Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
Uncanny X-Men #1
Bendis, Bachalo & Townsend
Uncanny X-Men re-launches with a bit of a different approach to the classic title of Uncanny X-Men. For a number of years this title has been about the greater team and not any one particular character. During runs such as Brubaker and Fraction the book has been about juggling many story plates at the same time and never sticking with any one too long. This first issue completely tears that concept down as an X-Man goes to SHIELD and offers up a way to take down Cyclops.
As a follower of the X-Men and many of the books I feel like this is a story that we've seen before. X-Man selling out X-Man. In fact, the main reason for the betrayal is the same reason we've seen before as well: the murder of Charles Xavier.
Yes, Cyclops has more of his own kind willing to take him down because he killed Xavier during last summer's huge crossover Avengers Versus X-Men. While I won't spoil which character wants him out in this book I will say it is not a surprise and one that has been brewing for quite a long time.
The book is executed to near perfection. The traitor tells a good story about why Cyclops is vulnerable and how he can be exposed. All along I am wondering why this character (who remains a mystery until the end) wants to take down Cyclops. Finally, the last page reveals the character's identity and the reasoning behind the betrayal.
The comic book is not perfect. The massive amount of X-books leaves me playing catch-up as to the current state of the X-Men in this book. New characters appear, characters in unfamiliar costumes, relationships appear to be mended that previously were broken in other books. Bendis does his best to fill in the gaps but it just can't be done to completion. There is also this mysterious aspect of waning powers that also adds to the confusion as to what the reader should already know versus what Bendis might reveal in later issues.
Bachalo has a very unique style. This is not the classic super-hero book with flexing muscles and over-sized chests. Bachalo has a distorted look at the human anatomy that isn't usually found in this type of book. Personally I love the style, especially with the strong but precise inking, but I recognize it will not be to everyone's tastes. I found the issue to be fluid and beautiful.
Bendis is off to a great start at what appears to be a very isolated look at one or two characters and their relationships within the X-Men. This doesn't appear to be a team book and I am relieved to see that this book is going to focus on one primary storyline for a while. This is a good start to the re-launch.
4 out of 5 Geek Goggles