Uncanny X-Men has been on quite the role since Cyclops and Wolverine have returned. Matthew Rosenberg has found a renewed focus for Uncanny X-Men. That was something that was quickly lost during the first big story arc for this series. Now with the situation involving the mutant population almost being wiped out the X-Men have a lot of work to do to be able to improve mutant status quo across the board. That won’t be easy with Hope Summers joining the Mutant Liberation Force’s aggressive actions. Can the X-Men continue their tour of improving things for mutants around the world? Let’s find out with Uncanny X-Men #15.
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Salvador Larroca
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: In the basement of Harry’s Hideaway Dark Beast questions Karma on her Transmode Virus. Karma speaks in third person and says she feels safe being with the X-Men. Dark Beast offers help Karma.
Above, in the bar Captain America request to speak with the X-Men. Cyclops tells the X-Men to leave while he and Wolverine talk with Captain America. Havok says this involves them all and they all stay.
While Cyclops is defensive Captain America says he is just there to help the X-Men. He tells Cyclops that they should not trust Valerie Cooper. Cyclops is unsure about that since the X-Men only trust themselves.
Captain America once again says he wants to help the X-Men and says that taking prisoners and placing them under Harry’s is not safe. He goes on to suggest that the X-Men need to be more discreet and stay out of the public eye for now.
Captain America then hands Cyclops an Avengers card with his contact information since he can’t be seen helping the X-Men public at the moment but it does not mean he is available if needed. He then wishes the X-Men luck and walks away.
Cyclops asks Wolverine what he thinks about what Captain America says. Wolverine says he believes what Captain America said about not trusting anyone, including himself.
Multiple Man interrupts their conversation by mentioning Reaper’s phone got a message from Hope Summers about the Mutant Liberation Force’s next target.
Sometime later at an anti-mutant rally an aggressive guy confronts Chamber and tells him to take off his mask. Chamber gets into it with the guy but before it gets to out of control Cyclops tells Chamber to keep his cool.
Cyclops tells X-Men to act discreetly while looking for Hope and the MLF.
Before they can start working Cyclops is struck from behind by Forearm, who calls Cyclops a traitor.
As the X-Men and Mutant Liberation Force start fighting the bodyguards on stage rush Ms. Prestel off stage. Multiple Man stops Banshee flying overhead. Cyclops has Magik teleport him to where Banshee is flying towards.
As soon as Banshee meets Hope on a rooftop Cyclops teleports in. Cyclops tries to talk with Hope about stopping her assassination attempt on Ms. Prestel, bringing up Cable in the process. Hope tells Cyclops he has no right to talk about Cable because he failed him and now her father is dead, which she also blames herself for. Cyclops says he understands that the X-Men failed Cable. Hope fires back that everyone failed Cable. She then says that Cable made her into a soldier and she is going to accomplish what her job is, and that is to end this war others started.
Hope orders Banshee to go down to Ms. Prestel’s location. Cyclops immediately stops him with an optic blast. Hope holds a gun ready to fire at Cyclops. Wolverine suddenly teleports in and stabs Hope from behind. This causes Hope to fire her gun and the bullet goes through Cyclops visor.
Wolverine threatens to kills Hope for shooting Cyclops. Hope tells Wolverine that he forgot what her powers are. She then reminds him by copying Cyclops powers and firing a powerful optic blast at Wolverine, which burns off skin from his torso and head.
Hope then gets her sniper gun ready and sets her sights on Ms. Prestel, who is getting in her limo, and fires her shot immediately.
As Hope puts her sniper gun away Wolverine stabs her from behind. Hope says that Wolverine is to late. Wolverine says that this stab was for Cyclops. Hope then says “La revolution, comme saturne, devore ses propres enfants.”
Cyclops recovers and tells Wolverine to stop. He then passes out.
Six days later Cyclops wakes up to Dark Beast giving him some treatments. Dark Beast tells Cyclops that he has lost his eye after Hope shot him.
Havok comes into the room and tells Dark Beast to leave since he is not allowed anywhere unsupervised.
