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Comic Book / Uncanny X-Men (2018)

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Some re-assembly required.note 

The fifth volume of Uncanny X-Men, launched in 2018 as part of the Fresh Start initiative. Initially written by Ed Brisson, Matthew Rosenberg and Kelly Thompson with the "X-Men Disassembled" storyline, Rosenberg later took over as sole writer starting with issue #11.

"X-Men Disassembled" serves as a relaunch for most of the X-Men line, with the cancellation of X-Men: Gold, X-Men: Blue and X-Men: Red. Said arc leads into the Age of X-Man Bat Family crossover. The series also features the official returns of both Cyclops and Wolverine to the X-Men after lengthy absences; together the two will form a new X-Men team.

The series concluded with issue #22 to make way for Jonathan Hickman's return to Marvel with his X-Men run.

The fifth volume provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Affably Evil: Nate, at worst. He's genuinely friendly, polite, and regretful that he must take down the X-Men, being sardonic with them at worst. He's also very happy to explain himself after the young X-Men outright ask him why he's doing what he is. In Issue 8, however, he loses his temper. Considering that Nate was trapped in the Age of Apocalypse and/or inside Legion's head, for a period of relative months, which he not unreasonably considers to be an attempt to kill him (though he doesn't know that it was all Legion's idea), you can see why. And even after that, he has a long and fairly pleasant chat with Jean inside his head, and is genuinely regretful at what he feels he must do. And even then, his final plan doesn't kill the X-Men, but shunts them off into the Age of X-Man, in an earnest (but deeply flawed) attempt to help them find peace.
  • A God Am I: After he takes over Legion's body, Nathan declares himself a god - and makes the point that he effectively is one beforehand and afterwards. Considering his raw power, it's hard to argue with him - though interestingly, it's ambiguous how much he actually believes it. Age of X-Man reveals that he doesn't.
  • Any Last Words?: Subverted, as in this scenario both characters are antiheros, rather than a villain mocking the hero. Hope wants her last words to be, in French: "The revolution, like Saturn, devours its own children." (The Roman god, not the planet.)
  • Artistic License – Physics: Averted for once. Normally we hear that Cyke's eyebeams don't have any effect on him besides coloring his vision (as Wolverine pointed out), but when his skull is fractured using his eyebeams could shatter it.
  • Back for the Dead:
    • Sugar Man, who hasn't been seen since just prior to Secret Wars (2015) (where, ironically, he was also Back for the Dead, with Magneto murdering him), is killed off in the same scene he appears.
    • A twofer in issue 11: Blindfold returns to deliver a warning to Cyclops and be Driven to Suicide, while Loa's appearance amounts to a corpse.
    • Issue 12 has Strong Guy pull a Heroic Sacrifice to save the other captured X-Men.
    • In issue 16 Joseph shows up only to get beheaded.
  • Badass Boast: X-Man and Legion swap them when going head to head. Only in the former case does it turn out to be justified.
    Nate: I am the master of minds! You think you can hold me?!
    Legion: I do. But I think you'll find that my mind is a little more complicated than what you're used to, big man. Do you really think you're the first super-powered child to throw a tantrum in here? I have ways of dealing with you. We all do... we are Legion.
    Nate: I know what you are, David. But I'm afraid you have no idea what I am.
    Legion: Wait! Don't -
  • Big Bad: The first arc has Nate Grey, the X-Man and alternate universe Cable of the Age of Apocalypse, albeit of the Well-Intentioned Extremist variety.
  • Big Damn Heroes: At the end of his rope and desperate to keep the dream alive, Cyclops makes a public statement calling any remaining X-Men to meet him at the ruins of the Xavier Institute left behind from X-Man’s attack. The only ones to answer his call are the Reavers, Purifiers and Sapien League all coordinated in an ambush. Three words and one sound effect lets Scott know there is still some hope for the X-Men:
    Logan: He ain’t alone... SNIIIIIIIIIIIKT
  • Big Damn Kiss: In issue #22, Jean and Scott finally reunite and smooch, much to the displeasure of Logan and Emma.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Nate's cottage.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Issue #22 ends with the X-Men fully reunited with those missing since Age of X-Man, but there are way too many heroes dead because of this.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • The Madrox dupes, as it turns out, the reason they're crazy and are suddenly demonstrating superpowers is because Legion kidnapped Jamie Madrox and put each of his personalities inside a Jamie dupe, manifesting their powers in the dupes.
