I read through the second issue of the new Uncanny X-men, and the first issue of a new, limited series: Five Weapons. Uncanny X-men ramps up the stakes after laying down a solid introduction in issue one.
Five Weapons gets off to a good start, despite its smug protagonist – a new student at a school for young assassins pledges to use only his mind to defeat his opponents. I’ll begin with Five Weapons.
Five Weapons #1 of 5
After reading this issue multiple times, I decided that The hero of the story, Tyler Shainline, walks a fine line between intelligent and smug.
He makes some excellent deductions about several characters psychology, including their weaknesses.
Weather it is wise to use this knowledge to relentlessly taunt his dangerous opponents remains to be seen. At times, he almost resembles a bully.
The compelling and mysterious Nurse, however, comments on Shainline: “I like him, He’s a funny one”. She sums up the core of his character, and the comic’s tone effectively – it is packed with humor and lighthearted jabs
What becomes clear after re-reading is that this comic cleverly points out the power of observation. Seeing Tyler Shainline making deductions and seeing through displays of power and intimidation is interesting, and a good idea for a story told in the visual, comic medium.
With the visuals in mid, The art is sharp, and fun details are worked into the story – such as the easter egg of Cloud Strife’s buster sword from Final Fantasy 7 appearing in the background, and the details of the students school uniforms: a big, red target is printed on their white shirts. If you can stand a smug winner, Five weapons has great ideas for readers from writer and illustrator Jimmie Robinson.
Uncanny X-Men #2
A key event took place at the conclusion of issue one, which would be a spoiler to discuss further, plays out in a small way in issue #2. The small act leads to a cliffhanger for the issue, which is also a spoiler, but shows that this series is building up a serious momentum, and keeping a good pace.
Brian Michal Bendis‘ assigns one particular character a viewpoint for this issue, and deeply examines their thoughts and emotions. Emma Frost acts as the viewpoint character for this issue. Both the writing, lettering, and art work together seamlessly as the issue opens.
Emma Frost is reeling from sheer silence. She was one of five mutants who received additional power from a mythical creature called the Phoenix Force. After she returned to normal, Emma, just like Scott Summers (Cyclops), found that her mutant powers where severely reduced.
After hearing the random thoughts and secrets of everyone around her with telepathy, Emma is now angry and brooding about being forced out of the ongoing train of thought around her. All she hears is silence.
Chris Baccalo’s art is stunning for these scenes. The frozen mountaintop that acts as a backdrop takes advantage of the vast, negative spaces and blank, white snow to convey a feeling of deep emptiness, and above all, of silence.
Emma’s predicament is played out through the art. In a rage, she slams her fists into the snow – it’s potentially a representation of her self directed anger. She says “I have no one to blame but myself”, and with a name like “Frost”, it makes sense she would strike the snow.
And then Scott Summers appears. We have been informed by another character that he is weakened, and unstable. We see him as well dressed, and confident, however, in a white shirt and tie. The characters development is thorough Uncanny X-men, and it’s likely that Scott is better at hiding his weaknesses than others, being the team leader.
Further, while the new students talk about what it means to be different from the mainstream, and what it means to be a mutant, it becomes clear, that Summers is talking about something completely different. He uses the word “Revolution” often.
It’s still somewhat unclear where he is going with this. Surely, with his stuttering and unreliable powers, and a group of new students to teach, there will not be time to carry out a revolution against the status quo – a world where ordinary people attack mutants, and mutants have no choice but to run and hide.
Summers wants to move toward clashes with other figures and groups in the Marvel universe, and that might be the result if he continues on this path.