Cyclops asks Havok about Hope. Havok reveals that while Wolverine severely injured her she was able to borrow Wolverine’s healing factor when she got stabbed so her injuries were fatal. Havok goes on to state that they have the other MLF members locked up in the basement, which is now very crowded.
Cyclops asks about Karma and Mirage. Havok reveals that Dark Beast convinced them to do some experiments on them.
Before he can finish Cyclops goes to confront Dark Beast about this. Cyclops threatens Dark Beast about hurting Karma and Mirage. Before he can continue Cyclops head starts hurting. Dark Beast tells Cyclops that with his injuries if he uses his optic blast he risks blowing his own head off. Dark Beast then is about to threaten Cyclops but is stopped by Havok.
Before things escalate Magik shows up with Wolfsbane, Karma and Mirage, who have been been healed from the Transmode Virus through Dark Beast’s experiments. Dark Beast reveals that the Transmode Virus was actually Warlock who split himself up into multiple parts in order for the hosts not to be consumed by him. He goes on to state that he was able to lure all of the Transmode Virus’ into one host: one of Multiple Man’s dupes
The Multiple Man dupe that is transforming into Warlock appears and begs Cyclops to kill him. End of issue.
The Good: Matthew Rosenberg has a clear direction that he is taking Uncanny X-Men and is moving forward with that. The confidence he has in that direction shines in Uncanny X-Men #15. Even when not everything works the way it intended, there is a lot to appreciate in the way Rosenberg goes about tell the story in this issue.
The greatest strength of Uncanny X-Men #15 is its pacing. There is no wasted time by Rosenberg. Even when this issue has many dialogue heavy scenes Rosenberg keeps the issue moving at all times. There is no time given for the X-Men to reflect on everything that is said or happens throughout Uncanny X-Men #15.
The constant sense of movement highlights the sense of urgency that the X-Men must now act in. There backs are completely against the wall with how much the mutant population has decreased. On top of that, this is by far the lowest period for the X-Men in terms of perception. Even with part of Cyclops mission being to return the X-Men to their superhero team roots that is easier said than done.
Bringing in Captain America to remind both the X-Men and reader about this was the right move. After how things went between Cyclops and Captain America the last time they met this new meeting was something that was needed. Rosenberg did a great job having Captain America be the person that gives the X-Men the reality check they need. His advice carried great weight because of the respect Captain America always demands, no matter what his current status quo may be.
What made this opening scene even better was that it never escalated beyond Captain America trying to advice the team and the X-Men listening. This was an important thing to accomplish to put over how Cyclops and Wolverine are trying to lead the X-Men without violence being the first answer. Having a sense of respect for the rest of the superhero community will be key to the X-Men’s return as a superhero team.
This scene made the confrontation between Cyclops and Hope Summers stand out even more. Through this scene Rosenberg once again shows how Cyclops is trying to keep the piece by talking rather than automatically escalating things with fighting. Even though he wasn’t successful, this goes to show the reader that Cyclops is staying true to his words. For the X-Men to be a beacon peace they must get away from adding to the violence the mutant race are perceived as to inciting.
Cyclops actions also spotlighted what Wolverine’s role as second-in-command is. Like he was before, Wolverine is the enforcer who does what the other X-Men can’t or shouldn’t do. His rage towards Hope almost killing Cyclops also showed how much their relationship has changed. Though they won’t say it out loud, Cyclops and Wolverine are at their best when they act as brothers. Even when they are at odds they always have each others backs. Which is what we see from how Wolverine reacted when Cyclops was nearly killed and when Cyclops stopped Wolverine from killing Hope before passing out.
Given all of the drama it was a smart move not to show us the X-Men and Mutant Liberation Force’s big fight. All this action sequence would be is the same fight we’ve seen in recent issues with this X-Men squad. By now we know how effective this X-Men roster are together. And by not showing us the action scene Rosenberg leaves enough for the readers imagination that plays into what we’ve already seen from this X-Men team.
