UNCANNY X-MEN #14
The X-Men are on their downers and so call in some favors from an old friend, Val Cooper. Meanwhile as the two seasoned figureheads catch up with her the rest of the team hunt down another old face from the past Reaper, who just happens to have a way to contact Hope and Banshee. Following a lead from Dark Beast they then follow a trail of bodies that leads to Callisto and Chamber, who holds him to a promise he once made. Killing two birds with one stone, Cyclops takes a job from Cooper and uses the resulting conflict to source a new home for the Morlocks, which gains him a new recruit in Jonothon Starsmore. But just when celebrations begin to get underway an uninvited guest arrives to talk.
Story: With so many cloak and dagger meetings, confrontations and old faces showing up….right until the very last panel…it’s hard to keep pace with the dizzying events of this issue. But it was so very well worth the read. The return of Val Cooper and Reaper, him last seen I think in X-Cell. I absolutely loved this character in the MLF and (original) Exiles, along with Siena Blaze and Juggernaut. Even though he is apparently still depowered despite regaining them thanks to Quicksilver. Though that seems to have been a temporary fix. Val also is a pleasant surprise. Always good to see her. I am hoping this favor was her way of apologising for O.N.E. though it would have been nice for her to at least mention Guido’s passing. Surely Scott mentioned it? Seeing Havok cut loose was again a sight for sore eyes. I never tire of that.
And Jamie going all vicious thug on Reaper was also interesting as it shows he can still play his part. Though letting him get away was disappointing. But then the spooky kids got to have a go, so that was satisfying. And as usual Jamie gets caught out in a bit of self promotion and revealed as not being all he can be. Not sure I’m liking this trend.
Jono gives Shogo to Callisto? It seems maybe a little odd but he is right, Callisto is more than capable of defending him, though the recent events in the Morlock tunnels would maybe dispute that. I’m sure there is a reason. I have trusted everything Rosenberg has done so far, no need to start doubting now. Though I’m glad he’s hitched his wagon to the X-Men once more. And Callisto is on fine form here. Nicknaming Madrox and goading Cyclops about his name, then without missing a beat pointing out that Wolverine chipped her knife.
All of this was worth a laugh to say the least. Can’t believe Jamie has never been called Xerox Boy before. And the X-Men go on to take on the rebels in Chernaya? Meanwhile X-Force are in a similar position in Transia. Shame. Would have been good for the x-family to meet up, but maybe it’s too soon for crossovers.
Art: Salvador and Rachelle give us a great team shot line up here with this cover, one we’ve seen a while ago now in preview art but still quite striking to see. Seriously loving the depiction of the team in their retro suits. The image of them on the hill in almost complete silhouette (as shown above) with just the gold showing was striking. Reminding me of Scott and Jean on the moon during X-Cutioner’s Song. Those images will stay with a person. And on that subject back to the Spooky Kids. I adored seeing them in full ‘don’t mess mode’ as they confront Pantu, even if we didn’t see the action against Reaper. Off panel fights are a little hard to take on but it was still satisfying nonetheless. They almost channelled Rowdy Roddy Piper in They Live. I could almost hear Dani use the line about how they were all out of bubblegum.
I was initially unsure about how Salvador’s art was being blended with the colors thus far. The darkness is suited to the narrative but his style does benefit from more airy and positive light. I’m thinking of his run on Excalibur here. It grew on me swiftly however and it works. It’s a whole new edge to his art which is still new to me. But the imagery of Illyana wielding some serious eldritch energies is making up for it exponentially and the detail is exquisite.
Characters: And on the subject of powers the use of the Transmode Virus to enable Dani to wield her bow and arrow is all good by me. The whole inclusion of the Transmode Virus is going perfectly well overall and on the slow burn. Not least the way poor Rahne is suffering as seen during the attack by Scrambler. While the others seem to benefit from it on the whole. Again I’m sure this will all be resolved, but for now the struggle is intriguing and worthy of exploration.
Remembering the plight of Doug in the early days of New Mutants and the way it used to affect him made for some dark edgy drama and I welcome the inclusion here too. I also love the banter between Dark Beast and Wolvie. Hank is clearly frustrated at being held captive and wants to play, but Wolvie never has patience for small talk and reminds him that the end result of teasing him is never favourable. Though I’m not sure about the completely abhorrent way Dark Beast talks to the kids about their affliction.Though of course this is not at all out of character for him, as he sees anyone like that as beneath him and possibly just wants to open them up and see what makes them tick….maybe he will be the one to remove the virus and cure them? That would be interesting.
Some resoundingly satisfying payback against enemies of the past. As well as touching base with familiar faces and resolving some old issues. Not even one single complaint here.
Uncanny X-Men #14 A Deal with the Devil
- Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10
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