First off, I don’t know what the hell they were thinking with the art in this issue. I know there are a lot of fans of this style of art and I can appreciate that. My problem though is that it isn’t the style that you usually see in an X-Mencomic and because of that, it feels like it takes away from an issue that is already jumping through multiple points in time while dancing through Cyclops’s mind with a variety of details that were skimmed over in recent issues.
Now that I’ve complained about the art, I will say that it is beautiful and if it was in another book, or with a story that dealt with Legion’s brain, or playing in the minds of psychics and not this already muddled mess of an issue, I would probably be raving about it. So why was the story such a mess? On the one hand, we’re flipping through a few periods of time in Cyclops mind. We get a flashback of how Kitty and Cyclops delt with her moving the younger X-Men into his place which was never fully explored. On the other hand, we get some great moments of Cyclops interacting with his younger self as well as Jean Grey who he has been quite consistantly avoiding. Bonus points for tossing in some subtle jealous issues by Emma Frost. On another hand (good thing we’re talking about mutants so we have this many hands!), we see Kitty and Illyana’s friendship falling back into place. And on the fourth and last hand, we get a few moments where the team finds out what happened to the younger team and plan to steal a spaceship from S.H.I.E.L.D.. We don’t get enough of any of these moments and it feels as if it goes by far too fast and fleeting to actually enjoy.
So there is a lot going on here and it doesn’t all mesh well together. The cover image with the tease of a gun to Cyclops head? You could either take that as Kitty threatening to kill him for what he did to Professor X or the inability to not drop things to go and save Jean. I mean, all of the younger X-Men. Or you could take it as Cyclops pointing the gun at himself out of self-loathing for what he did that came out during his conversation with Kitty.
I’m not going to say that this issue was all bad, it just didn’t feel properly organized. We did get beautiful art (even if it didn’t feel like it belonged in this book), we did get some answers on how the teams dealt with bringing in the original X-Men, we also had a hint at the students not being happy about Hijack being kicked off the team in the last issue. However, it just wasn’t Bendis’ best work – by any stretch .
Next issue should be interesting as it will pit the Uncanny X-Men against S.H.I.E.L.D. so that Cyclops can get a spaceship to get his team to the Shi’ar Empire. I’m sure it helps that Scott Summers is still a whee bit angry at S.H.I.E.L.D.’s recent use of Sentinels. Hopefully the all out punch fest I’m sure we’re about to see will get them into space before the issue comes to a close so as not to stretch things out that much longer.
UNCANNY X-MEN #18
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Marco Rudy