Though the majority of the X-Men have been sent to the Age Of X-Man the main series for the franchise, Uncanny X-Men, has shown improvement. The improvement has come with the return of Cyclops and Wolverine as the leads for Uncanny X-Men. Under their leadership this new X-Men team have been given a clear direction. This direction has led to some intriguing choices as old villains have returned and new allies are showing up. The last issue ended with the twist ending of Wolfsbane death happening off-screen. That is a major X-Men to be killed off, especially with Matthew Rosenberg not showing us how Wolfsbane died. What does this major death mean for the X-Men’s future? Let’s find out with Uncanny X-Men #17.
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Carlos Gomez
Story Rating: 1 Night Girl out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 3.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Cyclops finds Wolverine drinking at the bar. Cyclops tells Wolverine to get dressed so they can go to Rahne Sinclair’s funeral service. Wolverine at first says he will mourn his own way but Cyclops reminds him they are family and he should show up to support the others.
While getting dressed Multiple Man gives Wolverine the official police report detailing how Rahne died. Wolverine takes the report and decides to take off.
Before leaving Wolverine gets Kwannon (Psylocke) out of her prison cell to take her along with him.
When they get outside Wolverine and Kwannon are stopped by Havok, who wants to go with them. Wolverine states no one else should go with him. He then steals Havok’s car keys and drives off with Kwannon.
At MacDonaill Cemetery Cyclops opens Rahne’s funeral service by wishing they did not have to all the X-Men did not gather because of death. Karma is the next to speak and wishes she wasn’t talking about Rahne in the past tense and expresses her love for her and other lost teammates. The rest of the X-Men all talk about what Rahne meant to them as well, speaking on the kind person she was.
At the same time, Wolverine and Kwannon have tracked down the people who killed Rahne. They turn out to be just a bunch of random guys. Kwannon violently scans one of the guys minds.
During the scan she learns that one of them tried to hit on Rahne but when she turned him down he got aggressive with her. To defend herself she unconsciously shows part of her Wolfsbane transformation. Rahne quickly gained control of herself and apologizes. The guys end up surrounding Rahne and start beating her up. Rahne transforms to defend herself but when she sees that she caused one of the guys is bleeding she freaks out and asks to be left alone. The guys just get more aggressive and beat Rahne to death, while also mockingly telling her to transform.
With the scan done the guys try to say they just wanted to see Rahne’s transformation. Wolverine throws the guys a bag full of weapons. He then says he wants them to fight back as he unleashes his claws.
Before they even fight a bunch of soldiers wearing psychic shielding armor appear out of nowhere. Wolverine is not intimidated and immediately goes after the soldiers and guys that killed Rahne.
Sometime later Wolverine walks into Harry’s Hideaway. Noticing Wolverine clothes show he was shot at Cyclops says he wants Wolverine gone by the end of the night. Cyclops and Wolverine go back and forth about everything that has happened, including Blindfold and Rahne’s deaths.
They end up fighting around the bar. Eventually Juggernaut breaks up the fight. Juggernaut reminds them about all the threats they have to fight and overcome as a team still.
Juggernaut then looks at the list and asks why Emma Frost is not one of the names from Cyclops’ list of threats. Cyclops and the rest of the X-Men wonder who Emma Frost is. End of issue.
The Good: Uncanny X-Men #17 is an example of how one bad decision can snowball to the point there was only destruction left in its wake. This is an extremely disappointing turn of events because Matthew Rosenberg started to establish a strong direction for this series. Unfortunately Rosenberg just could not resist making things worse before even attempting to show the direction the X-Men are on leads them to a positive future.
The only positive thing that can be said about Uncanny X-Men #17 was Carlos Gomez’s artwork. His artwork was dynamic enough to get over the intensity of the action when Wolverine is unleashed. The emotion in those scenes from a artwork perspective got across what Wolverine felt during his time uncovering what the pieces of crap guys that killed Rahne did.
The Bad: There are many layers to all the problems with how Matthew Rosenberg treated Rahne Sinclair, aka Wolfsbane, death. Those problems have a wide range from Rosenberg’s inability to deliver strong character development to the lack of care to the way greater societal issues. Just having one of these problems is enough to hurt a story. But the fact is that Rosenberg failed on just about every level that there is just no excusing the decisions that he makes in Uncanny X-Men #17.
