Sunday, January 20, 2013

I Reads You Review: ALL-NEW X-MEN #2


WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis
PENCILS: Stuart Immonen
INKS: Wade von Grawbadger
COLORS: Marte Gracia
LETTERS: VC’s Cory Petit
28pp, Colors, $3.99 U.S.

Rated T+

The Marvel Comics event, Marvel NOW, is a re-launch, re-vamp, or re-something. It means lots of new first issues and restarts. One new title has shockingly (to me) and totally captured my imagination and attention. That title is All-New X-Men by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Stuart Immonen. I have not been this excited about an X-Men title since John Byrne’s X-Men: The Hidden Years and Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s New X-Men.

All-New X-Men has started with a series of bangs. Cyclops/Scott Summers, one of the original X-Men, has become a highly controversial figure. Cyclops is the public face of a new mutant revolution. He and his teammates: Magneto, the White Queen, and Majick, are gathering new mutants as fast as they appear.

Meanwhile, the X-Men at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning: Storm, Wolverine, Beast, Iceman, and Kitty Pryde fear that Cyclops’ activities will trigger a mutant apocalypse. In a desperate bid to stop this from happening, the Beast/Hank McCoy goes back in time to ask the original X-Men for help.

As All-New X-Men #2 opens, the Beast confronts the original X-Men: Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Iceman, and his younger-and-lacking-blue-fur self, the Beast. He wants them to return to the future with him so that perhaps, younger Scott, seeing the way older Scott is acting, will change things. But if the original X-Men decide to help, who says they won’t do it their own way?

Why is All-New X-Men so good? It’s simple. Brian Michael Bendis’ thoughtful, occasionally dense, and character-centric writing, which focuses on Marvel’s mutants, both as people and heroes, is ideal for an X-Men comic book. This opening storyline (“Here Comes Yesterday”) allows Bendis to define personalities and ambitions and aspirations. These are the things that drive the conflict within each individual and within the team, as well as within the larger mutant community and the larger world.

Stuart Immonen’s pencil art delivers compositions that capture the intimate moments and the superhero melodrama of Bendis’ script. It tells the story in a compelling and dramatic way that makes each moment and each panel necessary to the story. Inker Wade von Grawbadger gives the story even more dramatic heft, adding a dark overtone while also making the art eye candy. Immonen and von Grawbadger present some of the best graphical storytelling that X-Men comics have delivered in a decade, as far as I’m concerned.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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