[Comic Review] The Reading — Uncanny X-Men #24

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In Uncanny X-Men #24, it’s James Logan who says the words fan have been waiting to hear.

Now that Charles Xavier’s last will and testament have been received, Scott Summers’ presence is required before Jennifer Walters can begin with the procedures of fulfilling Xavier’s wishes. It’s starkly clear how high the stakes are.

So when Angelica Jones asks, “What does that mean for us?” Logan answers with these sweet, sweet words.

“It means we’re gonna settle this thing with Summers once and for all.”

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Split into various camps after the Avengers went against the X-Men, the mutant population has been divided over one key issue — To be or not to be on Team Cyclops.

And with all of these X-Men titles coming out every month, the underlying and central conflict has bubbled under the surface waiting to be resolved. Charles’ tragic death at Cyclops’ possessed hands have made friends into enemies, and it looks like it’s time for a good ol’ reckoning. The X-Men — a team that’s meant so much to so many people struggling with issues of separation, identity, and acceptance — might finally settle their own differences and come back together.

And to anyone who thinks that, I’ll quote Magik who responds to a similar notion.

“Kitty, please.”

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After Hank McCoy admits he’s known about Summers’ secret hideout the entire time, the X-Men of the Jean Grey School make a surprise visit. We already know how Beast and Wolverine feel about their former commander, and while Storm seems like she’s more irritated with the circumstances, it’s Iceman’s reaction that feels the most raw and unexpected. Faced with the reality that Xavier is gone, Bobby’s codename becomes very fitting as he steels his emotions.

Not that Summers is jumping at the chance to see his embittered former teammates. At first he thinks the will reading is a ruse set up to capture him, but Magik and Jean Grey both confirm the truth. And while the common theory is that Xavier will hand the school to his most favorite student, the truth will surprise everyone.

I, for one, am hopeful of some sort of resolution. The drama between the X-Men has created awesome plot points, but the Cyclops issue has become ripe and ready for some major developments. Brian Michael Bendis has given readers plenty of content these past few years to stir the pot, and I’m excited to see what he comes up with.

The secrets yet to be revealed better be worth it — we know Xavier’s gone through some difficult and twisted methods in his quest for world peace, and whatever he’s begun laying out here already sounds way out of left field, and in a good way. If it’s true that Xavier married Raven Darkholme, there’s got to be a good reason. Right?

Right?!

Uncanny X-Men #24 has a balanced script that shows us what both sides feel. There are those who hate Cyclops for what he did, and there are those who support Cyclops for what he means to do. The dynamics within those two camps are also very different. While the Jean Grey School X-Men cope with loss, hatred, and their purpose in the world, Cyclops’ Uncanny X-Men seem much more united, purposed, and grounded. The former seems like the old guard, falling apart at the seams, while the latter resembles a scrappy underdog dug in against an insurmountable challenge.

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And together, they’re about to realize something that will change the status quo. The cliffhanger is incredibly loaded, and readers have until next issue to posit theories and scan the pages for clues.

Besides the words, Uncanny X-Men #24 has something else going for it. Kris Anka’s artwork has been great on some issues and a little sparse on others — on this particular book, it’s his best yet. Panels are consistent with a heavy emphasis on facial expressions that give us insight into what’s better left unsaid. There’s a polish to the artwork — lines and colors — that gives this issue a cohesive and concerted effort that results in something incredibly attractive. The caricatures are largely gone — instead we get tempered panels that lead us from one visual beat to the next with steady rhythm. I really enjoy Matthew Malloy’s scene with Maria Hill, which is understated yet craftily constructed. Malloy has a burgeoning power, and it looks like he’s being set up for a huge presence in this current story arc.

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If I had to choose one gripe, it’s with the cover. Yes, we know Dazzler is feeling a little darker, but this issue wasn’t about her. At all. Maybe that’s why they put her front and center as if to remind us that something important is happening in her sphere of the story, but I’d rather the covers represented something directly pertinent to the issue’s story at hand.

That said, Uncanny X-Men #25 could drop a huge bomb that could either distract us from the Cyclops plot or intensify it. I’m for either as long as we get a good story, and so far I’m waiting with bated breath to see what comes.


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Uncanny X-Men #24 (2013)
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Marvel
Words: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Kris Anka
Words: Joe Caramagna

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