Review: Uncanny X-Men #23 by Brian Bendis and Kris Anka

uncannyx-men23

Uncanny X-Men #23

Written by Brian Michael Bendis

Art by Kris Anka

 

The short of it:

A year ago, during the Skrull Invasion (……), this guy and his wife get into a fight over him bringing his computer on vacation, but it doesn’t matter because that’s when the Invasion started and she gets vaporized. Then a Skrull goes to shoot him but its head just explodes instead. Fast forward to now an Jennifer Walters gets a package at work (yay for opening with foreshadowing). We’re off to Madripoor where Emma, Magneto, and Yana are trying to help Dazzler find Mystique for the sake of watching her beat the piss out of Mystique (Emma is very clear on this fact). Unfortunately, needle in a haystack, and Alison is….not happy. Back in Canada the All-New X-Men are training with Professor K while Cyclops is surveying Cerebro and mutant signatures, while remembering the worst moment of his life. Thankfully, Eva shows up to break him out of his crying over killing Xavier, but unfortunately, Scott uses this moment to try and get her to talk about the fact that she’s clearly aged years, and the Stepford’s told him everything. This…does not go over well, especially when he tells her that he was waiting for her to come to him, so she storms off in a rage. Professor Summers is a jerk!

Back in New York, Shulkie lands in front of the Jean Grey School looking for whoever is in charge, because she has the Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier and there’s a list of people she has to gather for the reading. Flip back to Canada where the Madripoor crew has returned, and Dazzler storms off in an angry huff. Nobody wants Scott to talk to her, he…lacks people skills. So he goes to deal with righting a problem he created, see, they brought Hijack back with them, and Scott hasn’t exactly apologized for booting his ass off of the team, so he fixes that and welcomes the ridiculously powerful adult student back to the fold. Meanwhile Dazzler has a nervous breakdown in the bathroom, this won’t go well.

Finally, dude from earlier reappears, and he might be a mutant (though he wouldn’t have been during Secret Invasion because it was post M-Day), and then She Hulk tells the X-Men that she can’t start reading the will until they find Scott Summers! Because, of course he’s in Xavier’s will! The will wasn’t written with “Scott will be consumed with godlike power and then kill me after we wage a full on assault against him while declaring him the bad guy despite that we’re the assholes” in mind!

 

What I liked:

  • Holy jeez, Kris Anka is amazing. I first really noticed him by name when he was doing issues of X-(Wo)Men during Battle of the Atom, and I felt his art worked there perfectly. Well, if he’s going to be the guy who does fills for Bachalo now, I can be VERY happy! This issue looks great!

  • Dazzler’s PTSD is great, it’s actual emotion from a character who is generally treated as far too relaxed and willing to move on. I don’t necessarily think she needs to be dark and gritty, but at the same time, the storyline has been interesting, and I do want to see what happens when Dazzler completely cuts loose. My only problem at all is knowing what the new haircut is and not liking it.

  • “Alison, be angry, you should be angry. She kidnapped you, she impersonated you, made mutant growth hormone out of you. We’re here because we want to watch you beat the blue off of her.” – Reasons we all love Emma.

  • Cyclops: Stoic and emotional. The tears are subtle but speak volumes. It makes up for how horribly he botches the talk with Eva right afterwards.

  • Hijack is back and here to stay!

  • She Hulk asking the X-Men if Xavier is “dead” or “‘dead’ dead”. Only in comics, only with the X-Men, great moment.

  • At no point is Original Sin ever mentioned.

 

What I didn’t like:

  • Goldballs doesn’t get to say anything? Really? Are you serious, bro? He’s a license to print money! GOLDBALLS!

  • I’m about to go on a rant about the “last year” caption. Just so you know. I saved it for the space with more, well, space.

 

Final thoughts:

It’s only been a year since Secret Invasion? Really? That means, over the span of twelve months, Norman Osborn took over the country and then went nuts on live tv, Steve Rogers came back from the dead, the X-Men moved to Utopia, split into two groups, half of them went Phoenix, and now there’s still two groups. Iron Man spent months in space after that, though how that fits in with the months he spent running from Norman Osborn, and literally everything in between the two, and after the space thing, is beyond me. Mystique took over Madripoor! And AIM turned it into a giant dragon! And got their own island! The Murder World kids had their month of hell, followed by many months of PTSD, and then the extended (again, months) events of Avengers Undercover. Not to mention that Avengers Academy, where Hazmat debuted and spent at least a year, came about after Secret Invasion.

But Grey! What if it’s a different Skrull Invasion?! What other Skrull invasion? Seriously, what other one? Saying Secret Invasion was last year is just….Spider-Man. Secret Invasion was still in Brand New Day, which means that literally everything Dan Slott has done since taking over as the only writer of the book has taken place in less than a year.

The lesson? “Last year” is a REALLY bad way to explain something that was many real time years ago, because a lot of writers (Bendis included) have actively progressed the timeline and made points to show the reader how much time has passed, and now all of the sudden it doesn’t make a damn bit of sense. Yes, suspension of disbelief in comics is a must, but how hard would it have been to put “A while ago” or “A few years ago” or “During the Skrull Invasion*” where the * is “see Secret Invasion”?

Scott is traditionally awful at talking to his students, or anybody, for that matter, so it wasn’t surprising to see the Eva conversation turn upside down on him, but it was really refreshing to see shades of the old Scott come back out with his non-apology and re-invitation of Hijack.

Magneto’s costume looks better in black than it did in white. Still needs sleeves.

Why is it that everybody remembers Scott killing Xavier, but nobody remembers Xavier and an army of Avengers attacking him first? It’s always easy to paint someone as the monster when you fail to point out that they weren’t the aggressor.

 

Overall: 8.5/10

 

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