Writers: Matthew Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson, Ed Brisson / Artist: RB Silva / Marvel Comics
[Spoilers lurk in these words. Continue if you so choose.]
“Disassembled” Part 2, the first arc from the reinstated flagship title Uncanny X-Men, makes for light reading after the 80-page issue that preceded it. In those pages, Kitty Pryde disappears and ends up as hostage, alongside Apocalypse, and the Senator whom the X-Men are framed for attacking as Jamie Madrox aka Multiple Man rants and multiplies ad nauseam, warning the X-Men they are the problem. The younger X-Men (Armor & friends) are still healing, physically and spiritually, from the Blackbird crash that led to a fight with the Mutant Liberation Front. Meanwhile, various time anomalies emerging in both the geographic and biological nature of the planet.
Only shortly after their last encounter with Multiple Man, the X-Men receive alerts of two major threats – Madrox again multiplying himself in Kansas and dinosaurs appearing in Montana. Jean leads a team with Bishop, X-23, Iceman, and Northstar to tame the dinosaurs, while Storm commands a squad of Nightcrawler, Polaris, Jubilee, Cannonball, and Psylocke to deal with Madrox.. As his comrades deal with the anomalies, Beast secretly investigates the rubble of the Lab destroyed by the Blackbird, scavenging for data or for the X-gene virus that was produced there. They depart the Institute, intentionally or just absent-mindedly, leaving behind Armor, Pixie, Rockslide, Oya, Anole, and Glob. Anti-Mutant Protestors at the doorsteps of the Xavier Institute and their own angst at being treated like children give them plenty to do without being in the battlefield.
Fighting extinct animals, believe it or not, ends up being infinitely easier than reasoning with Multiple Man. Even after being engulfed in the jaws of a T-Rex, X-23 slashes her attack in half from the inside. Storm’s team, on the other hand, cannot relax Madrox enough to speak with him coherently before his multiples attack. Outmanned and outgunned in every way, the the Kansas team cannot hold their ground. While the veterans manage their own battles, the younger X-Men receive an unexpected guest with a new hairdo at the Xavier Institute – Xavier’s son Legion.
This issue is a vast improvement over the initial release, featuring a less erratic narrative and more detailed, dynamic artwork by RB Silva & Andrea Di Benedetto. The character relationships and dynamics are pitch perfect, but often suppressed by the weight of multiple plot threads and looming events. Also, since her return in the Phoenix Resurrection mini-series, Jean Grey has been a welcomed anchor to the spirit of the X-Men. As the “Disassembled” arc unfolds, we can only hope this momentum continues through 2019.
The appearance of Legion never bodes well. As the son whose accidental murder of his father triggered the 1995 storyline and alternate reality “Age of Apocalypse,” the levels of his waning sanity are matched only by his mutant powers. In the previous issue, Bishop found AOA refugees Dark Beast running for his life and Sugar Man murdered. Another reckoning of time and reality in the X-Universe looms on the horizon with the players associated with the AOA the target.
Following the still unfinished Extermination mini-series, “Disassembled” continues the trend of tidying house – less doppelgängers, clones, and timeline refugees. This is a welcomed move after the descent into bottom shelf mediocrity that was X-Men Blue. Some of the recent changes, however, still feel random and unmotivated. Psylocke, for instance, feels very generic and blends into the scenery of most scenes after reverting to her original Anglo body and abilities. The story continues next week.
X-Men Roster Count: 21
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Caveat: 2 extra points were given for X-23 slicing herself free from the inside of a T-Rex)
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