‘Uncanny X-Men: First Class’ #4 Review: Girls Night Out

Hey, everyone, jrpbsp here… For my final review this week we have ‘Uncanny X-Men: First Class’.  Hope you enjoy it.

Uncanny X-Men: First Class #4 coverUncanny X-Men: First Class #4 (preview)
Writer: Scott Gray
Penciler: David Williams


RECAP: The issue opens with Storm being shot at by a flying squad of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. She dives quickly and is able to knock them into the Hudson River and disable them without hurting anyone seriously.

We flash back to her arrival at Jean’s apartment two hours prior. She is met by her former teammate and her friends Misty Knight and Colleen Wing. They all go out to dinner and are having a good time until the drugged food kicks in and knocks them all unconscious.

They wake up as prisoners of a woman named Nightshade. They are wearing collars that will kill the mutants should they use their powers, and Nightshade has hacked into Misty’s bionic arm and taken control of it. She has Misty grab Colleen’s throat and uses her to compel Storm to run an errand for her.

Nightshade sends Storm to the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier and Ororo uses her rogue skills and mutant powers to get inside. Storm is forced to disable a couple of guards as she makes her way to the Cybernetics Lab. She retrieves the item but sets off an alarm triggering the pursuit from the opening scene. She returns to Nightshade’s lair with the item.

Jean then uses it to transfer Misty and Colleen’s fighting skills to a new batch of  Nightshade’s Cybernauts. The villain releases control of Misty’s arm to give her creations a trial run. Unfortunately, Storm had created a thunder storm over the warehouse when she returned and it blasts through the ceiling. Knowing it will lead S.H.I.E.L.D. to them, Nightshade bolts with Ororo in hot pursuit. The others engage her robots.

Jean also got the other ladies’ fighting skills and the trio give a good accounting of themselves. Storm, meanwhile, confronts Nightshade on the docks and is able to defeat her without using her powers due to the training she had received from the Black Panther as a young woman.

Inside, the girls are losing the fight. Colleen is knocked for a loop, and Misty and Jean prepare for the final attack. Jean decides she will sacrifice herself to destroy the Cybernauts just as Storm returns with her full powers having picked the lock on her collar. She quickly ends the fight. Storm decides it would risk the X-Men and Jean’s identity to explain why she invaded the helicarrier and allows herself to take the blame.

On the Starcore One satellite, Peter Corbeau is trying to send a desperate message to Xavier using a modified Cerebro. The station has been invaded and conquered by aliens from the sun calling themselves the Knights of Hykon. The rest of the X-Men are in the Danger Room training when Charles gets the message and tells them there is a crisis.

MY TAKE: This was a fairly weak entry into the ‘First Class’ series in my opinion. While the base plot is not bad, it is simplistic and the situation is overdone. I like Storm and using her as a focus for the issue was a good idea but she definitely needed a stronger story and situation to back her up.

My biggest problem with the issue was the dated and stilted dialogue and the one note 70s-era villain. While I never really read much with the Sisters of the Dragon, this read like a bad rip off of the stereotypical ‘sister’ speech patterns. I know this is meant to be set in the past but making a comic so obviously dated is just painful to read.

They had some real problems with the keeping the script and the art together as well. There were several scenes where Colleen’s dialogue was given to Jean and vice-versa. You can figure out what was going on through the speech balloons but it is distracting and confusing on a first read through. I kept wondering if the ladies mysteriously changed clothes and hair colors somewhere halfway through the issue.

It also did not sit well with me to see Ororo referencing her time with the Black Panther as a child. I know it was retconned to have happened but it was never referenced during the time when the comic was set. It felt like pandering a bit. Plus Jean was never shown to have much in the way of hand-to-hand skills and yet here she becomes a powerful fighter. You have to be careful in these comics not to alter the established history of the comics. I do not remember S.H.I.E.L.D. having any particular problem with Storm during this time either.

In the end this was an issue plagued with dated speech and characters and filled with mistakes both in continuity and with the actual plot and art. Luckily the next story, that has been running through all of the issues to date, looks promising. The Knights of Hykon have definite potential and I have been waiting for an issue with the full team since the beginning. Hopefully it will avoid the miss steps from this story.

Thanks for reading my review for Wolverine Files. I will be keeping to this format for the most part but please keep the comments coming and I will see everyone again next time.

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