Writer: Kieron Gillen
Penciler: Greg Land
Inker: Jay Leisten
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Nick Lower
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously, in Uncanny X-Men:  There’s always something up when it comes to the X-Men.  Having moved to an island off the coast of San Francisco (ironically called “Utopia”) the X-Men, under the command of Scott ‘Cyclops’ Summers, have been through quite a few strange moments.  Recently, though, their old foe The Juggernaut has been empowered by a Norse hammer from beyond space-time and has gone on a rampage, rumbling across America and leaving a trail of destruction behind him.  Juggy’s not the man he used to be, but it seems clear that his goal is the X-Men’s new sanctuary, to get payback for old sins real and imagined.  Unfortunately for him, this leaves the gem of Cyttorak unmanned for the first time in recent history, allowing one of the mutant population to take shocking action (said shock only guaranteed if you don’t read solicitations.)


So, it’s been a while since I’ve checked in on things in the floating island of Utopia, and it would seem that a lot has been going on.  Hope The Mutant Messiah lies unconscious, under the care of the White Queen.  At the same time, Cyclops stands alone on the Golden Gate Bridge, ready to meet the menace of the possessed Juggernaut head-on.  It’s a gutsy move, undermined only by the stiff, posed nature of the sequence.  Juggy somehow managed to find himself a mouthpiece, a skinny drink of water with a facial tattoo who tries to talk Cyclops into switching sides.  It fails, but as Juggernaut readies himself to strike, he erupts with crimson energies, and instead collapses.  I have to say, this is a relatively clever play on Cyclops’ part, as we discover that Magik, Kitty and Colossus have been dispatched to the realm of Cyttorak, and Colossus has offered himself up as the NEW avatar of Cyttorak, the mighty man-monster who must be forever known as…


No, it IS better than calling Red Hulk, “Rulk.”  The battle is a quick, vicious, and brutal affair, as the newly empowered Colossus rushes head on into the old Juggernaut, and begins bludgeoning his old foe, the force of their battle driving both men out of San Francisco…


I’m kind of warming to the story, even as Colossus narration gets more and more florid and purple.  “My bones crumble beneath his fists…  He cannot stop me.”  Something, something, magical runes, and before Juggalossus can defeat his old enemy (who, without his powers, I shall now call “Jugger-Not”), The Serpent teleports him away.  I understand that we can’t have the climactic battle of the giant crossover schmaggegi in the middle of another book, but this bit irritated me for some reason.  Back on Utopia Island, the White Queen is possessed by… something.  It’s not really clear, but Namor arrives just in time to stop her from killing Hope The Mutant Messiah with a big ol’ French kiss.  I’m also unsure as to how that works, but it seems that the Sub-Mariner has taken a shine to our little crazy diamond, and the White Queen watches in what may be adoration (or possibly gas) as he leaves.  There are a couple of puzzling epilogues in this issue, one in which Kitty angrily rages at Juggalossus before breaking up with him, and another in which Cyclops meets with the mayor of San Francisco (a woman I know he has treated as an ally in the past) and has a very Magneto-like moment.  It’s a very suspenseful way to end an issue, but also an odd one…


All in all, Kieron Gillen’s script is pretty interesting, revealing that Cyclops intended to send ILLYANA to take on Cyttorak’s curse (she having more experience with demonic possession), but Piotr took a bullet for his little sister.  The moments with Namor/Emma, and especially Kitty/Piotr, felt weirdly distant for what they were (the possible beginning and possible end of a relationship, respectively) and Greg Land’s art, while improved from his days on Ultimate Fantastic Four, still has a glossy, overly posed, freezeframe element to it that takes away some of the enjoyment of even the action sequences.  Overall, though, nothing particularly heinous happens in the issue, even if it might be impenetrable to me as the new reader, and Cyclops’ actions at the end could lead to some interesting political slow-burn drama for regular readers of the title.  Uncanny X-Men #534 balances out to be an okay read, never quite delivering the shock-factor that the cover image implies, but giving us a decent bit of crossover madness, earning 2.5 out of 5 stars overall.  A regular X-Men reader would probably get a bit more out of it than I did, I’m sure…

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day:  How can Cyclops and his ilk run rampant through the world as they do?  Does Utopia have some sort of diplomatic immunity?  Or are the normal citizens just sitting in silent fear of the crazy mutant laser-face guy?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Tom Brevoort’s response was readers don’t care about the politics of how these characters are able to operate, it wouldn’t be a good read to iron out why x-men can enter and leave countries as they please

  2. At least this last story arc had the mayor of San Fran calling Cyclops for help. That could be the reason he is able to run through the world, or at least SF.

  3. Yeah, the X-Men are kinda like the Avengers for the people of San Francisco. Their security for large unstoppable meta-problems.
    And Emma’s mind was corrupted by trying to connect with the Juggernaut’s – that is, the ancient norse spirit possessing the Juggernaut.
    (I think Jugger-Not is hilarious, but I think Colossus still works. No need to mutilate and massacre his name. The Unstoppable Colossus)
    I loved Colussus’ thoughts in this issue. It was creepy. How much he’s become an avatar for destruction. How he suddenly can’t imagine anything more beautiful than destroying things. It’s an aspect I really hope they do NOT ignore in the upcoming issues.

  4. Kitty, Illyana, and Peter all in the same book is enough for me.

    But I presume the Kitty/Peter breakup has been forced by the writer so the story can justify having Peter still in Uncanny and moving Kitty over to the Wolverine team for that title.

    Seems heavy-handed and unnecessary, considering the perfect dynamic with the three of them and Emma was already in place here.

    • Also, how does this relate to Schism? Because everyone you just described is doing something completely different over there . . .

      I don’t know… I presume Schism takes place after Fear Itself, but that’s just me.

        • schism takes place before fear itself. because colossus will remain cyttorraks avatar for a while. he’s still ‘the juggernaut’ when the new ‘x-men #1’ comes out…and all those teams are split already.

  5. I seem to remember that when Cyke originally brought the muties to the artificial island of utopia he says that it is in international waters and so its inhabitants are not under the U.S. Goverment’s laws.

  6. One thing i find hilarious is that it wa simplied that namor was fighting, but somehow he knew Emma was going to do something stupid or else, and KNEW he had to come to stop her with a french kiss….so Namor has an “Blonde-Hottie-going-to-do-something-stupid”-Sense?

  7. I picked up this issue when I heard what was happening to Colossus.
    When I read Peter’s monologue, I totally had “O Fortuna” playing in the back of my head. Good times.
    I think this power bump might make Colossus one of the most powerful people in the Marvel U.

    I hope that the next writer cares for this plot thread and ties to grow it.

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