After the fiasco of writing that was the ‘X-Tinction Agenda,’ I was looking forward to seeing if Claremont and crew could put it back together again. As it turns out, I was not disappointed in the slightest. This brief 8-issue run (plus crossovers to X-Factor) proved to be some of the best writing in a while, resolving some leftover issues while developing characters in new and unique ways. At the end of the run the Uncanny X-Men, along with X-Factor and the New Mutants, all shift shape and change the line-up of characters for the titles, so I had to force myself to stop there before I got too deep into it. Still, what I read was absolutely wonderful.
First and foremost, Jim Lee is back in control of the pencils for the most part. He just keeps getting better and better, possessed of a talent that others can only pretend to dream of imitating poorly. Second of all, issue #274 is pure genius. The main subject of the issue is Magneto and the entire book is told using him as the narrator. It looks into his motivations, history and how he is changing. He has moved from his origins as insane-bad-guy to running Xavier’s school to where he lies now - losing all faith in mutants and humans ever living peacefully together. It is by far the best issue that Claremont has put together since the ‘Inferno’ arc. This book is the culmination of Magneto’s personality.
And although that may be the highlight, the rest is pretty good as well. It goes through the ‘Muir Island Saga,’ which has been set up for dozens of issues and ends in a showdown with Shadow King. This, of course, requires the return of Professor X from his space journey and so he adds his presence to future books. I was a little irked that despite him returning to Earth with his legs working, Claremont (or whoever was in charge) decided to immediately break them again. They reset the character’s physical ailment for no good reason other than to make him how he used to be, which is bad writing in my opinion. They also reset Polaris’s powers, giving her back her magnetic abilities and removing the big-and-strong thing she had going on there for a while.
In the end, the teams are forced to realign. This brings about the transformation of New Mutants into X-Force, the new roster for team X-Factor and two X-Men books, the Uncanny version and the brown-wrap X-Men that has continued ever since. So, I guess in order to keep up now I’ll be posting on both X-Men titles. Way to make people buy more books Marvel! If they’re both good though, I’ll have no problem putting in the extra time.