And now we have reached the bottom of my new comic pile(already?!) and this week's Runt of the Litter, Uncanny X-Men. First things first, the cover of this issue indicates that this team will be facing off against the Phalanx, which means the my most hated X-team ever will be facing off against one of my most hated X-concepts ever... Yeah, this should be horrible... Besides that, this will almost definitely be the final issue of this series I'll be picking up until the X-Men/Avengers event. I just can't rationalize spending $4(oftentimes TWICE a month!) rooting AGAINST the “heroes” in this series anymore. So for the first time since I started collecting comic books, oh so long ago, Uncanny X-Men will NOT be on my monthly pull list. Congrats on that one, Marvel.
Uncanny X-Men #4:
What Happened: Back during a Phalanx incursion attempt on Earth, Mr. Sinister(the awesome, original version) managed to capture an individual Phalanx. Sinister spends years experimenting on the Phalanx (which would actually explain how Sinister gave himself/his annoying clones that hive mind they now share) before he ultimately tires of the Phalanx and locks it in a cage where it remains forgotten. After the battle against Lord Summers and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants last issue, current, annoying Mr. Sinister strolls into the lab containing the Phalanx and blows the lab up since he had no further use for it. A small piece of the Phalanx survives and manages to pull itself together through worms and such, managing to form a head. A little girl finds the Phalanx and takes it home with her to play with, and needless to say, the Phalanx tries to take over/add the girl's mind to it's own, and is shocked and horrified to discover that upon touching the girl, it added her mass, but her mind died. Wanting to contact it's race, the Phalanx goes on an absorbing spree, destroying an entire town in order to give itself enough mass to form a Babel Spire. This act doesn't go unnoticed by SWORD, who in turn contact the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants to deal with the situation. Lord Summers and his Brotherhood attack the Phalanx, but it manages to hold them off and forms a Babel Spire. Upon transmitting into space, the Phalanx discovers no signal, meaning that there were no other Phalanx out there. Overcome by grief, and not wanting to be alone, the Phalanx puts down it's defenses, allowing Lord Summers and the Brotherhood to destroy it completely. Lord Summers and Storm are kind of perplexed as to what just happened, and realize that they'll probably never know why the Phalanx simply gave up as it did.
The Good: This was easily the best Phalanx story I've ever read. Hands down. I hated the Phalanx Covenant, I hated that LONG storyline back when the Phalanx attacked the Shi'ar, and I hated every other time I've seen the Phalanx. So a HUGE kudos to Kieron Gillen(whose name was embarrassingly spelled “Keiron Gillen” in this issue...) for actually writing a Phalanx story I was able to get into. The Phalanx itself was an oddly sympathetic figure, which isn't something you'd expect. Getting to see the original Mr. Sinister again was a treat. I liked the artwork here. The Phalanx's decision to commit suicide as opposed to live it's life alone made perfect sense for it.
The Bad: That Phalanx talked A LOT!!! It just kept blabbing and blabbing and blabbing! The Brotherhood won and weren't absorbed away by the Phalanx. Why the hell did that little girl bring that hideous Phalanx head to her home?!? That thing was awful looking! Why did SWORD contact Lord Summers instead of Beast and/or the Avengers?
The Verdict: You know, every time I write a negative introductory paragraph I end up enjoying the comic book I read... I can't explain that, but apparently if I get myself good and angry prior to reading something I almost always tend to enjoy it. Go figure! This is probably the perfect issue to drop this series, because it was a one-and-done issue, and it wasn't horrible. That way I can look back on this series and remember it as being not that bad. Oh well, at least for now, adiós, Uncanny X-Men. It's been... something...
Score: 7 out of 10.Sweet, it's the real Mr. Sinister!