Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Dustin Weaver
Colourist: Jim Charalampidis
Letterer: Virtual Calligraphy’s Joe Caramagna
Previously, in Uncanny X-Men: The Phoenix has come to Earth, and despite the best efforts of the Avengers, it has taken its hosts; Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magik, Colossus and Namor are now the Phoenix Five, all empowered with the cosmic flamebird’s energies and out to reshape the world in the way that the Phoenix sees fit.
Elsewhere, Mister Sinister has retreated since his last defeat at the hands of Cyclops and the Extinction Team. When his plan to remake the world in his image was thwarted by the interfering X-Men and the appearance of the Celestials, he returned to his home base to plot in secret. Where has he been since the X-Men last saw him, and what plot does he have in store now?
It’s not a secret that I’ve been getting a little bored with Uncanny X-Men’s Avengers Vs. X-Men tie-ins. The previous issue was much better than the preceding two, but I think the fact that the title has been double shipping all the time has contributed to this. There isn’t enough material to flesh out from the main series, and having extra fight scenes isn’t really doing anything for me – there’s a reason I’m not buying the AvX Versus title. This issue reads nothing like the earlier tie-in issues, thankfully. In fact, it feels like a completely different comic.
This issue is told almost entirely from the perspective of one of Mister Sinister’s clones. Living underground in a city made entirely of Sinister clones, he seeks to overthrow the original Mister Sinister, disagreeing with his ideals about how to live. Luckily, this clone is a journalist, and will be interviewing Sinister, giving him ample opportunity to kill the maniacal monarch. If you liked Kieron Gillen’s take on Sinister and his extensive monologuing in the first arc of the relaunched Uncanny X-Men, this issue will be right up your alley. Listening to his twisted rantings is enjoyable, conjuring some insane images that compliment the already outlandish visuals in the issue as we see the extent of Sinister’s narcissism—his entire town is made of Sinisters, for a start.
The final scenes in this issue make it relevant to the Avengers Vs. X-Men crossover, and whilst it’s almost a shame to return to the crossover, it does offer an interesting new plotline that will be fun to explore in the coming issues. When the X-Men battled Sinister before, they only really won by luck, with the arrival of the Celestials helping to drive Sinister away. Now that they are powered by the Phoenix, the conflict will be much more involved, and the schemes that Sinister has to throw at them are going to cause some wrinkles. We’re sticking with this Sinister storyline for the next three issues or so, so there is plenty of time to have fun with this storyline.
Dustin Weaver, of SHIELD fame, guests this issue as artist, and his ye olde style is perfect for Sinister’s 19th Century city and its goings on. Like Doug Braithwaite, he has a sheen to his work that makes everything seem almost unreal, which adds to the already insane visuals. Weaver even manages to give the Sinister clones distinctive personalities despite the fact that they’re all identical.
With the direction of the book nicely sidetracked away from the Avengers Vs. X-Men storyline for a while, it looks like Uncanny X-Men will be climbing back up in my estimations. I’ve mentioned before that Gillen flourishes when given free rein on event tie-in books, and as usual, he doesn’t fail to disappoint.
GO Rating: 4/5