After a rough relaunch that saw the mutant population in the Marvel Universe has almost disappeared, again. That is all thanks to the fact that the Age of X-Man caused all of the X-Men who were active during the Uncanny X-Men launch disappeared to another universe. Though the majority of the X-Men are gone there are two major franchise characters still around: Cyclops and Wolverine. These two just returned from the dead just in time to possibly give a second life to the relaunched Uncanny X-Men series. Uncanny X-Men #11 showed that there is a lot of potential with Cyclops and Wolverine leading the way for the X-Men to return to their former glory. That said, can things get better or worse for the X-Men? Let’s find out with Uncanny X-Men #12.
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: While getting patched up Cyclops reflects how he is responsible for ending the dream of the X-Men. Wolverine reminds Cyclops that he was not his biggest cheerleader and that won’t be changing. Cyclops thinks it does not matter since they are all that is left of the X-Men but Wolverine states otherwise.
Elsewhere Wolverine finds a couple guys from the Office Of National Emergency and “convinces” them to help him.
A little later the Office Of National Emergency guy from earlier return to their base and tell those at the front gate they have a special delivery. He quickly gives away that this is a trick and the others on the base start firing at the truck. Wolverine takes the damage from the bullets and floors it through the barricade.
Cyclops blasts his way out of the back of the truck after Wolverine crashes it. Cyclops and Wolverine then proceed to make quick work of all the guards on the base.
They are suddenly attacked by a new version of the Sentinels. Cyclops and Wolverine are able to defeat the new Sentinels quickly.
When they go look inside the Sentinels they are shocked to learn Strong Guy, Dani Moonstar and Shan being used as the power source. Strong Guy reveals that they along with other mutants got infected by the Transmode Virus and were experimented on to become power sources for the Sentinels.
Cyclops and Wolverine go inside the base and help release the remaining prisoners, which include Multiple Man dupes, Wolfsbane and Magik. Magik reveals that there is still one more prisoner and leads him to Havok, who is strapped to a large device and being used as a power source. Cyclops quickly saves his brother, who is sorry for how things turned out.
Cyclops and Wolverine lead all the mutants out of the base while also defending them against the base’s guards.
One of the Multiple Man dupes suddenly feels weird. The dupe suddenly explodes in the middle of the base.
Magik is the first to recover and discovers Strong Guy dying from injuries caused by the explosion. Wolverine tells Magik that they have to go now because the explosion caused the power in the base to go out. Magik attempts to get her sword from the other dimension to get revenge for Strong Guy’s death. Wolverine says there will be time for that later and they must escape.
With Havok providing covering fire Magik opens up a portal for all of them to escape through.
In the middle of the destroyed the soldiers tell General Robert Callahan (the person who runs the O.N.E Sentinel program) they aren’t sure how this destruction happened. General Callahan already knows this is a sign the X-Men are back.
The Good: Uncanny X-Men #12 used the momentum of the previous issue to move the story around Cyclops and Wolverine forward. That forward momentum is mostly a positive for the direction that Matthew Rosenberg is now taking that series. Which is a good thing because the progress made is able to overcome one of the major problems that continues to follow the X-Men.
With how dialogue heavy the previous issue was it was refreshing to have a faster paced issue. The quicker pace of Uncanny X-Men #12 kept the readers focus on how Cyclops and Wolverine can get their former teammates out of the O.N.E Sentinel base. That in turn made their to be greater sense of urgency as it was essentially two against an entire army for the majority of Uncanny X-Men #12. This allowed the issue to have a much more natural flow as there were several sub-plots set-up, like the reunion of Cyclops and Havok, that could take the spotlight later down the line.
Creating that urgency around Cyclops and Wolverine’s rescue mission was a great way to show how these two work together efficiently. It was a great compliment to the opening scene between the two in which Rosenberg established the tension between Cyclops and Wolverine still exist. Even though they both understand that they need to work together to revive the X-Men it does not mean the past between them is wiped out. Wolverine being the one to point that out was perfectly in line with his character. This helps build up a bigger conversation down the line between Cyclops and Wolverine once things settle down for them to actually have a discussion.
This opening scene also worked in further pushing the state of mind of both Cyclops and Wolverine. For Cyclops we see how he does feel like the weight of the X-Men are on his shoulders. As he tells Wolverine, this is due to how he has come to terms with how his past decisions caused this destruction of the X-Men. Now because of that Cyclops knows this is the last chance for the X-Men to still exist and make Professor Xavier’s dream come true.
While we see Cyclops in this light during the opening Rosenberg balances that out with still showing Scott Summers be a badass when in a fight. Throughout the fight at the military base there was no hesitation in Cyclops actions. Everything was about being quick and efficient. Even when he was rescuing his brother, Havok, from a dangerous machine he knew that they couldn’t waste time with a long conversation. Having the focus showed us that Cyclops is back to being the strong field leader that the X-Men need.
Wolverine’s actions throughout Uncanny X-Men #12 was a good compliment to how Cyclops portrayed. Rosenberg’s portrayal of him shows that Wolverine is taking a bit of a step back as he is letting Cyclops step back into the role as the leader. This is much better choice for Wolverine as he works better in the second-in-command role. It allows him to use more of his abilities to be the tracker, as he showed after defeating the Sentinels, and badass fighter he is without having to be the final decision maker anymore.
Bringing in the Sentinel O.N.E program back into play provides this story arc with a very good antagonist for the X-Men to go up against. What made these Sentinels particularly interesting was how the military is now using mutants as the power source for them. Before we saw that the Sentinel O.N.E program had human pilots being used. If the government is now using mutants as a pure power source it puts into question what the real plan for the mutants are. In turn, it creates a greater danger for the mutants that remain if now the possibility is that the vaccine that was seen as the cure is a cover for the Sentinel O.N.E program.
Salvador Larroca once again delivered a great looking issue with his work on Uncanny X-Men #12. He does a great job making Cyclops and Wolverine look like badasses during the fights throughout this issue. The badasses that Cyclops and Wolverine are portrayed as being provides a nice dicotomy to how he drew the captured X-Men. They all look like they had been through a lot with the tortured look on their faces. This was especially clear with Magik’s facial features and the way Havok looked drained of his powers when Cyclops found him.
The Bad: The one spot in which Uncanny X-Men #12 suffered was the explanation of why the X-Men used in the Sentinel O.N.Es were captured in the first place. Rosenberg brought up an older storyline involving the Transmode Virus that we don’t have any idea when this happened in the current time frame of the X-Men. At this point it would have been much easier if Rosenberg used the vaccine he introduced in the previous issues to explain how these X-Men were captured.
Right now the best thing for future of the Uncanny X-Men’s future is to keep things as simple as possible. That is tough to do with the X-Men franchise given how complicated the history is. It is that complicated history that will turn off newer readers. To make sure this second life for the Uncanny X-Men is successful in bringing in new and older readers Rosenberg and the rest of the X-Men team need to streamline the stories. Keep things as simple as possible and let the character-driven stories around Cyclops, Wolverine and the other X-Men be the driving force for this series.
Overall: Matthew Rosenberg made great use of the returning Cyclops and Wolverine to keep the story in Uncanny X-Men #12 moving forward. In the process he was able to set things in motion an intriguing story arc for X-Men that are still around. As long as Rosenberg can avoid the pitfalls of the franchise this could very well be the successful rebirth of the Uncanny X-Men comic book fans have been hoping for.