Uncanny X-Men #11 (LGY: #630)
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artists: Salvador Larroca, John McCrea (“Wolverine Returns”), Juanan Ramirez (“The Last Blindfold Story”)
Colorists: Rachelle Rosenberg (Main Story, “The Last Blindfold Story”), Mike Spicer (“Wolverine Returns”)
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga
Cover Artists: Salvador Larroca, Rachelle Rosenberg
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Review by Nico Sprezzatura
After the events of “Disassembled,” the X-Men are presumed to be dead — or most of them, anyway. We learned in last month’s Uncanny X-Men Annual that Cyclops recently came back from the dead thanks to the time-hopping (Kid) Cable, and, in this week’s Uncanny X-Men #11, it seems Scott Summers is ready to make his return known to the world. And he’s not the only recently revived X-Man to make a comeback, either…
Marvel is taking an interesting approach with this new era of X-Men comics. After the aforementioned “Disassembled,” which ran for ten consecutive weeks with an expanded creative team, Marvel spun that story off into two separate branches — the Age of X-Man crossover event (more on that in a bit), and the continuing adventures of Uncanny X-Men, now with a consolidated creative team and a new focus.
Age of X-Man, which started last week, is something of a cross between classic storylines The Fall of the Mutants and Age of Apocalypse. Although it seemed like the X-Men all died at the end of “Disassembled,” what really happened was this: Nate Grey — yet another version of Cable — transported them into a utopian alternate timeline where mutants reign supreme, and none of them remember their true selves from the mainstream Marvel universe.
But little did Nate Grey know, he didn’t transfer all of the X-Men to this new reality, and that’s what Matthew Rosenberg (co-writer of “Disassembled”) is dealing with in his new run of Uncanny X-Men. Scott Summers infamously died in the lead-up to Inhumans vs. X-Men a little over two years ago, but he was revealed to be alive once again in the final issue of last year’s Extermination. After biding his time in the background with (Kid) Cable, the apparent death of his surrogate family has prompted him to come out of the shadows and lead their decimated ranks in the face of increased anti-mutant sentiment. And he’s not alone! As if by fate (read: editorial mandate), Wolverine — who Scott famously clashed with in Schism — is also back and kicking around in the Marvel Universe. With a few more X-Stragglers in tow (e.g. Multiple Man), it’s up to them to protect mutant-kind, or else they risk really losing it all this time.
Rosenberg is something of an X-Men veteran at this point, with prior runs on Astonishing and Multiple Man, and he clearly has a reverent understanding of these characters and their history. The issue begins with Cyclops stating that “every X-Men story is the same,” and while it sounds like a criticism of the cyclical nature of longform storytelling, it does ring true for the X-Men especially. No matter how often things seem to be on the up for them, it always comes crashing back down, but never quite like this. The post-“Disassembled” world of the X-Men bears a striking resemblance to that of the HBO series The Leftovers (or even this summer’s Avengers: Endgame), and it’s a really intriguing angle to explore.
Story-wise, I don’t know how Uncanny X-Men #11 will read for those who aren’t continuity nerds or obsessively keep up with recent canon, but it looks very good. I’m not especially keen on artist Salvador Larroca’s art in general, but I really like how his overall style appears here. It’s super-detailed and realistic, which lends a lot to the story Rosenberg’s script calls for. A climatic double-page splash featuring Cyclops and Wolverine is especially well-done; as the long-awaited reunion between two iconic characters who were dead at the same time, it delivers. Colorist Rachelle Rosenberg helps give a sense of morose griminess to Larroca’s art that enhances the downbeat mood of Rosenberg’s script, as well.
At a whopping sixty pages, Uncanny X-Men #11 adds a few backup stories to justify its hefty $7.99 price tag, but I’m not totally sure either of them are necessary. The first one, “Wolverine Returns,” is mostly just a retelling of the main story from Wolverine’s perspective, which I don’t think stands on its own enough to really be required reading. “The Last Blindfold Story,” however, is a bit more substantive, following up on the titular character’s brief appearance in the main story. If the title seems ominous and foreboding, you’d be correct. I predict it’ll make quite a few people unhappy, putting it politely…
The Verdict: Check it out.
Uncanny X-Men #11 is X-Men-meets-The Leftovers, and, if the hefty $7.99 price tag doesn’t put you off, then you’re in for a somber treat.