The previous three issues of Uncanny X-Men were really, really boring. I don’t know why Brian Michael Bendis felt it necessary to include Cyclops’ entire team in a story that was firmly about Ilyana Rasputin’s personal tragedy. The imagery was cool, and limbo as drawn by Frazer Irving was intensely dark and stylized. But as the second arc to a new series that’s supposed to be focusing on Cyclops and his new team of X-Men, “Trapped in Limbo” (or whatever title it has) was completely lackluster.
Unfortunately, the fact that Bendis is not really focusing on Cyclops has been a major problem for this series since the first issue. Bendis has a lot on his plate with Uncanny X-Men — it’s a flagship title that has a certain reputation to uphold, even if All-New X-Men is the new big dog in town. And what started out as a cool concept — Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magik, and Magento are now fugitives and vigilantes who still believe in Xavier’s mission — has quickly devolved into Bendis having fun with his new characters. They are great new characters, but the fact remains that Cyclops has had little to no character development since Avengers vs. X-Men.
Uncanny X-Men #8 doesn’t buck this trend. Instead, it removes readers even further from Cyclops and the elder X-Men to focus on Fabio, the hefty young man who has the mutant ability to shoot gold balls out of his body. If this sounds wholly uninteresting, you’re not alone in that opinion. After battling demons and getting stuck in Limbo, Fabio decides he wants out of the X-Men and to return to his family. This homecoming is supposed to show true character development, that Fabio had a real reaction to an event that’s become second nature for the Avengers and X-Men, but still sends shock and awe through the uninitiated. Instead, this sequence only reinforces how Fabio’s been behaving since his introduction; he never wanted to be there in the first place.
Similarly, the other half of the issue is devoted to recruiting yet another new mutant. Again Bendis pulls focus away from the character that this series was supposedly supposed to deal with. Cyclops is such a major player in the Marvel universe and Bendis is, simply put, squandering a chance to truly take a look at what Scott Summers’ life has become, what he’s lost, what he’s sacrificed, and what all that means to who he has become. This is the first time in years that Cyclops has been interesting and Bendis is ignoring his chance to make the character more than a martyr and a symbolic team leader.