When it was first announced that Matthew Rosenberg would be taking on the writing duties for Uncanny X-Men, many fans were excited. Rosenberg has many great titles on his resume, and best of all, he is a self-professed X-Men fanatic. His run on the Multiple Man miniseries and Astonishing X-Men only made his upcoming Uncanny run more hotly anticipated. Unfortunately, a lot his Uncanny stint hasn’t quite lived up to the hype. That being said, the previous two issues were arguably the best of his run. Will his final issue be a great swan song, or will X-fans forget about it as soon as they put it down?
Uncanny #22 may be the most emotional issue in Rosenberg’s run. The final issue starts with a great conversation between Dani and Scott. After Emma Frost’s actions in the previous issue, the longtime X-Men leader has a plenty of questions. This is a strong start, as the readers see Cyclops question the idea of mutants. It’s a fairly standard “why me” monologue, but it works perfectly here. Cyclops is filled with doubt for a number of reasons.
The issue also circles around and answers maybe the biggest criticism of Rosenberg’s Uncanny run. After months of mutants dying, there finally is a purpose to it all. Not only that, events during the issue take on a deeper meaning. These moments give the emotional gut-punch the series has seemed to be lacking.
Rosenberg deserves credit for his slow-build storytelling. As the deaths kept piling up, it became blasé before turning comical. At times, it seemed like they were being thrown in for little more than shock value. Of course, when this happens multiple times every issue, it does not really have the same effect.
By the end of Uncanny #22, every life lost in the past few months means something. It has all been a part of a bigger story. It can be argued that Rosenberg may have pushed it too far, but it certainly is effective. Each death that has happened in Uncanny takes on maximum value. It’s a great piece of writing that rewards readers that have stuck around.
The issue is also centered around a moral disagreement between Cyclops and Emma. Both sides make compelling arguments, but what makes the debate so effective is how neither side budges. In a way, they both want the same outcome. They just have different ways of getting there. It’s a different and clever take on how Xavier and Magneto see things.
There is also a major reunion in Uncanny #22. While this will be the subject of much debate, the scene itself is handled quite well. It’s a cinematic moment filled with drama and emotion, and longtime fans should enjoy it. The reunion clearly affects four people. Given the X-Men’s history of melodrama and infighting, it will be interesting to see what direction this will head in.
The change in artists takes away from an otherwise fine issue. It comes at a pivotal part in the story and almost ruins the moment entirely. It’s not that it looks bad; it just seems like an odd time to make such a drastic change. There are some really good looking moments in the issue overall, but that change is not one of them.
Uncanny X-Men #22 is the perfect ending to writer Matthew Rosenberg’s run. After months of wondering what was going on, the story tied everything together perfectly. Marvel’s merry mutants appear to be entering an exciting new era.