The Emma Frost/Scott Summers team of X-Men have been through some pretty incredible shake-ups, so they’ve certainly earned some downtime, and who better to write it out than Brian Michael Bendis? No one, that’s who! This issue gives us a simple shot of the newest recruit, the time bending Tempus, wanting to hit the town ordinary-style with the other women of Uncanny X-Men, including the reluctant Kitty Pryde, Magik, the ever tumultuous Cuckoos and young Jean Grey. This story takes place sometime near the end of Infinity when Black Bolt unleashed the Terrigen Mists as evidenced by the the character that’s revealed and the organization that comes to claim him, which is an absolutely amazing tease for a future storyline. The story’s main focus are the women hashing out some of their differences, but mostly just enjoying a day on the town.
This day is rendered courtesy of Kris Anka’s absolutely gorgeous visuals. The cover artist for the bizarre Uncanny X-Force was, on paper, a great match for Bendis’ Uncanny X-Men, and that absolutely proves out with his exaggerated, surreal style. I was actually expecting something bizarre and outlandish from his art, but it’s fairly subdued in terms of subject matter, which actually proves it an excellent example of a very diverse artist. The fact that he’s able to make the mundane just as interesting as the supernatural is a great tribute to his talents, and I absolutely love every single panel of this story and hope to see him on more interiors. I’d be remiss without mentioning the colors of Rain Beredo, which are absolutely stunning to behold. There’s a level of detail to both the linework and the colors in literally every single panel that makes this issue an especial standout even among what’s already been a gorgeous run. Their use of light and shadows, especially, deserves to be highlighted as not just stylistic, but character emphasizing.
It’s a matter of public record that I absolutely loved Infinity, but the whole Terrigen bomb sideplot seems shoehorned into this issue. I would have loved to see a cover-to-cover experience of the characters out on the town, but we get a non-starter of an action scene with a character it feels like we should know, but don’t, and an organization that could have been introduced mysteriously at the end, but wind up stealing center stage. The characterizations that both precede and proceed these scenes are absolutely wonderful, so the intervention of the Infinity storyline and ultimate fake-out seems all the more out of place and unnecessary in this issue. It could have, and should have, been a pure character development read.
What there is of the girls’ night, especially of Emma Frost, is absolutely hilarious and joyous, and the art is glorious to behold from cover-to-cover, so this is still a book worth picking up whether or not you care about Inhumanity or Infinity. Bendis has a knack for writing characters, especially those on the B-list level and those who’ve gotten ignored or overlooked in previous books. Plus, there’s a new character trying to bond with her teammates, and it’s handled very, very well. Even though it has plenty of larger plot, this is ultimately a very fun issue that’s a great jump-on point for the book in general.