Yet another Marvel comic re-launched this week – this time it was the turn of Uncanny X-Men. I’ve not been a massive fan of all this re-branding and re-badging of existing titles, but for a change, this one makes sense.
The X-Men have one of the most complex and convoluted histories of any comic characters. And while the clock has been reset, teams disbanded and reformed over time, it was getting about time to once again start over.
But it’s not really starting over.
Yes, the comic is “restarting” with a new issue 1. But the story is evolving from the last couple of years of story-telling. The schism across the mutant population, the return of the Phoenix and the death (at the hands of Cyclops) of Professor X.
As things stand, Cyclops, Magneto, Emma Frost and Magik are effectively on the run and recruiting new mutants to their cause. Cyclops is presenting himself to the world as some sort of freedom fighter for mutant rights, all the time hiding the fact that the Phoenix Force has left him unable to control his powers properly.
He and his team have adopted a more “muscular” approach to dealing with the rest of the world. When compared with Wolverine’s membership of the Avengers, Cyclops’ team look a lot like terrorists.
I have to admit I wasn’t looking forward to this new series. While I love Chris Bachelo’s art (which doesn’t disappoint here), I don’t really like any of the main protagonists. In fact, I actively dislike Cyclops. The trajectory his character has taken over the last few years and just made him even more dislikable.
From stiff and boring, he became unyielding and uncompromising and then just plan difficult and even more humourless. While under the influence of the Phoenix Force he even killed his mentor, Charles Xavier.
Magik turned into a vindictive and vicious little bitch throughout the Phoenix episode, so that just leaves me with Emma Frost and Magneto. Neither of whom I find particularly interesting. But now, just wait a minute… there’s a sting in the tail of this episode which sets it up nicely for the medium term. Cyclops has a traitor in his ranks who is just itching to take him down.
I won’t reveal who – you can see for yourself on the last page of the comic. But this was enough to make me come back for more to see how it all pans out.
And that’s great story-telling.