Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Stuart Immonen
Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors: Rain Beredo
Letters: VC's Cory Petit
All New X-Men has been one of the biggest surprises for me since it first launched. Normally I'm not much for time travel stories, and as cheesy as the setup sounded, it's been a blast since issue one.
This is mostly due to the way it's been handled, taking the time to go deeper into the situation, really looking at what it would be like for the original X-Men to be drawn into today's crazy world. Handled any other way, it would have come across as little more than a gimmick.
So far, aside from the old team attempting to wrap their heads around the modern world and all the drama that has come of interacting with the modern X-Men, the villains have been hard at work. Mystique has kicked off a crime spree with Sabretooth and Lady Mastermind and they've been using their powers to pose as the original X-Men team. Last issue, the Avengers, with Havok as team leader, confronted them, wanting to take them in to authorities.
The confrontation was handled well on Bendis' part, working with the pieces he's been dealt. But those pieces, baggage from past storylines and events, created the problem. Captain America is again, acting more like a big headed cop, than a superhero with his own mind at first, but eventually he backs off his stance enough to let Havok talk to Cyclops. This is a good moment between brothers that have grown apart, as Havok gets a chance to talk to his brother in his more innocent and noble days. This is of course in stark contrast to the cover, but you know what they say about covers.
It's during the segue from Havok and Cyclop's conversation, to an incident between Jean Grey and Scarlet Witch where the other damaged pieces of the AvX drama come into play. Jean reads her mind and finds out about M-Day and begins to freak out, it almost escalates into a battle, but everyone manages to calm the two sides enough to avoid much more than a skirmish between the two. The obvious problem is how Jean Grey didn't already know about M-Day after reading modern day Beast's mind (and other's as well), but I would give that a pass due to the amount of information to be absorbed and the mention by Jean later that she could barely help read it from Scarlet Witch because it was all she seemed to think about.
No, the real issue is one moment they are talking about how modern Scott's must pay for his actions against Xavier, despite being out of his mind. Then a page later, when Jean confronts the Avengers with questions about why this former Brotherhood of Evil Mutants member and the person responsible for decimating the mutant population is an Avenger, she's told Scarlet Witch was out of her mind, and should get a pass. It really knocks the wind out of an otherwise amazing story, especially as it's laid out for everyone just pages apart.
Despite this, Bendis still does a great job with the tensions and drama of the two parties meeting up and Stuart Immonen's art makes it easy to forget problems you might come across. Aside from just gorgeous work, you are also reminded of just how young these original X-Men still are when a massive looking Havok walks beside his much thinner framed brother. It's not an issue of height, but one still being a young man that just hasn't filled out yet. It's little touches like this that take his work to the next level.
As for Mystique, her team only gets a few pages here, where we get a hint that there might be more behind her crime spree than just greed. After the Avengers let the X-Men go, the mutants decide their new course is to confront her themselves.
All in all, this has been a very enjoyable series. Most of the problems are with the world itself and the editorial direction they've dug themselves into with things like AvX. It's been a long time since I've looked forward to an X-Men comic every month and now Bendis has me looking forward to two of them. Even though it's deep into an issue to issue storyline, it's really not hard to jump onto the series and just go, so check it out if you haven't yet.
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