Uncanny X-Men #5 Review: Survival Of The Fittest Part 5


Uncanny X-Men tries very hard to be the Suicide Squad of the Marvel Universe, but misses the mark.

Uncanny X-Men #5
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Greg Land and Jay Leisten
Colored by Nolan Woodard
Published by Marvel Comics

Last time in Uncanny X-Men: On Genosha, Magneto and the mutant healer Triage do battle with the Dark Riders, who are determined to kill all mutants with healing abilities. Meanwhile, the rest of the Uncanny X-Men are buried alive in Egypt, trying to find a way out.

I so wanted to love Uncanny X-Men, if for no other reason than the title. Because while Extraordinary X-Men has become the new flagship title of the franchise, the name Uncanny X-Men will always represent the group for me and years upon years of great memories.

So when I heard the book was going to become the Suicide Squad of the Marvel Universe, with Magneto forming a group of X-Men who are not above crossing any line to accomplish his mission, I was worried.

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Add in characters like Monet and Fantomex, who I can’t stand, and not knowing which Sabertooth we were going to get this time (The psychotic killer? The reformed B-grade Wolverine?) and Uncanny X-Men was a title that I had little hope for.

But I decided to give it five issues. Five issues to see if this was an idea that could work or would turn out to be a complete waste of my time and money.

So now I can say with authority that Uncanny X-Men, while not nearly as bad as I was expecting, also wasn’t that good either.

Artistically I have no problem with the title, as I am a fan of Greg Land from way back during his days with Crossgen. His style isn’t for everyone and he has plenty of detractors, but to my mind Land’s work is still way better than most of what you see on the shelves these days. His women are gorgeous, his men big and tough and his storytelling second to none.

In other words, an artist who is perfect for drawing comic books.

No, my main problem with Uncanny X-Men is the script and more specifically the characters, all of whom are jerks.

Yes, the entire cast of Uncanny X-Men is made up of jackasses, none of whom are likeable in the least. Monet and Mystique are two sides of the same coin, Magneto and Fantomex are so arrogant that they are annoying while Sabertooth and Archangel are just kind of there, waiting for something to do. And trying to tie the whole thing together is Psylocke, who just doesn’t fit into what Cullen Bunn is trying to accomplish.

If you want to write an X-Men title where the characters kill and be proactive and act ruthless, go all in and give the reader that, like Rick Remender did with X-Force. Don’t half-ass it by trying to be everything to everybody with characters no one cares about.

All that being said, there is potential here. How much I’m not really sure, but I do see some potential in this book.

Related Story: Extraordinary X-Men #8 Review: Apocalypse Wars Part 1

The Bottom Line: Uncanny X-Men is suffering a bit of an identity crisis in the early going, not sure what it wants to be. Plus there are pacing issues and a lack of having a real place in the larger X-Men universe. But I have hope that maybe, just maybe, things can turn around.

It wouldn’t be the first time I spent money on a comic I wasn’t totally in love with and it probably won’t be the last.