Uncanny X-Men #10 Writer: Cullen Bunn Artist: Ken Lashley Colors: Nolan Woodard Letters: Joe Caramagna Publisher: Marvel
The X-Men’s most formidable foe, Apocalypse, has always preached the gospel of “survival of the fittest”. Now Magneto’s team of mutants must deal with Apocalypse’s offspring, Genocide, and his army of Archangels of Death. Of which are preaching their own gospel, the survival of none. While Magneto and Psylocke deal with Genocide and try to pull Warren’s humanity back, Monet and Sabertooth have been lured into the underground tunnels of New York City. There they’re in battle with Monet’s brother Emplate, who’s feeding off the Morlocks who live there.
To start off this review, we need to at least address the entire Apocalypse Wars as a whole. Needless to say, it’s annoying, redundant, and has been nothing more than a waste of time. One of, if not the number one problems with comic books right now is event and cross-over madness. Every 6 to 10 months there’s some type of crossover or event and readers are becoming fatigued from it. DC comics have seemed to come around with the installment of DC Rebirth, focusing more on building a legacy rather than using gimmicks and the onslaught of tie-ins and #1’s to boost sales. However Marvel still is in the business of short-term investments. The business model at Marvel right now is to create an event, build a relaunch from that, then as soon as sales start to dip, do it all over again. Cross-overs and events use to mean something but in today’s comic book landscape, they’ve become the status-quo. Apocalypse Wars has been a meaningless crossover that accomplished nothing, its creative drive is to capitalize off of the appearance of Apocalypse in the recent X-Men: Apocalypse movie.
With that rant out-of-the-way, how does this individual issue itself turn out? Well, as an end to a what was marketed as a big event, it’s incredibly underwhelming. No one particular character has a compelling arc to hook any real sense of emotional investment. Magneto is essentially pushed to the side, while playing a significant role in the story there is nothing in terms of moments for him to shine. Which is frustrating because writer Cullen Bunn did such a great job with him in his previous solo series. There’s also the downside of seeing Fantomex and Mystique turned into lackeys. These are two head-strong, fearsome loners. It’s much more enjoyable seeing them acting on their own and thwarting the X-Men’s plans in order to achieve their own personal goals.
Monet confronting her brother Emplate is interesting but it goes by far too quickly to get any real meat out of it. It’s disappointing because that was one of the more engaging elements of the beloved “Generation X” series, and nothing has really been done with it since. However the outcome of the confrontation does leave an intriguing groundwork for Monet’s future.
The only really engaging character arc is Psylocke. Seeing her struggling to reach Warren through the Archangel persona does call for the reader to care for her. However, similar to the Monet arc, it rushes through it. There’s also the nagging problem that Warren’s struggle with holding onto his humanity has been done to death. It’s about time this guy got himself a break and achieved some level of happiness.
When this issue is all said and done, there are only two truly enjoyable elements. First being that all the characters personalities are on point. None of the dialogue feels out-of-place and it all comes off naturally. It’s clear that Bunn understands these characters identities and he’s more than capable of writing a solid X-Men story. It’s just unfortunate that he’s bogged down by editorial mandate to boost sales with capitalizing off of a blockbuster movie. The second being that this issue ends the Apocalypse Wars for the Uncanny series and the promise of a new story arc is in the horizon.
Back when this new volume of Uncanny X-Men first hit the shelves, Greg Land was on art duties. Thankfully he’s hasn’t been on this book as of late and hopefully he’s gone for good. Taking his place is Ken Lashley and while he obviously puts a lot of time and effort into his line work, its far too busy for my taste. I want to appreciate it because there’s some heavy detail here, but there are moments when you can become lost in the panels. Observers can make out what’s going on but they have to stop and focus in order to do so. It’s frustrating because it disrupts the flow of the comic and breaks it’s momentum.
The fourth volume of Uncanny X-Men could have been something special with the talented Cullen Bunn at the helm. However issue #10 emphasizes everything wrong with Marvel at the time, the push of cross-overs, events, and mimicking the movies. There is nothing in terms of character development and the individual stories themselves never truly tie together. With Marvel Now 2.0 beginning in October, it’s not looking too bright for the X-Men given that there’s only one X-Men title announced, that being “Death of X”. Hopefully Marvel editorial will allow Bunn to end this series on a high note and create his own story.
Score: 1.5 out of 5
Review by Eric Bradach
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