Brian Michael Bendis’ run on both X-Men titles has been very talky, and whilst I love me some Bendis-talky, it can get a bit repetitive, even for me, which is why an issue like this one, which brings the action instead, is a very nice change of pace.
The original X-Men, along with Shadowcat (aka Professor K) and Magik are in Miami to help protect a new mutant from the attack of some anti-Mutant religious zealots, probably The Purifiers, but it doesn’t really matter. It turns out that this new mutant isn’t actually that new, and as she says, she’s not actually a mutant. It’s X-23, the clone of Wolverine, who has recently escaped from the events of Avengers Arena, has a nice shiny bald head, and is not in a good mood. What follows is a very enjoyable battle between the X-Men and the bad guys, as well as Kitty trying to chase down X-23 so they can look after her.
This battle is full of cool moments, especially because the original X-Men didn’t have religious hatred coming at them back in their day. This is played mostly for laughs, with Angel in particular finding it strange that, even when confronted by a guy who looks like, well, an Angel, these guys still don’t rethink their views on Mutants. But once everyone is back at the New Xavier school, Jean Grey stops the laughs, she’s been inside the head of one of these zealots and has seen just how deep the hatred goes. The rest of the X-Men, particularly Cyclops, who tries to actually talk to the cops, don’t seem to realise how much anti-mutant feeling has, ironically, evolved since their time. I’m very interested to see Bendis explore this difference, between regular hatred and relgious bigotry, it will be thorny, but it will be worth it.
The issue ends finally with the full reveal that it’s X-23 (the name ‘Laura’ is used before this, but probably a lot of people don’t know that X-23 has a name), and her revealing that she doesn’t want to be touched. It looks like Murderworld really has done a number on her, she had softened up quite a lot, but now she has that edge back, and it’s going to be interesting to see her as a part of this book, particularly from the cover to next issue! X-23 kissing Cyclops, that is mental.
Brandon Peterson’s artwork was very good in this issue, and interestingly, it was a bit like a halfway point between the style he used in the 1990s on X-Men, and the computerized stuff he was doing more recently, I really like it.
So, whilst this issue wasn’t your typical Bendis X-Men, it was action-heavy and a lot of fun, and it also sets up some very cool stuff for the future, particularly with the reintroduction of X-23, she is going to be a regular character in this isn’t she? I’m sure I read that somewhere.