As part of the ongoing Apocalypse Wars event, Psylocke and the Uncanny X-men crew have to deal with Angel reawakening his Archangel persona. We don't know how the fuck it came back during the 8-month skip after Secret Wars. Then again, we don't know jack shit about what happened during that time other than mutants were fucked and everyone now wants to kiss Inhuman ass. Bunn has already thrown a few strange twists into the mix. Uncanny X-men #7 cranks up the WTF factor, but is that a good thing? Well, that's why this blog exists. I answer that question so unsober minds don't have to.
One of the things I love about Bunn's approach to Uncanny X-men is he dares to be thorough and not in a Tolkin sort of way either. He's not as eager to ignore certain details and let readers do some mental Photoshopping to fill in the blanks. He'll walk a path that doesn't have enough dog shit on it yet.
He does that here by exploring that nebulous 8-month gap that Marvel has kept hidden for way too fucking long, forcing anti-Cyclops fans to jerk off to all the ways he got killed. That might be good for anti-Cyclops fans, but it sucks from a story-telling perspective. Bunn establishes here that Magneto is just as pissed about the outcome of the mutant/Inhuman war that killed Cyclops. For a time, he believed that mutants were just too screwed at this point. Fighting killer robots and cosmic forces is one thing. Fighting a bunch of Xenophobic, elitist, slave-owners who have Disney's lawyers on their side is just too much, even for the Master of Magnetism.
So what changed? Well, he had been looking for a sign that the mutant race wasn't completely fucked. He finally got it when Arcangel came crashing out of the sky, probably after refusing to suck an Inhuman's dick. It's not quite clear at first how this inspires Magneto to form a new team of X-men that'll take 100 percent less shit from humanity, Inhumans, and the lawyers who defend them. But it's still way less ambiguous than 99 percent of the shit we've gotten in other X-books about the 8-month gap. It's still way less than needed for this shit to make sense, but you take the progress where you can at this point.
Flash forward to where Magneto and Psylocke left off at the end of the previous issue. They find out that there's another Angel running around, this one with no wings, no discolored skin, and a new desire to be a cult leader. He's now got his own church, a loyal congregation, and a strange new theology that emphasizing cutting away spoiled, impure flesh for salvation. He doesn't say that purity can be gained through his penis, which is something a lot of cult leaders like to claim. So I guess it's not as crazy as most cults. Hell, it's still way less crazy than Mormonism.
It's also confusing for Psylocke and Magneto because they have a mindless version of Arcangel flying around. This new Angel's theology implies that the two became separated somehow. It raised more than a few red flags for Psylocke and not just because very little good comes from a man who aspires to be a cult leader. It leads to poor mental health, instability, and magic underwear.
In addition to subtle blasphemy, there's another ongoing plot that may or may not be connected. It involves Monet and Sabretooth visiting Callisto. The meeting went about as well as can be expected. Blood was spilled. Enough insults were thrown to start a rap battle. But they cooled off long enough for Callisto to finally give them some answers and those answers end up being the highlight of this issue.
It turns out, the Morlocks are back and better than ever. Not only that, they're working with humans again. Yes, Morlocks and humans are living peacefully in the sewer and they're doing it to escape the clouds of Inhuman farts that have fucked up damn near everything else in the Marvel universe. Not going to lie. This brought unexpected tears of joy to my eye and for once it wasn't because I found I had an extra bottle of vodka in my freezer.
It's a powerful moment because for one, it makes the Morlocks relevant in a way they haven't been in way too fucking long. Second, it shows that mutants aren't the only one uneasy about Inhumans sticking their foggy, Terrigen dicks all over the world. They know they're both fucked so they might as well be fucked together. It's tragic. Even Sabretooth admits that. And when Sabretooth admits a tragedy, you know just how fucked they are.
