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Uncanny X-Men #19 Review: Racing to the finish

Lots of revelations and emotion. But is that a good thing?

Matthew Rosenberg
Price: $7.18

The creative team have already tipped their hand: fans already know that a big shakeup is coming to the X-books in July. Marvel is stating that it will be the biggest event in the history of the mutant books. Time will tell if that is more than hyperbole. In the meantime, writer Matthew Rosenberg still has his run to finish in Uncanny.

Rosenberg’s stint on the mutant book has not been without controversy. From the constant deaths to the charges that he has been insensitive, the Uncanny writer has been at the center of many storms. The third part of “We Have Always Been” is a fast paced story that explains much of what has happened over the past few issues. But will the issue only serve to fan the flames?

Uncanny #19 focuses on Emma Frost. Part of the issue follows the period following X-Men Black: Emma Frost. The reader quickly learns what Emma has been doing since taking over as the Black King of the Hellfire Club. It is also revealed why Captain America has been helping the X-Men. The big reveal is why those who have the most reason to remember her do not. The biggest moments of the issue are when readers see why the X-Men don’t remember who Emma is.

If that sounds like a lot to pack into one issue, that’s because it is. Emma’s actions after becoming the Black King is given lots of time. However, there is very little emotion associated with it. It basically amounts to the reader learning Emma is a strong woman who will take a a few punches so she can deliver a killing blow. It’s a good idea in theory, it is just not executed very well.

The same can be said for the meetings she has with certain members of the X-Men. There is a brief moment where everything comes together. All the infighting, the attacks, and even the deaths almost seem justified for a brief second. But Emma’s reasoning is very cliche; again, it makes sense what she is doing, but both moments lack any gravity. They just sort of happen, leaving the reader thinking, “that’s it?”

After these two major moments, Captain America explains why he has been working with the misfit mutants. This is yet another moment in the book that makes complete sense, but is anticlimactic. The problem here is how quickly it happens. If this were a movie or television show, it would be a classic example of a “blink and you missed it” moment.

Essentially, the nineteenth issue of Uncanny has some important reveals. The problem is none of them have any time to gestate. Once the reader gets to the around the middle of the book, it becomes page after page of revelation. This sort of pacing doesn’t work when every twist is so important to what has been happening for literally months. There is no time for the reader to process anything or even fully realize what has happened. The story has already moved on to the next big moment. Is it cool? Sure, but none of it seems to matter.

Three artists worked on the book and it is obvious. It’s not that Uncanny #19 looks bad; it just looks very uneven. If you’re going to tell an exciting story that doesn’t resonate, the least you can do is make it look consistent. Unfortunately, that is not the case here, adding to the rushed feel of the entire issue.

Uncanny X-Men #19 is not a bad comic book. The problem here is the issue tries to cram so much into its story. There are actually some moving scenes here — Emma is a strong person, but even she has to make concessions. These moments of weakness are relatable and show the potential of the story. Unfortunately, Uncanny regrettably moves at too fast of a pace for any of it to stick with the reader for too long.

Uncanny X-Men #19
Is it good?
There is so much to like about the story of this issue. Unfortunately, it's done so quickly that little of it can be appreciated.
Genuinely touching scenes
Some insight is given into Emma's actions
Some cool "a-ha" moments
Story moves too fast to hit its emotional beats
Uneven art
6
Average
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