REVIEW: Uncanny X-Men #14

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The Phoenix Force has taken residence in not one, but five X-Men, promising the mutants a return to their proper place atop the evolutionary ladder. Sinister understands this means problems for his perfect species, himself, and is preparing counter measures. For the Major Spoilers look, take the jump.

UNCANNY X-MEN #14
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Dustin Weaver
Colorist: Jim Charalampidis
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Stuart Immonen & Jim Charalampidis
Editor: Nick Lowe
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

Previously in Uncanny X-Men:Sinister attacked San Francisco and turns a large part of it into a civilization of him, claiming he had turned himself into the perfect species. When he is killed, another of the Sinisterians gains his sentience and takes his place, essentially an entire society of Sinister clones. The X-Men managed to get him out of San Fran, but did not capture him. Since then, the Phoenix Force has returned and attached itself to five mutants, Cyclops, Namor, White Queen, Colossus, and Magik.

A SINISTER PLOT

Our story takes place in Sinister’s new realm, Sinister London, a semi-idealized version of late 19th century London underground. The first half is narrated by a Sinister clone that has designs to take down the Sinister system (or Sinystem if you will). He appears as some type of reporter and is actively interviewing the primary Sinister about the realm and what his plans are now that the X-Men have the Phoenix Force. We get some interesting points on how the Sinystem works, such as why there are cows and why no women (Sinister likes milk and the clone system makes women unnecessary, though half the population would change if the clone system broke). We are also given a bit of insight into where they are as a Moloid breaks through and we find out that Sinister is using Moloid tunnels to avoid detection by the X-Men for the time being. We are also shown a bit more of what Sinister is preparing in weapons and training. When the traitor asks Sinister to get pictures, he teleports Sinister to a trap in his basement, planning to change Sinister’s outlook.

Of course, this doesn’t work. The gem that designates the real Sinister from all the clones falls off the captive’s head. The “real” Sinister shows up with a couple guards to take the traitor away. Sinister explains that even rebels are part of the Sinystem, as if a rebel managed to overturn the system, the system would be reinvented and continue as such. He has the rebel turned loose and sends a pack of “hounds” after him. The rest of the book has real Sinister discussing his plans with the “false” Sinister that showed the rebel around on how he plans to stop the Phoenix Five. Let’s just say Sinister thinks he manipulated the events leading into AvX and he is not the only person he has cloned.

A SINISTER PICTURE

Everyone in this book looks the same. Considering everyone in this book is technically the same person, that’s great! The aesthetic is a weird combination of Victorian England, light steampunk, and a mild tron-line imprint on much of the clothing. All in all it comes together for a very pleasing image. Most of the anachronisms are actually addressed in story, with the rebel questioning it and Sinister stating “Who doesn’t love a castle?” The “hounds” used to kill the rebel also very much feel like Sabretooth clones, which was hinted at later. Despite every face looking the same, they also manage to convey intent and emotion with no problems. Weaver does a fantastic job on this book and I’d be happy to read more.

BOTTOM LINE: It would be Sinister to skip

Much like last issue, Uncanny X-Men #14 manages to tell a good, stand-alone story while still being involved in the overall plot that is AvX. Gillen does a great job with establishing Sinister’s current status quo while mixing in a few great jokes; the castle and one about him looking nothing like the imposter. Add to this the fact that the purpose of the rebel was telegraphed almost from the start and Uncanny X-Men #14 earns itself a very respectable 4 out of 5 stars.

Rating: ★★★★☆