As the Dark Riders’ hunt for mutants with healing abilities continues, the UNCANNY X-MEN Psylocke and Magneto have to come up with a strategy to counter-attack…

After the dramatic events of UNCANNY X-MEN #2, Cullen Bunn and Greg Land have their mutant anti-heroes finding themselves continuing to locate mutants with the ability to heal, trying to protect them from the Dark Riders’ rampage. Meanwhile, the Hellfire Club keeps investigating Someday Industries – enter an old mutant acquaintance from the Weapon Plus program…

As many readers expected beforehand and have now pointed out, the book’s title might be a little misleading, since its themes, atmosphere and cast of main characters might make us think this is an X-FORCE book. This is something I argued in my previous reviews, as well. However, UNCANNY X-MEN #3 undoubtedly proves that Bunn is willing to go out of his way to draw on the rich history of the mutant universe. His first story arc features an astounding amount of familiar faces and elements, so even though the members this team consists of could have formed another Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, the book definitely earns its UNCANNY X-MEN title. The encounters with various characters from different eras of the X-Men history is exciting and nostalgic for readers a bit more familiar with Marvel’s Merry Mutants, and in a weird way, we feel at home.

CLICK: Missed out review to the previous issue, UNCANNY X-MEN #2?

uncanny x-men 3 magneto greg land

That being said, the several reunions with different healers feel really repetitive, because they all follow the exact same pattern. The first half of the issue feels somewhat off, not only because it seems to mark time, but also because last issue’s dramatic ending didn’t seem to have any emotional impact whatsoever. That being said, towards the end of the issue, Bunn manages to move the plot forward and get me excited for how this first story arc is going to play out. His Hellfire Club side plot is managed in a fantastic way, since there are just many questions still unanswered, further creating tension for the reader due to the mysterious vibe: why do Mystique and Fantomex work for the Hellfire Club? Why is the Club investigating Someday Enterprises? What are their relations to the Uncanny X-Men?

We also get a pretty good insight into the character of Magneto once again, and his villainous past is not being cast aside, at all. It’s remarkable how well Bunn handles the Master of Magnetism, and he’s probably amongst the writers with the best understanding of how he works – there’s still an inner struggle for dominance and submission, and he seems to have a hard time fitting into the role of a mutant leader whose first priority isn’t to scare or terrorize Homo sapiens. As for the characters, in general, Bunn manages to portray them believably, and yet, even after three issues, I’d still like to know more about the motivations of M and Sabretooth.

READ: Need more X-Men in your life? Check out our podcast on the amazing Storm! 

As for the art, although Greg Land will never be my favorite artist (or the favorite artist of Marvel fans in general, for that matter), his work does not ruin the book and has become increasingly acceptable. Sure, there are a lot of extremely goofy or just off facial expressions, but he manages a menacing and dark look for the Master of Magnetism, and the book’s action scenes feel thrilling. While colorist Nolan Woodard does. overall, a great job at balancing between grittiness and color fullness, I still can’t help but wonder why Psylocke is black in this specific panel…

uncanny x-men 3 psylocke black

UNCANNY X-MEN #3 may have its minor flaws, but it definitely earns the right to be called an X-Men book and is, among Marvel’s current ongoing X-titles, one of the most promising.

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