Uncanny X-Men #4
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, Al Vey, and Victor Olazara
The short of it:
Last week we saw Scott’s recruitment drive at the Jean Grey School in the pages of All-New X-Men from the point of view of that roster, and this week Bendis delivers the counterpoint. Thankfully, rather than go through the entire conversation again from a different point of view, we instead get the recruitment of the Stepford Sisters. The majority of the issue is them having a telepathic conversation with Emma Frost, and quickly realizing that she has no use of her powers. They have an antagonistic relationship with their ‘mom’, and this is the first time since Esme was hopped up on Kick that any of them have had a leg up on her. So they take advantage and drop Emma in a white room to poke at her brain, and they see the moment where Emma lost her powers.
They are little versions of Emma, doing the things she would have done, treating her the way she would have treated someone else, and showing as much actual regret as she would have. It’s enough to drive out her honesty, as she asks for them to come. That she has more to teach them, and that while they have more to learn, she needs them. They also are not impressed by Jean Grey at all.
But there’s more to the issue than Emma and her girls having a talk amongst themselves! There were also Scott’s team of X-Men left alone back at the Xavier School! They pick out rooms, Triage shamelessly hits on Empus, Ben hangs around, and Goldball goes looking for a phone. Then, of course, that phone winds up turning on the Danger Room and kicking all of their asses before the grownups come back to introduce them to their four newest members. That’s right, the Stepford’s and a friend! An All-New X-Man!
And what the hell is up with Illyana?
What I liked:
This was probably the best usage of the Stepford Cuckoo’s since Grant Morrison wrapped up New X-Men. Bendis maintains the dynamic while pushing that they’ve developed their own unique personalities. Such a refreshing change from the three girls that finished each others sentences.
The Danger Room sequence was great, those kids got rocked.
I am going to miss Chris Bachalo, these four issues have been absolutely gorgeous.
Emma’s humility is a giant leap forward for the character, and one that Bendis is handling with class. She comes across as someone who truly does want to do things the right way, and who understands in her recently depowered state that she has been going about things terribly for a long time. It’s really nice to see her be something other than a super bitch.
What I didn’t like:
The complete lack of drama in the recruitment of one of the original five X-Men. It felt like this issue was meant to come out after the next issue of All-New, which I imagine opens up with the big reveal. What was set up to be a big moment winds up an uneventful spoiler.
Triage is getting a bit annoying.
Bare arm Magneto. I can deal with the white, but the bare arms don’t work for me. He’s older, and a fighter with his powers, not his body. Giant ripped uncovered arms don’t seem right.
Still not sure why Mindee was written in quotes in All-New X-Men. I was on their wiki page earlier and saw that her name is listed as Irma “Mindee” Cuckoo, and now I’m just confused. I remember Gambit calling her that during Austen’s run on Uncanny, so I’m assuming that at some point someone used a different name for her and it just became a tagged on nickname?
It’s often forgotten that the Cuckoo’s are, biologically, Emma’s daughters. It’s not just a close mentorship, they are the children she never had. How often is it forgotten? I had to go look it up to make sure that I wasn’t completely making it up!
What the girls take from Jean’s thoughts is exactly what’s wrong with the perception that has been created about Scott. That he killed Xavier and thus is evil, and as Jean views it, must have always been evil. For as much as it’s reminded to us that the Phoenix was involved, the characters don’t seem to mind one bit. Funny how quickly they forget the Jean Grey Phoenix eating a sun.
Illyana goes to hell? I can dig it.
I’m really amazed that they only pulled in the four. This would have been a perfect fit for Hellion! A book with a small enough cast that he can shine! Because, I mean, Wolverine and the X-Men have the jerkass quota filled with Quentin Quire, and Hellion wouldn’t detract from Triage here.
Chris Bachalo draws the best X-Men. Period. Not to knock on Stuart Immonen, who is doing great work on All-New X-Men, but everyone falls in line behind Bachalo.
Tags: Brian Michael Bendis, Chris Bachalo, Emma Frost, Marvel Comics, Marvel NOW! (All-New Marvel Now!), Reviews, Uncanny X-Men, X-Men