Holy fucking shit, the balls on Brian Michael Bendis. I can’t actually believe that he did what he did in this issue. He only went and introduced a Marvel Universe version of perhaps the worst character he ever created… Geldhoff. And no, that’s not a typo, you did read that right, 616 Geldhoff makes his debut here, and it’s actually not terrible. It looks like with Geldhoff and the mysterious bubble-head guy, Bendis is using his X-Men run to dust off a lot of old concepts and actually make it work. Jesus Christ, Geldhoff, this is mental.
Anyways, this issue isn’t really about Geldhoff, what it actually is, is a very fun ‘Girls Night’ with the various female Uncanny X-Men cast members, complete with excellent artwork from Kris Anka. The issue begins in the past, with Magik having one of her magic lessons with Doctor Strange, which was cool to see again, but the story really begins when Illyana heads back to the present, and is confronted by the Stepford Cuckoos and Tempus, who have realised that they have no clothes apart from the ones on their backs, and want to go shopping. They quickly rope Jean Grey into this (and cleverly, she is wearing the same shirt she stole off a clothesline in ‘Battle For The Atom’) and they want Magik to help them convince Emma Frost, because, somehow, she’s the nice one, which is hilarious. All of the dialogue in this issue was great, it felt like a realistic group of young women, rather than superheroes.
Everyone goes to wake up Emma (who sleeps in some strange positions, also very funny), and she grabs a massive duffel bag of money and doles it out. Kitty Pryde also tags along, and so Magik teleports everyone to London, where they, well, they go on a shopping spree, and generally get to feel like normal people for once. Things do get a bit tense after they’ve eaten some greasy burgers (come on X-Men, you go to the UK and you don’t have fish and chips? Kitty was in Excalibur for ages, she should know better!), as the issues between the Cuckoos and Jean rear their head, but that is soon put aside when sirens go past, calling everyone to a disturbance.
This problem is where the Inhumanity tie-in begins, as it’s one of those pesky Terrigenesis cocoons. The various psychics use their powers to disperse the crowd, and the X-Men investigate the cocoon, which soon hatches, and well, fucking Geldhoff is inside it. He’s from Latveria in this universe as well, although he has these weird, like, spikes coming out of his face. Geldhoff is understandably freaked out by what’s happening, and ironically, he’s not a big fan of Mutants. Kitty tries to calm him down, but it doesn’t work, and he blasts some weird, purple energy out of his face, which knocks everyone, including Geldhoff himself out. Soon after this, AIM show up and take Geldhoff away to experiment on him, as Doctor Rappaccini sees Terrigenesis as an important next step for AIM. The X-Men wake up, and basically start to confront what a post-Inhumanity world means for them and the Mutant race. Could this actually be a good thing for Mutants? Could people’s prejudice turn away from them and to this new dangerous minority? I doubt that, but it’s certainly and exciting complication for the X-Men.
This was a great issue, the first half, with the girl’s night out was just a lot of fun, and then, when it got more serious, a lot of cool ideas for the future are set up. Plus, Geldhoff! What the hell? Crazy.
Kris Anka provided the art for this issue, and wow, it was really good. He did a few pages on a previous issue, but this was the first time he’s done a whole one, and I really like his style, he reminded me a bit of a cross between Stuart Immonen and Olivier Coipel, but with plenty of elements unique to Anka. The facial expressions, always vital to a Bendis book, were spot on, and I think he’s a great choice for an issue that focused on the female characters.
Bendis’ X-Books just continue to be awesome, and it’s great to see Uncanny move away from it’s heavy focus on Cyclops for a bit, last issue was all about Benjamin, and now the ladies got the spotlight, hell, Cyclops only had 1 line this issue, and it was awesome, Bendis is now developing a real ensemble.