Finally, after a long wait, Uncanny X-Men is back! Cyclops is charging forward with no reservations and his new vision for Marvel’s mutants is the focus of Uncanny X-Men #1. Does this debut offer something new or is it the same story all over again?

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Pencils: Carlos Pacheco
Inks: Cam Smith
Colors: Frank D’Armata
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Pacheco, Smith, D’Armata
Assistant Editor: Sebastian Girner
Editor: Nick Lowe
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

Previously, in Uncanny X-Men: Wolverine and Cyclops’ squabbling over the future of the mutant race has caused a Schism. So while Logan’s taken his toys and teammates back to Westchester to redo the old School for Higher Learning bit, Scott’s approach to mutant rights is a little more forceful.


Uncanny X-Men #1 features Scott organizing his heavy hitters into something he calls the Extinction Team. It is a deliberately controversial name, taken a step further when Cyclops explicitly compares Utopia to a nuclear weapon-armed North Korea. His vision for the future requires a more martial stance from the X-Men, transforming students into recruits and putting Utopia on war footing. Cyclops is in a rather grim mood, as his wont these days (but at least he’s started shaving). Logan’s departure in no way causes Scott to question his contentious, somewhat segregationist beliefs; rather, Cyclops is pushing his agenda even harder. The first half of the issue sets up the new direction for the Scott Summers-siding elements of the X-Universe, while the second focuses on a new threat involving Mr. Sinister doing something malevolent with the Dreaming Celestial in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The Extinction Team engages and fisticuffs ensue.

Uncanny X-Men is focused on a team that might be hard to love. The character mix is a little unbalanced, with a proliferation of arrogant jerk characters (Magneto, Emma Frost, Namor and arguably Danger and Cyclops himself), a demonically-influenced sibling duo (Ilyana and Colossus, although I do like the new Juggernaut angle) and only two relative nice guys (Hope and Storm). Gillen has a tough row to hoe with these guys. Early on, Storm points out that the majority of the team has a fair share of super-villainy in their pasts. Kieron Gillen’s plowed a tough row to hoe with this crew; there’s a good amount of drama to be mined from their prickly natures, but it might be hard for readers to relate to these guys. I know I had trouble this issue. Luckily, one thing Gillen does do well is set up an interesting conflict. His take on Sinister plays up the Victorian angle while adding a certain meta flavor, and the issue ends with a wildly out-of-left-field development that worked well. And because I can’t resist, it’s out of context quote time, courtesy of Namor. “To sit in a seat so fine, Namor would take it from any man.” Sure thing, Namor.


Carlo Pacheco’s art is done in the usual stock superhero style we see these days. It is a very crisp and clean – a little too clean, to be honest. His Celestial doesn’t look as otherworldly as the usual depictions, which is unfortunate. I do like the care he takes with drawing the San Francisco landscape. As a San Francisco resident, I was tickled to see the big fight taking place a few blocks from where I actually live, and he got most of the details right. Pacheco’s art is best when he’s got the characters punching and pummeling. While I could do with some more flair during the quieter moments, Pacheco knows how to draw a crackling fight and the second half of the issue comes alive under his pencils and Cam Smith’s inks. I hope Marvel sticks with these artists over Greg Land.


Uncanny X-Men #1 presents a daring step forward for Cyclops’s team, but in this issue, I’m more impressed by what Gillen is doing with the villain rather than with the heroes. It will be a real challenge to make this team likeable, and while Gillen definitely knows what he’s tackling with these guys, I still need convincing. As one of the flagship X-books, Uncanny needs to feel big, and on that account, Gillen and Pacheco succeed admirably. This is a bold issue with a strange and interesting threat and a political bent that makes it clear that Schism was a game-changer. This first issue of Uncanny X-Men wasn’t a home run like Wolverine and the X-Men, but it did swing hard enough for a worthy four out of five stars.

Rating: ★★★★☆


The Author

George Chimples

George Chimples

George Chimples comes from the far future, where comics are outlawed and only outlaws read comics. In an effort to prevent that horrible dystopia from ever coming into being, he has bravely traveled to the past in an attempt to change the future by ensuring that comics are good. Please do not talk to him about grandfather paradoxes. He likes his comics to be witty, trashy fun with slightly less pulp than a freshly squeezed glass of OJ. George’s favorite comic writers are Warren Ellis and Grant Morrison, while his preferred artists are Guy Davis and Chris Bachalo, He loves superheroes, but also enjoys horror, science fiction, and war comics. You can follow him @TheChimples on Twitter for his ramblings regarding comics, Cleveland sports, and nonsense.

