Team Cyclops heads over to the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning in Uncanny X-Men #4. Having dispatched the Avengers, Scott leads a recruiting drive — readers can also see it from the All-New X-Men perspective — with Emma Frost reuniting with the Stepford Cuckoos.
The Cuckoos aren’t too happy at first to see their predecessor appearing unannounced after a long absence, but the girls realize what’s happened when Frost can’t read their minds. Exploring Frost’s mind reveals what happened when Phoenix-Cyclops attacked Emma and stole her powers.
Meanwhile, back at the secret headquarters, the new recruits get accustomed to their new home and accidentally activate Magneto’s virtual reality room — a Danger Room-like training compartment the new students have trouble dealing with. When Cyclops and team return with young-Angel and the Stepford Cuckoos, the team has gained a considerable advantage in terms of power, but what awaits them as Magik begins experiencing sudden attacks from demonic forces?
In a nutshell, the issue is another solid entry for the series, and besides being a counter-piece to the aforementioned All-New X-Men issue, it’s interesting in how it’s executed.
Cyclops’ scripts are identical — Brian Michael Bendis wrote both issues — and the big change here is the art. Chris Bachalo’s book goes into the abstract as the Stepford Cuckoos delve into Frost’s mind, and they take advantage of the power they have over her, representing themselves as giants with Frost in their shadow.
Bachalo’s pencils are some of the best the title’s seen so far, and the Danger Room panels are filled with action and detail. Bachalo’s colors are still rather flat, but he knows how to apply the color, giving his characters depth. Excellence seems to be the status quo here as the inks — Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, Al Vey, and Victor Olazara — keep the art contained and defined.
It’s a little strange that Uncanny X-Men is beginning to mirror Bachalo’s old title — Wolverine and the X-Men — but Bendis’s approach to the new mutants, like his approach to the classic X-Men appearing in All-New X-Men, hits the spot with empathetic scripts and characterization.
Uncanny X-Men stays strong, in title and story. Keep it up, team!
Uncanny X-Men #4 (2012)
Words: Brian Michael Bendis
Colors: Chris Bachalo
Inks: Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, Al Vey, Victor Olazaba
Letters: Joe Caramagna