Friday, January 29, 2016

All-New X-Men: Yesterday’s X-Men Comic Review

by The Wanderer 

Authors: Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrators: Stuart Immonen
Publisher: Marvel
Genre: Superhero
Series: All New X-Men Volume 1

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It’s another rehashing of one of Marvel’s most lucrative (and largest) franchises … the X-Men.  I count myself amongst the skeptical readers when hearing about this relaunch, but I will say I was pleasantly surprised.  All-New X-Men comes out of the Avengers vs. X-Men story and continues from there.  You don’t have to pick that up before hand, I certainly didn’t, but it will fill in a lot of what’s going on currently at the start of the comic.

So spoilers for Avengers vs. X-Men are below ….

Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Angel, and Iceman – the original five X-Men – are brought to the future by Beast, and they soon discover that Xavier’s dream has not turned out at all like they were hoping.  As past meets present, the younger X-Men and future X-Men’s lives are changed forever.
With so many stories after so many years I had to wonder just how much longer the X-Men could be kept refreshing. X-Men traveling through time is not something new, but writer, Brian Michael Bendis proves to be up to the challenge, as he takes the X-Men in a direction they ultimately haven’t gone in before.  It takes a lot of courage to do that, especially with a franchise as popular and acclaimed as this one.

The story primarily focuses on Cyclops and Jean Grey.  No it doesn’t focus on their relationship with each other, but rather it focuses on their past selves dealing with the actions of their future selves. Cyclops in particular is fascinating as his future self has been corrupted by his actions under the influence of the Phoenix force.  The once incorruptible leader now resembles something like an Inspector Javert from Les Miserables.  Jean Grey hasn’t even learned to use her mind-reading abilities yet, and once she does, she begins to learn a lot about how the future X-Men think of her.
Bendis does an excellent job of adding more depth to a series that is well known for producing thought-provoking comics. The five younger X-Men come to represent the optimism of youth with their idealistic dreams about making the world a better place.  The future X-Men have seen the world now first hand, they’re bitter and jaded, and now resort to more pragmatic and Machiavellian solutions to their problems.

The artwork was done by Stuart Immonen, and he manages to produce a cohesive style that encompasses a lot of different directions that a story like this potentially opens up. The older X-Men have a very nostalgic look to them, they look old-school, while the newer X-Men have a sleeker and shiner look to them.  Coloring in the future uses a darker palette to reflect upon this bleak version of the future, especially when compared to the portions that take place in the past.

While I expect this ending may result in some backlash, I was certainly pleased. It opens doors for a lot of exciting new plots.  This is a perfect place for anyone looking to get started on new X-Men comics, and I’m sure fans of the older X-Men comics will find something they enjoy here, too.

Score: 8.8

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