There has been a lot of build up (some of it too slow for my taste)  and we finally seemed to be making progress in ‘Uncanny X-Men’ #21!’ The latest issue jumps in right where it left off and threw a combination of action, surprises, suspense, and a great use of one of Cyclops’ new mutants at us. Did it work out? Did we get the payoff that we have been waiting for before the series ties into ‘Original Sin’ with ‘The Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier’ story line? Let’s find out!

With a mystery person pulling the strings we finally come to the conclusion of the war between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the X-Men. There has been a lot going on with S.H.I.E.L.D. having a Sentinel program, Mystique masquerading as Dazzler, Dazzler being rescued in the last issue by Magneto, Cyclops confronting Beast, the Uncanny X-Men showing up on the doorstep of Wolverine’s school and fighting S.H.I.E.L.D., the list goes on and on! This issue finds a way to wrap up the vast majority of this and Bendis leaves just enough open to pickup a story arc or two after (or possibly during) the upcoming ‘Original Sin’ story line.

So in a nutshell here is how it all played out. Obviously spoilers follow as so much happened it is hard to do a full round up without revealing any.

Dazzler returns with the help of Magneto and being healed by Cyclops’ team. Mystique is found out and runs off into the sunset. Sadly this leaves her still out there doing her own thing. During the X-Men fight against S.H.I.E.L.D., we see that Hijack shows up and is able to control everything in the area and shut it down. Between Mystique and Hijack, Maria Hill now has to once again re-question everything about mutants and how they are being handled.

First Beast announces that he has found out why the Uncanny X-Men’s powers haven’t been under their control and has fixed the problem! (It isn’t stated if this meant how they’ve been broken since the Phoenix Five incident or how they’ve gotten worse recently.) Beast also discovered who was behind this entire plot and he and Cyclops go to confront none other than Dark Beast! He isn’t doing well and is quickly taken out with Magik transporting Hijack in at the last moment to prevent a self destruct that Dark Beast initiated. One less character from the ‘Age of Apocalypse’ left in the land of the living. The issue concludes with Dazzler finally having figured out where she belongs as she rejoins the X-Men.

Art wise while I wouldn’t say this is Bachalo’s best work on the standard scenes, the fights as always stood out as amazingly well illustrated. A true treat to the eyes.

Honestly I was surprised with how much was able to be packed in this issue and how well it wrapped up so many of the ongoing story lines up. It was like a present within a present each layer giving a bit of satisfaction as so many ongoing arcs finally came to a close.

Next up, we’ll be seeing the ‘The Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier’ which is set to partially shake up the mutant teams and some of the core leadership of each school. It is a shame that ‘X-Men: Legacy’ took out Legion from the standard continuity as he would be great to have in the mix here. On the flip side, as this will was written prior to him killing himself at birth and now living on another plane of existence, maybe Legion will somehow pop back up? I’m sure he will at some point but I don’t think it’ll be here.


Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Chris Bachalo