With a new direction that is led by a returning Cyclops and Wolverine, Uncanny X-Men has gotten back on track. Matthew Rosenberg has quickly found his groove on this series with an unlikely X-Men roster. While we have seen the extinction of the mutant race be played with a lot since House of M this time is much different. There isn’t a big mess of which team to focus on. We know that everything that is happening in Uncanny X-Men is the story that the future of the mutant race hinges on. Rosenberg has done a good job thus far in exploring this angle. Can that positive momentum continue? Let’s find out with Uncanny X-Men #14.
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: In an alleyway in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn the police are chasing a mutant that robbed a convenience store. They lose him after a prolonged chase.
Hiding in a warehouse the mutant, who is revealed to be Reaper, is surrounded by Multiple Man. Multiple Man tells Reaper not to fight back as he has questions for him. Reaper makes a break for it. Multiple Man tells his dupes not to chase him since the others will get him.
While he is running Reaper is pinned down by Magik, Wolfsbane and Mirage.
At Harry’s Hideaway, Cyclops and Wolverine meet with Valerie Cooper, who is amused they would call her for help. Cyclops tells Valerie they need a favor from her. She wonders why they would think she would help the X-Men. Cyclops says because he knows Valerie is all about doing the right thing.
Cyclops goes on to state their favor isn’t something they are asking the state department or government to do. They are asking her to help them discreetly and when the time is right they will return the favor. While she says she’ll likely regret it Valerie accepts.
Later, in the basement of the bar Cyclops questions Multiple Man and a captured Reaper on Hope. Reaper only complains about being held captive against his will. Multiple Man mentions Reaper was given a burner phone by Hope when he declined to join the Mutant Liberation Front. Cyclops tells Reaper that next time Hope calls him he will accept her offer, much to Reaper’s displeasure.
Cyclops, Wolverine and Mirage meet Dark Beast. Dark Beast gleeful acts like he is happy to be a part of the X-Men. Wolverine reminds Dark Beast he is not an X-Men.
Cyclops pulls Mirage aside and asks about Dark Beast’s progress. Mirage isn’t sure as Dark Beast has not slept or eaten since he started working for them.
Dark Beast tells Cyclops he wants to prove his loyalty and tells them about a location where some of the Marauders are.
The X-Men arrive at the location Dark Beast gave them. Scrambler attacks the X-Men as soon as they arrive. He causes the techno-organic entity inside Wolfsbane to go out of control. Magik and Mirage help Wolfsbane recover while Wolverine chases after Scrambler.
Cyclops and Havok go outside and find Wolverine on the ground with a knife driven through his eye.
Multiple Man shows up with Callisto, who was the one who stabbed Wolverine. Callisto tells the X-Men that Scrambler is her target. Cyclops asks Callisto what she wants with Scrambler. Callisto says she will show the X-Men.
In the sewers Callisto shows the X-Men the location with a large number of Morlocks dead at the hands of the Marauders.
Chamber appears with the last living Morlocks behind him. Chamber questions Cyclops why he was once again unable to keep to his word about leading them to a better time. Cyclops asks what he can do to help. Chamber states that Cyclops can do what he always promised but never delivered: save them. Cyclops responds by saying he will make a call.
In the forest of Chernayan northern border Wolfsbane takes out a couple of soldiers. Cyclops mentions to the other X-Men that Valerie said that the rebel soldiers have been dealing abandoned SHIELD tech, stolen Latverian stuff and other illegal items. He goes on to state that Valerie promised him that if the X-Men can take care of rebels the Chernayan government will owe them a favor.
Suddenly a massive robot controlled by the rebels attacks the X-Men. Havok quickly destroys the robot with a massive blast.
More rebels show up but before they can do anything to them Magik teleports them away with her powers.
Cyclops then tells the X-Men to stop the remaining rebel reinforcements without using lethal force.
After their mission is accomplished Cyclops tells Chamber that the land they took from the rebels is now the Morlock’s new home that the Chernayan government guaranteed would be safe.
Sometime later the X-Men celebrate their successful mission. While celebrating Cyclops asks Chamber why he stayed with them. Chamber says that Callisto is the real leader of the Morlocks and he wants a chance to take down the Marauders personally.
There is a knock at the door of the bar. Cyclops opens the door and finds Captain America outside. Captain America tells Cyclops they need to talk immediately. End of issue.
The Good: Uncanny X-Men #14 continued to progress to make the “This Is Forever” story arc feel like the one X-Men to read. There is an air of confidence throughout this issue that makes everything going on be something to pay attention to. Having a slimmed down roster has clearly helped Matthew Rosenberg tell a focused story that is able to naturally grow bigger as things develop.
One of the reasons why Uncanny X-Men #14 succeeds is the fact that it does feel as though the entire franchise is moving forward. Far to often with the X-Men we have seen the leaders of the team be more reactionary rather than be active. Whether it was Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, Kitty Pryde or Jean Grey, the X-Men’s direction has been about reacting to when something happens to mutants. That needed to change and we see that is what is happening “This Is Forever.”
Rosenberg clearly understands and is pushing the X-Men past. Uncanny X-Men #14 is an example of that as Cyclops and Wolverine make active steps in figuring out how to best save the mutant race from extinction. At the same time they are being thoughtful in the way they are doing it as it’s clear that the world does not view the X-Men as heroes anymore.
