There are always so many X-Men books at one time for Marvel, so many different teams to choose from. Uncanny X-Men serves as the sort of the Suicide Squad-esque, villains-turned-heroes team of mutants. Even though the team isn’t comprised of the most popular of mutants, this group is a handful of fan-favorites; plus anything with Magneto is usually worth reading.
Not unlike the recent fate of the Fantastic Four (read Secret Wars #9), Marvel has been including commentary on the current state of its characters’ film rights in the main stories of some of their big comic book properties. The result includes a deadly rivalry and war between mutants and Inhumans as the Terrigen Mists that unleashes an Inhuman’s power is deadly to mutants.
For being based on a jab at 20th Century Fox, this X-Men versus Inhumans scenario has been pretty great. There is a ton of potential for an all-out war between the two species and it’s a path that has not yet been explored in Marvel canon.
However, Uncanny X-Men #2 pushes all the big time drama to the side for now, focusing more on Magneto and his crew as they deal with the return of The Dark Riders. The X-Men comics have an advantage in their seemingly unlimited supply of characters with different and interesting powers, so for the anti-mutant Dark Riders to be specifically targeting a certain group of mutants that possess a healing power is fascinating.
For his part, Magneto has been pretty harsh on the mutants trying to flee rather than fight for the mutant cause, resulting in some deaths. Still, Magneto is a great leader, and he’s now back to being pissed at the world and not just anyone specific. Sabretooth playing the hero is still no substitute for Wolverine, but it has been surprisingly fresh seeing his lighter side. Mystique shows up briefly in the opening with some hell fire, but then disappears (presumably, we’ll understand why in the coming issues).
The rest of the Uncanny X-Men are great in their respective roles but there is still something missing from the team. It’s strange for there not to be an opposing leader in a team of X-Men, and having everyone agreeing and working towards the same goal is strange.
The enemy is still very much shrouded in mystery upon completing Uncanny X-Men #2, and for good reason. Magneto will have his hands more than full soon enough as the story here continues to unfold. Whether he and his team face off against Inhumans, Dark Riders, or another team of X-Men, readers will be be well taken care of by Cullen Bunn.
Greg Land and Jay Leisten’s work in this issue of Uncanny X-Men is well drawn, layered but fragile while maintaining a colorful atmosphere. There is a compelling and subtle use of purple that Nolan Woodard employs throughout the entire book, too. The action is stimulating and explosive, the mutant powers are portrayed in a beautiful way that also keeps them easy to follow; it’s easy to get lost in some heavy telekinetic panels in other series.
Overall, Uncanny X-Men #2 is another solid entry and its story is continuing to build towards something bigger. Hopefully, that ends up being a huge Inhumans versus X-Men crossover event, but until then, readers can enjoy chemistry of Magneto’s team. The only thing holding Uncanny X-Men back from being absolutely perfect is that missing element – that one opposing voice within an X-Men team that usually makes their comics so electrifying.