|Uncanny X-Men #26 cover bv Chris Bachalo|
The words of Charles Xavier ring in the air as Cyclops, Wolverine, and the other X-Men continue to deal with the effects of hearing their former mentor, leader, and teacher confess to doing the exact opposite of what he had always taught his students to do.
Uncanny X-Men #26 picks up the search for Matthew Malloy, the dangerous mutant, whose powers Xavier had been trying to inhibit for most of the former's life. With Xavier now gone, the psychic blocks holding Mallow back have fallen, with devastating results. Enter Maria Hill and S.H.I.E.L.D.—as so often is the case in this series—to step up to the mutant menace.
Hill has been constantly battling the threat posed by various groups or individuals but has been prominent in this and previous arcs of Uncanny X-Men. It is nice to see Brian Bendis using this in a constructive manner in #26, as Hill reaches out to the X-Men once she realizes Malloy is a mutant. This is a nice contrast to Hill's previous attitude and builds on the incidents at the Jean Grey School in Uncanny X-Men issues #21 and #22 and the outcome of the Battle of the Atom event.
|Xavier's teaching for Cyclops was a lie.|
Bendis is big on characterization, on seeing the development of characters beyond what they appear, building weaknesses into strengths, and exploring unique ways of having them react to new situations. For Iceman, we see one of the original X-Men declare his hatred of Cyclops for killing Xavier. Iceman is often seen as a comic relief for some of the other more serious undertones of the world of the X-Men, so this approach is refreshing.
Besides the above-mentioned characters, the story seems to be progressing, but the pace is not extremely quick. This is not necessarily a drawback, as it feels like Bendis is building this up again. We get glimpses of what Malloy is now capable of, and other pieces such as the X-Men and S.H.I.E.L.D. collaboration begin to take shape. This is a nice way to lead into issue #27 of Uncanny X-Men.
|Maria Hill realizes her nightmare about mutants has come true.|
Kris Anka is on art duty this time around, and his more simple, expressive take on faces lets us digest the more straightforward emotions of the characters in this issue. Anka has a clean line style, but it is on a second viewing of the art that you can see his emphasis on clearly and concisely telling the story that he wants to achieve. The colors Anka uses are another great cue to enhance his storytelling; the limited use of colors mirrors the emotions or tone of any particular panel or series of panels throughout the issue. For example, the action set pieces, with confrontation between Cyclops and the other X-Men or those panels involving S.H.I.E.L.D., are mostly reds and yellows, whereas the training environment and student debate about being good or bad are in softer purple hues.
|The X-Men leave to fulfill Xavier's last wishes.|
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