War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men #1 Review

by Charles Martin on April 24, 2019

War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men #1 Review
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Pere Pérez
Colourist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel Comics

The X-Men are trying to take care of their standard-issue business - walloping Nanny and Widow-Maker, apparently - when the siren song of the War of the Realms drags Dani away from the fight.

What follows is a breakneck redeployment to New York that leaves the X-Men consistently flat-footed and throws their roster into chaos with a frenzy of additions and split-ups.

Fighting Dark Elves and Frost Giants goes poorly for Scott's core team. His strategizing isn't helped by the fact that mutants drop off his team without warning (Magik, Rahne) and their replacements (frigging Hope!) aren't much interested in following his orders.

Visually, this issue invests a surprising amount of effort in making the initial fight against c-list baddies look epic. That effort is maintained and redoubled in New York as Pere Pérez goes for maximum spectacle with a detailed, cinematic scope. 

The grandeur and desperation of the combat are undeniable - but the action is often too big and too fast to zoom in on the X-Men even when they're making important points. These large-scale scenes also tax Rachelle Rosenberg's colours, which otherwise do a good job of brightly distinguishing the X-Men from their cold nighttime surroundings.

(Maybe I'm fixating too much on the Frost-Giant-fighting scenes that are scaled to suit the big blue baddies?)

Matthew Rosenberg fills the script with his trademark fractious teamwork, and some of the dialogue is memorably sassy: "Havok, do something dumb." "ON IT!"

The roster flux and the unrelenting team friction make this issue even more breathless than it should be, though. Dani provides the most relevant and interesting viewpoint, but she's frustratingly absent between the first and last scenes. Without her, we're stuck with an pastiche of warring viewpoints that feels like an inferior substitute for her perspective.

At the risk of harping on that point, Dani Moonstar's take on the War of the Realms was what I was most looking forward to in this series. While I still hope to see that take in subsequent issues, banishing Dani from so many pages of this one left a sour taste in my mouth.

This issue also throws some inevitable snarls in the continuity chain. Reconciling it with the main Uncanny series is problematic; it seems to precede the latest developments in #16. It does a better job of linking to the main War of the Realms series; this takes place after Dr. Strange's evacuation in WR #2.

The War of the Realms takes a fluctuating team of X-Men by surprise in this initial issue. The mutants bear up heroically under the strain, of course, and their fast-paced combat is visually impressive. The calculated removal of Dani Moonstar from the equation, though temporary, steals too much clarity and perhaps renders this issue more distant than its creators intended.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
I was really hoping for Matthew Rosenberg to go more "Dead Souls" than "Uncanny X-Men" here. Guess I shoulda paid attention to the title rather than the cover art.