Uncanny X-Men #23 Review

So, the last issue of Uncanny wrapped up the “Vs. SHIELD” plotline in an unusually sloppy manner. The best way to say “fuck it” to a story is to throw in a villain that a). wasn’t alluded to in any way with b). a presence that has no apparent ramifications going forward in the book. He came, he fucked shit up and he left. As a matter of fact, when placed in that context, Dark Beast sounds like my last girlfriend. Anywho, Brian Bendis looks like he’s getting the ball rolling for things to head down a different path is this new story arc.

This issue deals a lot with the outlaw X-Men picking up the pieces in the wake of their orchestrated falling out with SHIELD. Cyclops is busy trying to keep the pieces of his makeshift family together whether they’re prodigal sons returning (Hijack), old friends who don’t know what direction they’re headed in (Dazzler) or moonlighting as murder vigilantes (Magneto). Dazzler, who seems to coming slowly but surely into the spotlight from issue to issue, is making a habit of having the most riveting material that we don’t see enough of in the narrative. By the end of the book, we’re still not sure if we’re seeing her recent trials finally breaking her or if she’s coming out the other side a brand new hero. Or, knowing Marvel, we could very well be getting a solo title for the pop star turned superhero. I’d kick out four bucks for that.

Meanwhile, as the cover of the book alludes, the faculty of the Jean Grey school get blindsided with Charles Xavier’s will that comes with some….stipulations. Obviously, this is leading into the obligatory Original Sin tie-in as the slightly confounding crossover event nears its close. Bendis handles this transitional issue mostly well, cleaning up a couple of hanging problems and creating a few for our heroes to tackle in coming issues. The dialog is still traditional Bendis while being just slightly less talky than his usual stuff, allowing for a small shift in the show/tell ratio. The book makes a welcome change in visual thanks to Kris Anka. Chris Bachalo had some really awesome design concepts and a taste for the weird, but action beats got a little too chaotic at times. Anka brings a cleaner, more streamlined look with less shadow and more of an eclectic color palette.

Bottom Line: This issue was such a drastic change and improvement from the previous one, this almost looks like a totally different book. 9 out of 10

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