Review – Uncanny X-Men #18 (AVX)

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Ron Garney
Colors: Jason Keith & Morry Hollowell
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Art: Ron Garney & Matt Milla
Published by: Marvel Comics

Heads up, if you haven’t read AVX #11 this is going to be a massive spoiler situation. That said, I warned you guys.

Kate Kiloare of Superhuman P.R. fame stands alone, everything shattered, broken and wrecked. Standing at the highest point of the escalation and doing damage control to the human population to explain the insane situations revolving around the Earth and Utopia she now looks at shattered remains. This really helps setup where this has all been going, promise of a new life, a new world, peace and prosperity and yet all that’s really here is war and hell and a massive floating island that looks majestic.

You can’t spin a positive twist on the Phoenix losing its last restraints and going supernova. Try as one might this is heavy. We see final encounters between the Phoenix Duo and key mutants but given the control imbalance there’s going to be a lot of resistance no matter who talks to them. We also see some fallout with Colossus and Magik, unfortunately for Colossus his desire to protect and save Magik has bitten him in the rear. This whole arc with Cyttorak explodes in his face and she reveals her being condemned in the past was likely one of those moves that shouldn’t have been turned over. Unfortunately with no one around and all eyes on the Phoenix she’s unchecked for now.

The madness continues back to AVX #11 influenced panels and we have a look inside the elegance of chaos, the two Phoenix force combatants locked in their own minds as they slug it out and blast their way through a united front. The tension growing, the frustrations developing and then… it comes.

For those hoping to see a really solid side issue to compliment the ongoing AVX story, Uncanny X-Men 18 is a solid bet. It details the attempts for a resolution, the inner thinking before the final tide changes and how Colossus just got screwed out of his mind. Hat’s off to Gillen and Garney for that intense moment, it was probably one of the biggest punches in the issue.

Release date: September 12, 2012

Story:★★★½☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★½☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

Review – Uncanny X-Men #17 (AVX)

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artists: Daniel Acuna & Mike Del Mundo
Art Assist: Diego Olmos
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Art: Mike Del Mundo
Published by: Marvel Comics

The Phoenix attack resumes against Sinister to stop any plans of his against Hope for his own personal gains.   The group faces incredible odds but the cavalry is riding in to lend a hand in this difficult time for the X-Men, even in their darkest hour full of the most power they’re still a team and need each other to make it through.

The biggest thing that sticks out in this issue is the art, that’s not really a compliment at all as it ages the X-Men in ways I never knew to the point where they look disfigured. It’s certainly not pleasing during the read and it actually pulls away from the experience of the story, while I’m all for experimentation in style and format I can’t say this was the right choice to play.

In story we see Gillen wrapping this story up with a bang, not only is there a conflict between Sinister and the X-Men but we see Unit take a deeper interest as well. Groups battled valiantly against the clones and we see allies colliding as they stage a front against the Phoenix powered clones awaiting them. It certainly gets ugly but the story twists manage to avoid jumping the shark.

As a whole, Uncanny X-Men 17 manages to deliver a solid story arc and additional depth into the X-Men side of this conflict as they gain Phoenix power. Unfortunately the art wrapping up issue 17 is some of the hardest I’ve had to swallow since reviewing Marvel comics. Some things to note, Magneto doesn’t have a Halloween costume helmet made of cloth or vinyl and Psylocke isn’t horribly old or deformed. Also we notice when unrefined illustrations are pushed as final products. One can only hope this trend doesn’t continue forward as it doesn’t benefit this issue in the slightest. There are panels that have a sharp contrast and one can only assume the other team members on the art side had influence there.

Release date: August 22, 2012

Story:★★★½☆ 
Art:★☆☆☆☆ 
Dialog:★★★☆☆ 
Overall:★★½☆☆ 

Review – Uncanny X-Men #15 (AVX)

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Daniel Acuna
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Daniel Acuna
Published by: Marvel Comics

As the Phoenix Force purges the world of war and darkness, there are many inevitable battles including the one against Sinister. The X-Men are concerned about what interference might be made from the man now that Hope is in the open and the Phoenix Force has arrived. Instead of letting things brew much further they gather and set forth against the darkness ahead using their full combined power.

The issue itself seems to drop in between 6 and 7 where Hope has been taken but they haven’t waged full war against Scarlet Witch just yet and tried to pursue her. Knowing the Avengers aren’t a direct threat they focus their power on the numerous other issues in their to-do list for this revival of the planet and new beginning. This isn’t the only focus of the story though, we see that even the might of a Phoenix Force X-Man isn’t enough to shake the foundation of other higher powers still, the harsh reality is a hard slap but it doesn’t deter them from their original goal.

Uncanny X-Men #15 delivers an interesting twist to this ongoing conflict, at this rate they’ll not only purge the world of war but of all the villains as well. It’s incredibly hard to imagine what rests ahead at this rate, all we know right now is that all hell is about to break loose with Sinister to keep him from ruining this tranquility they’ve established across the planet.

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

 

Review – Uncanny X-Men #13 (AVX)

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Pencils: Billy Tan
Inks: Cam Smith & Craig Yeung
Colors: Guru eFX
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artists: Adam Kubert & Morry Hollowell
Published by: Marvel Comics

AVX side stories are a bit of a mixed bag, Uncanny X-Men #13 is straight to the point though, taking place as the battle on the Moon goes down from the Earth perspective. It’s a change of pace and helps elaborate on what on earth is going on up there, we see Magneto, Psylocke, Storm and Nemesis seeking cover after the major throw down hit the team. Unfortunately they’re rattled and worn so any trips to space aren’t really in the cards no matter how much they want to go. We also see a branch with Hope’s team and their pursuit to find a way to help or possibly save her from ill-fate as they confront UNIT as we know that’s not exactly the best idea around.

