REVIEW: Uncanny X-Men #3 – “Enter Legion”

Uncanny X-Men #3

UNCANNY X-MEN #3 / Writers: Matthew Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson, Ed Brisson / Artist: Yildiray Cinar / Color Artist: Rachelle Rosenberg / Letterer: Joe Caramanga / Publisher: Marvel / Released: November 28, 2018

Uncanny X-Men #3 cover

So far “Disassembled” has featured big explosions, ominous hints, and little else. Finally with Uncanny X-Men #3 we get a little traction, and it is sorely needed. The question is: is it enough? Is there some kind of story here to create an issue that is more than pretty just fights? Read on to find out.

Uncanny X-Men #3 picks up roughly where the previous issue left off. Half the team is fighting crazed Madrox dupes while the other half of the team is fighting dinosaurs. Once the dinos are dispatched—a surprisingly easy problem—the whole team focuses its efforts on the dupes. Meanwhile at the X-mansion David Haller—also known as Legion—has arrived to help save the day. These are his words, and in true David Haller fashion they sound vaguely insane. The X-kid’s skepticism combined with David’s instability lead to a fight. While the X-kinds are busy getting their asses handed to them the X-Men discover Madrox prime and learn the reason behind his dupes acting the way they were. Then it really gets interesting—and I’m not going to tell you anything about it.

A Nitpick Complaint?

It would be easy to say “look at those vibrant X-Men costumes” or “look at those colorful fighting effects” and decide that colorist Rachelle Rosenberg has done a good job. And to be sure by those metrics she has been successful. But what stood out for me was how well Rosenberg distinguished both the crowd of protesters outside the X-mansion and the crowd of dupes in the fight. Differences in skin tone along with different colored clothes solve the problem at the mansion. Meanwhile she uses assorted shades of green to keep the masses of dupes from looking like, well, one big mass of dupes.

Uncanny X-Men #3

The coloring goes a long way to buoy the art in Uncanny X-Men #3. Yildiray Cinar draws action sequences just fine. And he handles quiet moments as well. Cinar doesn’t seem to be as big a fan of backgrounds, his action sequences are often set against solid colors or vague, almost smoke-like backings. Rosenberg colors the background to let the characters stand out. This is arguably a nitpick complaint, but it does mean the fight against Madrox’s dupes—enemies that are identical—loses any sense of geography.

Thirty Pages of Explosions

Frequently my biggest story complaint with large events is that the individual issues have no plot on their own—that the only way to get a satisfying story is to read the whole run of issues. But comics are still released in a periodical format and should have some kind of identifiable stand alone plot within the issue. Happily the writing team of Matthew Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson, and Ed Brisson have delivered on that via the Madrox storyline which begins with the fight and ends with the discovery of Madrox Prime and his revelation that Legion imprisoned him and forced him to make dupes. This has the advantage of giving the reader something to care about within the issue even as it links to the main story. It elevates the issue beyond thirty pages of explosions that won’t mean anything until the event is over.

Uncanny X-Men #3

The writing team has included no shortage of sound effects in Uncanny X-Men #3—my personal favorite is the “whaps” when Legion is hitting his head against the floor. Letterer Joe Carmagna has a lot of fun with these sound effects with some stairstep between panels, some on the floor of the attack in a clean even font, and some going across an entire panel as our characters get thrown backwards. My personal favorite is when the X-Men open a metal door and the “skree-unch” goes across the entire bottom of the panel in a shaky font. For someone who enjoys comic sound effects Caramagna’s work was a lot of fun.

Final Thoughts

One of my chief fears with “Disassembled” was that it would be a loud story indecipherable until it was over. Uncanny X-Men #3 has dispelled this concern—at least temporarily. I would say it is easily the best issue in the story despite a confusing ending. Unfortunately the art holds the issue back but even so it was a superior outing.

Uncanny X-Men #3

Rating: 4 out of 5 Legion headbangs

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Theron Couch is a collection of 1000 monkeys on 1000 typewriters trying to produce Hamlet. From time to time he accidentally types comic book reviews. Theron’s first novel, The Loyalty of Pawns, is available on Amazon and he's published assorted short stories. Theron maintains a blog with additional comic and book reviews as well as posts on his personal struggle with mental health.

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