    • There's also the Horsemen of Salvation, consisting of Angel, Magneto, Blob and Omega Red. They have been brainwashed by X-Man to serve his purposes.
  • Breather Episode: Winter's End, which admittedly takes place before the first issue.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • "Disassembled"'s apparent Big Bad, Nate Grey, the X-Man.
    • Cyclops and Wolverine, who've been missing from the X-books, the former since his death and return and the latter since his resurrection, both return to the X-Men while they're off in the Age of X-Man event.
  • Call-Back: Nate Grey creates his own little universe, as a young Franklin Richards offered to do for him back during Onslaught.
  • Cassandra Truth: Blindfold's warning to Scott not to reunite the X-Men was this as the X-Men weren't actually dead, but Scott's team would die.
  • Characters Dropping Like Flies: Scott's team had its first death even before the team was conceived (Blindfold took her own life in a bathtub). Many others would soon follow and many of the deaths were brutal - such as a pacifist Wolfsbane getting kicked to death by anti-mutant racists. Final deaths, included Havok blowing himself up against the Warlox sentinels, Jamie Madrox Prime joining his dupes and getting himself killed, and Illyana turning into a full demon, which reduced the team to only a few surviving members. Other deaths include Chamber, Loa, Velocidad, and Triage.
  • The Chew Toy: Jamie is being put through a lot in this series with a lot of his dupes being used for torturous experiments by Dark Beast before dying.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Kid Cable tells Logan to take care of Cyclops because he himself can't — this is because he went off to track down weapons in X-Force (2018).
    • Logan himself mentions that his memories aren't all there, which is because of the events of Return of Wolverine. Although the ending of that series later revealed that, no, most of his memories are in fact still there, so it might be a snarl depending on what he was referring to.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • A subplot introduced early on focuses on the New X-Men class, who are growing increasingly bitter at how they're treated by the adults because they're so young. Among them are Armor, Pixie, Anole, and Rockslide, all of whom are very experienced veterans. This is exacerbated by X-23 being considered one of the "adult" X-Men, despite the fact she is roughly the same age and was part of the same generation.
    • On top of that, issue 8 ends with Armor explaining the kids' moral take-away from the mission: they never understood the X-Men and true battle, and now that they're MIA, they finally understand how tough the real X-Men have it. This is practically a Broken Aesop, because the New X-Men had an entire book dedicated to them dealing with problems even the adults couldn't handle, being let down by the X-Men, experienced heavy losses and death, and were forced to fight as soldiers just to stay alive. (Armor even highlights Magik in Limbo as an example of how the X-Men treat their fallen, despite the fact that Pixie and Rockslide actually went to Limbo, met her and helped her escape.) So despite what the story is trying to say, the kids do know what they're talking about.
    • Anole is now sporting two regular looking, albeit green skinned, arms, his spiky oversized monster arm apparently being gone, not to mention his total makeover after going to a Bad Future in Extraordinary X-Men. No explanation has been given for this and while some books around the same time similarly lacked this detail, Uncanny makes it more noticeable since he's not a background character here and so it stands out more that he's lost one of his main powers.
    • In Issue #4 Nate dismisses Apocalypse's opinion while talking to Kitty, saying he's only kept as a reminder of a hell he doesn't want. The very next issue he seeks and follows Apocalypse's suggestion, claiming all his hostages are present to serve as a balanced council advising him how to best change the world. Of course, he could just have changed his mind when he thought Apocalypse had an interesting point.
    • Averted with Danielle Moonstar, who shows up in issue #12... while also showing up in the Age of X-Man books. This is explained as being because she was Nate's girlfriend, and the Age of X-Man is his creation, either an entire alternate reality, or inside his head - or both. Age of X-Man: Omega eventually confirms that the AOX version is a copy he'd subconsciously created, and a demonstration that he was Not So Above It All.
  • Continuity Porn: The first annual, which bounces between X-Men stories for the majority of its pages.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Nate swats Jubilee out the way, and the X-Men, including Jean Grey, Psylocke, Storm, and Iceman, among other heavy hitters, all go for him at once. By the time Jubilee gets back with the Young X-Men, a minute or so later, they're all tied up and Nate hasn't even broken a sweat.
    • In issue 8, it turns out that Legion trapped Nate and the Young X-Men in his mind. Considering just who and what Nate is, this proved to be a spectacularly unfortunate decision once Nate figured out what was going on.
