The X-Men franchise is far from its former glory days as the premier comic book franchise. But thanks to the shake up with the Uncanny X-Men Matthew Rosenberg is finally moving things towards that direction again. The return of Cyclops and Wolverine to the X-Men has been a big boon for the Uncanny X-Men series thus far. With the pair rescuing some of the remaining X-Men who weren’t taken to the Age of X-Man Universe in the last issue that positive momentum can hopefully continue. Let’s not waste anymore time and see if that is the case with Uncanny X-Men #13.
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: At Harry’s Hideaway Salem Center in New York Wolverine has been able to convince Harry to allow the X-Men to be based there for the time being. Havok complains about how pathetic their new home base is. Wolverine reminds Havok that Harry is putting himself at major risk by housing the X-Men.
Cyclops appears and says the X-Men will continue to do what they’ve always done. Havok disagrees, reminding his brother about the current state of the world after what X-Man and Legion did.
Taking that into consideration Cyclops shows the team a list he has created. Wolverine and the others think this is a suicide pact or kill list. Cyclops states that is not what this is. He goes on to say that the list he created is breaking down the biggest X-Men problems they must resolve to show the world that the X-Men were a force for good.
Cyclops states that he understands if anyone wants to back out given the circumstances and gives them the chance to leave. Everyone says they are staying. Much to everyone’s shock Wolverine reveals he was able to dig up old costumes for each of them in the Xavier Mansion.
Sometime later Magik teleports the X-Men to a warehouse in Long Island City that was one of Dark Beast’s working labs. The team is immediately attacked by an army of robots with deformed human faces on them. They are able to defeat all of the robots. The last one Havok blast screams in a voice everyone recognizes. They take a look at the robot and are shocked to see Multiple Man’s face on it.
Multiple Man appears out of nowhere and reveals that Dark Beast has been experimenting on his dupes. Cyclops asks Multiple Man if he can absorb his dupe to save him and learn what he knows. Multiple Man says his dupe will die inside him so asks for some privacy to do so. The X-Men respect Multiple Man’s wishes and step outside.
A little later a crying Multiple Man tells the X-Men he knows where Dark Beast is.
Elsewhere on a highway, Dark Beast is driving his lab somewhere in a semi-truck. The semi-truck is struck by a optic blast from Cyclops, which destroys it.
Out of the wreckage Dark Beast appears and uses his cybernetic enhancements to fight off the X-Men. As the fight goes on Dark Beast transforms into a spider like cyborg. The X-Men struggle to get past all of Dark Beast defenses while also defending themselves against his attacks.
Magik focuses her powers, throws her sword through a portal and has it go through Dark Beast shoulder. Multiple Man attempts to kill the incapacitated Dark Beast but is stopped by Cyclops. Cyclops explains that they have to be better than him.
Dark Beast mocks Multiple Man can’t kill him because Cyclops needs the information he has. Wolverine threatens Dark Beast to test that theory. Dark Beast immediately agrees to help the X-Men.
Later that night Havok goes to talk to Cyclops. Havok tells his brother about his concerns about them taking prisoners and this not being like old times. Cyclops states that there are still mutants in the world and the X-Men can give them hope. Havok still doesn’t believe the X-Men can return to the way they were.
Wolfsbane interrupts Cyclops and Havok’s conversation as there is something they need to see.
At the bar a TV station runs a news report on what everyone believes is a attack at one of the facilities housing the anti-mutant serum from the X-Men. They show footage of the attack. Cyclops and the others recognize the group attacking the facility as the Mutant Liberation Front. They are then shocked to discover Hope and Banshee as part of the MLF’s attack. End of issue.
The Good: Uncanny X-Men #13 is exactly what it needed to be. Matthew Rosenberg continued the progression of the current state of the world for mutants and how the X-Men fit into it. That sense of progression gave the entire issue a clear direction both the team and reader can understand.
Now with the new Uncanny X-Men team assembled Rosenberg was smart to immediately set up the leadership of the team. Even if there was some understandable hesitation about what the X-Men can be there was no question that Cyclops was in charge. With how things are going for mutants right now having an unquestioned leader is exactly what the X-Men need.
