REVIEW: Uncanny X-Men #11

by

Or – “Hey, Didja Know The Heroes Are Gonna Fight?”

Juggolossus goes mano-rojo-a-mano-rojo with The Red Hulk.  Whatever else happens, the colorist will probably wear out his lens flare filter…

UNCANNY X-MEN #11
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Penciler: Greg Land
Inker: Jay Leisten
Colorist: Guru eFx
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Nick Lowe
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously, in Uncanny X-Men: We’re knee-deep in the big summer crossover, and my review of the last issue of Avengers was marred by the fact that the book didn’t seem to have much to say other than telling what happened between the scenes of issue #2 of Avengers Vs. X-Men.  I actually picked up this book solely to see if we were going to get more of the same…

SUPER-STIFF ART, AS USUAL…

I’m not going to go off on a Greg Land rant here, but I have my issues with the art this time around.  As Doctor Nemesis presents his findings about Hope to Cyclops, we learn both that Hope’s recent burst of Phoenix powers was a signal to something in space, and that Emma Frost and Hope Summers are exactly the same woman with exactly the same features.  This issue fills in the blanks on a number of X-Men related questions, and I’m absolutely thrilled to see the alien Hannibal Lecter-type guy returning from writer Kieron Gillen’s late, lamented S.W.O.R.D. series.  The master manipulator is behind some of Hope’s brash and impulsive actions in AvX #1 & #2, and plants the seeds of her rebellion and eventual flight from Utopia in a very subtle and enjoyable way.  There’s even some indication that Danger is likewise under the sway of evil robotic Unit, a prospect that kind of frightens me a little bit…

BUT GILLEN’S GOT SOME CHOPS.

Writer Gillen spends this issue on in-depth character work, starting with Namor’s musings about why he would stand with the mutants against his former teammates in the Avengers, and amazingly, it is a straightforward and completely believable motive.  Better still, he speaks of his respect for Scott Summers, all the while nothing, “I would have his woman, of course.  But that’s a compliment, in it’s own way.”  Heh.  Colossus gets his moment in the spotlight next, addressing the fallout from his actions in “Fear Itself” and actually delivering a decent, if short, fight sequence between the big man and Red Hulk.  They even make Hope’s strange actions while facing Wolverine make sense, ending with Cyclops taking a pretty brilliant stratagem against the Avengers:  A press release.  Aside from the fact that his personal P.R. strategist pouts and preens like an internet camwhore while ostensibly alone in her office, the end of this issue is spot-on in it’s dramatic intent, providing the kind of detail that could raise this crossover out of “Been There, Done That” territory.

THE VERDICT: A DECENT ISSUE, EVEN WITH THE CROSSOVER…

First up:  This issue manages to be ABOUT the X-Men, rather than just things happening around them, like Avengers #25.  The character beats here are still between the pages of the larger crossover, but Juggolossus’ revelations about his nature are a little shocking, while Namor remains his arrogant, cool self throughout.  Even given the limited nature of Greg Land’s art (if artists were 70′s animation studios, Land would be Filmation) the issue is visually appealing enough, but Gillen’s script really makes things shine.  Uncanny X-Men #11 is an example of how crossover issues don’t have to be vapid repetitions of the same scenes, earning a better-than-expected 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.

Rating: ★★★½☆