Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Uncanny X-Men #32 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

First, I still don't understand how Eva's shenanigans in the past only seemed to have changed Charles' Last Will & Testament.  Really?  It had no other consequences?  But, I guess that we're just supposed to pretend that the entire arc never happened, like we're usually supposed to do with time-travel stories.  [Sigh.]

Second?  The cover is amazing.  Scott looking at defeated iterations of his previous (and alternate) selves really puts you in the right frame of mind for this issue.

In the present, we learn that Scott plans to surrender to authorities because, at some point, he actually now sees everyone's point that he maybe -- just maybe -- has teensy bit of responsible in Charles' murder.  This epiphany comes from the revelation that Charles left everything to him, seemingly finally making the guilt that he feels come to the fore.  His students are outraged that he's abandoning them to the Jean Grey School, and Alex and Emma ask him, literally, "What was the revolution?"  How you feel about this issue will depend on how you feel about his answer.

Scott claims that the revolution was the desperate gambit of a man that realized that mutants had become an endangered species.  He lists the long list of moments when the mutants have been hunted, even when they retreated to their island fortresses in Genosha and Utopia.  He felt that humanity had to be scared, so he declared the revolution.

Emma doesn't buy it, revealing that she's regained her telepathy and knows that he doesn't feel this way either.  (She doesn't actually reveal how he feels.)  Bendis hints that Scott is giving up his role as revolutionary because he's essentially backed himself into a corner.  Alex says at one point that he figured that Scott would crash a Helicarrier into the U.N. building, and you see his point.  Unless Scott was going to start killing humans, the revolution amounted to little more than a showy cold war where he was hoping to buy some time.  The good news is that Alex apparently has an idea on how they could give direction to the revolution, so maybe Scott did actually buy himself just enough time.

Overall, I bought the emotions that Scott expresses throughout this issue.  I totally buy the idea that Scott finally snapped over his guilt for killing Xavier when he left everything to him, like he was his son.  Moreover, Bendis seems to be taking this series in the direction of a Summers Brothers team-up, and I'm totally fine with that.  He doesn't directly remind us that Alex's current state of mind is a result of his inversion during "Avengers & X-Men:  Axis," so it's unclear how long this partnership can last.  But, to be fair, Scott himself seems to be lukewarm on rekindling the revolution, so maybe they'll meet in the middle (assuming Alex eventually gets reverted).

Now, let's talk about Emma. To my mind, Bendis has really done the most with Emma as a character.  She's not exactly a good guy, not exactly a bad guy.  Most authors have had trouble striking that tone, but Bendis has really excelled at it.  In fact, he does so again here.  Emma declares that she's rejoining the Hellfire Club rather than staying at the Jean Grey School to teach Scott's former pupils, and it feels exactly like the type of decision that Emma would make.  She's never really been a fan of the X-Men's goody two shoes, and, as a result, it's hard to see her gelling with the School's current administration.  (Can you imagine Storm delivering her performance evaluation.  "Be less evil."  "No.")

But, her speech to Scott reminds of her good side and why she joined the revolution in the first place.  She really believed in Scott's vision, of a fist used to protect the mutants in its palm, and she really believed in his ability to make it a reality.  Bendis reminds us that it's not just idle belief either:  her ability to read Scott's mind augmented her belief in him because she could truly see his intentions.  Now, she finds that the vision is valid (perhaps even more so, given S.H.I.E.L.D.'s recent actions), but Scott no longer can make it happen.  She's disillusioned, and it's time to go focus on Emma for a while.

For me, the only off-note of this issue was her romantic overture to Scott.  I sort of get where Bendis was going here.  Emma recognizes that Scott is at his lowest moment, and she offers that they need to start from basics again, them together, fighting for the vision.  But, Bendis never tells us why Emma feels like them as a couple was a necessary part of that.  It just feels like an impulsive offer, and Emma's not really that sort of character.  Moreover, Scott's rejection of her is almost too violent.  He blames her for "ruining" them, though Bendis gives us no explanation for how Scott could possibly think that Emma was to blame.  Does Scott really think that he had no role in that, after he physically stole the Phoenix Force from her?  Bendis is forced to rush through the personal aspects of this conversation to stay focused on the revolution aspect, and it's a shame. 

But, overall, it's a solid issue, and I really like the direction that Bendis is taking her.  Summers Brothers 4 ever.

*** (three of five stars)

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