UNCANNY X-MEN #16
Writer: BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
Artist: CHRIS BACHALO
Where’s Magneto? It’s a a pretty pertinent question for Cyclops’ team of Uncanny X-Men since…well, as Cyclops put it, “He’s never been gone this long before.” Well, Mr. Summers, good old Magneto is getting his own, long-overdue, solo title, and, as always, that requires a bit of a setup, and what better place to do that than in Magneto’s last book, Uncanny X-Men? And where better to begin an exploration of Magneto’s All-New status quo than taking a brief glimpse into Magneto’s old status quo? And the best part of it is, Magneto’s agenda, despite his recent history, has never really changed.
Brian Michael Bendis does a great job of utilizing several of the elements he’s been building on for 15 issues. While readers already knew Dazzler’s secret, and Mystique’s secret, is was nice to see those secrets come out in some important fashion. This ish also let readers in on exactly what Mystique had up her sleeve with the whole buying of Madripoor deal, and her reveal to Magneto about her “New Mutant Nation” came off as an estranged child seeking prideful approval from an often disappointed father figure. The entire scene was very rewarding for readers, and did a great job of setting up Magneto’s solo title by establishing one very simple fact about Magneto: He’s not yet given up on his dream of a world dominated by mutants. After his character became bogged down in the whole of the events of Marvel’s X-Verse, including everything from Schism, Avengers vs. X-Men, and since, it’s nice to see that Magneto is still the idealistic anti-villain we fell in love with in the first place. As always, Chris Bachalo is as on point with the art as any creator in the industry. When his unique pencils aren’t the highlight of a page, his style ends up stealing the show.
Yes, the name “Uncanny X-Men” may appear on the title of this comic, and although that team of mutants DOES appear briefly in the ish, this it NOT an X-Men book; it’s a Magneto book. While I usually wouldn’t gripe about that fact simply because Magneto is one of my favs, it’s more than bit bittersweet. With Magneto getting his own solo title, coupled with the tone of his absence from the New Xavier School, it probably means he won’t be appearing in Uncanny X-Men for the foreseeable future, which is terrible. Magneto getting his own title is definitely positive, especially considering the quality of this issue, however, with Cullen Bunn on writing duties for the Magneto solo book, I’m certain the quality and style presented in this issue of Uncanny X-Men will not translate. I am not saying that Cullen Bunn is a bad writer, but he is in no way on par with Bendis in quality or style, and this single Magneto-centric issue in no way signifies how good the Magneto book will be. This wouldn’t be a problem had Marvel not suggested otherwise in a last panel solicit for the new title.
Despite this ish of Uncanny X-Men having next to nothing to do with the Uncanny X-Men, and despite it coming off as an inaccurate precursor to something completely different, issue #16 was pretty good. I was entertained throughout by both the story and the art, and, while the ending left me eye-rolling due to the obvious marketing ploys, it’s what a good comic book is supposed to be. If you’ve been reading Uncanny X-Men this ish isn’t going to do much for you, but if you’ve been contemplating giving the new Magneto title a go you should go get this. I’m sure Bendis is going to use Dazzler’s secret, Mystique’s secret, and Madripoor a lot more in this run, and Magneto’s current standing in Marvel’s X-Verse needed a quick refresher prior to the release of that new book. All in all this issue did everything you want a comic book to do, did everything Marvel wanted this comic book to do, and offers a great opportunity for X-Fans to get into a title starring one of the most-beloved mutants of all time. Go pick it up.