MAJOR SPOILER WARNING!!!
So I kind of consider myself a Claremont X-Men purist. I grew up in the 80’s and was addicted to the decades spanning X-Men run of Chris Claremont. To me that is and has always been the Bible of X. The stories from that era were timeless and remembered. Everything that came afterwards to me was decent but it never really drew me in. Blame it on life or growing up or whatever but the books that shaped my world as a child are not today’s X-Men books.
That being said I’ve been reading the latest incarnation of Uncanny X-Men. The first 10 issue story arc of Disassembled, to me, was every popular X-Men story line trope thrown into one story. It had all the major Omega players in the game, Legion, X-Man, Apocalypse and like most of those stories, it ended in an alternate universe; Age of Apocalypse, Age of X, and now Age of X-Man.
Why is it whenever we have a major X-Event now it ends up in an alternate universe??
Then I picked up issue 11 of Uncanny. I read it after I read Age of X-Man: Alpha and after Marvelous X-Men. While those two stories were more of the standard alternate universe fare, Uncanny X-Men #11 brought something to the table I haven’t seen in a long, long time: the consequences and the remainder.
So Uncanny 11 starts off following Scott Summers. He’s looking for the X-Men. He’s at Harry’s Hideaway, a staple of X-Lore. He’s approached by Blindfold who shows up and cryptically tells him something bad’s gonna happen then leaves. He travels to the Morlock tunnels and encounters Callisto and then Chamber who’s now apparently running the Morlocks. Chamber tells him to hit the bricks as he’s not wanted in the tunnels. Next up Scott encounters Madrox who agrees to help Scott find Blindfold so he can get some answers to his cryptic message. Jamie reluctantly agrees and I’ll discuss more about this later.
Eventually Scott ends up at a Humanity rally. He calls out the senator running the show and as the red laser beams fly, Captain America shows up. Cyclops accuses Cap of not being there for mutants and then literally tells him to go fuck himself. He then proceeds to announce on live television that he’ll be at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters (or what remains of it) waiting for any and all remaining X-Men to meet him there. Instead it paints a big ole’ target on his back and the Reavers, the Purifiers and the Sapien League (?) are there to cash the check his mouth wrote. In this case Cyclops lucks out cause waiting in the wings with a giant SNIIIIIKKKTTTT (that echoes across the page) is Wolverine; the real Wolverine, not Old Man Logan or X-23 or Albert the Wolverine robot or even the future or past Wolverine that got left in a cave somewhere during Age of Ultron, actual 616 Logan. They quickly dispatch the human and cyborg mutant haters and decide it’s time to put the band back together. The pencils by Salvador Larroca and colors by Rachelle Rosenberg are outstanding and set the perfect dark gritty tone needed.
The second story in the book is about Wolverine. It’s a juxtaposed view of how Logan was following Scott and doing all the same things he had done just in typical Wolverine fashion. First he encounters teenage Cable who’s there to ask Logan to keep an eye on Cyclops (no pun intended). He tells Logan something bad’s coming but doesn’t know what and that they need to stick to the script. Logan heads to Kansas to talk to Layla Miller who knows almost nothing and then to the Morlock tunnels where he sees a bunch of bodies then kills off the agents of O.N.E. before he talks to Callisto. I couldn’t tell if the bodies he found were from a O.N.E. mutant massacre. Upon leaving he runs into the almost forgettable Velocidad who tells him he needs to find Blindfold. She finds him and gives him the same cryptic warnings she gave Cyclops. He ends up at the same Humanity rally Cyclops was at but instead of Cap, runs into Black Widow and Bucky and then leaves when all hell breaks loose. We see him show up in Westchester and wait in a tree as Cyclops gets accosted by the Reavers & friends. The story ends with him popping his claws and jumping in to help Cyclops. This story is penciled by John McCrea and colored by Mike Spicer. The art reminds me of the older Wolverine books from 1988 and Marvel Comics Presents. The gritty tone of the book continues.
So as I mentioned earlier I would talk more about Cyclops finding Blindfold in his story.
He does find her.
Dead in a bathtub from suicide.
The third story tells the story of Blindfold and her part in all of this. She warns both Cyclops and Wolverine of what’s to come. In fact right after Wolverine leaves her place is when she kills herself. It shows how a mutant with the ability to see the future, the present and the past all at once just… breaks.
She’s seen her own death and makes the choices up until that death to make her life exactly what she wants it to be. She sees the lottery in the future and wins it allowing her to “have a nice house to die in.” She warns Cyclops, Wolverine and even Madrox of the impending doom. She makes a nice turkey dinner to eat. She gets in the bathtub and slits her wrists.
The story is penciled by Juanan Ramirez and colored by Rachelle Rosenberg. It’s graphic and it’s horrible and it’s edgy and it’s probably some of the best X-Men storytelling in decades. She says throughout the entire book, “This is forever”. She even writes that on the wall of the bathtub in her own blood.
I’m honestly hoping there’s something more to that scene. I’m hoping that writer Matthew Rosenberg didn’t just have an X-Man commit suicide to try and tell the reader that this was the new status quo for the X-Men and that for the foreseeable future the entirety of the X-Men would be in an alternate universe and that Uncanny would be dedicated to the tiny remainders of the X-Men picking up the pieces. Be sure to drink your Ovaltine? Christ, I hope not.
But I digress. This entire book felt to me like the first real X-Men story in ages. Not because of Blindfold though because her suicide was actually spoiled for me by some stupid online site that made it a headline and then someone shared it on social media. As I mentioned it was the consequences and the remainder. This is the book about the pieces being picked up in much the same way that Excalibur was the pieces of the Mutant Massacre and The Fall of the Mutants story lines being picked up. It showed what happened to the people left behind. Excalibur showed the pain and the hurt and eventually the anger as the remaining X-Men found out what actually happened. I find it almost prophetic that the entire book starts off with “Every X-Men story is the same” as this is a story that’s almost the same, but much darker. I’m interested to see where Rosenberg goes from here and if anything this book made me perk up at the thought of a possible new X-Men run to remember.
Verdict: 6/6 Claws Popped