So far this has been the closest we have gotten to a return to form for the X-Men. Well aside from what we got out of X-Men: Red. However, that does not mean that this is a book where you want to let your guard down. Marvel as a whole has a way to go if they want your trust in the direction they are taking the mutants in the MU. It was a cool development to end up with this list of mutant problems for the remaining X-Men to take care of, but there were still some developments along the way that leave you hesitant about obstacles along the way.
Now I’ve seen some people call this story boring, but right now this is the kind of story we need to see from the X-Men. It doesn’t always have to be about the end of the world or the end of the mutant race. What has always engaged us about the world of the mutants is that it all runs so much deeper. You worry about the mutants who cause trouble for the rest, the bigots who cause trouble for mutants as a whole, and you worry about their place in this world. So far since the return of Cyclops, we have been given a solid execution of all three. Who can argue with those results when Purifiers have been slain, evil mutants like Dark Beast put on a leash, and a stronger connection built between X-Men and Morlocks. None of that requires big plotlines or blockbuster action scenes. It just demands an understanding of what the X-Men fight for at the core and seeing this team stay true to their mission statement.
Uncanny X-Men #14 turned out to be a better issue than I thought because the time was put into showing that there was more than one way to look at this list of Cyclops’. It wasn’t just a hit-list for problem mutants or problems for the mutants. This list represented everything that has gone unchecked for quite some time. Say what you want about Cyclops, but the problem was almost never going after the problem before it comes for you. This direction of the story proves that and offers much more when the X-Men are now willing to step a bit out of their comfort zone to do a little more than what it takes to save what’s left of mutantkind.
This issue was also a bit heartbreaking because no punches were pulled to further show how this world was now severely unwelcoming to mutants. The amount of loss you could take in one page was devastating.
Maybe you won’t see some of those troubles just yet, but they have already started planting some seeds that you hope turn out better than feared.I for one had a problem with the bit thrown in between Havoc and Cyclops last month. They create this assumption that Cyclops will slip back into who he was before, and the last thing we need to see is them putting characters like him in a loop. Then there is this imaginary line they are trying to draw for them. There’s only one line that should ever matter when it is a fight for survival. You live, or you don’t. Putting too much emphasis on crossing a line means that we are just waiting for this creative team to throw someone under the bus at some point to shake things up. We should be able to prepare ourselves for more than that.
Another great issue for the art team. For this issue you could see some improvements to the facial expressions for these characters. An important thing for Larroca at this stage of the story when you want to create a sense of engagement with this cast. The colors have excellent depth and intensity to them, but all of that is hard to really focus on if you have one too many moments where the expressions don’t match the words. Fortunately that is getting better with each passing issue. Aside from that, I am enjoying seeing some of these powers captured in new and exciting ways. That goes double for those who have energy based powers. Some of them have a bit more style thrown into the way that their powers work. Especially those like Magik who use seeing blending more magic with her power to create portals.
With the creation of this list, the X-Men have jumped straight into the fire when all that matters is settling the problems that only they can take care of. Uncanny X-Men #14 succeeded in adding some allies, raising the stakes, raising some questions, and settling some scores.