10 Thoughts Review on the Heroic Age Uncanny X-Men #1 by Matt Fraction

1. Cyclops and Beast’s argument continue the theme of Cyclops being concerned over his actions and how they are not at all accepted. This issue is as much about him coming to terms with that and setting up how he, Hope, and Beast can move forward.

2. To unwind, Cyclops goes to the Savage Land and messes up some dinosaurs before meeting Steve Rogers, who is impressed by him, thanks him, and insists he gets a medal to honor him saving the world from Bastion’s post-apocalyptic madness. These scenes are great in that they really parallel Rogers and Cyclops as leaders… both trained for years to do the right thing in the end, no matter the cost, but with Cyclops questioning himself and Rogers sure of himself.

3. Beast goes to the zoo to meet Abigail Brand, his girlfriend who runs SWORD, which is essentially SHIELD in space. He runs into the Runaways Molly Hayes, upsets her by being cynical, then has to re-assess, as he upset her, and decides to live every day to the fullest. This seems like the point he goes to join SWORD, but the new, happier outlook could also lead him to Steve Rogers side in Secret Avengers

4. SWORD, by Kieron Gillen, was absolutely great, but no one read it. Runaways was pretty bad and bled readers after a great start by Brian K. Vaughan was never capitalized on by other writers who sent them through time and other nonsense too far from the core concept. Well, how about a Gillen Runaways to get him something that sells that he can also play with on his own?

5. Hope is, meanwhile, being examined by Reed Richards because, well, when you can have someone examined by Reed Richards you do. The only real concern with her health is genetics, since she doesn’t know her parents.

6. Hope meets another of the most powerful mutants ever, Franklin Richards, and they talk while she’s being examined. Franklin’s utter acceptance of her strange situation is perfectly fitting for Reed Richards kid and all the weirdness he’s dealt with, as is his urging that she’ll come to realize the people around her love her and have a family again. It’s sweet and delivered from the perfect point-of-view character. What a wonderful scene.

7. Whilce Portacio’s art is blocky and doesn’t convey emotion well, as well as the manner in which Cyclops is taking out dinosuars is often unclear. Contrasted, Steve Sanders more cartoony style absolutely nails the dynamics of motion and emotion for Beast and Molly. Jaime McKelvie seems to sometimes be struggling with having to draw static scenes, but besides that comes off as the best of both worlds.

8. Cyclops sheer joy at being accepted as a hero again, welcomed back into their fraternity, is tone perfect. All of his sacrifices were worth it. He saved Hope, there are new mutants, and he can go back to being a hero.

9. Cyclops and Hope’s relationship is developing wonderfully, with him having a chance to raise what is essentially his granddaughter and then saying the wrong thing constantly. I love, absolutely adore the development of him throwing away the medal from the President as symbolic of tossing away expectations foisted upon him. He just wanted to be a hero again, because that’s all he was ever raised to be. He wants Hope to have more. There are expectations on her, sure, but he wants her to face less pressure than he himself does. Of course, this could backfire in throwing her into Magneto’s hands, but still, it’s perfect set up for future stories as Hope looks for her family, another team searches out the five lights, and we have character driven subplots for Cyclops and Hope.

10. Rating: 7.5/10: Every bit as good as Second Coming, except that while the Beast stuff was good, I’m not entirely sure it needed to take place, and some of Portacio’s art is below par. Still, Fraction is writing the best X-Men since Grant Morrison left and this is must read.

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