The Avengers and X-Men’s Epic Battle is over. Scott went insane. Charley took the dirt nap. Hope and Wanda made everything better. So Now what?

Well, NOW is the time for Marvel to shuffle the deck and play a new hand. It’s relaunch city as The House of Ideas brings us 20-something new #1s with all-new creative teams over the next 5 months. What will the new 23 have in store for us Marvel Zombies? Well, be sure to check out this column each week as we dissect the first issue of every new title under the Marvel Now Banner. And I don’t mean Bruce Banner…..well except when the title has the Hulk in it….you get what I mean. So sit back and relax as we check out what’s new in the 616.

That little blurb at the beginning accompanies all of my Marvel Now reviews. It’s there as a little set up that ties Avengers vs. X-Men together with the events of the relaunched titles. It’s been awhile since it’s actually felt relevant. That is until this week’s review of Uncanny X-Men #1. The first 3 sentences sum up everything you need to know going into this book. Cyclops, once Mutant Hero #1, has become Public Enemy #1 in the eyes of the law. But if you’ve been following the recent events in All New X-Men, you already know that to the mutant outcasts, Scott Summers has become something of a messiah as he goes around the world liberating new mutants from potential persecution. It’s safe to say that this title, starring One-Eye and his rag  tag group of X-buddies, will focus on that dynamic more closely. And who better to bring it to you than the man that’s already writing up a storm of awesome over on All New X-Men? That’s right, Brian Bendis is all over the X-Universe as he relaunches what some would call the flag ship title for the merry mutants. And bringing Brian’s words to life with his unique brand of illustration is a man who’s no stranger to X-people, Chris Bachalo. Top Name Talent for a Top Tier Book. Looks like they gotta plan at the House of Ideas. After reading the first issue I can honestly say that they really do.

Our story begins on the S.HI.E.L.D. hellicarrier. Director Maria Hill has just arrived to find out that her men have taken a most wanted person into custody. His identity remains unknown to the reader but it’s obvious that Hill and her team are a bit spooked by his presence. She engages him in conversation during which he explains his intentions. He comes baring gifts of information. It appears that although Cyclops is a hated and feared man to some and a hero to others, he’s keeping a very important secret…..the secret that he’s lost all control of his powers. Our mystery man further explains by way of flashback. A few days earlier, in San Diego, another young mutant named Fabio has awakened his powers and surprise, surprise, he doesn’t know how to use them. For this, the authorities are about to give him a serious beat down. Enter Cyke and his crew consisting Emma Frost, Magik, Magneto and a few noobs. They quickly get the better of the authorities but just when you think it’s all over, things get interesting. A new batch of big, bad, mutant-hating Sentinels show up and engage the enemy. A very weak Magneto fends them off for a moment but loses his energy quickly. Cyclops orders Magik to get the new recruits out of there but she’s kind of busy picking up Magnus’ slack. This brings Summers to cut loose and take all the imposing robots down with one big energy blast, a lucky punch as it were. The fluke pays off as the robots are now rubble but it also plays a number on Cyclops as well. The group retreats with Fabio in tow. Back in the present, Hill asks why this man has told this story and why he’s here. A quick reveal of the man and his intentions and then we come to the end of the first issue in a new regime.

While not as fun and exciting as All New X-Men was on the first read, Uncanny X-Men shows more than enough promise to be another great series for the Marvel Now line. The level of suspense used at the beginning and end of the issue is perfectly timed. The reveal is well worth the read and if you’re able to avoid the internet spoilers like I was, it will have a great impact. Once again, S.H.I.E.L.D. is used well as a window frame for this tale and Maria Hill is fast becoming the best stand in for the audience that the House of Ideas can deploy. But I would expect Bendis to know how to use his own creation. What really surprises me is how well he utilizes Cyclops, Magneto and even Magik, a character I’m not all that fond of. Out of the main cast, the only character that I feel he could done more with is Emma Frost as she kind of gets lost in the background. Overall, the characters are interesting and engaging. It was a nice touch to make the Sentinels the main adversary in the first issue. They’re a very recognizable villain from the X-Universe (and I hear that they’ll be even more recognizable come the release of the next movie). The battle is well timed and fun to see unfold.

The artwork is what really surprised me on this book. I’m no stranger to Bachelo’s art so I can say honestly say that this is probably some of the most clear, concise work he’s done. Usually, Chris gets lost in his crazy line work and I spend most of the issue deciphering what’s what. In this story, the pictures appear clearer and not as abstract as I’m used to with his art. Also, his semi-splash page of the Sentinels was brilliant. That being said, it’s the story that really kept me in this one. Also, not a huge fan of the costume redesigns, Cyclops’ in particular.

When it comes down to it, it appears that Uncanny X-Men is on the right track to becoming yet another stand out title in the Marvel Now line. This book is also further evidence of the Bendis Renaissance as the creator appears to be rejuvenated after dipping his toe in the x-waters. I can’t wait to see what happens next with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s new ally in the war on Cyclops and his mutant mischief makers. Is this guy someone Hill and her crew can trust. Time’s gonna tell on this one and only if you’re buying the book.

So this 1st Issue is done but there’s plenty more to come. Check back here in the coming week’s to find out which books are worth your time which are a waste of it.

And if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!

Bendis does it again with Uncanny X-Men #1

Recent Marvel Now Reviews:

Young and Avenger-y (My Review of Young Avengers #1)

Flashbacks and Barfights (My Review of Uncanny X-Force #1)

My Review of Fearless Defenders #1