Uncanny X-Men #1: Meet the Bad Guys – No, Wait, These Are the HEROES–!

It’s a dark time for mutants.  The mutant race are being extinguished, killed by the Terrigen Mists.  The X-Men – defenders of mutantkind – have gone into hiding.  In typical human fashion, one technology company, Someday Enterprises, has been founded that’s taking advantage of the situation – providing a safe-haven for mutants, promising them a cryogenic sleep until the Terrigen Mists have dissipated.  Naturally, Magneto is none too entertained at the idea, and so the new Uncanny X-Men team crash the party…

Someday Enterprises is an interesting concept, and it’s clear from the very first page that there’s more to them than meets the eye.  After all, there’s this fascinating piece of dialogue:

Someday Enterprises

Bunn uses this simple conflict to help us get to know the new status quo of the team’s members.  The characterisation is rich, although – as always with the X-Men in this eight-month time-jump – there are unexplained oddities, such as how Archangel came to his new position:

Predator Drone

Bunn has all the characters down pat, from the flirting between Monet and Sabretooth (complete with a gentle nod to the relationship Psylocke once had with a version of Sabretooth back in Exiles), to Psylocke’s whole reason for being with the team.  I’m particularly pleased that the events of the Magneto series have left their mark on this team’s leader, with Magneto struggling to keep his powers and his focus, as death tries to claim him once again.  Literally every character has an arc set up in this first issue, and that’s tremendous fun.

Greg Land was a controversial choice of artist for this series, given his reputation for, well, ‘tracing’.  I’m sure there are plenty of images in Uncanny X-Men #1 that fans will identify, but this book actually works for him.  In part because of Jay Leisten’s inking and Nolan Woodard’s colouring, this feels like one of Land’s better books.  Sure, the females are glamorous, but one of the women is Monet St. Croix, and presenting her as an effervescent poser fits with her character in the first place.

Monet's awesomeness

I love the naked joy on Psylocke’s face as she attacks her enemies, too; more savage than Monet’s, clearly still thrall to the bloodlust she developed in the last X-Force run.  To my surprise, the artistic team really do seem to have a handle on the characters.

All in all, this is a strong start for Uncanny X-Men, setting up countless plots that we know will be worked on by Cullen Bunn.  Bunn’s characterisation is as consistently strong as ever, and the artistic choices work surprisingly well.

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Uncanny X-Men (2016-) 001-013

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