Uncanny X-Men Special #1
An issue that celebrates everything fun about comic books and the X-Men.
Context is needed for the events of the series proper in order for the reader to truly enjoy this issue.
Interstellar bounty hunters interrupt a standard training exercise for the Uncanny X-Men in search of a Summers brother. Too bad for them they don’t know just how many exist in the world.
UNCANNY X-MEN SPECIAL #1
Writer: Sean Ryan
Artist: Ron Ackins
Inkers: Norman Lee, Roberto Poggi and Terry Pallot
Colourist: Ruth Redmond
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
SOME SUMMERS SONS
There’s an interstellar bounty hunter and the sub-bounty hunters he has contracted out to do his dirty work, right? There’s also this Uncanny X-Men team and some of the younger recruits have stumbled onto archived photos of their older mentors. Magik says something cryptic in response and so begins Uncanny X-Men Special #1. There is little time left to the team when Cyclops summons his first class of students to “Flight Training” in the “Hangar”.
Fabio, he of the bright golden spherical projectiles, is first up in the flight seat six pages into Uncanny X-Men Special #1. Everything is going well for about a panel until the jet is peppered with projectiles from unknown outside assailants. Sensing that Fabio may not be up to the task, Cyclops takes over control of the jet and lands it more or left safely … in that none of his students perish upon impact. Three bounty hunters (who may even be assassins), proceed to fight for several pages.
As Uncanny X-Men Special #1 continues along the students make it out of the jet and off to safety and it’s really rather fishy that none of the bounty hunters are in pursuit of them. Their only interest lies with Scott Summers – particularly once they’ve dropped a fancy helmet over his entire face that represses his ocular beams (and probably his ability to breathe if you really stop and think about it).
Cyclops is whisked away and Magik arrives to take charge of the students. Here follows a scene where it is revealed that the alien is looking for another Summers brother and not Scott, much to the chagrin of everybody else in the scene. Magik and Emma come up with a plan and it is here that Uncanny X-Men Special #1 takes a bit of a left turn – in the best way possible.
Benjamin and Mindee get sent, undercover, to S.W.O.R.D. in order to retrieve some sensitive information under the guise of being new recruits. Benjamin makes a quit exit to the bathroom where he discovers a giant chewing gum-looking alien-monster-thingie who may or may not be the aforementioned bathroom. It’s so charmingly portrayed that readers will accept the scene almost without question. Under increasing telepathic pressure from Mindee (one of the Stepford Cuckoos), Benjamin finally gets his hands on a free computer and deduces the name of the leader of the bounty hunters: Death’s Head.
Uncanny X-Men Special #1 isn’t over yet. Iron Man shows up, volunteers to help the Uncanny X-Men in their quest. Now it’s over.
Sean Ryan has written such a classically fun, to the point of absurdity, comic book story with this issue that will leave readers looking forward to the conclusion. This story celebrates what is great about the comic book medium, what is great about this cast of characters and keeps every voice authentic to pre-existing beliefs about who these people are. Ryan deserves nothing but praise for his work on these pages.
As with Sean Ryan’s writing, artist Ron Ackins takes what ideas we have about the Uncanny X-Men, steps to the left and presents readers with something different enough to win over the audience. Uncanny X-Men Special #1 is populated by familiar faces in a more minimalist, yet somehow more cartoon-y style.
Everything about it finished, if not utterly grounded in reality, and presented with such finesse that you buy into it as a fully formed world rather than the first issue bearing this exact title. The pink bathroom alien is possibly the sole exception. Pinky is so adorably Doop-inspired it’s sure to appeal to fans of monochromatic floating creators.
Although I will put out there that Magik’s sword has never seemed quite so anime-esque in scale and design as in Uncanny X-Men Special #1.
Uncanny X-Men Special #1 is the light-hearted cousin of the regular Uncanny X-Men title. It takes everything that is serious, flips that around and celebrates it with a sense of reverence that is missing in some comic books right now. It’s an issue absolutely worth picking up.