This amazingly nuanced revelation is followed by a less productive and shocking confrontation with Angel. Psylocke and Magneto attempt to confront him. Angel carries himself like Catholic missionary on shrooms. He claims he's glad to be rid of his metal wings, his ability to fly, and his ability to destroy giant robots. Needless to say, Psylocke calls bullshit and tries to read his mind. It's about as helpful as asking a Catholic priest for accurate information on contraception. It's vague, but it shows someone really fucked with Angel in a very Wolverine-like way. And when has that ever gone horribly wrong?
Well, scratch that. It did give us Deadpool so let's call it a push.
Knowing the odds of another Deadpool are slim at best, Magneto and Psylocke investigate. And wouldn't you know it? They find out Apocalypse is involved. So the Apocalypse part of Apocalypse Wars finally catches up to the story. It took a while, but X-men fans should be used to plots that get dragged out for way too fucking long. This is basically a reprieve.
It turns out there's a vault and an underground cave just beneath this pious, picturesque city. I'm pretty sure the Vatican has something similar. That cave contains all sorts of Apocalypse-laden imagery. It's probably got an entire stash of naked Oscar Isaac photos somewhere as well. Those photos must be pretty damn precious because Magneto and Psylocke get attacked before they can get catch up to Angel. It's not the same bloody, visceral fights we've seen in this series thus far, but it involves an evil Apocalypse loyalist named Genocide. So the prospect of more violence at some point is all but assured.
That's not the only source of violence either. The All-New, Pro-Human, Fuck-The-Inhumans Morlocks have their own problems as well that will likely require stabbing. Callisto specifically contacted Monet and while she didn't take kindly to her working with Sabretooth, she had a good reason for contacting her. This new Morlock society is being overrun by a new sickness and this time, it isn't from the Inhumans. I think they've already reached the limit for how much they can be hated. Instead, the source of this sickness is Monet's brother.
Who is her brother? Why is he making mutants sick? And why does that sickness involve turning mutants into crackhead versions of the Children of the Corn? Well, that's not explained outright, but anyone (and by anyone, I mean those not too lazy to check Wikipedia) who knows about Monet's brother won't need much explanation. They just know that it'll require more bloody fighting and Uncanny X-men can never have too much of that.
That fight is just beginning while the battle against Genocide is already turning to shit for Magneto and Psylocke. The action is brief, but intense. Magneto and Psylocke might be inclined to take less shit from most X-men, but against Genocide that still isn't enough. However, what gives this battle the proverbial gut punch is preacher Angel's own words. He claims he's trying to ensure that mutants survive. For some reason, that gives Magneto an excuse to maim him. He doesn't get a chance to, but it does provide an important clue.
Go back to that flashback from earlier. It seemed so vague at first. Why would Arcangel be the reason Magneto decided to reform the X-men? Well, before he turned into a mindless drone, he gave Magneto an important message. He urged him to make sure mutants survive. It's not just coming from an angel. It's coming from an angel with a history of influence by Apocalypse. It provides a fitting moment in which Magneto decides he's now sufficiently motivated to protect his people from clouds of Inhuman farts. It's a powerful, satisfying moment in a book that has more than one.
So...is it awesome?
To answer that, let me point out an important parallel. Teases, the twists, and the revelations make for great strippers. They also make for awesome X-men comics as well. While the previous issue did little to link up with other Apocalypse Wars plots, Uncanny X-men #7 effectively thrusts itself in the right direction like a skilled stripper's ass. We see teases from the 8-month gap, twists with the Morlocks, and revelations surrounding Angel that are right up there with strippers in terms of entertainment value.
Cullen Bunn once again shows that he has an uncanny grasp in the Uncanny X-men, especially the ones willing to fuck up an outdoor church sermon. The same themes that made Magneto's solo series a sinister yet seductive treat continue in this series with a larger cast, higher stakes, and Psylcoke's ass. It's a dark, dire brand of X-men, but Bunn continues to bring out the best in them without bitching about Cyclops. These days, that's the best we can hope for.
Final Score: 8 out of 10