Uncanny X-Men #16
By Cullen Bunn, Edgar Salazar, Ed Tadeo and Nolan Woodard
It’s no secret that the X-Men books are going through a bit of a change once INhumans vs. X-Men ends. These characters may finally see some sunshine in their lives, which have been mostly dealing with death, despair, and going sterile. One of the few bright spots in this current batch of X-books has Cullenn Bunn’s Uncanny X-Men. It’s coming to a close, as far as we know, but it still has one more story arc to get through.
Cullen Bunn has built his run on character development. The stories were fine, but his characterization of Magneto or Psylocke are what really distanced Uncanny X-Men from the other X-titles. This issue deals with the underused Fantomex and Jean Gray. We build on Inhumans vs. X-Men as Jean and the Stepford Cuckoos subdue Karnak with mind games, while Fantomex makes a trip to “The World.” What works for this issue is the Jean and Cuckoos panels. Bunn shows how powerful the girls can be when they are using their power to stop Karnak, who is no slouch. Much of this issue will live or die by Fantomex’s charm. He has to carry a portion of the book, and if he fails, the book fails. Fantomex is a great character, and Bunn uses him in clever ways, like having Irma psychically showing him how Karnak would handle a fight so Fantomex can mimic his moves. One thing that doesn’t work for this issue is that it’s not new reader friendly. Die hard fans might even have a hard time trying to decide what exactly is going on in the issue as well. The mission Fantomex is on is confusing and it’s weird. It is interesting that Irma is working with him behind everyone’s back, but the mission itself is a bit hard to follow right now.
The pencils this issue are handled by Edgar Salazar with inks by Ed Tadeo and colors by Nolan Woodard. The pencils are very nice here, helped by Tadeo on inks to smooth things out. Salazar has a good style and shows that he can draw many different X-characters from Warpath to Cyclops. The fight scenes are drawn well and play out wonderfully as we see a move made by Karnak get finished off by Fantomex in the next panel. The colors by Woodard are a huge boost to the book, most notably in panels that feature “The World.” The first panels of “The World” are colored with gorgeous pinks and greens that give it a nice vibrant feel. The art on this book is one of the main reasons why it has been as consistently good. Event though there have been several artists to step on board in only a 16 issue span, their styles were never polar opposites, so it felt like similar enough.
Uncanny X-Men #16 was a pretty good issue, but it had some confusing parts that might force you to re-read it. The story was good enough and the art department stepped up as usual. It’s a shame this book will be going away because it was a breath of fresh air in the line.