Strictly from a story perspective Rosenberg completely failed Rahne Sinclair’s character and her fans. At no point in his Uncanny X-Men run did Rosenberg actually spend time developing Rahne’s character. Up until her death Rahne was nothing more than a background character. While she was a member of the new X-Men she never got more than a handful of lines. Her only moment in this new era of the X-Men was when she was unable to control her Wolfsbane transformation in Uncanny X-Men #14.
The lack of character development for Rahne made her exit from the team not have any sort of impact when she announced her decision in the middle of the last issue. If Rosenberg would’ve spent some time developing who Rahne is now, her current state of mind and relationships with Karma and the other X-Men, her exit would’ve meant more. But the fact is outside of Cyclops and Wolverine Rosenberg has only given minimal time to Havok, Hope, Dark Beast and Magik as characters.
While she has been part of some great X-Men Family comics in the past the reality is Rahne isn’t a character that has served a major role in any big story. She is a minor character in the large scheme of things. Which is why when Rosenberg chose to focus on a small team he had the opportunity to spotlight characters like Rahne who could step out of the shadows from all the iconic X-Men.
That unfortunately never happened. And this decision to kill Rahne in the way he did just points to Rosenberg completely rushing his entire run. Whether it was editor mandate or not this rushed development just speaks to poor planning on Rosenberg’s plot. At some point in the last six issues of this series he should have had Rahne get time to show her personality and dynamic with her teammates. It would have gone a long way, especially for the majority of X-Men fans who don’t know her complete history, such as her connection with Karma.
In failing to spotlight Rahne until Uncanny X-Men #17 Rosenberg put the series in the tough spot of having to retroactively providing her with character development. Whether intended or not, that is exactly how Rahne’s funeral went down. Everything the X-Men said about how great of person she was just came across as Rosenberg trying to retroactively developing her character. It all was incredibly too late in the game because the damage was already done. And because of that damage Rosenberg made what should’ve been an emotional scene into just a plot device to overcome his own negligence as a writer.
All the problems with how Rahne’s death was handled also just spotlighted the fact that Rosenberg’s entire run on Uncanny X-Men has been about eliminate mutants. We first saw this with how while working in a brain trust for the first ten issues he sent the majority of the mutants to another universe. From there he opened this current era of the X-Men by killing off Blindfold after she served her one issue purpose as a plot device to get Cyclops and Wolverine back together.
All of this death and universe transfer just paints Rosenberg’s entire run purpose as being about a countdown until there are no more mutants. There is no positive future for the X-Men. There is only death for them and eventually Rosenberg will get the characters countdown to reach zero at some point. That may not be the case at all but that is the negative perception Rosenberg has now created for his entire run.
All of this poor writing from Rosenberg is only further hurt by the fact that nothing that happened in the first twenty pages made the twenty-first page matter more. Juggernaut asking about why Emma Frost name wasn’t on the X-Men’s hit list and Cyclops responding like he didn’t know who she was could’ve easily opened Uncanny X-Men #17. The fact is all that was needed for this scene to happen was for Juggernaut to look at the list and this scene would’ve happened at any time. It was not made better or worse by what happened before this revelation.
Which all speaks to how meaningless of a fight Cyclops and Wolverine get into after the latter gets back from what he and Kwannon did to the guys that killed Rahne. It was just another fight between two guys we have seen constantly go at it with each other. And given their situation it was tough to believe that Rosenberg would have Cyclops truly kick Wolverine off the team. He was just trying to assert his authority he gave up in the last issue so it meant nothing since there was no vote about Wolverine’s status on the team.
Along similar lines, Rosenberg gives zero development for the Kwannon version of Psylocke. The only reason Wolverine had her come with him was because she was the only psychic on the team. Outside of that she had nothing to do since Wolverine could easily handle the fight. So rather than developing her character Rosenberg just made Kwannon another plot device.
The other character that gets a horrible draw was Havok. Thus far, Havok has just been an annoying little brother who questions everything Cyclops and Wolverine do. Rosenberg has yet to properly develop Havok even with how much screen time and dialogue he has gotten up to this point. Because of that it made him wanting to join Wolverine not be a payoff to his arc. More than anything, it came across as Havok just trying to be involved because he was a cast member not given anything to do when the script was given to him.
Overall: From beginning to end Uncanny X-Men #17 was horrible. Matthew Rosenberg completely failed the X-Men franchise with his choices and writing throughout this issue. That is incredibly disappointing to say because before this Rosenberg established an interesting new direction for Uncanny X-Men. All that potential is thrown away in favor of more death and X-Men infighting.
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