Uncanny X-Men #8 // Review
Things go from bad to worse in Uncanny X-Men #8, by writers Ed Brisson, Kelly Thompson, and Matthew Rosenberg, artist R.B. Silva, inker Adriano Di Bennedetto, colorist Rachel Rosenberg, and letterer Joe Scaramagna. This one builds perfectly off the events of the last issue and ends with something that could spell doom for our heroes.
As Armor prepares to kill X-Man in the Age of Apocalypse, the X-Men are able to take out the Horsemen of Salvation. Kitty Pryde, Senator Allen, and Apocalypse are released from their imprisonment and Jean Grey and Psylocke go into Legion’s comatose mind, where they discover where the young X-Men and X-Man really are- not in the AoA at all, but inside Legion’s fractured and powerful mind. Beast discovers who stole his mutant cure vaccine and it’s a bit of a shocker. The X-Men argue about trying to get the kids out, but Apocalypse takes things into his own hands, trying to kill Legion. The team intervenes, and Bishop has Psylocke send him into Legion’s mind to help the young X-Men. He’s able to convince Armor not to kill X-Man and then Legion himself shows up, gloating about how he’s trapped X-Man. However, X-Man realizes he’s still a force to be reckoned with and psychically attacks Legion. Bishop and the young X-Men are expelled from Legion’s mind… a mind no longer under his control.
The reveal that Legion was using his mind as a prison based on the AoA is probably the most clever thing about this issue. It explains X-Man’s lack of powers and takes advantage of one of Legion’s best known traits- his fractured yet supremely powerful psyche. It’s also fitting that he chose the AoA, because he was the creator of that dystopian timeline. It also makes sense form a tactical standpoint; trapping X-Man gives the X-Men time to figure out how to deal with him. Unfortunately, the whole thing goes pear shaped, but that just makes this whole angle all the more interesting, as the end result will challenge the X-Men in ways they haven’t been challenged in years.
Bishop being the one to go in and save the kids and talk Armor down is another great choice. Bishop went to the AoA and knows how bad it can be. He knows what the place can do to a person. It’s a dog eat dog world where Apocalypse’s doctrine of survival of the fittest is paramount. Bishop, a killer himself, doesn’t want that to become Armor’s burden and is the perfect character to talk her out of it. He’s been where they are he knows how bad it can be but he also knows that there are some thing that can never be taken back.
R.B. Silva’s art is the best it’s been in this series so far. There’s a bit of a continuity error in the beginning of the book, where Armor is about to kill X-Man outside while in the last issue ended with them inside the cloning facility where X-Man was created, but that’s not his fault and he makes it work. Armor is standing in front of a burning, wrecked cityscape, a fine metaphor for what the AoA has done to her morals and it looks great. He also draws a massive, physically imposing Apocalypse. It’s the best the character has looked in a long time. Rachel Rosenberg keeps up her MVP level coloring, keeping the AoA stuff dark, while switching to a lighter palette for the scenes on the prime Earth.
Uncanny X-Men #8 takes all the promise of the last issue and runs with it, giving readers a satisfying and intriguing chapter in this story. The last two issues have improved things immensely, making this story relevant again. The twist ending here is great, giving the heroes a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to overcome. There’s only two more parts left to this story, but if they can match what’s been in this and the last issue, this story will have redeemed itself nicely.