  • Despair Event Horizon: X-Men: Disassembled is all about the results of Nate Grey finally crossing this, plunging into despair - typified by a conversation he has with Jean in the form of an old woman, where both agree that the world's messed up, but Jean retains optimism. Thus, he decides that he has to remake the world by force. Arguably, though, he doesn't tip over the edge until a minutes-that-feel-like-months stint in Legion's mental construct of the Age of Apocalypse without his powers, where he sadly reflects that while he originally thought that 616 was heaven to the AOA's hell, he's come to believe that it's just a more subtle form of hell. This ultimately leads him to Take a Third Option and create the Age of X-Man.
  • Downer Ending: In the end, after realising that the X-Men would always stand in his way, Nate seemingly kills the entire extended X-Men roster, apparently dying in the process. Additionally, Anole turns over the mutant vaccine, and the government institutes a mandatory vaccination to prevent future mutant manifestations. For added Downer points, anything positive that Nate did is undone, the X-Men's deaths are celebrated by humanity at large, and new laws are put in place that will lead to humanity effectively vaccinating mutants into extinction. However, Age of X-Man shows that he shuffled them into an all new plane of existence instead, in an attempt to help them, which might well just be in his head, which is given as explaining Danielle Moonstar's being in both series - in AOX, she's a creation of his subconscious, explaining to him that he's Not So Above It All and that while his intentions are good, the idea of cutting off links to other people is not, and after he willingly releases them, they return unharmed.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: The storyline after Disassembled has Cyclops and Wolverine reuniting and forming a new team of X-Men with the other X-Men supposedly dead and extinction heading around the corner again with the express intention on effectively completing a "bucket list" of sorts.
  • The Dragon: Wolverine to Cyclops. Mystique to Emma.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Most of the point of the younger X-Men's presence is to complain about not being respected by the older X-Men.
  • Easily Forgiven: Hope Summers, after she raised a terrorist group and shot Cyclops in the head, leaving permanent damage and putting him at risk of dying every time he uses his powers. Nobody really minds putting her on the team and the latter in particular is never brought up again after it happens.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Dark Beast returns in the post-Disassembled arc. Here his new maxim is that cybernetic enhancement is the true path of evolution and has both extensively modified himself and is experimenting on the Transmode virus infected New Mutants.
  • Expendable Clone: Jamie is really put through the ringer in this series as his dupes are ruthlessly exploited by all parties who get a hold of him, with everyone caring little that he feels their pain and deaths. Hope copying his powers explicitly feels this way about her dupes.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Issue #11: teen Cable shoots Wolverine in the eye. True to form, he just picks what's left of it out of the socket.
    • Issue #15: Hope shoots Cyclops in the face, taking out one eye.
  • Foreshadowing: At the beginning of the series, a group of X-students spend a year in the Age of Apocalypse timeline… only to have it turn out that they actually just spent five minutes telepathically living Nate's nightmares about his birth world, somehow physically being in his mind. This foreshadows how the entire Age of X-man world turned out to take place in Nate's mind.
  • Good Counterpart: This title introduces the opposite number to the Horsemen of Apocalypse with the Horsemen of Salvation; Peace, Wellness, Bounty and Life. Subverted in that they're just as fanatical as their counterparts and their actions can be just as threatening to the masses.
  • Grand Theft Me: After realizing the Age of Apocalypse world he's trapped in is just Legion's mind, Nathan hijacks his body.
  • Heel–Face Brainwashing: Like their apocalyptic counterparts, the Horsemen of Salvation are largely brainwashed mutant supervillains. They're not remotely pleased once they're released.
  • Heel Realization: In Annual #1, Cyclops comes to realize that he had grown so angry over how the world seemed to want to snuff out Mutantkind after the events of M-Day, he became the very kind of people he fought.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: Double Subverted. When Cyclops stops Jamie from killing Dark Beast, he claims that they have to be better than him. Jamie thinks that he will still be better than him if he just kills him without torturing him.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: Basically how Ruth talks.
    Jamie: I paid your delivery guy, so I figured it's okay if I took a slice, okay?
    Ruth: No, I'm not hungry.
  • It's All My Fault: Legion is desperate to stop X-Man because he feels responsible for creating Age of Apocalypse and thus him in the first place.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The X-men seem to all have forgotten about Emma Frost. Juggernaut remembers, whether because he isn't a mutant or because he was Brotherhood at the time.
