Welcome back to the Marvel Rundown! This week, the Rundown Crew (George Carmona 3rd, Beau Q, and Cy Beltran) convenes for an oversized roundtable on Uncanny X-Men #700 all for the same low low price! Be warned – this roundtable contain SPOILERS for the oversized special and the Krakoan Age itself!

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Uncanny X-Men #700

Uncanny X-Men #700

Writers: Gerry Duggan, Al Ewing & Kieron Gillen
Artists: Joshua Cassara, Phil Noto, Lucas Werneck, Leinil Francis Yu, Walter Simonson, Mark Brooks, John Romita Jr. & Scott Hanna, Jerome Opeña, Luciano Vecchio, Stefano Caselli & Sara Pichelli
Color Artists: Romulo Fajardo Jr., Phil Noto, David Curiel, Laura Martin, Sonia Oback, Marcio Menyz, Matt Hollingsworth & Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller & Jay Bowen
Cover Artists: Pepe Larraz & Marte Gracia

Nightcrawler: Getting to Know You

By Chris Claremont & Salvador Larroca
Colors: Guru-eFX
Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles

X-Men: From the Ashes – A New Beginning!

Writers: Jed MacKay Gail Simone
Artist: Javier Garrón
Color Artist: Morry Hollowell
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Cy Beltran: Welcome back everybody! So, what’d we think of the end of the age of Krakoa? I was a hardcore reader of almost every title that came out during this era (and have been since Bendis’ run), and while it was hard to feel totally satisfied with the ending here, this was ultimately a solid conclusion that hit on the biggest unresolved beats from across the era. I wish that this wasn’t so inevitable, but I know that it had to happen within the corporate confines of the superhero machine. 

George Carmona 3rd: We all knew the day would come, comics being cyclical in nature, when a creative team leaves a book, the new team is generally mandated to get “back to basics” but dagnabbit I’m going to miss what Jonathan Hickman did with the Krakoa Era. This last issue was an interesting exercise in putting the sand back in the box for the next era of X. 

Beau Q.: I’m a HoX/PoX enjoyer, but I skipped town on the further adventures once it got rolling; the creative teams weren’t to my liking to be honest. So coming back to the party once it finished and seeing what went on during my sabbatical is astounding; uncanny even. 700’s writers did, in my opinion, an immaculate job reiterating what brought us to this end, and then set us on a simple goodbye that married the high philosophy of Krakoa era X-Men to its history as Marvel’s most popular superhero book in the 90s. In clearing the X-Men table to revert them back into something resembling their 90s tone, I think pissing Apocalypse off by telling him how nice and supportive the city-state has become is a fun way to celebrate 700 issues of adjectiveless X-Men!

GC3: I agree, resetting Apocalypse back to being the big bad was a mistake. There’s something to him being the “spiritual” grounding force for Mutants. Plus the symbol name feels more powerful. 

CB: I’m there too, I enjoyed the new [-A-] as opposed to the classic version (who I never actually enjoyed as a character). I was wicked bummed to see the mutants from the White Hot Room appear and then disappear though because there was so much story potential there.

BQ: Oh no, I actually enjoy zaddy Apocalypse being the big bad in need of putting down at this year’s annual, though he does come off as the uncle who bludgeons with his righteousness at the family bbq. Those are the uncles better left to their own devices lmao.

GC3: I’m sure if he cared about humans he’d have voted for 45. But that fight went a bit long, I was highly impressed with Nightcrawler’s move to humble Apocalypse. 

BQ: I felt that the fight’s length helped get guest artist pages in with familiar material. You can get JRJR to draw newer designs, but feeding someone from the White Hot Room to Walt Simonson feels like an editorial hazard. Can I say that I did not see Phil Noto laying out the lion’s share of these anniversary pages? Marvel Bullpen must’ve had him on speed dial with how many moments he gets a swing at!

GC3: Anytime we can get Uncle Walt to draw is a good day, plus a nice nod to his X-Factor days drawing the original X-Men. I just wish he’d done more. 

