It has been firmly established that the most iconic superheroes will never die and can never die, because they have become a part of our culture and ourselves. Matthew Rosenberg says as much in the afterword in Uncanny X-Men Vol. 2: Wolverine and Cyclops as he bids farewell to his 22 issue run on Uncanny X-Men. Collecting issues #17 through #22, Rosenberg finishes his epic X-Men tale filled with great losses, but a promise that the X-Men will never give up or surrender.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
First…the X-Men lose one of their own. Then…the new Black King of the Hellfire Club makes a move.
Why does this matter?
This was a series that had people talking every week thanks to major characters dying nearly every issue. We’re talking Chamber, the controversial Wolfsbane death, and more. Plus, Rosenberg and Salvador Larroca give us one of the most iconic Cyclops and Jean moments in a long time.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Now that we’ve dipped into the Hickman era of X-Men, it has become very clear Rosenberg was capable of doing anything he wanted with this series thanks to seemingly dead heroes coming back to life and really the entire status quo changing. That puts this series as a whole into perspective, going full tilt with death after death, big twists, and a complete gung-ho nature in its storytelling technique. A deeper purpose begins to become clear with this in mind, revealing that the X-Men may be close to losing everything, but their spirit can never be quelled. This is a series about fighting for what you believe in against all odds and Cyclops is the lifeblood of that message. As the story carries forward and the outlook on success grows slim, it’s clear it’s not about winning so much as never giving up.
The art in this book is quite solid from Carlos Gomez, Carlos Villa, and in the final two issues, Salvador Larroca. This series is incredibly dark and moody, suiting the somber turns in the story. It’s hard to fault the art even when it lacks depth or detail due to the many iconic moments that occur here.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
Pacing can feel odd at times either due to a lack of a transitional scene or art that isn’t quite clear in its delivery. At its core, this book is about failure and major losses and it can seem like it’s in a rush to deliver on deaths rather than purposeful turns in the story. It’s clear now these deaths are more of a heavy-handed push to shock and change things but there is certainly a lack of subtle storytelling at work here that could have strengthened the overall purpose of the narrative.
Is it good?
This is a fascinating read when you consider Rosenberg could do whatever he wanted and did so with no worries of being overturned. It’s a chance to see a 22 issues run their course without outside intervention seeing as a reboot was planned all along.