    • Turns out Emma did it herself.
    • And then she did it to the whole world, regarding mutants.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • The anti-mutant activist in the first issue, who the characters outright say is the generic picture of almost every anti-mutant politician they've ever met.
    • Armor and Anole mention that they feel neglected, like they were someone's pet project before that person moved on. This is obviously a commentary on how young mutant characters are treated after their creation.
    • Annual #1 has Kid Cable admit that he resurrected Cyclops because dying on his knees thanks to the Terrigen Mists should not be how the great leader of the X-Men should die. Later, Cyclops admits that he became the very thing he fought thanks to the events of Avengers vs. X-Men and later. Both his death and his characterization have been criticized over the years by different people.
    • Issue #11 opens with Cyclops lamenting how every X-Men story is the same; a common criticism of the franchise, especially in recent years.
  • Mythology Gag: "X-Men Disassembled" seems to be a reference to "Avengers Disassembled", the first arc of Brian Michael Bendis' Avengers run. Notably, the structure is similar, as both stories lead into an altered universe story.
  • Not So Omniscient After All: After talking to Blindfold, Cyclops gets convinced that the X-men are all dead; but for her it might not have been a prophecy, so much as repeating what Gabriel told her earlier.
  • Offhand Backhand: Nate swats Jubilee and Cannonball this way.
  • One-Man Army: in the last two Disassembled issues, X-man takes on all active X-men, their entire student body, their allies, Magneto, Blob, Omega Red, Apocalypse and literal One-Man Army in Legion. This is about 40 mutanrs, 5 of which are Omegas and Nate still wins, pulling them into his pocket dimension.
  • Only Sane Man: Pixie among her classmates ends up coming off as this; she's the first and only one who thinks picking fights with the teachers is a bad idea, and repeatedly clashes with Armor over her increasingly antagonistic behaviour and less-than-wise decisions.
  • Out-Gambitted: Legion thought that he could contain Nate in his mind, that it was the only prison that could hold him. This worked for a grand total of five minutes of real time (though it was months inside), and as soon as Nate figured out what was going on, he flattened Legion and body-jacked him.
  • Physical God: Nate, who always verged on this to begin with, is definitely this thanks to getting his powers back in boosted form thanks to the Life Seed, taking down entire teams of X-Men with minimal effort while keeping Magneto on a leash and Apocalypse in chains, telepathically overpowering Legion in seconds, and requiring a distraction from Jean, and the full power of Psylocke, the Stepford Sisters, Sage, and No-Girl and a whopping great lightning bolt from Storm to separate him from Legion, who he'd body-jacked... and even then he's still holding off the full force of the X-Men, the former Horsemen of Salvation (including Magneto), while carrying on a polite telepathic conversation with Jean.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Legion, who became aware of what X-Man is doing and tries to warn everyone to stop it; he does so by sending a vague image of the future to Jean telepathically that doesn't explain any context, then kidnaps and tortures Jamie Madrox in order to use his dupes as brainwashed cannon fodder to prevent the events he's seen coming, and rather than explain any of this when the X-Men come to investigate, he attacks them. Bizarrely, Armor considers this the X-Men's fault for not listening to Legion despite his actions directly making everyone react the way they did.
  • Pre-emptive Declaration: Ruth tells Cyclops to leave money for an intact window seconds before he gets assaulted by a guy and reflexively throws him through the window.
  • Prophecy Twist: As Cyclops realizes too late, Blindfold wasn't saying that the X-men who were assumed dead were going to die, but that if he put the X-men back together from still-living mutants then they would all die.
  • Psycho Rangers: The Mutant Liberation Front has hijacked the X-Men name during the time between the team's supposed deaths and Cyclops' rebuilding. It sorta helps that they have Hope Summers and Banshee in their group.
  • Pun: Cyclops can't help but grin and ask Wolverine how long he was waiting to use the "seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses" joke.
    • In Winter's End, possibly aimed at the readers:
      Ice Master: [kissing Daken] Does this ship work for you?
    • Doubles as a shout-out that Johnny wrote Bobby a birthday song about their friendship. He calls it A Song of Ice and Fire.
  • Reality Warper: Nate Grey, and Legion, both to an unknown extent - in the former case, it's unclear how much he's capable of (Age of X-Man reveals that he's capable of creating entire planes of existence), and in the latter, it depends on his state of mind. The latter, though, is wildly outclassed by the former, in both raw power and control.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong:
    • Jamie Madrox's or rather, Legion's intent, although he's in too much of a panic to properly do so and just ends up causing problems for the X-Men.
