The road to Brian Bendis big finale for his X-Men run continues with Uncanny X-Men #35. This is the last Bendis’ X-Men issue before the big Uncanny X-Men #600 releases in October. With all of the characters that have been Bendis has worked on over his entire run I am very interested to see how he sets up his final X-Men issue. Let’s find that out now with Uncanny X-Men #35.
Writer: Brian Bendis
Artist: Valerio Schiti
Colorist: Richard Isanove
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Outside a high school in Arizona a coach talks to his players about not worrying about mutants. Animax appears and greets the coach as her dad. Animax and her dad’s discussion quickly goes downhill after Animax calls him a drunk, abusive racist. Animax’s dad yells at her to back down but Animax instead uses her powers to summon creatures to attack the school.
The New X-Men class of Goldballs, Hijack, Benjamin Deeds, Triage and the Stepford Sisters arrive to fend Animax off. The Stepford Sisters try to psychically shut Animax down but that only causes Animax to unleash an even bigger creature to attack the New X-Men. Deeds uses his powers to turn himself into Animax in order to get her to relate to him. Deeds is able to distract Animax long enough for Goldball to knock her out with his powers.
Goldball leads the New X-Men’s celebration on defeating Animax by dancing around. As the team celebrates they don’t notice that the entire school body has recorded the entire fight and celebration.
Later that night, the Stepford Sisters take the New X-Men to the old Hellfire Club mansion. The team decides to use the place to get some rest after their recent fight.
The next morning the team wake up and while eating breakfast discover that Goldball has become an Internet sensation after their fight with Animax. Goldball’s mom suddenly calls and informs her son that she is talking to the news about how he is a big time superhero. She then tells her son that the Tonight Show wants to have him on the show.
Goldball’s fame continues to grow over the next few weeks with appearances on various talk shows, numerous magazine covers and autograph sessions. Through all of these appearance Goldball continues to fight alongside his teammates.
Soon the New X-Men defeat Avengers villain Ulysses Klaw. Goldball thinks it’s awesome that they just fought an Avengers villain. The celebration does not last long as someone throws a broken glass bottle at his neck.
The New X-Men spot a group of mutant-hating people responsible for throwing the bottle. In their rage the Stepford Sisters kill one of the rioters. The police show up and force the New X-Men to retreat so that they can heal Goldball.
The next day the New X-Men arrive at the Jean Grey School where they admit to Storm and Iceman that they aren’t ready to be on their own. Storm gladly offers her help to the young X-Men team and welcomes them into the Jean Grey School. End of issue.
The Good: Over the course of the last few month Brian Bendis has been slowly building up to his big X-Men finale and Uncanny X-Men #35 was another step in that direction. Uncanny X-Men #35 is a comic book that moves along to tell a complete story in one issue. It’s in this one-and-done nature where this latest issue of Uncanny X-Men stood out from the other comics out this week.
Getting an issue completely dedicated to characters we don’t see get time to shine on their own that often was a refreshing change of pace. While Bendis has done a very good job developing the younger generation of X-Men during his run the emphasis was still on the core X-Men that we know. In crafting an entire issue centered on the next generation of X-Men we got to see how these characters can stand on their own.
What I most enjoyed about Uncanny X-Men #35 in particular was how Bendis used the story as to help teach the young X-Men bigger lessons. As we have all seen time and time again, both personally and in the media, a one of the biggest enemies we face is our own ego. This is especially true when we are young, a time where we believe we know everything and can take on anything even if we haven’t really experienced success and failures.
That is exactly what Bendis is able to highlight with Uncanny X-Men #35. Through the course of this issue we get to see this New X-Men team lead by the Stepford Sisters find their greatest success to date. This success led these young X-Men, specifically Goldballs, to believe they were ready to be real X-Men. Seeing how the kids dealt with their success gave us greater insight into where they are at this point in their lives.
And by highlighting Goldballs specifically we got to see how quickly superstardom can come and go. No matter what kind of person you are anyone that is given so much so quickly is only created for a great fall. That is exactly what happened with Goldballs who was placed in a position that made his own ego grow to such a degree that once one little thing went wrong things went downhill. The way things went downhill can’t be placed on Goldballs’ head but the way the entire team reacted to the protesters attack showed that they still have a lot to learn.
The way the New X-Men reacted to the protesters attack was a good way to show kids what the real world is like for the X-Men. Even though there has been some progress when it comes to human and mutant relations it still has not changed the extremists’ point-of-views on mutants. No matter how much things get better not everything will change overnight. It takes time from both sides for widespread change to happen and that is why young mutants need the Jean Grey School to learn how to deal with things properly. And seeing the kids finally accept this by asking Storm to take them in showed that they have accepted the fact that they still have much to learn.
While she wasn’t a major factor after the opening of this issue, I did like how Bendis used Animax to also highlight this point. Animax is a young mutant that lacks direction and because of that she has allowed her hatred for how her dad treated her to cloud her judgment. This additional backstory into Animax history gave us a good perspective of what the young X-Men would go through later. It also provided a little more insight in a young character that could turn into a bigger threat for the X-Men if she does not given proper guidance.
Valerio Schiti does a great job with all that he is given to do in this issue. With Bendis giving this issue a mix of talking head and action scenes there was plenty of opportunity for Schiti to flex his artistic muscle. I especially enjoyed how he was able to get across the growing ego of Goldball throughout this issue. Seeing how much his and the rest of the X-Men’s ego grew it made the reaction they had to the violent attack even more impactful.
The Bad: Nothing
Overall: The final domino for Brian Bendis epic X-Men finale has been laid out with Uncanny X-Men #35. By highlighting the young group of X-Men he has developed over the course of his run Bendis was able to place them in an interesting position leading into his grand finale. The one-shot nature of Uncanny X-Men #35 also provided this set of characters a good chance to have a full arc on their own. Seeing how these young X-Men dealt with success and adversity also gave a greater importance for a place like the Jean Grey School to exist in the Marvel Universe. Hopefully now that everything is place Bendis is able to deliver a strong end to his great X-Men run.