By Cullen Bunn, Greg Land, Jay Leisten and Nolan Woodard
As many fans try to bridge together exactly what happened in the 8 months since Secret Wars ended, we X-fans are trying to piece together a huge puzzle. Mutants have disappeared or died, there is a huge plague killing mutants, and now the Dark Riders are targeting healers. Uncanny X-Men has been a breath of fresh air in a line of sub-par X-books. You can say Marvel is marginalizing the X-Men all you want, but this book alone should put some of those fears to rest.
Cullen Bunn has been lights-out on this series so far. We’re only three issues in, but they have all been very good. The premise alone has been great with the Dark Riders hunting healers and Bunn is pacing things superbly. We know Bunn has experience with Magneto, but seeing him work with the X-Men, and in a leading position, has been extremely satisfying. Bunn gives this book an X-Force type team, but it still feels like Uncanny X-Men. This issue we get to see where a couple more characters have been since the time gap. It shouldn’t surprise you that Fantomex is misbehaving or that Triage is helping those in need. What works with these scenes is that Bunn has given them interesting partners to work with. Fantomex will work with anyone for the right price, but his motive this issue is intriguing.
The pencils are handled by Greg Land with inks from Jay Leisten and colors by Nolan Woodard. There are some readers who straight up hate Land’s work, but there isn’t anything to complain about on this series. His pencils have been very good and he has seemingly not recycled any images for re-use to this reviewer’s eye. Land has improved with each book and with Leisten’s inks bolstering them, the lines have been smooth and clean for every issue in the series so far . Pages where Magneto attacks the Dark Riders or even a simple image of Monet flying with a gorgeous blue sky behind her show us how good Land can be. This issue isn’t without a hiccup or two though. For some odd reason in a couple of panels Sabretooth’s face is a bit blurry. This is just an odd nitpick, but it is noticeable. The colors by Nolan Woodard are great as usual. There is a really cool panel that has Triage’s head in the middle of the page. Magneto stands behind him and all we see is the red in his uniform. It’s an excellent panel that highlights the great job this art team has been doing on this title.
Without a doubt Uncanny X-Men is the X-book to read. No other book in the lineup comes close to matching the quality so far. Cullen Bunn is writing so many of these characters so well that they all become your favorites. The art team has been the best in the X-line so far and it doesn’t look like any other group will be beating them anytime soon.