EXCL. PREVIEW: "Avatar: Smoke & Shadow" TPB Threatens the Fire Nation
Following on the heels of All-New X-Men, the first X-title written by Brian Michael Bendis as part of the big Marvel NOW initiative, Uncanny X-Men sees the scribe join with Chris Bachalo to relaunch the mothership. While All-New focuses on the teenage versions of the original X-Men, this title showcases the leader they were brought forward in time to convince that his current actions aren’t kosher. Joined by two former (former?) villains and the diabolical ruler of Limbo, Cyclops goes about recruiting some of the new mutants who have been popping up since the end of Avengers vs. X-Men. Why should Wolverine have all the fun?
Is the new approach revolutionary or revolting? Here are a few opinions from around the web …
Anghus Houvouras, Flickering Myth: “Uncanny X-Men #1 takes us to the other side of the fractured X-Men. Cyclops, Magneto, and a handful of others have taken to recruiting new mutants to be part of their brotherhood. Cyclops still believes mutants need protection from the world around them and is willing to resort to violence if necessary. S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Maria Hill is approached by a mysterious foe who claims to have inside information about Cyclops and his mutant terrorists. Much of the issue is spent catching the audience up on the current state of mutant affairs. It seems that there is a traitor in their midst as someone is intent on seeing Cyclops suffer for his sins.”
Alex Evans, Weekly Comic Book Review: “One of the concerns I had about this book going in was the way it would differentiate itself from All-New X-Men. Yes, I realize it wouldn’t feature the time traveling teens, but Cyclops and his gang have appeared quite a bit in that book such that having them star in this one seemed to be some serious overlap. Thankfully, Bendis quickly dispels this concern. It’s not so much that Cyclops team are front and center, which they are, but rather that the tone of the book has been subtly altered. While part of it may be due to Bachalo’s artwork, with its muddy colors and its lack of distinct, clean lines (as opposed to Immonen and Marquez on All-New), the big reason for this is the subtle change in tone. The book feels more shadowy, more ‘underground,’ and a touch more edgy. The humour isn’t there and the soap opera of All-New is shifted into something that’s a little closer to twisty, spy-thriller dramatics. All-New is the above-ground, flagship story. Uncanny is what happens beneath and on the revolutionary fringes that Cyclops and his team currently occupy.” (B+)
David Pepose, Newsarama: “This comic is also paced verrrrrry differently than the typical Bendis jam. I don’t mind that. He dives into the action quickly, and most importantly, he brings readers quickly up to speed: Cyclops may be hailed as mutant Che Guevara by the public, but he has also lost control over his powerful optic blasts. This one-time Extinction Squad may be more bark than bite these days, but I will be the first to admit that these revelations were a bit more heartfelt during All-New X-Men, when Bendis was showing more than telling.” (10/10)
Vince Ostrowski, Multiversity Comics: “Scott is a better ‘villain’ character here than he ever was in Avengers vs. X-Men, where his possession by the Phoenix Force felt like a shortcut around characterization. Bendis has made Cyclops a philosophical symbol for the mutant revolution in a very authentic and meaningful way, while at the same time dealing with the de-powering of sorts that he experienced in early issues of All-New X-Men. As good as that series is, both sides of the fight stand to gain from splitting that story off into its own series, as there’s definitely enough meat for multiple books. Uncanny X-Men proves that the intrigue of the mutant revolution will be just as interesting as a bunch of time-traveling X-Men from the 60s is.” (9.2/10)
Kelly Thompson, Comic Book Resources: “Fortunately, Bachalo’s highly stylized and wildly enthusiastic art is so enjoyable that even the info dumps are at least pretty to look at. When given the chance to cut loose in the (heavily narrated) action scenes, Bachalo does exactly that — cut beautifully loose. He fills the pages to the brim with gorgeous details and makes storytelling choices that keep things as active as possible. With tilted panels full of kinetic energy his action literally slides off the pages in the most effective of ways. Bachalo does what he can to keep the ten pages of talking heads interesting, but he’s only human, and only so much can be done.” (3.5/5)