Review: Uncanny X-Men #9 By Brian Bendis and Chris Bachalo

Uncanny-X-Men_9

Uncanny X-Men #9

Written by Brian Michael Bendis

Art by Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend, Mark Irwin, Al Vey, and Jaime Mendoza

 

The short of it:

Poor Fabio, last issue he said screw it and called it a day, having the X-Men take him home after a trip to hell that he wanted no part of. Then he got home, watched his parents flip out and prove to be completely incapable of accepting he was a mutant, even after he bounced GOLD BALLS all around the house. And then? Then the newest mutant agent of SHIELD shows up, and man, Fabio and his sister just know her. Then again, you don’t forget the Dynamic Disco Diva known as DAZZLER! Though if you’re Fabio’s dad you don’t care that she identified herself as a government agent, you just go and pull the gun. Oh well, it lets Ali put on a light show, so everyone wins…save for Fabio’s dad.

This is all followed up by training: X-Men style, with this weeks flagship mutant in training being the new kid…codename: Hijack. We’ve seen him move cars, and now he’s moving jets, and then one of the Stepford Cuckoo’s shows up late and has….A HAIRCUT! INDIVIDUALITY! Celeste is freaking out now that Irma doesn’t match, and worse, Phoebe is considering her own look as well! Thankfully Magneto shows up to tell Scott about Fabio’s capture by SHIELD, which has made all of the news sources. Scott can’t believe they got him so fast, but he’s not going to let them keep him. Especially not with him being interrogated by Dazzler (not that Scott knows they have her), who keeps telling him that Cyclops kidnapped him. He takes offense to that, Scott didn’t kidnap him, Scott saved his life from racist cops and mutant killing robots. She’s the only who kidnapped him. She goes and tries to justify her actions as better than Scott’s since she’s government and Fabio is a minor, but then Maria Hill and Phil Coulson (from their spot outside) realize that they’ve made a horrible mistake.

See, they took a mutant that spent several days with Cyclops and they brought him to a SHIELD facility for questioning. Cyclops who is working with Magneto, who personally displayed his Cerebro tech to them. In other words, the X-Men know where SHIELD is holding Fabio and this time they bring some of the kids along for the ride. Maria Hill is teleported to a tropical beach, the rest of the agents are frozen in time by Eva. The team go to free Fabio, Ali is hanging around, and what follows is a “Hey, welcome back from the multiverse, you’re working for SHIELD, come back with us” followed by a “Screw you guys, we might have history but I’m going to stick with the people with their own Sentinel army”, which just nets Scott calling Dazzler an Uncle Tom.

From there, Scott gives Hijack a big helicarrier sized test, and then Dazzler gets an interesting visit from someone who most definitely has it out for Cyclops!

 

What I liked:

  • Dazzler’s explanation of a flashbang, followed by her ranting about hating guns? Hell, the entire opening segment is great. Fabio’s dad freaking out, his sister being a Dazzler fan girl, and Ali Blaire just being awesome.

  • I also really liked the exchange between her and Cyclops, well, from Cyclops’ point of view. She really has no idea what he’s doing, but he can clearly see that she’s working with the persecutors of their people.

  • The Cuckoo’s are broken! One of them has a unique hair color and style! PROGRESS! I have loved the way Bendis has been utilizing the three remaining sisters, and this just pushes it over the top.

  • The moment when Maria Hill and Phil Coulson realize that Cyclops and Magneto can track Fabio to their secret base. It’s played off perfectly, they forgot as easily as a reader could that there is really no chance that Fabio was ever truly let go, and that the X-Men do have a Cerebro. Great moment.

  • Still loving Eva and her powerset.

  • I also really liked everything with Hijack in this issue, it’s a great and unique powerset, and watching Scott just randomly push his upper limits was really cool. Dude took over a Helicarrier!

  • And I’m still loving Chris Bachalo and his amazing inkers. Some of the best face/expression work in the big two, not to mention some fantastic character designs. It’s a gorgeous book with these guys drawing it.

 

What I didn’t like:

  • Total non-complaint, but to see Celeste refer to them as identical triplets…they’re identical quintuplets. It’s just that two of them are dead, but having two of them dead doesn’t make them any less of a five sister set.

  • Fabio’s parents are almost a cliche with their idiocy.

  • Man, Angel is totally in the background.

  • I would have expected Scott to have offered Dazzler any degree of explanation before declaring her a race traitor instead of just ‘come with us or you’re against us’.

 

Final thoughts:

Did they put a neutralizer collar on Fabio? Because he’s definitely wearing something and then it’s broken and then it’s gone. Are his Balls so powerful that SHIELD tech can’t stop them? The power of GOLD BALLS!

Alright, the Gold Balls jokes are not going to get old.

Speaking of, it’s interesting to see that Scott is being treated as the villain, but Fabio’s interrogation was entirely accurate. He was shot at and assaulted by Sentinels, Cyclops and the X-Men saved his life. Then, after the Limbo mishap, he asked to be returned home and Scott took him there. So SHIELD comes up, knocks out his family, and takes him in to be questioned in handcuffs like a common criminal. Kidnapping him just because a man saved his life from, who we have to assume, is them. After all, wouldn’t SHIELD have something to do with the Sentinel program these days? Even when playing the bad guy, Scott is still the most heroic guy in the book.

And that’s why I love Cyclops.

I was talking with a buddy of mine at the comic shop today when I went to buy this, and we got to talking about Bendis. Now, I didn’t say anything to him that you guys haven’t heard a million times, griping about just how many books he puts out, how bad Avengers was, how sub-par his big events are, but we agreed on something. We both loved Dark Avengers. Dark Avengers channeled some of the energy that courses through this book as our heroes aren’t always necessarily heroic, though in a major change, these characters aren’t technically villains. So right now, having read Uncanny X-Men and Dark Avengers, I wish Bendis would have tried his hand at the Thunderbolts.

Not enough books have Dazzler in them, and when they do she tends to wind up as generic if she’s just doing mutant punchy stuff. Much love to Bendis for remembering that she’s supposed to be a really fun character and treating her as such. I especially loved when Fabio’s sister pulled out the album to ask for an autograph.

This isn’t totally the first time that the Stepford Sisters have featured unique appearances, but it is the first time outside of alternate realities or futures. I just remember the punk rock one in X-Men The End and I hope that I never have to see it replicated in a serious regular issue. Give them unique looks, but no shark jumping.

The approach Scott is taking to training this new generation of X-Men is a lot less Xavier and a lot more Age of Apocalypse Magneto. There’s no gradual work or baby steps, he makes everyone do the big stuff. Eva and her time powers? First job was to shut down the Avengers for hours. The healer? Fixed Hijack after a cop shot him. Hell, Hijack? FLEW THE HELICARRIER! Xavier never would have had the balls for stuff like that, not even in the Danger Room with the safeties on.

Man, Bendis loves Mystique like he loved The Hood over in New Avengers and Avengers. He’s using her everywhere he can, anytime he can, and he’s kicking all kinds of ass with her. I love the respect she’s getting out of him.

Overall: 9/10

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