With a flash and a bang Uncanny X-Men is finding its stride.
It ain’t easy being an X-Man. And in issue #9 it doesn’t seem to matter if you’re new to the experience or a seasoned veteran, the challenges facing mutants often force them to question not just themselves but everyone around them, as well. Maybe that’s a good thing.
Fabio returns home to find his family in denial about his mutant status, and it doesn’t help that S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Alison Blaire is in their living room and wanting to chat. Meanwhile, intensive training sessions for the X-Men are underway at the Xavier School for the Gifted. The impressive new recruits are showing promise but are easily distracted and lacking work ethic. Irma’s shocking new hairstyle upends a balance the identical triplets maintain, removing all hope of focusing on training. News of Fabio’s capture by S.H.I.E.L.D. returns the sense of purpose to the team. The government agency wants to know where the rebel X-Men are, and Fabio could be the key.
The issue’s focus on Dazzler is a satisfying exercise in character development. Bendis cleverly offers her history via recognition by Fabio’s star-struck sister and establishes her powers through an impressive flash bang that sends half of the neighborhood flat on its back. The issue’s real treat is her interaction with the X-Men who arrive to rescue Fabio. It’s a heartbreaking reality that both Alison and the X-Men believe they are on the correct side.
“So did you all go nuts together or did you all go nuts one by one?”
“Are you working with S.H.I.E.L.D.?”
“Yes, why aren’t you?”
Perception is everything in an X-comic. The good guys aren’t squeaky clean and the bad guys often have some endearing traits. Bendis is a master at blurring the lines that define what it takes to be a hero.
While Chris Bachalo’s art is mostly solid, he does have a few hurried panels where distinguishing between female characters is difficult. His excellent colors help to effectively distort the line between good and bad as the X-Men appear in black and red while Dazzler is decked out in white from head to toe.
Brian Michael Bendis (W), Chris Bachalo (A) • Marvel Comics, $3.99, July 31, 2013.