Posted on April 3, 2013 AT 06:53pm
The time-traveling mutants are back once again in the latest installment of All-New X-Men. With Cyclops and the Uncanny crew showing up on the doorstep of the Jean Grey School last issue, and Mystique, Sabertooth and Lady Mastermind wreaking havoc on S.H.I.E.L.D., things are not going so well for the merry mutants. The issues don’t seem to stop there, with Young Cyclops showing all the signs of a teenage rebellious phase in the face of some very troubling news, and with the Scott Summers of the present looking to expand his new team that already includes Magneto, Emma Frost and Magik, some major changes look as though they’re about to occur, and likely not for the best. With a major character ready to join Cyclops (personal theory: Jean), a shake-up is on the horizon.
Brian Michael Bendis has done a terrific job thus far taking an unfamiliar concept and making it work in the X-Men universe. While the first nine issues were incredibly concise with very little empty space used in any of the pages. While this issue is also very well done, this issue seems to lack the focus of the first nine, leaving something to be desired when it comes to what is usually near flawless plot progression. While the movement of the arc is there, it just seems to be a bit more chaotic than usual, with some of the structure and dialog not flowing nearly as well as it has in previous installments to the series. Whether this is a fluke, an opinion or the insane workload of Bendis finally catching up with him, it stood out glaringly.
The return of Stuart Immonen has been wonderful, however. His artwork is as crisp and clean as ever, making even the ridiculous looking Cyclops into a true badass. Wade Von Grawbadger and Marte Gracia are stellar as always on inking and coloring duties, respectively. The issue itself looks wonderful, with the bright colors and vibrant shading as apparent as ever. While the writing of the series seems to have dipped a bit this time around, the artwork itself hasn’t faltered at all.
Summary: There looks to be some major changes coming to the line-up of the All-New X-Men team in the next issue, and this installment has set-up the arc incredibly well. While the concept of a character jumping ship from one team to the other is nothing new (and the character involved is pretty obvious, in theory), Brian Bendis has still found a way to make it exciting, even if the focus seems to be lost a bit. As this series progresses, it looks as though this may become one of the best books in the Marvel Universe, and it’s already making major strides in that respect.
Pros: Brilliant artwork and coloring.
Cons: Story structure lacked focus.
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