The issue focuses primarily on the UNIT story, everyone is concerned with saving Hope from the Phoenix or being there to help her as the force merges with her body. Unfortunately as one might have gathered, UNIT has his own plans with the Phoenix Force and anyone getting in the way is looking at a world of hurt or at least memory erasing as he disposes them to make way for his plans. Unfortunately just because he wants peace it doesn’t mean he wont stop at utter decimation to get that accomplished either, with Danger as his carefully hidden pawn it makes matters worse for everyone as constant references bring up Danger as a close ally to the X-Men team.

There’s a lot of side activity throughout Uncanny X-Men #13, unfortunately as things escalate and gets worse in AVX for the main story, it’s getting equally as complex in the background to match up. Personally I wish Magneto would have become one of those boosted by the cosmic energy but you can’t win them all, instead we get a taste of things to come which are interesting but not completely essential.

Story:★★★½☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★☆☆ 
Overall:★★★½☆ 

Review – Uncanny X-Men #11 (AvX)

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Pencils: Greg Land
Inks: Jay Leisten
Colors: Guru eFX
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artists: Greg Land & Guru eFX
Published by: Marvel Comics

Avengers and X-Men are clashing on Utopia, the whole battle centering around the future of Mutant Kind and Faith as their last hope to continued existence. In these side issues we’ve seen the teams flash into huge levels of past stories before the event, we’re now current in the story and taking a look at what really went down on the X-Men side for the fight.

Okay so that’s not all true, the main body kicks off with what went down between Hope and Unit, the discussion is brief but it hits a nerve that was rattled with Hope to this point. The girl who has been positioned as a savior to mutant-kind and seen as a threat by entire populations of the universe as potential destructive force to everyone. Unit doesn’t need to say much, he just had to tip the dominoes and at this point it’s hard to say where they will go, just like many other side stories this one gets into a whole other realm of possibilities to derail this whole event.

That’s not the whole story of issue 11, in fact it’s just a brief area, the rest of the battle continues on the island in deeper detail, we see the X-Men push themselves to the limit to keep the Avengers at bay, some going so far to reach their limits like Colossus as the Juggernaut force creeps out in a way he’s always feared of. With blood lust and a struggle for control of the island going on the issue heats up fast and just as numbers of the Avengers start to push over the X-Men, a final move comes out from Cyclops that moves to decide the fate of this entire scenario in a single move. It’s a strategy that deviates from the drive that Cyclops had, but it’s one that will complicate matters worldwide for everyone in this tense event coming their way.

As a side story it’s a leap above what Marvel has been putting out there, being current to the AvX saga helps move the read along even if they sprinkle in some past events in the process. One can only hope all of these outside influences are able to come in and wrap up their stories without leaving plot holes behind. Marvel has their work cut out for them but it’s certainly getting interesting.

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

Uncanny X-Force #25 preview pages arrive!

Marvel is sending a lot of goodies out today, one of those includes preview pages and the cover for Uncanny X-Force issue #25. While limited to just 2 pages it’s still a nice look and it sets up some tension as that sniper scope looms over one of the residents. As usual no text is included with the panels so you’re left to come up to your own conclusions on what’s going on which only makes the tension that much greater.

Review – Uncanny X-Men #10

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Pencils: Carlos Pacheco & Paco Diaz
Ink: Cam Smith
Color: Guru eFX
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Adam Kubert & Chris Sotomayor
Published by: Marvel Comics

Unit is on the move and Hope is right in his path, given his current path of destruction her very life could fall into the balance. The X-Men while teamed up with the Avengers split off to save their most precious friend and ally from her doom and possibly the death of mutant-kind. Time is everything and the whole unit with Cyclops rushes in to save the day, unfortunately being too quick to attack leaves a vulnerability that shatters them as they engage in combat against Unit. It’s a tough and painful battle to read through, even at their best they’re severely outclassed against this super machine, instead of cheering them on it was cringe inducing each step of the way. Fortunately it does wrap up so the story can meld with AvX, although it is strange to have both the X-Men and the Avengers on the same side for even just a moment knowing what has already come their way.

The issue moves with a quick pace, Hope is stunned to be taken in such a swift motion and the X-Men launch into battle mode but it’s not enough. Unit is thinking so many steps ahead of them it’s difficult for any tactical advantages to come forward, even their strongest allies against a force like this are nullified by his quick calculations and strength. Really they are in a case where they’re outclassed and largely uninformed about their opponent and it rips at them as they fight desperately to stop him. It’s a solid read as it steps aside from the usual idea of dominance and team work saving the day for the group, instead of just a single ally shaken, the whole group falls victim.

As a prelude to AvX it’s a solid issue, it was easy to feel bad for the X-Men against Unit given how far above their level he was. There is a mystery that will leave readers hanging though, before it’s over there’s a special twist with Hope and Unit that hasn’t even been touched upon in the other books yet, what will the super being ask of her? What does this mean for his own containment in the universe after this encounter? It’s a solid read and wrap-up to the tag team story between the Avengers and X-Men on this case.

Story:★★★★½ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