I’m trying to place what it is I like about Kieron Gillen’s writing. He’s really impressed me on his recent X-books and Iron Man. I think it is that he’s taken over as the unofficial clean-up man for Marvel. For a long time it was Christos Gage who wrote the “missing chapters” to clean up after the big name writers. Now it seems Gillen is the guy riding in to deal with messes like the Dreaming Celestial and the new world of Uncanny X-Force.
The first trade collects issues 1-4, all dealing with the Dreaming Celestial and Mr. Sinister. (Wisely, Gillen has done away with the “Mr.”) Sinister is a lot more playful and amusing in this incarnation, prone to monologues and long villainous explanations of his plans. Emma Frost and other characters call him out on this numerous times, and it is a fun turn for the long-time mastermind.
Cyclops’ Extinction Team is equal parts deterrent and corrective action for the world. Seeing Cyclops, Magneto, Emma Frost, Magik, Colossus, Danger, and Storm all together is pretty intimidating. Hope is on the team too, and she more than holds her own.
Gillen’s dialogue is what makes the whole thing work. Storm’s imperious nature is played occasionally for laughs, but she works best as the moral compass of the team. When she asks which team members have been considered villains, and Cyclops dares to not raise his hand? Great moment.
And this is a book filled with them. Gillen writes Hope as a young lady quite impressed with Namor’s physical charms. She makes numerous references to his body parts and how handsome he is, and Namor eats it up. I don’t get a skeevy vibe from the Sub-Mariner, but he definitely likes that she noticed. And Magneto. Gillen's Magneto might be the best character in the book. Gillen maximizes each and every line for haughtiness, confidence, and power. Fantastic.
Like Claremont’s classic X-work, Gillen is laying the seeds for later stories too. Danger is marginalized a bit as a mobile communications station, but again, it’s directly addressed in the script, so I’m sure there is a method to the madness. As a big Colossus fan, I’d like a bit more with Piotr and Magik, but again, I think there’s a long-form story going on.
I’m not a huge Greg Land fan, but I have to admit he’s a good fit for this title. He can draw beautiful people behaving badly, and really, that’s all this book is! Hope looks a bit too much like a super-model, but hey, she’s on the big X-Men team now, that must be a natural development too. My biggest complaint is bad Colossus. It just doesn’t work!