Uncanny X-Men is now six issues in, and with multiple writers, artists and characters in the mix, it’s proven to be epic and sprawling in scope. This is all well and good for the eventual “X-Men Disassembled” trade paperback, but the flagship X-Men series still needs to satisfy on a weekly basis. So far, I’ve found that this title really succeeds when it narrows the focus and allows a single element of the story the room it needs to breathe. Such is the case with Uncanny X-Men #6, which devotes the bulk of its pages to the current mindset of the mutant formerly known as Nate Grey–with great success!
The latest chapter of co-writers Ed Brisson, Matthew Rosenberg and Kelly Thompson’s X-Men event reveals the aftermath of Angel’s very dramatic personality change (THANKS, Psylocke!). Warren has lost his mohawk and gold face tattoos and is back to being good old angry and blue Archangel. In fact, he’s so angry, he doesn’t even know if he wants to help the X-Men try to defeat X-Man. Someone needs to tell Warren we have no time for temper tantrums. There wasn’t even enough space in this issue to check back in with Beast. That’s how little time we have for your hissy fit, Archangel.
All kidding aside, while unhinged Archangel is nothing new, I always enjoyed the Warren-Betsy pairing (they were like a more damaged Scott and Jean). I hope this is merely the beginning of a new exploration of the characters’ relationship with one another.
It’s not long before the X-Men find themselves face-to-face with X-Man–at long last. And yeah, it’s X-Man, not Nate Grey, as the Age of Apocalypse refugee points out to Jean Grey. If there are any actual X-Man fans out there, I’d be curious to see what their opinion of the character is after finishing this issue, as this definitely isn’t the Nate we all grew to… uh, tolerate in the ’90s.
To their credit, the Uncanny writing team has taken X-Man and turned him into a threat the X-Men never expected to face. And like some of the team’s greatest enemies, he makes a whole lot of sense… sometimes. Other times, it’s very clear X-Man has no idea what he’s doing. And in the tradition of flawed but god-like antagonists like Proteus, there’s always the potential for disastrous consequences.
And what makes it all even more fun is that Legion, another god-like loose cannon, is also in the mix. I bet Jean wishes she had those Phoenix powers right about now.
There’s just a lot to like in this week’s issue, including a return to one of the backup stories featured in Uncanny X-Men #1 that finally offers some clarity on its greater purpose. And speaking of purpose, Iceman is certainly fulfilling his as the X-Men’s comic relief. Bobby’s commentary throughout this issue proves Brisson, Rosenberg and Thompson know how to write funny Iceman.
Helping to bring all the drama, suspense and comedy to life is the artwork of this week’s penciller, Yildiray Cinar. Of this series’ rotating artists, I was least familiar with Cinar’s work. With that said, I’ve quickly become a fan of his more detailed line work. Through his artwork, the seething rage in Archangel’s face is just as constant as the beauty and compassion in Jean’s own countenance.
On the whole, this is another enjoyable issue of Uncanny X-Men, with the only real problem being that we don’t revisit the Beast subplot. I know, I know–I started this review explaining that the narrow focus is what made it a stronger issue, but that Hank stuff just has me intrigued! Hopefully we’ll learn more next issue, but based on how long it took the series to check back in with Kitty and Apocalypse, I realize I may not get what I want right away.
But hey, I can’t complain too much. At least I’m not going through what Archangel’s dealing with, right?