Bringing in a classic character like Valerie Cooper, who hardcore X-Men fans will know her history with the team, was a smart call. Rosenberg was able to develop Valerie’s character within the conversation she had with Cyclops and Wolverine. That was very much needed since she hasn’t been used much and it brings new readers up to speed on her importance. And by positioning her as an important ally for the X-Men gives Rosenberg more of an opportunity to build out the supporting cast for this series.
The scene with Valerie also serve the purpose of pushing forward how Cyclops and Wolverine are being much more methodical with how they are doing things. They can’t just rush off to have the X-Men save the day. If they are to be successful they need to make sure each time the X-Men are out in public saving the day it is not just to defeat the bad guys.
That is not to diminish the importance of that, since Cyclops has emphasized that they have a list of villains and antagonists to deal with. But as we see with how Cyclops quickly pivoted the X-Men to find the Morlocks a new, safe home, their plans can be adjusted. Because even though the X-Men need to deal with Hope and the Mutant Liberation Front they won’t put that mission above saving others. Understanding the urgency of helping the Morlocks immediately puts forward the reason Cyclops reformed the X-Men was for them to be a superhero team.
In doing so Rosenberg was able to quickly payoff the relationship he had the X-Men form with Valerie. With how well things went we were given a clear idea of how this relationship will benefit both parties. Establishing this as a beneficial relationship is key in getting over why this new relationship with Valerie can be a key sub-plot for the direction of the X-Men.
At the same time, Rosenberg is able to use this time in Uncanny X-Men #14 to put over the strength of this team. That’s important because the reality is this is basically a ragtag team made up of the remaining X-Men who weren’t sent to the Age of X-Man Universe. Due to that Rosenberg needed to show us how efficiently this X-Men team can work together, which he does extremely well with the battle in Cherayan. This type of quick adventure helps build the team chemistry in the eyes of the reader.
The way the X-Men worked as a team complimented how Rosenberg isn’t rushing a bunch of character arcs to get this done. As we see throughout Uncanny X-Men #14 just about every member on the team is dealing with something. Whether its Multiple Man’s new aggression, Karma and Mirage still unable to sleep due to the techno-virus or Wolfsbane techno-organic entity, everyone has something they are dealing with. This is something we aren’t beaten over the head with. Instead Rosenberg is working these key character plot points within the context of the story. This allows each character’s arc to build naturally so when the time comes to resolve these things in a proper way it will feel like a strong payoff.
Though the X-Men are successful in finding the Morlocks a new home this entire conflict elevated the list Cyclops created. Because, as Cyclops stated in the last issue, the X-Men cannot just wait around until groups like the Marauders attack mutants. They need to be active about confronting their villains. Bringing Chamber as a member of the team was a good decision on this point. As Rosenberg showed, Chamber has been through a lot and is not afraid to voice himself when it comes to keeping the X-Men at their word. For this Rosenberg deserves a lot of credit in how he built Chamber’s stature back up again.
Chamber joining the X-Men also helps Callisto regain her role as the leader of the Morlocks. Rosenberg did a great job showcasing how badass Callisto. Her actively going after Scrambler showed she is not about to stand aside to let others deal with things that she can take care of personally. Hopefully this isn’t the last we see of Callisto as she can be another strong supporting character for this series.
On that note, the X-Men not being able to catch Scrambler builds up how much they will have go against them. The Marauders aren’t an easy group to combat, especially with people like Scrambler in their ranks. And with Hope and the Mutant Liberation Front openly taking action it puts into question how the X-Men can deal with all these threats popping up at the same time. Having that question provides a lot of intrigue into the direction Uncanny X-Men will go from here.
It’ll be interesting to see what role Rosenberg has Dark Beast serve as things progress. Without the regular Beast to be their head scientist they need someone to fill that role. Though given how much Dark Beast takes pleasure in antagonizing every member of the X-Men we are left to wondering how far of a leash he will have.
The ending of Uncanny X-Men #14 with Captain America showing up to confront the team was a good hook that paid off how this all started. There was no way the X-Men would be able to continue operating without gaining the attention of the Avengers and other superhero teams. Addressing that right away with Captain America talking to Cyclops and Wolverine is a good move.
Salvador Larroca once again delivers high quality artwork throughout Uncanny X-Men #14. Larroca captures how Uncanny X-Men is a series that should feel like a big event. Opening up Uncanny X-Men #14 with the team chasing Reaper while Cyclops and Wolverine talked with Valerie at the same time put Larroca’s flexibility on full display. Working on both scenes on the same pages elevated the tension of what was going on. That continued for the rest of the issue as Larroca showed us how efficiently the X-Men worked together when they were outnumbered in Chernayan.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: With a clear, confident vision for what “This Is Forever” is supposed to be Matthew Rosenberg crafted the best issue of this Uncanny X-Men relaunch. Both the pacing and character work were on point throughout Uncanny X-Men #14. If you are an X-Men fan I highly recommend picking up this Uncanny X-Men story arc. It is a good starting point for both new and older readers.
To comment on this article and other Comic Book Revolution content, visit our Facebook page, our Twitter feed, our Instagram feed. And catch up with all of Kevin’s other musings about comics, anime, TV shows, movies and more over Twitter page.