- Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
- Art: Kris Anka
- Color Art: Antonio Fabela
- Lettering: Joe Caramagna
As with all good things in life, Uncanny X-Men #33 takes place on Monster Island. And you’ll be forgiven if that fact takes you by surprise, because this issue is a divergence from our regularly scheduled program. Writer Brian Michael Bendis has apparently decided to take a momentary break away from his ongoing Cyclops storyline to have a little fun with Kitty Pryde and Magik on Monster Island.
Such are the perks of writing the X-Men, I suppose.
Bendis’ run on the X-Men hasn’t been as legendary as what he did for the Avengers, but I’ve been a big fan. I have been enthralled by Cyclops’ story ever since Schism, and Bendis seemed to have an exciting plan for the character. So I am anxiously awaiting Bendis’ big finale in Uncanny X-Men #600. And I’ll try not to hold it against him that he’s decided to use his penultimate issue for a little light filler.
I’m a big fan of Bendis as a writer, and Uncanny X-Men #33 is a good example of why. Kitty and Magik are estranged best friends, and their chemistry and banter speaks to that. They’re fun when they’re around each other, and while the notorious ‘Bendis-Speak’ might cloud the edges of the panels, the dialogue is still sharp and enjoyable. There’s no pressure on this issue, no stress or demands. It’s just two classic X-characters having some fun and getting into some trouble.
That the trouble involves Monster Island and rescuing a new mutant is just par for the course for the X-Men. Bendis, with Anka’s help, injects some real energy into this story. The new mutant is a young girl who barely speaks English, and whose powers are as raw and dangerous as any new mutant. And the monsters are monsters, because of course they are. Kitty and Magik must learn to heal the wounds of their friendship while simultaneously trying to protect this girl from dangerous monsters. It’s a solid set-up for a filler issue.
Anka is at the top of his game with this story. His pencils are clear and emotive, capturing the youth and the fear of the new mutant, Bo. She’s not just a short adult, she’s a kid, with some neat facial mutations, and some standard energy powers. Kitty and Magik are Kitty and Magik, no problems there. And while Anka doesn’t exactly redefine ‘monster’, his big, hulking threats are sufficiently old school. Anka is most definitely channeling Jack Kirby’s Mole Man monsters in this issue, and he does a phenomenal job.
While some of us are chomping at the bit to see Bendis wrap up his epic Cyclops story, I can’t fault him for taking a momentary break to have a little fun with some other characters. He’s done a lot with Kitty and Magik over the course of his tenure with the X-Men, and it’s just as important that he wrap up their storyline as well. That he does so on Monster Island is just sweet, sweet icing on an already enjoyable cake.
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