Writer: Kieron Gillen
Penciller: Greg Land
Inker: Jay Leisten
Colourist: Guru eFX
Letterer: Virtual Calligraphy’s Joe Caramagna
Previously, in Uncanny X-Men: When the Scarlet Witch depowered almost all of the mutants on Earth with one spell, she left only 198 with their mutant abilities. Mutants were an endangered species, until the birth of the first new mutant since what had become known as M-Day. This little girl was sent into the future, protected by Cable, and raised into a young woman before returning to the present. All the hopes of the mutant race are now pinned on Hope Summers.
The Phoenix Force, a cosmic being of immeasurable power, is returning to Earth and both the Avengers and the X-Men believe that it is coming for Hope. However, the X-Men believe that this will herald the return of mutants, whilst the Avengers believe that it will destroy the planet. Captain America and the Avengers have arrived at Utopia, the island home of the X-Men, in order to take Hope into protective custody. Unfortunately, Cyclops and his Extinction Team are having none of it…
As I mentioned during my review of Wolverine and the X-Men #8, there are a lot of ways in which an event tie-in book can fail: it can retread the same storyline as the main event, or forget all of the storylines that were going on before the event in favour of what has to happen during the event instead. Very few books tend to come out of events totally unscathed by the interference of an event, but if I had to trust anyone to manage it, it would be Kieron Gillen.
Whilst he does in fact go over some of the same events as Avengers Vs. X-Men #1-2, they are retold from different perspectives, giving some insight into what other characters are thinking during these moments. For example, we learn of Namor’s true reasons for following the X-Men, and what exactly was going through Hope’s mind when she defeated her former team-mates as well as Spider-Man and Wolverine. Each of these perspectives feels unique, as they should, and this really illustrates how far into the characters heads that Gillen has gotten. Even a few thought boxes are enough to know which character is speaking, even if there were no accompanying images to illustrate the point.
There are also some unique events in this issue that aren’t played out in other issues. Firstly, we see Colossus and the Red Hulk battling in the waters surrounding Utopia, and we are treated to a continuation of the Juggernaut plotline that Gillen has been building since near the beginning of his run on this title before it was relaunched. There is also some reference made to the past two issues, with Unit playing a role in the opening scene and making some worrying statements that will likely impact Hope and Danger soon. Once again similar to Wolverine and the X-Men, there is enough here to warrant a purchase for new readers who have jumped on for the crossover, whilst long-standing readers or those uninterested in the crossover still have some other plotlines to get their teeth into.
The other artist on the rotating schedule for Uncanny X-Men, Greg Land, returns this issue, and his work is of his usual calibre. Renowned for tracing/lightboxing his artwork, I personally find Land’s work enjoyable to read, and always consistent. He is one of those artists with whom you know what you are going to get, and you will never be disappointed. Of course, some people find him terrible because of this, but as I’ve said with previous artists like Humberto Ramos, there’s nothing I can say that will convince you to enjoy his work if you do not already.
Gillen’s previous forays into event tie-in stories have always met with success. His work on Journey Into Mystery during Fear Itself, or on Thor during Siege, were excellent, and he seems to have discovered a winning formula that he can stick to and always turn out something enjoyable for any reader that picks up his titles – Uncanny X-Men seems to be following that pattern.
GO Rating: 3.5/5