With his Avengers run ending, it’s no surprise that Brian Michael Bendis decided to take over another section of the Marvel universe. His first big foray into the X-books is a solid start, if a little lacking.
Bendis does a good job of setting up the scenery for this new book. The mutants are in a worse place than ever in the world, and they are trying to figure out how to handle it. The school is running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off, and with good reason. Bendis’ writing has always been the subject of criticism. Many do not like how he writes characters, and how their voices blend together. For now, he avoids this pitfall. He also tones down the constant quips, and goes for a serious tone. It suits the book well, as we have enough upbeat moments in Wolverine & the X-Men. The X-Men can be a dark team, lets revel in that. Cyclops is written as a regal leader who knows he is doing the right thing. The introduction of a few mutants is handled very well, and something I dearly missed in the X-books. Unlike Wolverine & the X-Men, this book doesn’t feel like it’s reinventing the wheel. It feels like past stories, but that’s not a bad thing. It’ something we know, but we are going to get a different outcome this time.
The big hook for All-New X-Men is the original X-Men coming to the present to make Cyclops see how far he has fallen. A nice plot point, but it doesn’t come up naturally in this issue. Iceman makes a few jokes about it, and it just takes the reader out of the book. It seems out of character to see Beast screw up time and space to help Cyclops. Even his younger self has a problem with this. Beast is one of the smartest characters in the Marvel universe, and he does something stupid like this? Time will tell if it ends up becoming a good thing. There also seems to be a lack of momentum. When an issue ends, the reader should be wishing the next issue was in their hands to read. I just didn’t feel that way at the end. I was more excited to pick up one of the other books in my pile instead of looking forward to the next issue. Having the book ship twice this month is going to help this problem, but hopefully the book speeds it up a bit with #2.
Stuart Immonen’s name on the cover guarantees the book is going to be beautiful. Beast looks fantastic, with an amazing amount of detail on his fur. There are few splash pages that are a sight to behold. Eva’s powers turning on made me put the issue down so I could get a better look at the scene. Some of the faces tend to look similar, but it’s not a major complaint. Also, Cyclops doesn’t seem to hold up to his nickname “Slim” anymore, as he looks like he was boxing 24/7 for those few days he was in prison. Immonen’s longtime inker Wade Von Grawbadger also shines when Eva gets her powers. The shading is magnificent. Marte Garcia’s colors help Immonen’s pencils pop off the page. Cyclops’ power beam almost jumps off the page.
All-New X-Men #1 isn’t the smash hit that Marvel was no doubt hoping for, but it does show potential.
All-New X-Men #1 gets 3.5/5.