With ‘Battle Of The Atom’ over, it’s all change for the All-New X-Men in terms of living arrangements, costumes and allegiance, but Bendis and Immonen make sure that the usual blend of great dialogue, soap opera relationship stuff, new twists on X-History and whilst this issue is light on action, there is still a teensy bit.
So, the OG X-Men and Kitty Pryde (I love how she is now ‘Professor K’) have left Wolverine’s side and gone over to Cyclops’, and this issue begins with them settling in to life at The New Xavier School and discovering all about it’s former purpose as a Weapon X facility. All throughout the issue, the impact of the crossover is felt, as Iceman rambles to Eva about what he saw about his future, the Stepford Cuckoos try to intimidate Jean Grey and Kitty and Illyana reconnect. I’d actually forgotten that those two were best friends, so it was good to see them have a moment (Illyana trying to hug Kitty but Kitty not expecting it and phasing was great) as well as to have Colossus brought up again. He’s off with X-Force and has kind of been forgotten about, so I’m interested to see if he’ll return to the X-Men books when the X-Forces merge. I also really liked the short scene with Beast and Magneto, and how Bendis brought back up again how weird it must be for Beast to suddenly be on the same team as him.
The best stuff about this issue for me was the development of the love triangle between Jean, Cyclops and Beast. Jean tries to talk to Hank, but he’s angry at her for running off with Scott during Battle Of The Atom. I think Bendis really knows how to write teenage boys (well duh, he’s written two of the best in Ultimate Spider-Man for over a decade) and how they let their emotions override logic. Hank should know that Jean was right not to trust the Brotherhood, but he’s too busy thinking about her going back to Scott.
This continues inside his head during the scene after they are given their new costumes by Magik. I really like these new costumes, Immonen has done a bang-up job designing them, and as Kitty says, it is time for a change. During Kitty’s lecture about their future plans, both Beast and Cyclops are ignoring her and thinking about Jean. Cyclops is thinking about how they are supposedly destined to be together, and how they have a kid (Oh man, I can’t wait until OG Cyclops meets Cable, that will be mental) and why won’t Jean just accept that and go out with him? Hank is thinking the same stuff he said before, but also thinking about maybe asking out one of the Uncanny X-Men. As I said, this is all good stuff, these are horny teenage boys thinking solipsistic thoughts. Unfortunately, Jean can hear these thoughts and she bugs out, levitating herself into the air. Even more unfortunately, she is saved from falling by Angel, and uh-oh, it’s a goddamn love-square now, as both Cyclops and Beast look on jealously. Given the fact that Scott and Jean did get married, it’s easy to forget that the original team were pretty much all in love with her, so it’s cool to have that back.
But before they can dwell on this, an alarm goes off, calling the team away for a mutant emergency in Florida, which will be next issue. This was a great issue that delivered everything I want from the X-Men these days, which is character. All the scenes here were a joy to read, and Bendis has a knack of looking at the history of these characters and the time-travel insanity to make every conversation be worth it, even little stuff like Kitty being annoyed at Iceman because his older self broke up with her, and him knowing that contributes.
Yes, it’s talky, but these days, in an X-Franchise with so many fascinating characters, that’s what I want, to see the sparks fly between them in various combinations, and with the All-New team switching sides, there are now loads of new combinations. Throw in Stuart Immonen not only delivering his usual excellence, but also some new costumes, and this is what I want, I can read fights in a million other comics, Bendis’ X-Men is different, and all the better for it.