Uncanny X-Men #14 succeeded in adding some allies, raising the stakes, raising some questions, and settling some scores. Right now it is good to have an X-Men story that shakes things up with bigger stakes, and a stronger character focus. Everything just comes down to tapping into the potential of the X-Men getting back to dealing with their own problems.
Throwing Captain America into this story was a big play if you ask me. Some cliffhangers will catch you off guard, but this one you couldn’t have seen coming so early into this new chapter for the X-Men. With that said, there was only two ways that this could go. This could have been a civil visit, or it could have been Steve Rogers coming to tell Scott to stop what he’s doing before things get worse. Fortunate for us it went the way that you would expect for a Cyclops who is trying a new approach to leading. While anyone could appreciate the bold and confrontational Cyclops, this was one of those times to show that he still knows how to make conversation. Not to mention the takeaway from this conversation added some appeal to the working relationship between Scott and Logan who both have been more reasonable than usual, while at the same time on the same page.
What I enjoyed about this issue is that they didn’t drag out this problem with the Mutant Liberation Front. Since this story began, the pacing has been on point. It has always gone from one thing to the next without dragging anything out longer than need be. This was one of those times that was commendable for the execution and the thrill of the X-Men dealing with a problem that would have set them back very far. All of it was worthwhile because this was also another good time to show what goes through the minds of the mutants who are still out there trying to fight for their place in this world. The MLF might be doing it the wrong way, but all the same they represent that corner of the mutant community that isn’t ready to go down without a fight. The way all of this led into the reveal of how these events transformed Hope was worth the wait in the end. She’s not a character you get to see too often fighting with mutants. She never really jumps into the leadership role, and never truly shows that she has a stake in anything outside of her own needs. It was chilling to see what happens when Hope tightens her belt to make some hard calls.
How Scott and Logan personally handled the problem of the MLF was probably the biggest shocker. To say that they took mutant problems – mutant solutions to new levels was an understatement. It was an exciting scene.
I only found one thing predictable about this chapter, and that was seeing where things already could go wrong for this team and this list. Since that first target on their list, we’ve been getting subtle nudges about where there is fault in this plan. Especially when said wildcard should always be one that you are prepared to put down before becoming a problem. With that said, we still haven’t quite reached that point, but you still feel like that moment is always right around the corner. Till then, I did like what more Dark Beast could bring to the table. He performed some wonders that will leave you both relieved and chilled.
What can I say about the artwork this issue that I haven’t said before? This time around I believe what I loved was that despite this being another issue with heavy action, there was some effort from this art team put into capturing the gritty side of the mutant world. These aren’t people or heroes who you expect to pull punches, and they didn’t. There was some flashy, but there was at the same time some things that the blood pumping when the claws came out and bullets started flying. It was one thing to see an image of Cyclops shot on the cover, and another thing to actually see that moment play out in the issue. If there could be one correction, it is only the panels where the perspective of some faces would be off slightly. These things do show when the eyes aren’t level or proportion a bit off.
Overall, Uncanny X-Men #15 was a roller coaster of emotions experienced in a short amount of time. There was action, some loss, and some surprisingly hopeful moments. Anyone who says that this story is boring is probably out of their minds. This is the kind of engagement we need from our mutants when they are fighting for their future.