Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Chris Bachalo

So far, Uncanny X-Men has been on a pretty good roll. The Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier has been a well paced, entertaining story that’s done itself a lot of favors playing up the character development angle and giving a real look at Brian Bendis’ voice for this dysfunctional family. But how does the story fare now that it’s time to get down to brass tacks?

This issue sees the X-Men carrying out their dead patriarch’s last wishes in taking care of (one way or another) Matthew, a mutant with increasingly dangerous, uncontrollable powers. So far, SHIELD’s had their chance at the guy, but has done as well at containing him as the first four episodes of Gotham has at accomplishing….anything. So, now, the X-Men are left to figure out a strategy to get near him and talk some sense into him. Bendis really hammers home the tension on the SHIELD helicarrier between two factions of the X-family and the peacekeeping organization that got tricked into a war with them both a story arc ago. Meanwhile, the evolution of Matthew’s powers is both exciting and sort of creepy.

In an era of comics, where, the press and the internet tell us everything we can look forward to a year (sometimes) in advance, it’s awesome watching the suspense in not knowing whether or not we’re baring witness to the birth of a h ero or villain. On the visual side, for better or worse, Chris Bachalo’s back on pencils. The back and forth between his style and that of Kris Anka’s from issue to issue can be a bit annoying to look at, but you get used to it. Bachalo’s art is usually sort of hard to look at, making the panels tough to keep track of, but he’s actually churned out a much cleaner looking book than usual. The color palette as a whole doesn’t seem so muddled and every facial expression is deliberate, conveying clear intention.

Bottom Line: A great issue with a slight curveball of an ending and Chris Bachalo stepping his art game up by leaps and bounds 8 out of 10.

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