It stung feeling as though the previous issue was a letdown. The X-Men are almost always facing uphill challenges, but that doesn’t mean that they always have to be falling apart. It was an issue that came up short, and didn’t meet the expectation of us finding out what Emma Frost has been up to all of this time. I mean, it goes without saying that the cover image should match what you get out of the interior. That was not the case now, but it seems that is certainly the case with Uncanny X-Men #19.
The big appeal of this issue of Uncanny X-Men was the break that we were able to take from everything else that has happened up to this point. It was fun to see that even while the X-Men were struggling, she was still out there trying to fight back in her own way. That might not be springing into action to fight bad guys anymore, but it was good to know that she had strings to pull if things weren’t progressing to her liking. It was even better understanding where she was when things for the mutant community were at their darkest. One does not simply hide from the cure that was being spread, or the mutants who were finding it more dangerous than ever to be out in the public. The explanation was satisfying, and her situation was unique. You would not have expected her to run into the kind of trouble she did, or still somehow be able to take advantage of being the most clever person in the room.
For those who forgot how formidable Emma Frost could be, this issue was a strong reminder. Especially when realizing once more that she is more than her powers. I was even quite surprised by the company she was keeping. She of course needed to be able to rebuild her own Hellfire Club, and chose some names that you haven’t seen in some time. At least one who you wouldn’t have thought would help her in whatever her goals may have been. Truth be told, that same person I’m referring to could actually have been assumed to be dead up till now.
What made this issue engaging as well was the little things here and there that we were able to see from a different perspective. Emma is not someone you expect to just enjoy like from the shadows. She’s going to still do what she does best, even if the others don’t agree with her methods. Certain things that seemed a bit off suddenly made sense. This includes the reason why both Cyclops and Wolverine are the only ones to forget about Emma Frost altogether. The reason behind that wasn’t anything too big, but it was something worth recognizing for the good that you can still see in her.
I enjoyed the artwork for this issue. This was also a big improvement over the quality of interior work that we got last issue. When it comes to a book like this, clearly putting their best on it isn’t the biggest priority, but it should be when this is one of the most prominent X-books ongoing at this time. There was more form to the pencils, better attention to details, proportions, perspective. All the things that wouldn’t create distractions for you as you immerse yourself into the story. The greatest appeal for the artwork was the focus put into Emma and all of her changing expressions. This is a woman of many faces and all tell a different story about the kind of mutant you are dealing with. The look of being broken, of having overwhelming confidence, or just the look of being the one in charge. Emma is fun because you expect the unexpected from someone who knows how to play a good game.
Uncanny X-Men #19 was a big step up from the issue before. Focusing just on Emma Frost and the role she plays in all of this madness was refreshing. A new set of problems and seen from a different angle to what the X-Men are dealing with. And with next month’s issue things are only going to get more interesting when more of her bold actions come back to bite her. How will she get out of this one? That is the big question!