Mysteries Abound In Uncanny X-Men #1

by Tony Thornley

Since its announcement, Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men #1 has been treated like a big deal. And rightfully so, since it is. Uncanny X-Men has been out of circulation for almost a year and a half, so its return is an event.
Uncanny X-Men cover
It was only fair for the title’s story to be an event. In 63 pages, the creative team gives us the first chapter in a very frightening new chapter for the X-Men. It’s only fitting to have a great creative team as well–writers Kelly Thompson, Matthew Rosenberg, and Ed Brisson, artists Mahmud Asrar, Mirko Colak, Ibraim Roberson, Mark Bagley and Andrew Hennessey, color artists Rachelle Rosenberg and Guru-FX, and letterer Joe Caramagna, with the primary cover by Leniel Yu.
[**Spoilers ahead!]

The issue is split between two stories. In the first, the X-Men find themselves under attack by a mysterious force that injures several young members of the team and kidnaps Kitty Pryde. In the second, Jean Grey, Storm, Bishop, Anole and Armor find themselves faces to face with a threat they don’t understand with mysterious portents about the future.
If that sounds like a lot of mysteries… it is. However, this is a major return to form for the X-Men, so that’s to be expected. The thing about it, though, is that it’s more than the mystery, and that’s what makes it good.
Thompson, Rosenberg and Brisson craft a story that’s as much about the characters as it is the mystery. We care about Jean Grey, about Jamie Madrox, about Idie Okonkwo all equally, no matter their screentime, and that’s what clicks best. The action and mystery would feel hollow and empty without it, and that’s what a good X-Men story needs to work.
Preview page from Uncanny X-Men #1
Asrar’s work on the lead story shines. He takes the script’s beats, whether emotional or action-based, and really makes them sing. The fight against Madrox that wraps the issue is able to be exciting and give us solid character beats simultaneously. Rosenberg’s color work really brings it to life as well.
Colak, Roberson, Bagley and Hennessey’s work on the back-up stories is complementary to the lead story. Each artist fits the style of their chapter’s lead character, shifting from gritty noir, to character drama, to superhero adventure. It builds over the course of each chapter, drawing us in until the final page.
After a year and a half of a much more narrow focus in the X-line, this is a breath of fresh air for any fan. This is X-Men at their best, and we hope the team survives the experience.
Uncanny X-Men #1 is available now from Marvel Comics.

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