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  1. November 10, 2011 at 12:57 pm — Reply

    It still feels to me like Logan & Scott traded personalities because Wolverine must now be more heroic. These definitely aren’t the X-Men I know and I don’t think I care to. My abstinence of Marvel stands.

    • November 10, 2011 at 5:03 pm — Reply

      Who is being more heroic can depend on your point of view. In any case, comic book characters have to change over time, otherwise you just end up with the same stories being told for 50+ years. I think the development of Cyclops and Wolverine has come organically, in that the changes aren’t sudden about-faces. Cyclops’ turn to a more cynical (or realist, depending your perspective) worldview should be measured in the light of M-Day and the revelations regarding Professor X’s more unsavory actions. Wolverine, in turn, has been striving for years now to reject his violent past, and now it looks like he might have done so.

      Not saying you necessarily SHOULD care about these guys, but you might want to check out Wolverine and the X-Men for what looks like a less dark, more back-to-basics approach to the X-Universe.

      • ~wyntermute~
        November 10, 2011 at 6:51 pm — Reply

        Even though I don’t -like- Scott Summers, I agree with & like what they’ve done to his character. Xavier raised him to be a “general” of sorts, the type who’s got to make the unpopular decisions, etc. Wolverine’s been trying to get over his “rages” for -years- now, so… Him becoming a teacher-type is also a nice and semi-natural progression of his character. THIS is why I think continuity matters; it gives us the opportunity to see characters change as a composite result of “things that have come before”. When people defend the throwing-away-of-continuity by saying “Oh, c’mon. Just focus on the good stories, not the details of what happened when & where”, I’m forced to ask if ‘characters who grow’ are or are not part of a good story? If nothing in the past continuity ever “sticks”, then we end up with static, bland characters who, ultimately, aren’t worth getting emotionally invested in. { end rant ^_^ }

        • November 10, 2011 at 9:55 pm — Reply

          I really agree with you on a lot of this.

          Except that I do like Scott Summers, haha.

  2. TaZ
    November 10, 2011 at 4:01 pm — Reply

    I am not abstaining from all of Marvel, just most of it. I’m staying with this title just out of curiosity to see how far down this road Scott Summers goes toward being the next Magneto. Of course, with Magneto and Namor in this version of the X men, Doctor Doom in the Future Foundation and the Red Hulk in the Avengers just about every team has their “former villians” in the line-up.

    • November 10, 2011 at 5:05 pm — Reply

      What Marvel books are you reading? I think there are a few that are very very good – Uncanny X-Factor, Avengers Academy, Thunderbolts and Spider-Man would appeal to most comics fans, I’d think. Venom too, maybe.

      • TaZ
        November 10, 2011 at 7:43 pm — Reply

        Uncanny X-Men, Captain America, Daredevil, Hulk, Secret Avengers and I am waiting paitently for the new Defenders mag to come out. I dropped Thunderbolts because the art was just hard on the eyes. Spiderman would have to have the greatest story arc ever written for that character for me to be interested in Peter “Wah-Wah” Parker’s alter-ego again. (Plus, Clark Kent’s revamp seems to have him doing a great impersonation fo acting like Peter Parker while looking like Harry Potter these days). I have scanned part of Venom enough to know what’s going on with Parker’s old high school bully but that character still hasn’t grown on me yet.

        • November 10, 2011 at 10:10 pm — Reply

          Nice summary of Action Comics.

          Are you going to continue reading Captain America what with Bucky dead? I’ve heard some people grumbling about that.

          Yah, the Thunderbolts art isn’t for everyone, but I personally like it. And by Uncanny X-Factor, I meant Uncanny X-Force. Spider-Man, I swore I wouldn’t read after that One Day More stuff, but Slott’s work really has been legitimately good.

          • November 10, 2011 at 10:50 pm — Reply

            Bucky isn’t dead… already has been shown

  3. ~wyntermute~
    November 10, 2011 at 6:56 pm — Reply

    Any chance this team is being “set up to fail”? Like, I don’t mean the whole TITLE, obviously, but… With all these wild-cards & egos, there’s some “Dark Reign”-ish power playing that could go on and result in the end of THIS particular approach of Cyclops’. Then the slight-moderating of said approach, recasting the “Extinction Team” as something a little more PR-friendly, but not reconciling with the Other-Xs just yet, etc etc.. Scott learning first hand WHY this didn’t work for Magneto, basically.

    • November 10, 2011 at 9:59 pm — Reply

      I think this group inevitably has to split up. Too many headstrong personalities, too many would-be leaders not to chafe under Cyclops’ command. Plus they’re teasing some romantic complications with Namor/Emma and Cyclops/Storm, I think.

      There’s a lot of stories that could be told with this mix, but I think yours is a likely one.

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