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Uncanny X-Men (2016)
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Art: Greg Land
Cover: Greg Land/Jay Leisten/Nolan Woodard
Colors: Nolan Woodard
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Inker: Jay Leisten
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The X-Men can't seem to catch a break.
It's been a little over a decade since Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch thoroughly ruined the day of every mutant by uttering the three most damning combination of words since, "You got served." Then in 2011 Cyclops and Wolverine painted a line down the middle of the Xavier's Mansion like a superhero sitcom. Oh, and let's not forget that Marvel, er, Terrigen Mist is cutting down what little mutants are left.
It's hard out here for a Child of the Atom.
Thankfully, all is not lost. Since the post-Secret Wars relaunch of the Marvel universe, the franchise is arguably in the best place its been in years, quality-wise. From All-New Wolverine and Old Man Logan keep the spirit of the ol' Canucklehead intact while the team books like All-New X-Men and Extraordinary X-Men are also very well-written. However, my favorite X-book at the moment is Uncanny X-Men.
Books like X-Force have often toyed around with the concept of an X-Men squad that was willing to bend the rules and get their hands duty when it came to solving problems. Uncanny X-Men continues this trend with a team consisting of Magneto, Psylocke, Money St. Croix, Archangel and Sabretooth. The first arc sees "Team Magneto" taking on the Someday Corporation, an organization promising wayward mutants a safe haven from the toxic Terrigen Mist by placing them in suspended animation until such a time when the mist is no longer a safety issue. Naturally, the organization is a front for illegal experimentation on mutants. Oh, and have I mentioned that the Dark Riders have returned to wipe out every mutant with healing powers?
Like I said, it's hard out here for a Child of the Atom.
If you've never read Cullen Bunn's solo Magneto title you are missing out on what I believe to be some of the best material written for the "Master of Magnetism." He's much older and his powers have diminished along with his overall health, but he's no less dangerous in his pursuit of anybody who threatens the livelihood of mutants. Psylocke and Monet are cool, but honestly I don't know what the hell is up with Archangel these days (I skipped a few books), but Sabretooth may be my favorite part of this team. Since his debut in 1977 in Iron Fist #14, Victor Creed has spent most of his tenure in the Marvel universe being a thorn in the side of do-gooders, especially the X-Men. However, I relish any moment where he plays for the good guys--more or less. He's short-tempered and still has a propensity for violence, but I love his dynamic in the team, especially with Monet. You couldn't find a more mismatched pair of mutants to join forces and the results are often hilarious.
I admit that I'm something of a fanboy when it comes to Cullen Bunn's writing, so some may disagree when I say that he knocks this book out of the park. I particularly love his handling of the team's moral ambiguity. At the forefront it appears that the team is going all-out to save mutantkind from being exploited, but there's a level of frustration from Magneto that said mutants would even allow themselves to be exploited to begin with. Their methods are a tad extreme, but here I feel that the X-Men are genuinely trying to do the right thing, which is more than I can say for Cyclops' post-Schism team.
Now, if only something could be done about Greg Land's art...