Review: Uncanny X-Men #3

The Extinction Team tries to fight off Sinister before the Celestials arrive. Whoops...

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

In the concluding issue of the first arc of the new "Uncanny X-Men" series, Cyclops and his Extinction Team are still fighting Sinister and his legion of clones while an army of angry Celestials heads to Earth to dole out some punishment for Sinister's appropriation of the Dreaming Celestial's head. If that sounds like it's building towards an epic conclusion, you'd be mistaken.

I think that I've figured out where were writer Kieron Gillen is getting inspiration for his overly talky version of Sinister. He's basically The Architect from "The Matrix: Reloaded." I won't cause your eyes to bleed by reproducing the entirety of any of Sinister's diatribes. But when he says things like "The knowledge of your specific nature is the missing piece of nurture," doesn't that sound like something that The Architect would say?

It's been theorized that Gillen is taking his cues on this book from the classic Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch run on The Authority. And Carlos Pacheco's art is well suited for the widescreen action sequences and the truly impressive looking Celestials. However, Gillen doesn't seem to have learned all of the lessons from that earlier book. One of the reasons that The Authority worked so well is that all of its characters were larger than life and almost all of them got a chance to shine in a storyline.

In this issue, only White Queen, Danger, Hope and Cyclops really stand out. Namor, Colossus, Magik and Magneto might as well have been spectators. Another lesson that Gillen should have learned is that when you promise the audience something incredible like the return of the Celestials to Earth, it has to be a bigger payoff than a six page sequence at the end of the issue!

Take the cover for example, which features an eye popping visual of Cyclops desperately trying to keep the Celestials from rendering judgement on mankind. I was really looking forward to seeing something along those lines actually occur in the book. An X-Men versus the Celestials story could have been a fantastic story, but instead it's essentially over as soon as it begins.

Instead we're left with Sinister; whose non-stop chatter actually undercuts his effectiveness as a villain. This must be what fighting Ben Stein is like. To Gillen's credit, White Queen steps up in a major way that really made her character look good, although I'd be surprised if she suffered any long term ramifications from her actions. Danger also has a good moment of action, although her "welcome to the danger room" comment was a little much.

On artwork, Pacheco is joined by Rodney Buchemi and Paco Diaz this month. And for the most part, the pages hold together pretty well. Buchemi and Diaz appear to have slightly modified their styles to better mesh with Pacheco's and I didn't notice the slight changes between the artists until my second read through. If a book needs three pencilers, it might as well have three artists who can create a unified look for the series.

Uncanny X-Men #3 is a perfectly serviceable superhero book with some really good artwork. But it doesn't really feel like an X-Men comic. In trying to position the X-Men Extinction team as the potential rivals for the Avengers, it feels like Gillen has sacrificed some of the traits that made the X-Men unique.

Crave Online Rating: 7/10