Having a clear leader in Cyclops made the direction he set for the X-Men be clear. There was no second option for things as multiple people were throwing out ideas. That has been a big problem for this franchise in the last decade plus with to many hands to take the X-Men in different directions. Now with Cyclops positioning the X-Men as being about establishing themselves as a positive force for good it’s easy to understand what the endgame is for the team.
What helps this direction Cyclops establishes is that he is not ignoring the past. He is fully aware of everything that has happened and what the X-Men’s roles have been in those events. At the same time, Rosenberg makes sure to have Cyclops tell the team that they must stop looking back at what has happened. If the X-Men are going to move forward they all needed to understand the past is the past and it is time to focus on the future. Cyclops being the one to get that message across helped in further establishing why he is the leader the X-Men have needed.
Going from there to showing the team immediately in action against Dark Beast was an excellent move. It is not enough to spend Uncanny X-Men #13 hyping everyone on the team up about their mission statement. They needed to be in the field actually accomplishing something to help build confidence in themselves. Rosenberg did a good job making that be something members of this X-Men team needed after what they all experience.
While this was definitely Cyclops and Wolverine’s show Rosenberg did a good job in establishing the state of mind for the other X-Men throughout Uncanny X-Men #13. After going through the horrifying experience of torture at the Sentinel ONE base it is understandable that Havok, Magik, Wolfsbane, Karma and Mirage all have their confidence shaken. Having that reason made the way each of them talk come from a place that the reader understood. It also set them each up to have their own sub-plots as they regain their mojo.
Two of the ones that stood out in this case was Karma and Mirage. being turned into Sentinel ONEs there is no way for Karma and Mirage to be okay. Hearing that they are unable to sleep because of that experience was a subtle way of introducing a sub-plot for these two characters that could be explored down the line in deeper detail. As things are now, having these type of plot points will be key in getting readers invested in this X-Men roster.
Similarly, given everything he has been through Havok being the one to be the voice of the other side of the argument for what Cyclops is doing is an interesting choice. There is an immediate weight to all of Havok’s dialogue because he is Cyclops brother. As long as Havok is treated as being insubordinate on the battlefield he could be an important voice on the team along with Wolverine for Cyclops to have.
Having the X-Men go up against Dark Beast as the first threat they tackle was a smart move by Rosenberg. Dark Beast has been a big enough threat in the past to have importance behind. At the same time he loses nothing in being taken down by the X-Men in one battle since he is a low-tier villain. He also served the purpose of having Rosenberg show the type of teamwork this X-Men roster will have since most of them have never fought together.
Dark Beast also served the important purpose of furthering Multiple Man’s sub-plot within the franchise. Once again we are seeing how Multiple Man’s dupes are a major problem as both Dark Beast and the Sentinel ONE program is using them. They are also taking an emotional toll on Multiple Man, who continues to see how his dupes are suffering and experiences that suffering when he reabsorbs them. Where Rosenberg goes with this continued development for Multiple Man will be very interesting to see.
Hope and Banshee being part of the Mutant Liberation Front was an unexpected way for Rosenberg to end Uncanny X-Men #13. In particular, Hope being shown as a member of this extreme mutant group will definitely change what Cyclops has the X-Men do next. As the character who has been seen as living by her given name, Hope being part of the MLF who are actively attacking medical facilities is not a good look for the X-Men’s road to recovery. How Cyclops and the others can turn this development around is another intriguing plotline for Rosenberg to work with.
Salvador Larroca once again delivered high quality artwork throughout Uncanny X-Men #13. Having Larroca on art duties gives this series a sense of importance. Each page looks like it could be from a big event. And having him draw the X-Men back in their iconic costumes goes a long way in putting over how this is the time for the franchise to regain their former glory.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Uncanny X-Men #13 is the strongest issue this series has had since it relaunched. Matthew Rosenberg set a clear direction for the X-Men to go on. In doing so Cyclops stepped up big to be the leader the team needed. Along with great artwork from Salvador Larroca, Uncanny X-Men #13 is a comic book that shows the franchise is back on the road to regaining its former spot at the top of the comic book industry.
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