Uncanny X-Men #1 – Is There Potential to Revitalize The X-Men?
It goes without saying that this return of Uncanny X-Men has been long since hyped this year. For as big of an X-Men fan as I am, it hurt that I couldn’t be as excited for this series as other people. The most fun I have had with a legitimate X-Men title was X-Men: Red. A book that never once forgot what it was at the core. When you’ve been reading a story like that one, and hoping that the other books will begin to follow suit getting back to some mission statement, its hard to look at Uncanny X-Men #1 and say that is what you asked for. Disassembled? Has the team not already been broken enough? I don’t think we ever truly saw Marvel put the X-Men back together since the Schism event.
I have to say I was a bit let down by what we got out of Uncanny X-Men. I was preparing for a lot more to unfold and much more that would leave a lasting impact on me to pick up the next issue. They laid it a bit heavy on this so-called mystery with not enough of a hook. I wanted to see a real disappearance. Not Shadowcat suddenly falling through a plane to be captured by someone unknown. They pretty much made it seem like this was supposed to be tragic and I wasn’t feeling it. Neither that or the idea that she needed to be found to prevent whatever happened from happening. Multiple Man was probably the last person that they needed to use for such a plot. He has been gone for how long and you can’t expect that everyone has been reading his solo series. I surely have not, so what am I missing here that would have gotten him from there to here on some spree of vagueness?
The best thing that this first issue, and probably the others will have going for it is the realization that they have so many more mutants and younger X-Men to use than they are willing. It drives me crazy these days when we get so many new X-Books and we are either seeing the same heroes recycled or new ones created when other new creations have already been shoved to the back. A troublesome habit that I would love to see brought to an end soon. This first issue at least remedied some of those problems, even though nothing is set in stone when again this is a revolving door for the originals.
Potential for me is doing more than breaking your toys and putting them back together. I get the whole thing about superheros rising and falling, but when that becomes too much of a crutch for your stories? You need to re-evaluate the direction you are taking the series. For the X-Men, they need some sense of solidarity. Not the next big thing that is about to wipe them out or put the team to an end. For some of us who love Cyclops as a character, this is the best way to prove that he was indeed right. Yet still, not at this cost. I mean as much as I am looking forward to Cyclops’ return next year, they have pretty much set that up as more of a quick cash grab than something that could have come organically like the return of Jean Grey.
For the action, artwork, and return of some familiar faces, this was entertaining for an issue of X-Men. But it didn’t have the execution and pull that you needed to maybe want to see this through to the end. The Marvel editors and higher-ups need to listen closely because it seems as though they aren’t hearing what readers want from this corner of the Marvel Universe. This isn’t a thing readers are being needy or demanding to have their stories a certain way. This is a matter of bringing fresh ideas, sticking to what “engages” readers in the world of mutants, and fighting against inconsistencies. Going back to a disassembled story for the X-Men is not at all what I would consider inspired. These disassembled stories have honestly been done to death. I feel the same way about this that I do about the trend of “Death of ___” stories. Some of them are admittedly great, but you can’t slap that plot onto a struggling book and hope that everyone jumps on it for the sake of it.
I never enjoy being hard on an X-Book, but I have my expectations for these books to be at the top for Marvel. Uncanny X-Men #1 did not make that cut for all the hype that Marvel has been pouring into it. I hope I can be wrong about this story down the road, but for now they didn’t hit the mark like they should have for the opening act.