Friday, 4 April 2014

Uncanny X-Men Vol 1.: Revolution (Marvel NOW!) Review

Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1: Revolution (Marvel NOW!) Review

Cyclops' costume has nothing to do with
Tron. What's Tron? We've never heard of
Tron!
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artists: Chris Bachalo and Frazer Irving

Collects: Uncanny X-Men #1-5

Background Information:

Marvel NOW! was started by an event called Avengers Vs. X-Men, in which the phoenix force (a mystic energy that has the habit of making people both very powerful and very crazy) took hold of certain X-Men; most notably Cyclops (Scott Summers).

Cyclops has had a rough run in the last ten-or-so years. The mutant population was whittled down to around 200, he lost half the X-Men in an event called Schism, and now the phoenix force has forced Scott to kill his mentor, Charles Xavier.

If you thought Cyclops was a bad dude in the X-Men movie, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Review:

So now, Cylcops is a number of things; to SHIELD, he’s a fugitive terrorist, to the public, he’s a freedom fighting anarchist, to Wolverine’s X-Men, he’s a friend gone horribly wrong and to the X-Men from the past (see All-New X-Men, he’s a harsh introduction to reality.

Cyclops' career as a motivational speaker goes down the
toilet
Revolution somehow manages to juggle all of these interpretations of the character; giving us a Cyclops that All-New X-Men makes him out to be, but still one that isn’t quite the good guy. He’s trying to gather as many new mutants as he can to his mutant revolution while trying to dodge groups like SHIELD and the Avengers.  To complicate things, Cyclops, along with his senior teammates, Magneto, Magik and Emma Frost, have found that their powers don’t work like they used to.
isn’t as evil as

What Bendis does well here is give us a more human side of Cyclops. He’s sick and tired of being pushed around by humans, sick of being shot at, sick of being abused, sick of not being trusted despite saving the world multiple times over. The title “anti-hero” gets thrown around way too much for my liking. When most people say it, they tend to mean hero who isn’t all happy-go-lucky. Bendis’ Cyclops more fits my definition of anti-hero: someone who is, for all intents and purposes, a villain, yet we read him as though he’s the hero. It’s a character type that has been used for centuries- take Shakespeare’s Richard III, for example (yep, I referenced Shakespeare in a comic review, take that literary buffs!), and while Bendis is no Shakespeare, he uses the anti-hero trope fairly well.

I will warn you that unless you’ve been reading All-New X-Men, it’s gonna be hard to understand what’s going on here, which is one of my major complaints for this series. Considering this series really takes its base from Bendis’ other X-title, it seems strange that Revolution doesn’t reference it that much. All-New X-Men Vol. 1: Yesterday’s X-Men gave Cyclops and the crew some difficult questions to consider. How far had Cyclops fallen? Are the team still fighting for what they once believed? Those questions don’t get answered here, as much as you may want them to be. This makes Uncanny X-Men feel out of place. It’s weird since both books are written by Bendis, and it makes for a title that feels underutilised.

What's a great way to bring in female readers? I got it!
Trampy costumes!
The art here may appeal to some, but this is no Stuart Immonen. There’s a lot less detail here, and character designs can occasionally be jarring. This is especially true for the female characters, who wear as little as possible with the result being that these X-Men look either like dominatrixes or naughty schoolgirls. It’s an unsettling sexualisation that you think the comic industry would be over by now. Thankfully, the male characters, at least, look pretty good. Magneto’s new costume makes him look equal parts master of magnetism and cagefighter, while Cyclops’ new X-shaped visor is a very nice touch. Bachalo and Irving also use some interesting tricks in their page and panel design, such as removing colour from scenes that involve psychic communication. It’s still not the best X-art out there, but it passes.

Overall though, it’s hard to recommend Revolution unless you really want to see what Cyclops did after the first volume of All-New X-Men (which I recommend that you stick to). Revolution gets a three out of five Shakespearean Anti-Heroes.

***

+ An ACTUAL anti-hero

+ Nice “other side” to All-New X-Men

+ Some nice visual tricks and good male costume designs

- Doesn't utilise its relation to All-New X-Men like it should

- Female designs are kinda tart-y

- Not enough questions answered

Alternate Option: All-New X-Men: Yesterday’s X-Men

Definitely the best of the X-titles at the moment. You need to read this.