In making this story decision Rosenberg was able to place a bigger focus on the political nature of who Hope and the MLF’s target was. While we don’t know much of who Ms. Prestel is that is not needed. With how recent issues have focused on all the anti-mutant sentiment going around the world seeing the X-Men at another rally was more than enough information. With Hope being successful in killing Ms. Prestel it will be very interesting what the fallout will be since the X-Men were on scene for this. So this may very well be several steps back for the X-Men’s direction since perception is reality, as we have learned with how the news currently works.
Along with this, Rosenberg did bring up another wall that the X-Men are already hitting with the room they have in their makeshift prison. With Captain America’s statement that the basement is no Raft and the MLF members already making the basement prison a tight fit, the X-Men need to rethink their methods. There is no way they can continue operating out of a bar and expect to be successful in their long-term goals.
Through all of these events Rosenberg does a good job in developing the rest of the cast in Uncanny X-Men. Slowly but surely we are seeing Havok come into his own as one of the strong voices within the team. This is an appropriate voice to have since Havok has been a leader in the past and is Cyclops brother. With his experience Havok is one of the people on the team that can keep Cyclops honest.
Dark Beast has also become an intriguing wild card that Rosenberg has introduced. As the default lead scientist and doctor on the team Rosenberg is having a lot of fun writing Dark Beast’s character. Rosenberg is not forgetting that Dark Beast is at his best when antagonizing our heroes. That is something Dark Beast never misses the opportunity to do. At the same time, his mad scientist gimmick is leading to some interesting progress for Uncanny X-Men’s direction.
Which leads us to the other big development of this issue which was the return of Warlock. It was refreshing to see glad the Transmode Virus sub-plot being tackled right away. This was something that could’ve easily been stretched out for several more issues. But by tackling this plot point right away Rosenberg can move forward with fully developing Karma, Mirage, Wolfsbane and Warlock within this series. Expanding on how he can develop various characters will make the team in Uncanny X-Men even stronger in the long run.
Once again Salvador Larroca delivered high quality artwork throughout Uncanny X-Men #15. He continues to make this series feel like a big deal because of how he draws every character. All of the X-Men and their antagonist are designed in a way most fans are familiar with. Having that familiarity with the X-Men’s designs makes everything said have greater weight. And with how dramatic things gets having weight to all of the characters dialogue helped elevate everything that was going on.
The Bad: As well paced as Uncanny X-Men #15 was it was not without its faults. Those faults all fall on the portrayal of the Mutant Liberation Force. At no point does Rosenberg try to make the reader understand why the MLF are doing what they are doing. Instead they come across as just another villainous group who are looking to create even more chaos. In many ways they are just the new version of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
That is not a good thing for the MLF to be shown as. But without any sort of personality given to the various members of the MLF there is nothing for the reader to feel attach to in terms of their motives. Which is a shame since there could’ve easily been more to this group than what has been shown this far.
This major problem with the MLF group made Hope Summers heel turn even more problematic. While it is understandable that Hope is still hurt after Cable’s death, her joining an extremist group does not align with her most recent portrayal. In particular, last we saw of Hope in the X-Men: The Exterminated #1 special Hope was shown to at least be coming to terms with her father’s, Cable, death thanks to Jean Grey’s help.
That character development from The Exterminated #1 special is non-existent here. Which is a major disappointment given that Hope is a character whose full potential as an X-Men has never been reached. And given her actions in Uncanny X-Men #15 it is hard not to feel like this development for Hope is massive step back for her character.
Banshee’s actions and design were also unexplained. From a design standpoint the only thing that was recognizable was his costume. Outside of that it looked like a zombie wearing a Banshee costume. His look went unexplained and will lose many readers not caught up with what his recent history is. That lack of context causes his actions to be questionable since Rosenberg does not develop Banshee at all.
Overall: Uncanny X-Men #15 is a well-paced comic book. Even with how dialogue heavy this issue was Matthew Rosenberg never lost sight of the vision he set forth for this series. Cyclops, Wolverine and the X-Men all move forward in an intriguing direction. If it wasn’t for the bad execution of Hope’s heel turn Uncanny X-Men #15 would’ve been a higher rated comic book.
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