Mutants Become The Most Dangerous Game In Uncanny X-Men #20

by Tony Thornley

In the last ten issues, the X-Men have been through a lot. Things started hopeful despite their desperate situation, then took a turn for the bleak. Now, with three issues left in this story, does Uncanny X-Men #20 show a light at the end of the tunnel?

Cover by Whilce Portacio & Erick Arciniega

Matthew Rosenberg, Salvador Larocca, Guru-eFX, and Joe Caramagna put the X-Men in the toughest position they’ve faced since this incarnation of the team came together…

Things are pure chaos for the X-Men. The Upstarts have returned and challenge the team. Dark Beast has discovered a potential solution for the cure. And there’s still the looming threat of Emma Frost and the Hellfire Club…

Rosenberg packs a lot of story into the single issue. In almost any other series, this issue might have been an entire story arc. However, none of it feels rushed or hurried. The action is exciting, while the mysteries and conspiracies that have surrounded the team are fascinating.

Each story beat gets enough room to breathe, and still provides a series to key important character moments to build it up. It all leads to a perfect cliffhanger to set up the climax of this run. On a downside, the packed plot makes the story feel a bit like a “greatest hits” at moments, rather than a coherent story.

Larocca has made a few shifts in his return to the series. He uses less detail, which actually provides for more visual character development, and the opening action scene is exciting, if a bit straightforward. However, some of the anatomy is off, with characters standing awkwardly, or moving stiffly. It’s a mixed bag, generally solid but not perfect. The biggest moments of the issue do land well, so while not perfect, it’s mostly a win.

A ray of hope has appeared for the X-Men. Will they be able to survive?

Uncanny X-Men #20 is available now from Marvel Comics.

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