UNCANNY X-MEN #20
Brian Michael Bendis (WRITER) • Chris Bachalo (ARTIST)
Artist Variant by Adi Granov
• Cyclops and his revolutionary X-Men take on SHIELD!
• They get closer to finding those at SHIELD responsible for the Sentinels that nearly killed them, but find themselves in even greater danger!
Since Brian Michael Bendis left his long run on the Avengers and took over writing duties on Uncanny X-Men, his presence has certainly been felt on the book. He’s taken an edgier, Dark Avengers sort of approach with this team, and it really works in the context of the whole mutant fallout between Cyclops and Wolverine. Cyclops and his team being portrayed as a group of terrorists has opened up a lot of opportunities for interesting interactions, new mutant introductions, and tactics no X-Team has the nerve to use in the past. While this all makes for a pretty fun single comic book issue, Bendis’ overall story just isn’t going anywhere, and it’s starting to become a problem.
Bachalo’s art, first and foremost, is spectacular. He just gets everything about these characters, and he especially shines with his work on colors with background washes doing an amazing job of setting the mood. Bendis, as always, shines on his character representations and interactions, and there’s some great stuff in here. Cyclops using his psychic hive mind students to get over on Maria Hill in more ways than one in a singularly creative piece of writing was brilliant to behold, Mystique’s shenanigans in Madripoor and her doppelganger stylings ad some great intrigue to the whole thing, and Cyclops and Beast having a showdown on the grounds of the Jean Grey School were all just so well done and so greatly entertaining that it made this book a highly enjoyable read. The fact remains that the book hasn’t really gone anywhere, and I’m getting tired of going in circles.
Bendis has his own special style of writing, and it definitely involves a lot of the same stuff, presented in a different way, over and over again. We saw it throughout his run on New Avengers, and we’re beginning to see that here in Uncanny X-Men. Oh there’s certainly stuff going on, but it’s the same stuff that’s been going on for the last few issues or so. I’m thoroughly enjoying seeing Mystique do her thing, S.H.I.E.L.D. hunt Cyclops and his gang, the drama of expelled students, and even the constant interaction between two teams of mutants who claim to utterly detest each other, but it’s pretty much the only damned thing that has happened, and I want to see a payoff to the story that isn’t just more of the same.
I’m sincerely torn. Although Bendis has given us a really entertaining comic in this Uncanny X-Men run, I’m ready for it to move on with the story it is telling. I’ve had enough build-up, and, like a game of Jenga that goes on too long, if a story builds too much it can topple. So, I’m going to base my score on those feelings, hope beyond hope that the story gets to where it’s going really soon, but continue to judge Bendis exactly how he comes.
Story: 3.0 Out of 5
Art: 4 Out 5
Overall: 3.5 Out of 5