Uncanny X-men has a number of characters who are about as noble as horny crack head in withdraw. Magneto was a villain for a reason. He’s perfectly okay with fear, murder, and destruction on a level that would make the Man of Steel critics shut the fuck up. He’s put together a team in Uncanny X-men that’s trying to kick the collective asses of a mutant race that’s been horribly fucked over and off-panel no less. That team has just been flexing their muscles a bit without bitching about Cyclops for the first two issues. Uncanny X-men #3 has them do a little more than flexing and I’m here to tell you if it’s awesome. These characters might still be assholes, but that’s beside the point.
If nothing else, the X-men get a damn good reason to keep being assholes. They arrive at an M-pox treatment center in Seattle, Washington. Not content with being coffee-addicted hipsters, they want to protest sick mutants. For some reason, they think protesting will stop them from spreading a disease triggered by a fucking Inhumans plot. I don’t get it either, but Psylocke and Magneto are beyond giving a shit. They’re just there to sneak in under a telepathic ruse and resist the urge to punch every whiny protester in the jaw. They may be assholes, but their restraint is respectable.
Their target is Triage, the lovable healer from Cyclops’ old team who once flirted with the Stepford Cuckoos and survived. He’s offering his services to M-pox victims. He can’t cure it, but he can temporarily alleviate the symptoms. It’s basically Big Pharma’s whole business plan. Hell, if they could could patent his ass and charge obscene amounts of money for his services, they’d have done it yesterday.
They give him the typical Terminator speech. Triage’s life is in danger and it’s not just from Big Pharma. Someone is using healers for target practice and since healing is kind of important during a plague, they need to protect his ass whether he likes it or not.
With a ruthless efficiency almost as good as Big Pharma lobbyists, the Dark Riders show up before Magneto and Psylocke can convince Triage he’s half-a-drop of lube from being utterly fucked. They hit hard. One of them is a blatant Storm rip-off with none of the sex appeal. He gets the protesters out of the way and running towards the nearest Starbucks for cover. At this point, I’m pretty sure Triage is starting to accept just how fucked he is. It really is a serious situation with plenty of dramatic weight. These guys already killed a healer in the previous issue. They can’t be brushed off the same way the X-men brush off a standard Sentinel attack.
While Psylocke stays with Triage, Magneto does what he does best and with extreme prejudice. In this case, extreme prejudice is a good thing, but not in the Rick Santorum sort of way. Magneto flexes his magnet-controlling nuts against the Dark Riders. These assholes already killed one mutant. He’s not going to let them kill another and he’s going to be an asshole about it. It’s a perfect metaphor of sorts for how these X-men do business.
However, he has to temper his rage boner to some extent, but for reasons other than catastrophic bladder damage. He needs to keep the Dark Riders alive and scared shitless enough for Psylocke to scan their minds and learn more about them. It’s probably the most restrained Magneto is willing to, hoping to find the asshole who sent these guys to kill all the healers. Like waiting for that perfect stripper, he’s wants to save some of that rage boner for a good occasion.
This is where Greg Land’s art once again shines. Yeah, he does occasionally draw female characters with the body dimensions of Jenna Jameson. And yeah, he does sometimes give characters the kinds of goofy expressions we only see in deodorant commercials. But he draws some damn good action sequences.
Magneto’s battle against the Dark Riders is fucking brutal in the best possible way. He’s not heroic, but he stops short of Dexter Morgan level brutality. This keeps the Dark Riders from becoming giant blood stains. It also helps save Triage from joining Elixer as another mutant screwed over by the aftermath of Secret Wars. I think even Cyclops would agree at this point that the list is long enough.
Triage isn’t the only healer the X-men are after either. While Magneto and Psylocke are busy saving his ungrateful ass, Monet visits another healer in Shen Xorn in Tibet. Who is Xorn? Well he may be Magneto in disguise. He may be some creepy mutant healer in a creepy mask. It depends on how much shit was retconned since the last time I got drunk. But he is a healer and that makes him a target.
He ends up being a lot more polite than Triage. He’s very welcoming to Monet and not because Greg Land gave her nice tits either. He offers her tea and kindly denies her offer for help. While Magneto would’ve strangled his ass for being so casual about threats to their race (assuming he’s still not in disguise), Monet minds her manners. Even on a team of assholes, someone has to mind their manners. Not much comes of this moment, which really disrupts the story. But at the very least, it establishes that Monet is the least inclined to horribly maim someone on this team.
Whether by force or fear, Triage goes with Magneto and Psylocke. They have a nice chat about just how fucked the mutant race is and once again, they don’t go out of their way to blame Cyclops. Yes, Magneto is less petty than Storm in the post-Secret Wars world apparently. But their conversation does reveal some important details that add to the intrigue.
Apparently, the Dark Riders see the plague the same way a pot head sees an unopened bag of chips. It’s an opportunity to indulge their belief that such horrific tribulations are good thing because they weed out the weak, pansy motherfuckers who are holding them all back. It’s a natural part of the universe screwing over the mutant race and healers like Triage are fucking with it. And they do have a leader. Hunting down healers and killing them is just their way of kissing that leaders boot.
Now I don’t like to make too many assumptions when it comes to these stories, but an extreme philosophy of survival of the fittest? That sounds familiar and I think it’s the premise of some Bryan Singer movie coming out in May, but his name escapes me.
Magneto, Psylocke, and Triage arrive on Genosha, which I guess is their unofficial base of operations. Because if you’re going to be a team of asshole X-men, a school just isn’t appropriate. An island where 16 million mutants died? Well, that’s not appropriate either, but I’m guessing the Terrigen Mists have limited their options for real estate. They meet up with Sabretooth, he says Xorn isn’t going to come with them. However, they do have intel on the Dark Riders so instead of waiting for another healer to die, they’re just going to hunt them down and take them out as brutally as possible. They’re assholes, but they’re efficient assholes.
As the X-men move ahead, it’s worth remembering that this shit all started when they attacked a company that was putting mutants into suspended animation so they could sleep through this dark period of mutants being screwed over due to movie rights. Well, that company is still in business. If Sears is somehow still in business, then there’s no reason these guys shouldn’t be.
But they’re still targets. You’d think they’d cut their losses after Magneto attacks them. Well, now it’s Fantomex, Mystique, and guards from the Hellfire Club. Why is the Hellfire Club helping them? I guess they need mutants for their orgies or something. It’s one thing to have Magneto and the X-men as enemies, but Mystique, Fantomex, and the Hellfire Club? At this point, it’s probably best they cut their losses and get into another business. Even the tobacco industry is less hazardous at this point.
So...is it awesome?
It’s violent, it’s brutal, and it moves the story along. In this day and age, we’re lucky to get two out of three on that list. The violence and the brutality isn’t quite as visceral as previous issues. And the plot of the story doesn’t move forward much. But compared to other plots involving Cyclops-hating, Inhumans-glorifying bullshit, this shit was right on point. More characters are getting involved. The threats the X-men deal with are evolving. There’s a lot to love about this cast of crude, unlovable asshats. And I didn’t think I’d be able to say that about any character not created by Seth MacFarlane.
The cast in Uncanny X-men #3 might not be in a position to do anything about the movie rights. They sure as shit aren’t going to make mutants less hated and feared. But they are going to survive and they’ve shown in this series that they’re willing to make you shit yourself in order to do that. You can’t help but respect that on some levels.
Final Score: 8 out of 10