    • X-Man's overriding motivation is more or less the same - he's dying, traumatised, and desperate to prevent the 616 universe from ending up like his home.
    • The subplot in Winter's End, where a centuries-old Iceman returns to the present to convince present-day Iceman not to make his mistakes, such as trusting Daken.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: "The Last X-Men", in the end, amounts to this. All that the X-Men do for their bucket list amounts to almost nothing, mutants are still hated and feared — if not more so given what's happened, Emma's plan is undone by them themselves after a day or so and the only win they get — the return of those who disappeared for Age of X-Man — had nothing to do with their actions. Along the way, numerous characters are killed or sacrifice themselves and various characters become disillusioned with the X-Men as a team.
  • Shout-Out: The Horsemen of Salvation have names very similar to the specific ministries in Nineteen Eighty-Four.
    • There's also one in Jubilee's retort to brainwashed!Magneto:
    Magneto: Do not proceed any further.
    Jubilee: I believe the line is "you shall not pass", Gandalf!
  • Snap Back: Cyclops and Wolverine are wearing their older costumes, Cyclops in his 90's-era X-uniform and Wolverine in his 80's-era gold and brown costume. This extends to everyone else in Cyclops' team as Havok is wearing his late-90s X-Factor outfit and the New Mutants are left wearing their old blue and golds.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Issue 22 has Jamie Madrox create a bunch of duplicates as a distraction by zerg rushing some sentinels while Wolverine and Cyclops do their thing. For some inexplicable reason that's never explained, Jamie himself joins his dupes. All the dupes die, because that was the point of the strategy, and Jamie dies with them because he joined his own cannon fodder.
  • Storming the Castle: In issue 12, Cyclops and Wolverine end up invading a base holding the New Mutants.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: Jamie Madrox warns of... something coming, which seems to be tied to the anomalies in the timeline that Bishop is combating and whatever is hunting the Age of Apocalypse refugees. It is revealed that the vagueness is in fact Nate Grey.
  • Voodoo Shark: The consequences of Emma's attempt to save mutants by erasing everyone's memories of them, as explored in this article, causes more problems than it solves; in short, if doesn't affect the records and institutions built in response to mutants, leaving organizations like O*N*E* with obvious gaps in their personal history they'd want to fill.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Nate, who's dying and desperate to prevent the 616 universe from becoming a Crapsack World like his home reality while he still can.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Cyclops gives one to Captain America for promising to do more for the mutant community and letting the X-Men die and then appearing to defend a group of bigots at a campaign rally espousing anti-mutant sentiments (Rogers promises he’s just keeping things from breaking out into a riot). YMMV on whether he’s right or not, considering their past history regarding mutant rights. Later in his part of the issue Logan gives a subtler one to Black Widow and Bucky, asking why the Avengers would show up to protect a hate rally. Widow gives him the same answer as Cap.
    • Warren gives Betsy and the other X-Men one when Betsy takes down his Horseman of Peace persona, unleashing Archangel, pointing out that unlike the other Horsemen of Salvation, he was working with Nate willingly, because the other man was helping him with his Archangel problem.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • Apocalypse of all people is captured off-screen to show how badass the unseen villain is. Downplayed because the person who captured him is revealed to be Nate Grey, who has eclipsed Apocalypse at the height of his power, having been engineered specifically to kill his world's Apocalypse.
    • Legion gets dramatically curbstomped by Nate in telepathic combat, after the latter figures out that he's trapped in Legion's mind.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Legion ends up trapping Nate and the younger X-men in a simulated version of the age of Apocalypse inside his mind. They spend nearly a year there, and Armor is later shocked to discover that in the real world, only 5 minutes have passed.
  • You Know I'm Black, Right?: Illyana is duly impressed by Mister Sinister's ability to turn an entire fire brigade into copies of himself… standing right next to Jamie, whose power set is exactly that. When he points this out she says it's cooler when Sinister does it.
  • You See, I'm Dying: When directly asked why he's upheaving up the world, X-Man admits it's because he's dying and he wants to save the world with his great power before he goes.
    I'm dying, mother. I just want to do something good before I go.
  • Yo Yo Plot Point: Disassembled brings back the conflict between Warren and Archangel again. And causes yet another "mutants face extinction" event.