Uncanny X-Men #8 (Marvel)

UXmen8

Rating: 4/5 – Familiar and longstanding X-Men themes done well

After the last few issues of Uncanny X-Men this issue serves more as a quiet moment in between the action.  It spends a lot of time focusing on character with both new and old X-Men.  It also spends time focusing on what’s been a staple for X-related book since their inception; how people are different and how others will react both good and bad to those differences.  Although the exploration of this theme has been a focal point of X-Books for years, this issue presents those themes in a familiar yet compelling and interesting way.

This issue is full of different mutants learning how to either cope with their newfound powers, or in the case of Magneto and Cyclops, dealing with how to fix their powers since being broken from their exposure to the Phoenix force from last year’s Avengers vs. X-men series.  Writer Brian Michael Bendis has always been strong with character development and dialogue and he puts both these strengths on display in this issue.  In the storie’s opening, we see a new mutant being escorted home by Cyclops and Emma Frost, as the school and dangers from previous issues were all just too much for him.  It’s a simple plot point, but through the dialogue, Bendis is able to capture that feeling of being overwhelmed and having a lack of confidence.  Bendis makes you relate and feel for this character.

In a later scene we see another new mutant pop up that is exploring his new powers.  During his exploration we see how those who can’t understand what’s happening to him, from loved ones to complete strangers come to terms with him being different and going through change.  Again, common themes that we’ve seen in X-Books before, but Bendis makes it unique by focusing on character and true believable dialogue.  The interactions feel genuine.  They feel real. There are also some really funny moments in the last scene that adds to the overall enjoyment of the issue, giving some of the serious topics covered a more lighthearted feel.  Unfortunately, if you’re not a long time X-Men fan the last page cliffhanger won’t have much of an impact.  For those that do, it adds an additional opportunity for Bendis to revitalize another strong female lead in the Marvel Universe.

If you’re looking for a book with action(and you’d think that there might be some from the misleading cover), this is not that book.  That’s what makes this issue strong.  It’s an issue full of character moments and it’s one of the strongest issues of Uncanny X-Men yet.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas – shawn@comicspectrum.com
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