I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel the X-Men are a little too segregated from the rest of the Marvel Universe. The only X-Men character you ever really see outside of the X-Books is Wolverine. Well, with UncannyX-Men Annual #3 we’re seeing the first part of a story that brings the X-Men to The Negative Zone, which is normally a place reserved for the Fantastic Four, and will cross over into Steve Rogers: Super Soldier Annual #1.
The book starts off with Hope declaring Scott Summers to be a jerk, in a good old-fashioned Kitty Pryde sort of way. It’s a typical day for Cyclops, trying to lead the entire mutant race while every member of the race is telling him he’s doing it wrong. Madison Jeffries is working on creating a Limbo Bridge for the X-Men, in case they ever need it. The problem is, he had to borrow a key component from Namor to see if the gateway will work. Well, Namor isn’t the kind of guy who likes to share his toys, so he’s giving Cyclops another tantrum while Jeffries starts up the machine. Well, oddly enough, the machine goes crazy and ends up blowing the whole lab to bits. Madison is left severely injured, while Emma Frost went into her diamond form and is left as good as new. The question now is, where did Cyclops, Hope, Dr. Nemesis, and Namor go?
We find the group in a strange dimension filled with nothing but floating asteroids and more nothing, just floating around and trying to get their bearings. Naturally, Namor is super pissed off and decides to go off on his own to find some water. Cyclops sends Nemesis after Namor to make sure he doesn’t get into trouble, while Hope and Cyclops go looking for a clue as to where they are. While Namor and Dr. Nemesis search for water, they end up being attacked by a giant monster disguised as a harmless asteroid. Namor decides to go after it on his own, meanwhile Dr. Nemesis sits back and watches Namor get his ass handed to him.
Back on Utopia, Emma Frost gathers all the resident mutant geniuses to try and figure out what happened to Cyclops and the others. The only thing they can tell for sure is that the missing X-Men were sent to another dimension, which at least rules out that they were incinerated in the blast. With nothing else to go on, Emma goes to Pixie and asks her how she feels about a trip to New York. We then return to the strange dimension where Cyclops is doing his best to try and befriend Hope, who is not at all happy to be anywhere near Cyclops. He does his best to get on her good side, but when the strange inhabitants of this dimension show up and attack them, Hope and Cyclops end up being captured.
Elsewhere, Dr. Nemesis has finally decided to step in and subdue the monster with one of his chemical compounds. Is Namor grateful for the help? Hell no! He just gets all pissy and tells Nemesis to get him home. When we join up with Cyclops and Hope again; they have been taken captive, by who I believe is Blastaar (sorry if I got that wrong). When asked what he plans to do with them, he replies with, “Nothing. You are my bait.”
I didn’t have a lot of expectations when I picked up this book, but it was surprisingly good. James Asmus captured these characters perfectly. I haven’t enjoyed reading Cyclops so much since Joss Whedon was writing Astonishing X-Men. I really got a kick out of seeing Cyclops interact with a teenage girl. I like Hope, but I have absolutely hated Generation Hope. So, it was nice to see the character in a book that wasn’t awful. I even liked seeing Dr. Nemesis and Namor interact and I normally don’t give a crap about those guys. The one downside to this book was Nicholas Bradshaw’s art. It’s not awful, I just don’t think it fits very well with the X-Men. If you’re looking for a book that’s pure fun and has great writing, pick this up.