Kieron Gillen is one of the best writers at Marvel right now. Journey Into Mystery continues to deliver on every level, so it’s been sad to say that Uncanny X-Men has been only mediocre since the relaunch last November. But #15 is a great issue that shows how good Gillen can make a book about Cyclops’ team of mutants.
Mr. Sinister, while not being used as much as he could, has been one of the highlights since the relaunch. He’s egotistical, and Gillen writes him in a way that makes the reader want to see more of him each month. Some of his plans finally come to fruition, and it’s very entertaining. With Avengers vs X-Men going on, it would have been easy for Gillen to forget about Sinister for a few months and focus on the event, but Gillen balances both well. We get a clear sense of why Sinister is a threat, and why it needs to happen now and not after the event. Gillen then goes on to show off his writing abilities by giving us plenty of smaller character moments while not sacrificing plot. While the Extinction Team seemed non existent (or extinct if you are into bad puns) since Avengers vs X-Men started, it’s good to see them back together. It shows readers that Gillen is still committed to the premise that warranted the relaunch, and that his direction wasn’t completely thrown out the window for the sake of an event.
What has become very apparent in the past couple of issues, is that Kieron Gillen should have been on the writing team of Avengers vs X-Men. It was a great idea to bring in people like Ed Brubaker and Jonathan Hickman to think outside of the Marvel event box, and Gillen would have been a great choice. He has been knee deep in Cyclops’ side of the fight, going back to Generation Hope. With Cyclops becoming more of an a douche in Avengers vs X-Men, Gillen could have brought him back from the dark side. He has been able to keep Cyclops an army leader while keeping him grounded. The reader feels like these hard decisions are justifiable, which keeps Cyclops from becoming unlikable.
David Acuña has been one of the unsung heroes of superhero comics. His work is suited for the spandex wearing heroes, with his colorist style artwork. Acuña has the same problems that have been in his artwork before: characters have zero facial features once they enter the background, which makes it impossible to tell how they the inflection behind their dialogue. But his pencils have improved in the past few months. Backgrounds are much more detailed, and characters expressions are better than ever. The backgrounds in particular, have improved vastly. Sinister London looks fantastic, and rivals Dustin Weaver’s on scale. While Weaver didn’t separate each of the Sinisters well, Acuña gives each Sinster slight variations. If Uncanny didn’t ship so often, I’d say Acuña should join on as the main artist. With Marvel NOW! coming in a few months, Marvel needs to put this guy on a high profile book regularly.
Uncanny X-Men #15 gets 4/5.
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