UNCANNY X-MEN #16
No sooner do the X-Men deliver the MLF to the tender mercies of El Capitan America than they deal with some serious issues of leadership and Rahne decides to leave. Then it’s full steam ahead in a fight to the literal death with a new Brotherhood of Familiar Faces. When some surprise faces join the fray allegiances are switched and at least two people are taken off the board.
After the shot in the eye that we already had to deal with, this was another curve ball or ten. Shocking results all round to be sure, but at least it delivered the full on drama that Rosenberg has filled every issue with so far. Maybe not to everyone’s taste, but there’s no denying he sure knows how to shake things up. And it’s really let the cat amongst the pigeons. Joseph has been absent so long that many people forgot he and Astra were even still alive. Not me. Seeing him up to his old tricks acting on Magneto’s behalf was an obvious ploy once it was revealed he wasn’t the real deal. A stunt he’s played at before in Magneto: Not A Hero. But that’s the last time he pulls that one. And we got the pay-off we never had in the previous volume in Uncanny X-Men #19, with the face off between the REAL Magneto and Psylocke.
Ouch. That’ll leave a mark. And the battle itself was great drama and the art did a fine job of keeping it fluid and not allowing for confusing panels or placement. Though I did think battle strategy was lacking a little in Cyclops as he let fly a left hook on Pyro. Keep that guard up Scott. Banshee going full on with a sonic scream was visually much more appealing as we see his power signature in full bloom. All made strikingly effective by the coloring. And again Magik had another grandstanding moment, utilising her stepping discs to full effect. I am loving the focus she is getting in the action.
For those who aren’t fans of cerebral heavy lifting and can’t take the nuance and subtext of Age of X-Man this is hardly what I’d call a respite. And my mind was reeling enough anyway with all the action, which was a full on adrenalin rush. It has so many arrivals and departures it was hard to keep track. Right off the bat it was clear we were in for a rough ride as Juggernaut made his reappearance. Vague as it was it was clearly obvious who was involved, but the reasoning eluded me at first.
And this was before the part where he asks to be an X-Man again. I had to wonder at the logic of allowing him back on the team, but I suppose in times like these beggars can’t be choosers and if it’s good enough for Hope, then who can say. And to top it off the random return of Random caused me a double take as well, though Kwannon’s return was no surprise and I’ve been waiting for this since Hunt for Wolverine: Mystery in Madripoor. And it was clear from the cover, which was stunning by the way and a slight notch above the art inside. But the next shocking appearance was a complete revelation. When Dani was seen in both Age of X-Man and also here I was certain there was no mistake and there was a game plan, because something fishy is definitely going on there and one of them is clearly a red herring. But even I was unsure about the arrival of “Magneto”. At first I did wonder if Rosenberg had not been keeping track and gotten excited at the whole X-Men: The Animated Series opening sequence of it all. Admit it, you heard that theme tune too when they made that entrance.
But it soon settled into the standard of the run so far, with the tempo being kept up and the drama keeping everyone on their toes. It also keeps the action going and ensures you don’t have to overthink things, which will be reassuring for some. Though not for those who have those favorites among the New Mutants or X-Factor roster. Pssst…note to writer…you got the wrong redhead. And the death of Rahne came out of left field for me, I was expecting Jamie. Personally I didn’t want either to go and hoped for Hope. But we can’t have it all. Seems Rosenberg is gunning for Peter David’s line-up. First Guido now Rahne? Watch out Jamie you could still be next.
The way Dani was the one who picked up on Rahne’s fate was smoothly handled and a great reintroduction to not only their bond but also her Valkyrie death sense power all in one go. Which seems to have returned since expunging the Transmode Virus that is Warlock…where was he in all this by the way? But it affected her the same way it did me. The sheer unadulterated gut punch of the finale left me staggered and I had to read again to be sure. Rule of thumb for me though is no body no death. There is more to this than meets the eye True Believers. Something bigger is afoot here. Trust me on that!!! And with Rahne taken out of the picture off panel she is quickly and surreptitiously replaced by Hope. Oh the humanity. She didn’t get my vote despite this new democratic way of doing things.
Hope also seems to be be incapable of hearing the irony of her own words as she asks about Random switching his allegiances. And Mirage was as exasperated at her as I was when she demanded she didn’t shoot his head off. And as much as Hope was being hypocritical about the duplicity of Random you also have to wonder at the sheer audacity of Allerdyce. Kettle calling the pot black much? You’re a fine one to talk about being dead. I did enjoy the chat between Joseph and Karma before the end, this reminding everyone what is crucial to being an X-Man. She also put a new spin on that old “I didn’t miss, I wasn’t aiming for you” bait and switch.
Not sure how this voting scenario is going to affect things in the future….if there is a future after this issue #22 business. I also think it will be short lived if the debacle of this battle is the end result. Rahne’s death at the very least should make them rethink that strategy. And the offhand way Cap is being written here is a little off key in comparison to the way he’s being handled by Waid in his own title. But I’m willing to let that slide as it is more relevant to the way the X-Men seem to be portrayed as the runt of the litter once more. And just what WAS written on that note Steve handed Scott?
This one got me right in the feels. The takedown of two characters, at least one of them well loved, will not be an easy pill to swallow. Denial sounds like Danielle.
Uncanny X-Men #16: Heads Will Roll For This
Writing - 7.5/107.5/10
Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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