After months of slowly building towards a showdown between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the X-Men by both Mystique and an unknown puppet master from the shadows Uncanny X-Men #22 delivers a conclusion that’s less than satisfying. Quickly wrapping up events, including the recent limitations on Cyclops‘ powers (which would also mean Magneto and the rest should soon be back to full strength as well), the issue sets up a climactic battle involving out-of-control Hellicarriers about to go nuclear and Sentinels only for a single former X-Men to step-in and stall long enough for our baddie to… unceremoniously die all on his own?
The reveal of the Age of Apocalypse Beast as the brains behind the overly-elaborate plan is almost as big a letdown as the pathetic nature in which the creature meets his end. Other than Hijack most of the X-Men, along with Maria Hill and her troops, are all pretty damn impotent here. At least the fallout from all the recent events does put Dazzler firmly back in the X-Men camp, returns Magneto to the team (but for how long?), and at least temporarily cools the animosity between Cyclops and Beast.
I’m still a fan of these characters and I’ll give credit to Brian Michael Bendis to keeping me on the title for 22 straight issues but the air of “what now” the comic ends with makes me guess it’s going to take a bit to work to gear up to the next big arc. Given the disappointment here, and with the next few issues tying into a Marvel event I’m not following, it may awhile for me to pick up my next issue of the title. Hit-and-Miss.