All-New X-Men #1 by Ammar Al Subahi
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Inker: Wade Grawbadger
Rating: 3 (4)/5
Premise: In an act to stop the now militant Cyclops from further damaging relations between humans and mutants, Beast travels back in time in order to convince a younger version of Cyclops to return to the future to try and talk some sense to his older version.
MOAR MARVEL NOW!!! Does it ever end?!
This time we travel to the X-corner of the Marvel Universe and take a look at the All New X-Men: the newest addition to the already over-populated X-franchise. ANX is also the X-debut of Marvel 'architect' Brian Michael Bendis, who helped spearhead the Avengers into becoming the successful franchise it is today.
Will he work his magic once again on another franchise? Let's find out.
The X-Men are divided: on the one hand we have the militant wing lead by Cyclops, on the other we have the pacifist wing lead by Wolverine. Cyclops and his gang are not making it easy for Wolverine and his crew. Cyke is now taking the fight to authorities around the world in order to extract new mutants and to protect them from human injustice. This isn't helping human/mutant relations one bit. But Logan's X-Men really can't do anything about it without risking inciting some type of mutant Civil War: Damned if they do, damned if they don't...
But Beast gets an idea: what if instead of fighting Cyclops, he could try and reason with him? But Cyke is a pretty arrogant guy who's full of himself. So who better to try and talk him out of all this nonsense... than himself? Or a younger, more optimistic version of himself, that is.
I hate time travel in comics. I really hate it. Even more than I hate clones. Time travel is exactly what makes X-lore so convoluted. The X-men have been everywhere from the past to pretty much every alternative future you can imagine, and their roster has consisted of time travellers from different eras that have somehow effected the current time stream and are clones of characters that are children of characters from the present who went to the future and gave birth to some kid that was later cloned and the clone went back to the present as an evil conqueror and -- GAAAAHHHHH!!
STUPID! The X-Men are about social injustice, civil rights, evolution, progression. PLEASE leave all this time travelling nonsense and paradoxes to stupid and meaningless characters like Booster Gold. The X-Men are far too important to be muddled with this kind of nonsensical crap.
But I guess you can't ignore what has essentially, and sadly so, become a key element to the mythos. And it does make sense, in an ironical way, that considering the X-Men have done so much time travelling in the past, that the past would come to visit them for once. And I have to admit -- I didn't mind it in this issue at all. I think the key here is simplicity in concept and execution: Beast travels back in time to bring young Scott to talk sense into older Scott. No clones, no silly time paradoxes. So far it's all straightforward.
And overall, with the exception of some weak and transparent foreshadowing (the constant harping from Iceman about how the Cyclops of old would not stand for this BS), I thought Bendis' craft here war really strong, stronger than it has been for a long time actually. I specifically enjoyed his portrayal of Beast: Older. Wiser. And tired. So tired. Some really good stuff actually.
I only have one further problem: how does this fit in with the overall Marvel continuity? Last I saw Cyclops, he was imprisoned in Uncanny Avengers. Is this supposed to take place a little further down the road than the time UA is set in? Will we see his crew break him out of prison in an upcoming issue of one of the other X-books? Then why release this now? Why not wait?
Artwise, yeah, Immonen is boss. 'Nuff said.
Really, he's just so great. Of course I'm speaking purely from inclination here; I love this type of art. Just the right amount of 'Comic booky' and 'cartoony,' but more importantly; kinetic. Super kinetic, in fact. All the characters are constantly in motion, they speak with their eyes and their facial expressions through which they convey emotions such as fear, shock, and anger in a way that almost makes the lettering seem redundant.
Not perfect, though. We get some odd super minimalist faces now and then the more the characters get pushed into the background. But overall, this is great stuff. The inking by Grawbadger (what kind of a name is that!?), and the colouring by Garcia gets no complaints from me.
I was a little hesitant at first to give the book this rating, but the more I looked back on it, the more I appreciated it. A well deserved 4/5 if you ask me personally, and a very promising first issue which knocks The Indestructible Hulk from it's pedestal as my favourite Marvel Now #1 so far.
However, I'm not so sure the new reader will appreciate it as much as I did, as it primarily hinges on the premises of both recent and past events, and because it contradicts some of the other Marvel Now books. Still, I think that the sheer integrity of this book should at least leave the new reader open to see how it develops. But coming from that perspective, I can't really give it more than a solid 3. Take these dual ratings in mind.