CB: I was so disappointed that Pepe Larraz and RB Silva had no pages here, but I do love me some Phil Noto (even if I was shocked to see so much of him in this issue). He does some of his best work with Gerry Duggan, so it felt like a great pairing for these pages. Speaking of, while the shift between artists was a bit all over the place, I did not notice the shifts between writers too much, which felt like a strength for this enormous undertaking. Three writers rotating between 60 pages of story to close out a five year arc is a feat in and of itself, so props to them for pulling this together as best they could.

BQ: The overall tone of metatextual tongue-in-cheek and geopolitical piece moving helps brighten the breadth of 700’s exposition. It’s mostly an infodump issue anyway with a fight and some mini comics thrown in the back. But there’s a lot of heart in its pages I wished translated to readers– they have the X-Men view the new Krakoa from an ideological improbability and the utopia it aimed to be, then it vanishes with tears rolling down their stoic cheeks. That ending page is hokey, but it’s mostly the layout that crunches the catharsis into nothing for me. It’s probably why I enjoyed the emotional mini between Raven, Kurt, Rogue, and Destiny more than the meat of the issue!

GC3: But that’s the lot of the X-Men and Mutants, they can’t have that happy ending. 

CB: On that note, what’d we think of the two epilogues here? I enjoyed the Chris Claremont short, though I’m not much of a fan of Salvador Larroca. The emotional back and forth between Rogue/Kurt and Raven/Irene was so reminiscent of that classic Claremont vibe, and it felt cathartic in a sense to see these characters written by him with the subtext gone.

GC3: I forgot how wordy Claremont can be, it was the perfect amount of verbose exposition for two people fighting. I wonder if they allowed Larroca to ink his work, I’m also not the biggest fan but the art for this short had a solid weight that really grounded his figures, something I haven’t seen from his linework in a very long time.  

BQ: Claremont and Larroca took 10 pages to remind us that the 90s X-Men are at their best when they’re doing group therapy while fight-exercising on a nice day out in normal clothes! Really efficient at packing a lot of story into the smallest amount of pages, those two! Besides that, I think Javier Garrón made a great case for him running the X-Men sails in the near future. The amount of movement, texture, and attitude he’s able to bring to Xavier FB-stalking his peers feels like a resource that needs to be tapped again!

CB: Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I was into the From the Ashes preview. Mind you, it definitely gave me hard flashbacks to 2018’s Uncanny X-Men relaunch in how safe it felt, but the writing and art were solid for this opening salvo. When Garrón is paired with a colorist like Morry Hollowell, he really shines, and it makes me interested to see if he sticks around with this line. The shift in priorities for the line isn’t as spelled out in the text as I would’ve liked it to be, but I guess we’ll have to wait until July to see where things are going.

GC3: I think we should have gotten more of a preview for the new books as we return to the status quo. Also, I would have liked a final end to Charles and all his bad choices. 

BQ: Agreed, though it looks like Charles nebulously in the wild is story fodder the new X teams will stash for a later event. Probably.

GC3: I can only hope that they lean into that and come up with a new version of Onslaught.  

BQ: Now that’s that Marvel Comics bs from the 90s we’re here and seated for!

CB: With that, how about some verdicts?

BQ: If you’re an X-enjoyer, BUY. Get this in floppy. If you’re not an X-enjoyer, SKIP.

GC3: I’m going to miss the War Captains, Mutant culture/language and bio tech, this was a proper ending for the experiment that was Krakoa. – BUY.

CB: The start of this era was the most fun I’ve had reading comics since I started reading comics, both due to the story potential and the online community that formed in those first twelve weeks of HOX/POX. I’m not sure that this reaches those initial heights (or that the era as a whole ever did), but Uncanny X-Men #700 closes the story in a way that feels largely satisfying as a long-time X-reader, and puts these characters in a place where I’m cautiously optimistic for the future. So for that, this is a BUY.

Next week: The end of G.O.D.S. and Scarlet Witch #1!