Monday, June 27, 2016

Uncanny X-Men #8 Review and **SPOILERS** - Marvel Mondays

Uncanny X-Men (vol.4) 008
Writer - Cullen Bunn
Artist - Ken Lashley
Colorist - Nolan Woodard
Letterer - VC's Joe Caramagna
Cover Price: $3.99

More Apocalypse Wars fun with the Uncanny X-Men.  This is an interesting crossover, in that the participating books don't actually cross over.  This is similar to 1988's Fall of the Mutants event where the three ongoing titles all shared branding and were similar thematically, however, were all able to be read on their own without missing a beat.

With the three X-Teams strewn throughout the timeline, the Uncanny team is dealing with an Apocalyptic threat in the present.  We'll be following a couple of different threads here, so let's get into it.

First, a bit of background... Psylocke had experienced a vision of an army of Archangels descending in Colorado.  She and Magneto decided to investigate... while the other half of the remaining Uncanny team (Sabretooth and M) are called in by Callisto to deal with a Morlock Plague being caused by M's brother, and former foil to Generation X, Emplate.  In Colorado, it appears as though Warren Worthington (Angel) and Archangel are perhaps two separate entities.  Worthington is now wingless and is preaching that through mutilation, there can come purification.  To further add to the Apocalypse theme, he is seconded (or perhaps influenced by) the son of Apocalypse, Genocide.

This issue is broken up between these two stories that we bounce back and forth between.  Psylocke finds herself crossing paths with former teammate/lover Fantomex.  The proceed to fight while exchanging banter for probably a few too many pages.  I kind of get where they're going here, but this really didn't need to occupy as much of the issues "real estate" as it did.  Felt a bit circular and "filly".

When we join M and Sabretooth, they are faced with a battle with some infected Morlocks.  A bit of an aside... very early in my X-Men fandom there was a story arc which promised to be "The Last Morlocks Story"... I can't even begin to explain how happy that made me, as they'd always bored me in the past.  Now here we are a quarter-century later... fighting Morlocks.

I am happy to see some other villains getting a bit of face time, however.  Between Sugar Man in Extraordinary and Emplate here, I'm quite pleased to see some Lobdell-era characters popping up. The Scott Lobdell run on X-Men is what I consider "my" X-Men... it's what kept me riding up to the comic shop week after week as a kid.

The bright spot of this issue was in the Sabretooth and Monet scenes.  It's as though they have an underlying fondness for one another that neither wishes to accept or explore further... it's almost feels like a circus-mirror version of the Wolverine/Kitty Pryde relationship.  These are two characters for which I have always had little-to-no interest... yet, in this context I find myself really enjoying them.  In fact, the dialogue all throughout this issue was very well done.

The art this month comes from Ken Lashley, who is a welcome change from Greg Land.  I know it borders on the cliche to criticize Mr. Land's art online... but, without going too deep, I'll say that it just doesn't appeal to me.  Lashley's work here is great.  His Emplate is a thing of disgusting beauty... probably only second to Chris Bachalo's work with the character during early Generation X.

Bits and Pieces:

Overall, the story kind of dragged however shined when it came to dialogue and character beats.  This issue could have certainly been told in far fewer pages, which is not an indictment on the creative team... more of an observation on the prevailing comics storytelling structure.  I feel torn in my score.  I am completely confident that this is all leading to something great... however, this issue was ultimately a bit of a slog.

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