Posted on March 21, 2013 AT 08:15pm
The mutants of yore are back for another installment ofAll-New X-Men, and judging by the end of this issue, this title is going to be making quite an impact in the X universe (even more than originally thought). While the talk of the mutant genocide continues, Kitty begins her instruction of the original five X-Men, not exactly knowing why they’re here, but knowing that to keep the universe how it is, they should probably stay alive. Most of the issue works with Kitty and the five as they attempt to come to terms with this new world, which includes an evil force they were unaware of (but is an everyday struggle for the modern-day mutants): The Sentinels. Oh, and Mystique begins to gather allies for a very complex plan that looks like it’s going to be a challenge to stop. Even with time-traveling mutants, it’s another day in the life of the X-Men.
This issue doesn’t have the kind of plot development that has usually been put into this series, although the character progress of the original five is made in leaps and bound here, which will hopefully build to a big payoff later, especially when it comes to their training. The ongoing conflict of the X-Men against the Sentinels was a nice touch, giving the Five a look at the terrifying future they now live in, as well as showing off one of the more important villains in the X-Men universe. The sub-plot featuring Mystique (while brief) was also well done, showing off how truly scary she’s going to wind up being in the near future. It should also be noted that readers of the sister title to this book (the new volume of the iconic Uncanny X-Men) will know the intense ending of this issue as well, with the Uncanny team taking a quick field trip to a certain school for unknown reasons.
Brian Michael Bendis is putting in some major work. Along with all the other titles outside this franchise he’s working on, he’s putting out two titles for the X-team, and doing both of them very well. The ability to cross over the titles from time to time as well is a plus, since Bendis is writing some of the biggest characters in the marvel Universe in just these two titles. Bendis is capable of blowing your mind several times in the same issue, and not once since taking over the main X-Universe has his work been disappointing, with this issue, especially. (Note: Longtime X-fans should have gotten shivers with the last line of this issue. Seriously, Brian.)
This issue is important for a number of reasons (mainly being completely awesome in every way), but is also celebrated for the return of original penciler Stuart Immonen to the series. Artist David Marquez (major accolades to him, his work is phenomenal) was sensational on this title in Immonen’s absence, but there is nothing like the original, and it shows here. The book feels like it has a higher energy to the artwork, and the team of Immonen, inker Wade Von Grawbadger and colorists Marte Gracia and Rain Beredo have created some of the most beautiful artwork in the Marvel Universe. Let it also be known for fans of the new Uncanny title: This issue proves that the new look Uncanny squad can look as badass as anyone, something that isn’t shown as heavily in Uncanny X-Men itself. (Note: this is not meant as an insult to Uncanny X-Men artist Chris Bachalo. His work is highly appreciated and respected, though it’s not quite as appealing as the work done in this series).
Summary: For those reading this review as a fan of this series, good work. Keep reading, this book is incredible. For those not reading this series yet: Stop reading this and go get a copy. You won’t regret it. This series is a twisting, turning landscape of mutant struggles not seen since some of the more intense periods of the franchise back in the early days, and again during some of the more iconic Chris Claremont runs. Hats off to Bendis, Immonen, Gracia and everyone working on this title, with this issue being a major standout.
Pros: Everything. This is truly a remarkable title.
Cons: Visually, it makes its sister book look a bit worse off due to being so awesome.
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