uncontroversial issue that didn’t garner any negative press. Sure, it was the start of a new story arc with major developments, but not many people seemed to know or care about them. It was just another issue of Uncanny that flew under the radar without drawing the ire of anybody. With the news that the mutant books are due for a big shakeup and writer Matthew Rosenberg’s run is coming to a close, what’s next?
Unfortunately, the answer is a whole lot of the same. One of the biggest knocks against Rosenberg’s current run is that there is so much death with each issue. The point of a death in any medium is to affect the person following. Whether it’s a minor character just introduced or one of the most important, the person being killed off should elicit some sort of reaction.
The only reaction Uncanny has been getting from readers is “again?” The X-Men are fighting a war and in every war there are numerous casualties, but that seems to be the center point of each issue of Rosenberg’s Uncanny. It has happened so much the impact is being completely lost. This is no longer a case of the X-Men having to deal with so much adversity. It is more along the lines of “when is this all going to stop?”
The early parts of Uncanny X-Men #18 illustrate this. The dwindling team is thrown into another battle within the first few pages of the book. There is nothing wrong with this. This incarnation of the X-Men are involved in a major battle each issue. The opening conversation between Wolverine and Magik also does a great job of foreshadowing what is about to happen.
When the inevitable does happen, it seems as if Rosenberg wants to add a sense of drama to the scene. The whole thing is set up to make readers wonder if the person in question will survive. This fails since the previous issues have already set up an expectation. There is not even an inkling of hope it will turn out any other way.
The entire opening also showcases another of the problems with the eighteenth issue. There is a whole lot for the reader to digest. We have the aforementioned battle and the dramatic possible death. On top of that there is team infighting, uncertainty as to whether the X-Men are going after the right people and a series of fake outs. This is all within the first ten pages.
This proceeds throughout the entire issue. After the chaotic battle, the team is seemingly teleported to the wrong place (in all fairness, this is a great moment as it plays on the book’s opening conversation), the return of a major enemy, a questionable end to that battle, and a reveal involving the Hellfire Club. This does not even take into account another team member leaving, one of the team using their powers in a frightening way, and yes, more infighting. Reading Uncanny #18 feels like reading an entire trade paperback.
Uncanny X-Men #18 is a very difficult issue to read. The creative team seems content to provide readers the same thing — the theme of infighting which seemed to have reached its conclusion is still at the forefront. The issue is action-packed from beginning to end, but there is also so much to keep track of. Even fans of the X-Men may want to pass on this.