UNCANNY X-MEN #4 / Writers: Matthew Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson, Ed Brisson / Artist: Pere Pérez / Color Artist: Rachelle Rosenberg / Letterer: Joe Caramanga / Publisher: Marvel / Released: December 5th, 2018
For the past month, Uncanny X-Men has been back with a bang. This fourth issue continues this trend of quality by giving us some much-needed X-Men drama and expanding on Legion’s presence. It is revealed that X-Man is pulling the strings behind the catastrophic events all around the globe. The question as to why still remains. Thrilling drama and expert characterization lift up Uncanny X-Men #4 despite its weaknesses in terms of plot.
The aspect I appreciate the most about this book is its acceptance of classic X-Men tropes. This issue fully dives in re-exploring Age of Apocalypse while standing on its own. The writing team of Kelly Thompson, Ed Brisson, and Matthew Rosenberg showcase their deep collective knowledge of mutants by re-imagining the concept of AoA and flipping it on its head. They also do a great job at summarizing the concepts for newer readers who might not have a good grasp of the X-Men’s past. Giving out this summary through Legion’s insane rambling makes it feel genuine, and at no point do you feel force-fed the information. Another reason I appreciated this issue so much is I’m a huge sucker with anything containing biblical undertones. A huge part of why I love Apocalypse is because of his relationship with that theme, and seeing it reversed and played around with feels fresh. It also opens the door wide open for the coming Age of X-Man era that Marvel has been teasing.
The cast of characters being used continues to impress me. Thompson, Brisson, and Rosenberg manage to make the personalities shine despite a wide cast. The interactions we get are satisfying and don’t feel rushed. I honestly hope a big part of this cast is the official team post-Disassembled because we’re being teased for some high flying X-Men drama. The showdown between Armor and Jean was probably my favorite part of the book because of how much tension was present. It showed that family drama is a core element of the X-Men and its presence gave me some Claremont-era vibes.
The art of Uncanny X-Men #4 was delightful. Pere Pérez is one of the most consistent artists out there. The art felt tame compared to some of the previous issues, but is effective here because the team is catching its breath before going back in the field. The art reflects the more toned down attitude. The reader is exposed to a lot of information so the art doesn’t come across as distracting. Rachel Rosenberg’s colors follow suit in this trend. They don’t feel too distracting yet make each character stand out when the need is present. The color schemes stand apart, making the action easy to follow. Joe Caramagna did something really creative in terms of lettering. The simple act of making Legion’s dialog not fit the panel gave off a beautiful rambling effect. This small aspect helped immerse me in the comic. Small things like that make a difference.
I did enjoy this issue for the most part, but I still have a few complaints. It was more of breather issue; it served to give off important information to the reader, but nothing else. It’s the kind of issue you can’t skip because of it’s importance, but at times you’ll wonder when things will pick up. The way it’s plotted will make it perfect for trade, but as a single issue, it doesn’t work that well. Earlier, I mentioned that the characters were well-handled and they are… except for Beast. His sub-plot feels important, but I don’t know why. He’s given very little page time and is investigating something which I should care about, but in reality, I don’t. His angle just raises a lot of questions that confuse instead drive interest. Hopefully, Beast’s storyline picks up in coming issues, because we’re almost at the halfway point and I feel it’s just dragging the overall quality down.
Uncanny X-Men #4 is not a perfect comic, but it does a lot of things right. It delivers on stunning art and generally highlights characters’ personalities nicely. So far, I’m still on board with the Disassembled arc and I hope it keeps delivering on quality storytelling within the coming weeks.
Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 Megalodons