When you’ve got a multi-part storyline that spans several issues, there’s always a chapter or two that could’ve been cut before seeing print. I think most comic fans would agree with that point. I’m sorry to say that Uncanny X-Men #7, or the seventh part of “X-Men Disassembled,” just so happens to be one of those chapters.
The art, by penciler Pere Perez and color artist Rachelle Rosenberg, is phenomenal, and the characters receive solid dialogue courtesy of Uncanny co-writers Ed Brisson, Matthew Rosenberg and Kelly Thompson. But those positive factors couldn’t stop me from wondering why this comic exists. And to be honest, that wasn’t all that had me wondering while reading this unnecessary return to the Age of Apocalypse reality.
Yep, you read correctly–at the end of last week’s Uncanny X-Men #6, Legion zapped X-Man and those meddling X-Kids, Armor, Glob, Pixie and Rockslide to the AoA (as they called it when I was a kid). And with a change in reality came a change in these characters’ looks. Pixie’s all demonic! Glob wears metal pants and is on fire! Rockslide is, uh, also on fire!
It turns out this issue takes place a significant amount of time after last issue’s conclusion. When exactly isn’t made too clear. But it’s long enough that in that time, the X-Kids have gone through their very own Schism (NOW they’re X-Men!), with one group deciding it’s better to chill with X-Man.
I mean, if you’re going to survive the AoA, your best bet is to hang with a dude who was born there. And by “born there,” I of course mean “grown in a test tube to destroy Apocalypse.”
That’s… pretty much the issue, with some minor character development here and there and another cliffhanger (obviously). But, on the whole, we didn’t really need this chapter to advance the overall storyline, in my opinion. While I’ve been pleased with much of “X-Men Disassembled,” there’s no denying the plot and pacing has been pretty questionable at times. This one issue adds one more complicated layer to an already overly complicated story.
For example, why do the X-Kids remember their lives in the regular Marvel Universe? Part of the magic of the AoA was the fact that the X-Men of that reality had lived entirely different lives. In this comic, Glob and the gang have the different looks, but the same memories. That’s not really how the AoA works, guys.
Something else that irked me was I felt like I’d read this story before. That’s because during the “Apocalypse Wars” arc of Jeff Lemire’s Extraordinary X-Men, Glob and a different group of X-Kids were sent to the future, which led to changes in their appearance and mindset (though I’m pretty sure Marvel’s forgotten about that and other character arcs from Lemire’s run… like the fact that SAPNA’S IN THE SOULSWORD!).
The Uncanny team’s last issue was definitely a storytelling achievement in this run as the X-Men were finally face-to-face with X-Man–the reality-bending threat that’s been at the center of all their problems since Uncanny X-Men #1. Unfortunately, this issue is a huge step back as we spend it following an unnecessary tangent that doesn’t appear to get us much closer to the long-promised “Age of X-Man.”