By Cullen Bunn, Greg Land, Nolan Woodard, Jay Leisten, and VC’s Joe Caramagna
Many first arcs are coming to an end in the All-New All-different Marvel, and Uncanny X-Men finishes it’s first tale with issue five. This has been far and away the best X-book and arguably one of Marvel’s best titles overall. We’re at a point where people are going to start deciding on what titles to keep and which ones to drop. Uncanny X-Men should be on everyone’s pull list.
We wrap up the storyline involving the Dark Riders and for the most part, the formation of this team. Cullen Bunn is really doing what many other writers are not doing: he’s developing his characters. We see this issue that Magneto is not messing around and will do whatever it takes to save his people. Bunn writes Magneto as a tactical risk taker who takes several chances that absolutely could backfire, including putting Triage’s life in danger. These moves allow us to remember why Magneto is such a polarizing character and great leader. Another thing Bunn does well is that he doesn’t dumb down characters. There is nothing more frustrating to see characters in a situation they could easily get out of, but won’t because the writer needs to keep them trapped for another couple of issues. As most of our X-Men are trapped, Monet uses her super strength to make sure they don’t stay trapped. Members of the Extraordinary team show up this issue and it’s good to see X-Men interact with old friends, but there is some suspicious dialogue as Betsy calls Storm the savior of mutant kind. This could be taken as sarcastic, but if not, it feels very forced since Storm is by no means any kind of savior, at least as far as we know. Minor dialogue problems aside, this was a good issue that had an excellent and brutal fight sequence. Cullen Bunn is putting the X-Men back on fan’s radars.
The pencils are handled by Greg Land with colors by Nolan Woodard and inks by Jay Leisten. Land has really stepped up his game for this series, this is most apparent in the battle Magneto has with the Dark Riders. There is some death and bloodshed, but seeing a character get killed by shrapnel has never looked better. Land also really steps up his detail this issue and Leisten’s contributions only heighten it. While the team flies back on the jet, we get to see some reflections of the control panel off of Magneto’s helmet. It’s these little things that Land has done that make his art extremely enjoyable. To be honest, this whole team works well together. Jay Leisten’s inks help smooth out and add needed heft to Land’s lines and Nolan Woodard’s colors are electric. One awesome panel where Woodard shines involves a far shot of Archangel slicing a Dark Rider in half. Here, Woodard has the panel red, with a little black and the silver of Archangel’s wings, a very welcome poppy and stylistic look for the panel.
Uncanny X-Men continues to be impressive. There wasn’t a bad issue in this first arc and everyone involved should get a ton of credit. Cullen Bunn told a very dark tale that sets the bar for the rest of the series moving forward and the art has been spectacular, making reading and experiencing the series extremely easy. This is a book that should absolutely be in you pull list.