Comic Book Review: Uncanny X-Men (2013) #31

Details: Published by Marvel. Official site is http://marvel.com/comics/issue/52876/uncanny_x-men_2013_31

Bachalo, like Coipel, is one of the few comic book artists whose books I will read unconditionally. While not as crisp as Coipel and more cartoony, his frenetic style adds much to a book. Since the beginning of this renumbered Uncanny X-Men series, Bachalo’s art has done exactly what it always does and put the Uncanny X-men on my must read list.

*There be spoilers ahead.*

Speaking of this latest incarnation of the Uncanny X-men as a whole, the series has been very entertaining. Seemingly swapping places with Wolverine, Cyclops has become the bad boy of the X-Men world, not evil but not good either. The X-Men have split into two schools. One led by Cyclops which chooses to teach a new generation of mutants about the cruelty and harshness of being mutants. The other led by Wolverine who seeks to prepare young mutants for the world while maintaining their youthful innocence, to a degree. While both schools oppose each other, they are not enemies. However, the biggest rift between the schools is in regards to Charles Xavier’s recent death, largely caused by Cyclops (he was under the control of the Phoenix so not entirely his fault). Wolverine’s school generally blame Cyclops for Xavier’s death.

Which brings us to the current story arc. She-Hulk shows up and seeks to enforce Xavier’s last will and testament, which requires the presence of all X-Men from both schools. In the will, Xavier reveals that there is a mutant he has kept hidden all these years who is powerful enough to destroy the world. Xavier kept the mutant under control by placing psychic blocks in the mutant. With Xavier dead, the will asks the X-Men to take care of the mutant.

To make a long story short, Cyclops tries to teach the mutant to control his powers, things go to hell, and the mutant kills almost all the X-Men. One of the mutants, who time travels, goes back in time and, along with a younger Charles Xavier, change history so that the mutant was never born. Xavier goes back to his time and erases his own memories of the event and the time traveling mutant comes back to the present to tell Cyclops what transpired. They also warn Cyclops to get his shit together. Cyclops (finally) does and asks that Wolverine’s school take all the mutant from his school, thereby closing his school and walking off to figure out his craziness.

Score 6/10 Overall, a good issue with great Bachalo art. The story is fine. I just hate the use of time travel in almost any context. It’s a narrative cop out. A deus ex machina which allows the writer to retroactively change or invalidate the story they just told, which is what happened here. Time travel, fix everything, then nothing. The last few issues were a fun read but were absolutely pointless in that they never happened in the continuity. The only meaningful thing is that Cyclops finally got less crazy, which suggests many interesting possibilities for the future of the X-Men. The cover is also deceptive and has nothing to do with the story.

On a side note, I sincerely hope Marvel/Disney is not ending the X-Men books in some petty attempt to hobble the X-Men movies. If they are, then they are being childish and showing incredible pettiness for trying to hobble someone else’s success, and Fox has been extraordinarily successful with the X-Men movies. Hey Marvel, Fox bought your movie rights when you were about to go bankrupt. They gave you a lifeline. They also made one of the first comic book movies (the first X-Men), largely contributing, if not solely responsible for making comic book movies mainstream. Get over it. Plus, everyone likes Hugh Jackman. He was great in Les Miserables and he’s a great Wolverine. Let it go, Marvel. Success shouldn’t bother you anyway.

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