UNCANNY X-MEN #8
As Beast confronts the culprit of the purloined mutant cure, the displaced kids get to grips with the weighty dilemma of kill or be killed in the Age of Apocalypse and the X-Men discover where Kitty has been this whole time and with whom she has been held captive. And when the dust settles they discover Apocalypse isn’t even the worst thing that can happen.
So whereas the original AOA we all know was an alternate reality caused by the intervention of Legion in the past, this one is an ersatz reality, literally created by him as a trap to keep the x-kids in and not the ‘real’ one we have seen in the past. Which now explains why it was so empty and soulless. And so all of the time the children were away was but a blink of an eye.
You and me both Bish. Which begs the question… could that whole last issue not have been covered in a few pages? It’s not as if it was rich in plot and made us sympathise with their plight, unlike what we saw this issue. Despite some unnecessary confrontations, by which I mean the rehashed fight with the Horsemen and the inevitable confrontation with Poccy himself, this issue had some solid thinking behind it with some weighty consequences and quite thought provoking moral dilemmas. And much as I have reservations about many of Kitty’s decisions of late, this one has a solid foundation. And given the resulting change in status of Legion and Nate I’m inclined to agree with her. Although clearly Apocalypse interprets her reasoning completely wrong, her justification is that of the strategist we have been missing for so long….this is the REAL Gold.
The description by Kitty of the ‘literal Children of X-Men’ is not just hyperbole here, or one taken lightly. The sons of Xavier and Cyclops both (admittedly an alternate Earth in one case) raises the question of who the X-Men fight and also who they are fighting FOR. The power of these two alone is what the mutant hating population fear the most and it is as such the crux of the whole ethos behind the fight they face every day and I think this will be the driving force behind the series upon the return of Cyclops when this arc is done. Also the question returns of the mutant cure. And although it has been argued that much like the ‘almost’ return of the Legacy Virus in Gold *rolls eyes* this too is just a rehash, this time the morality of it is the driving force of the plot here. Especially when you consider who it was that dropped the cure into the public domain in the first place, as well as the fallout of that decision and the questions it raises.
Onto the art. I’m actually loving the almost textless covers….can we keep them? And this one by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Roberto Poggi delivers a truly awesome sight. It’s not often Bishop gets the spotlight on action led covers and here I feel it is deserved and a worthy one. Also there are some extremely dynamic images within this issue. Putting aside the obvious and highly sensational closer and cliffhanger of the union in the finale, I want to focus more on those more character driven moments as the emotion is wrung out of every expression by the duo that is R.B. Silva and Adriano Di Benedetto. Beast confronting Anole in the medlab for one thing is showing some gravitas here. The motivation may be unclear but the anguish caused is writ large on his face. This will obviously unfold and reveal why he did it and I for one can’t wait to see his reasoning.
As well as the personal struggle going on here we also have the action sequence concerning the confrontation elsewhere, also having a major impact on the narrative. Firstly the pondering of Iceman mid fight with the Horsemen. And although I felt the fight itself was a little repetitive given it’s been done already on several occasions in this arc, it was of course inevitable and gave some ground for the conclusive discussion points raised by both sides and actually fit the theme and gave some humorous asides to the battle.
And as with that fight the other one going on in the world created by Legion was also full on. With the whole ‘Army of Me’ scenario of Legion as the big boys go up against each other, giving the backdrop for some more exposition and moral posturing as Armor and Pixie bicker. These two clearly oppose each other in their reasoning. But all of that is overshadowed by Nate and David, who could literally shake the world to it’s core in a match up and here we can see that spark igniting in their confrontation.
And in the action stakes there is no imagery more dramatic than Betsy spearing into a persons brain with the dagger and now the sword makes it that much more visceral. Especially when it is a willing victim as is the case here with poor Bishop. The image of the double spiking was interesting to see and gave new drama to the visual.
And speaking of Bishop, I too at first had a similar jaw dropping incredulous reaction to his reasoning, much as Armor did. But in hindsight I actually think it is much more logical than I first gave it credit for. Who else could be a spokesperson in making bad judgement calls than one who has been down that road? I am actually loving his character development of late. Both here and in Iceman’s series he is beginning to become a person I can actually relate to and appreciate at last.
Oh but he is Nate. However I have a slight problem with other arguments raised in this issue. Specifically with Apocalypse attempting to kill Legion and not recruit him, when his credo is survival of the fittest. Clearly fittest doesn’t include Omega level mutants now? While choosing mutants like Autumn, Caliban and even Sunfire in the past, who were let’s face it each somewhat lesser, weaker willed or physically crippled to say the least at that time. And yet ignoring the admittedly unstable but potentially much more powerful Legion is the ultimate in short sightedness.
Or maybe it’s just that he’s scared he couldn’t control him, which says more about the strength of Legion and actually throws Apocalypse into the role of the weak. And though I was a little unconvinced by the MCU Infinity War reference of Glob, I did feel it had a little pathos to it all the same. The poor guy had clearly seen the potential of his power development totally ripped away from him as if woken from a dream and so I felt a little sorry for the guy.
Aside from these two little niggles this was a solid issue and a return to form. The previous issue was clearly filler and a little sidestep we can thankfully either ignore or just see as a teaser to the main event itself in Age of X-Man.
Back on track at last with some pretty demonstrative points raised and a return to what the X-Men are all about.
Uncanny X-Men #8 Battle of The Children of The X-Men
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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