Uncanny X-Men #17
The X-Men bury one of their own in Uncanny X-Men #17, by writer Matthew Rosenberg, artist Carlos Gomez, colorist GURU-eFX, and letterer Joe Caramagna. Not all of the X-Men mourn the same, though, as Logan and Kwannon go out on their own to make the killers pay.
Cyclops tries to make sure that Logan goes to Rahne’s funeral and Logan agrees until Madrox brings him evidence on who killed her. Logan frees Kwannon, and the two of them go after the killers as the rest of the X-Men mourn at the funeral. Kwannon uses her telepathy to let Logan see what happened on that fateful night and Logan arms the men who killed her, telling them to be ready to fight him… before ONE soldiers attack the two. Logan arrives back at Harry’s Hideaway after the funeral and him and Cyclops come to blows before they’re split up by Juggernaut and everyone realizes that there is one dangerous mutant not on Cyclops’ list and no one can even remember her name.
Rahne’s death is a tragedy caused by racism. That isn’t exactly surprising, but it plays in a very familiar way for people who know hate crimes. In fact, it feels like a story ripped out of the headlines- a group of men hit on a woman who isn’t what they expect and then kill her. It’s a common story in the trans community, and this scene plays out that way. Rosenberg presents it as a terrible, heart-wrenching event, tweaking it a just a bit because of Rahne’s mutant nature. Rahne decided to leave the team because she wanted a healthy life. At only one point in the attack does she actually defend herself, but when it comes right down to it, she barely lifts a finger. It’s a sad end for a character who has struggled with her mutant nature her own life. One would expect that after a scene like this, Rosenberg would give readers what he promised with Logan and Kwannon confronting the killers- a gruesome scene of revenge against evil men, but that all happens off panel. There’s no vindication or at least, none for readers to see. That fits the realistic tone that the murder sets.
The Logan and Scott tussle after the funeral is both in and out of character for both men. Rosenberg spent the first six issues of his run rebuilding their relationship and while, yes, Scott would at one time have a problem with Logan skipping out on the funeral to go take revenge, the new Scott that it felt like Rosenberg was giving readers would have probably sent Logan to do it. These two men know each other as only the best frenemies can, so Scott knows how Logan mourns and how to use him. However, the fight also allows Logan to touch on his own guilt about Rahne’s death- he’s the one who told her it was possible for her to have a healthy life. He blames himself not only for her death but for all the deaths that have happened on his and Cyclops’ watch. He gets the line of the issue- “We march them to Hell, but only we get to come out!” It’s a powerful moment.
The art is Carlos Gomez is okay. It’s sort of uninspired and looks a lot like the “house” style that plagued this book when it was weekly, and the three artists drawing the book all had the same manner. The linework is clean, and it’s detailed, but it just has a very generic feel to it. Nothing about it stands out as good, but nothing stands out as bad either. It’s just sort of there.
Uncanny X-Men #17 puts a real-world spin on Rahne’s murder, and it fits very well. It’s not the evil plan of some mutant mastermind or a government-sponsored hit (although something like that sort of happens in the book), it’s just a symptom of the hatred and bigotry of the world. After six very Cyclops centric issues, this one focuses on Logan and his own guilt over another death on his watch, one he feels in part responsible for. Unfortunately, this art doesn’t fit the caliber of the script. Its blandness hurts what could have a stellar issue of Uncanny X-Men. It doesn’t kill the chapter, but this issue could have been so much more potent if the art was better.