Things Get Bleak In Uncanny X-Men #18

by Tony Thornley

As the saying goes, it’s always darkest before the dawn. Uncanny X-Men #18 seems to reinforce that fact, but will things get better for the X-Men before they get worse.

Cover by Whilce Portacio

Matthew Rosenberg, Carlos Villa, Juan Vlasco, Craig Yeung, Guru-eFX, and Joe Caramagna show things getting worse.

In the wake of Rahne’s death, several members of the team realize they need to step away. The remainder of the group are drawn into a conflict with Mister Sinister and the Marauders that has deadly consequences. However, is there someone pulling everyone’s strings?

Just like last issue, I had to digest and re-read this one several times before writing this review. On my initial read, I didn’t like the issue much, because I felt like it was crossing into bleak for bleakness sake. However upon a reread and reflection, I realize that the final page of the story is crucial to understanding the story and really makes the issue better in retrospect.

Without giving too much away, the final page reveals that there’s a mastermind to all this misery, and with that, things come into sharper focus. The issue is a purposefully challenging read, and I appreciate that Rosenberg is doing that. While it might seem like he’s just breaking toys before Jonathan Hickman’s story kicks off, that’s not the case. There’s definitely more to it, and realizing that makes me appreciate and enjoy the story much more. There’s four more issues in this story, and I’m fascinated to see where it goes.

Villa’s work with Vlasco and Yeung is well done. The issue gets multiple solid character interactions that are sold on the emotional connections that the team portrays. They also are able to switch gears and give us extremely solid and enjoyable action. A few panels are unclear in what’s happening and some characters completely lose their hair between panels, but overall it’s good work.

This might be a hard read for X-Men fans, but being challenged is a good thing in our entertainment. I definitely feel this story is going in an interesting direction.

Uncanny X-Men #18 is available now from Marvel Comics.

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