By Joss Whedon, John Cassaday, and Laura Martin

Had this book actually come out on time, my emotional response to its finale might have been stronger. But given that Kitty Pride’s fate was tossed out months before this issue hit the stands (in a pathetic attempt to keep continuity) just diminishes the whole point of this book. So how was the issue? Was it worth the wait? Should Joss Whedon be allowed to write comics given his sluggishly slow track records?

Well, I’m not sure who’s to blame for this book’s lateness – Whedon or Cassaday, but if it is Whedon, I say just stick to the television business. Because as much as I enjoy his writing in the funny books, his lack of dedication to keeping a schedule is disrespectful. If this is John Cassaday’s fault, well, congratulations on being another artist who’s excelled at disappointing his fan base with late work. End of rant.

The issue itself is a satisfying one  that would have had a greater impact had the series been released on a timely schedule. Picking up this book, I felt “out of it” from the get-go. I had to reacclimatize myself to the story and the situation before I could get into the book’s “groove”. Being that this is the last issue and lots of lives are at stake, the tension was sadly, offset by my knowledge of what’s already transpired. If you’re not a reader of Uncanny X-Men, you might not know what’s coming and this’ll play out as intended: A sad and jolting conclusion.

As much as the spoilage hurts the book, Whedon’s humor comes across again as clever and funny. This is something the X-Titles need more of. There’s a lot of great character moments – in particular a scene with Spider-Man smacking Storm that’s downright hilarious. The stuff with Beast and the Agent Brand, however? That felt a bit too Whedon-esque (or forced). I just don’t buy it. And frankly, it’s kind of gross.

Cassaday’s art is simple, and not so breathtaking as it used to be. It’s lost some of its luster, and the use of photographic backgrounds from the opening pages is jarring. As a whole, Cassaday’s work gets the job done. keeping the cohesion from the past 24 issues intact. The closure of this storyline is fitting, bringing things full circle, so to speak. I may not have been blown away by its conclusion, but other than maybe X-Men: Legacy,  this title is still miles away better than all the other X-Titles combined. (Grade: B)

– J. Montes