Thursday, May 26, 2016

'All-New X-Men' flashback reviews of 'Yesterday's X-Men' and 'Here to Stay'

Another day, another day to X off the calendar until "X-Men: Apocalypse" is in theaters. And another day to enjoy another flashback review of X-Men trade paperbacks reviewed by yours truly ...

March 17, 2014 -- In short, these are the type of Brian Michael Bendis stories I dig.

These first 10 issues of the ALL-NEW X-MEN series are fun, based on an intriguing concept and feature spot-on characterizations and great moments. Yes, this is very good Bendis. (And you readers should know I hate it when I say that!)

Here’s the concept: The Beast is worried that Scott Summers taking action on behalf of mutantkind (after the AVENGERS VS. X-MEN epic — a highly recommended read) will create mutant genocide — and at the very least, a revolution that will make the already shaky relationship between humans and mutants even worse.

To avoid this, Beast goes back in time and brings the original X-Men to modern times so the young Summers can confront his modern self and do everything in his power to make sure the ramifications of his older self don’t come to fruition.

Honestly, I’m not sure how Bendis will pull off this story once everything is said and done. At the very least, it will make the X-Men’s already twisty-turny history even more complicated and confusing. At the worst, the result could be such a huge storytelling mess not seen since the Spider-Man clone story.

But I gotta give Bendis credit: His concept is ballsy and it’s a bold story to undertake. Most importantly, it’s fun to read.

ALL-NEW X-MEN has very few “big scenes,” that is to say, big battle sequences. In fact, there are hardly any at all.

But there are big scenes — that is, intriguing character interactions and moments. These scenes have as big of an impact as any battle royale and seem to beg the question of what will this mean ultimately for the storyline.

In short, the sequences give the story life.

There are too many to name, but here are some of the stand-outs: 

  • Beast speaking to the original X-Men about their future. 
  • Jean Grey: “This is Charles Xavier’s school. Why-why is it named after me now?” 
  • Wolverine (upon seeing Grey): “It was her. It was really her. Jeannie. …” 
  • Summers/Cyclops coming to terms with why his younger self has appeared to him — not to mention his reaction at seeing a young Grey, his first love. (Issue 4, pages 1-3 — check it out!) 
  • Grey overwhelmed when suddenly gaining her psychic powers. 
  • Kitty Pryde asserting herself as “Professor Pryde” to train the young X-Men. 
  • Any interaction between Kitty and Jean — or Wolverine and the young Summers. 
  • Kitty and Iceman mimicking what Beast and Captain America might be saying to each other; They. Simply. Nail it! This is Bendis’ dialogue at its best. (Issue 10, page 15).
Grade: A


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