Comic Book Review: All-New X-Men, Vol. 1: Here Comes Yesterday

Brian Michael Bendis is a man who in my eyes will have a mixed legacy in the comic book industry, while his Ultimate Spider-Man and Daredevil work has been some of the best we will ever see, his Avengers work left much to be desired and was just painfully mediocre throughout, does All-New X-Men fall in with the former or the later? Let’s find out.

This book was and still is quite controversial with die hard Marvel fans who argue that it is impossible to bring in the original five X-Men from the 60s into present time and not just destroy your continuity completely, however the book itself is so well written you will quickly ignore this issue and just have a blast while reading it, for the most part.

As I stated previously the main story involves Hank Pym AKA Beast going back in time and bringing the original five X-Men into the present era of the Marvel universe so that they can talk some sense into Scott Summers who has become the new Magneto and is leading an anti human revolution with the aid of Magneto, Magik, Emma Frost and a few new mutants.

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While this is going on Beast is reaching yet another step in the evolution of his mutation and he theorizes that he may not survive this one as the strain on his heart will probably kill him and we see a power struggle creeping up between Storm and Wolverine who will most certainly clash in the future for the position of head master for the Jean Grey School of Learning.

What’s really impressive is how Bendis manages to have a big primary story and a bunch of secondary ones all going on at the same time and manages to give them all an equal amount of attention, while doing a lot of setting up and foreshadowing off future events to come.

The main story manages to overcome its continuity gripe by being very emotional and entertaining at the same time, the five original X-Men are not hardened veterans that have about 10 years of experience behind them, these are just teenagers who have just started out as the X-Men and what they find out about themselves is quite shocking and you can feel that these kids are just freaking out with good reason.

However the biggest thumbs up I can give the main story that in its conclusion Jean Grey finally becomes more than the girl next door archetype and gets serious with combating the current Cyclops and his revolution, she finally has the potential to become a character I can like rather than just a foil for Cyclops and Wolverine to beat each other up over.

Though the part I most enjoyed about the first five issues is the Cyclops story as we see how the characters rough past has shaped him into the new Magneto, we see him combating the government, attacking military installations but we also see that he hasn’t forgotten everything Xavier taught him.

When he approaches these new and frightened teenagers who’ve just now gotten their powers, he acts much like Xavier and offers them a safe heaven, a place to master their powers and a place where they won’t be persecuted and understood.

I was also pleased to see that Marvel followed up what they said and actually added new mutants, they easily could have just re powered all the old ones and brought them back but this lets Bendis and many other writers have a clean slate and introduce new, fresh faces to the X-Men who have been mostly stagnate in their rooster since House of M.

Bendis also proved to me that he can do a team book and give everyone their own personality instead of making 7 characters all sound and act the same, everyone acts appropriately and when you do see them change, it’s always for the sake of character development and not poor writing.

As many of you guys know I never focus on the art too much, but when I heard Stuart Immonen was going to be drawing this made my head exploded from the sheer awesomeness that was to come, Immonen is quite possibly the best artist at Marvel and not giving this man an X-Men gig before this is a crime.

What makes his art so appealing is that it’s like an animated show in a comic book, the mutant powers are flashy and Cyclopes’ new laser blasts are breathe taking, they look like swirling energy that can just destroy anything in its path.

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Although I did love reading the first five issues of All-New X-Men, there were some flaws that keep it from being amazing, for instance the new mutants aren’t that interesting personality or appearance wise, you have your Steve Urkel nerd, the new girl next door (ugh) and the emo, angry guy, I know more mutants are going to show up but the ones that we have so far just feel generic.

There are also a few inconsistencies that could be explained later on but as it stands they don’t make much sense, see after AvX the former members of the Phoenix Five are experiencing strange things with their powers, the problem is its not consistent and some of it feels there just for the sake of the plot.

For instance Cyclopes’ energy blasts in the later chapters are out of whack and just go all over the place, yet in the first issue (which is chronologically after in the middle) they act just fine, Emma cant use her psychic powers but Magneto who didn’t even have the Phoenix Force cant control his powers properly as well.

So I have to ask, why anyone else who got blasted with the Phoenix Force exhibiting this loss in control, then we have Magik who’s powers are actually stronger than they were before for no reason other than it gives the Revolutionary side a power house character.

I also vehemently despise Beasts new look, Bendis should have just kept Beasts cat like design because now he looks like a mix between King Kong and bald Hulk with blue fur, its laughably bad.

On a side note Marvel needs to run damage control on its release schedule, the first issue came out in November and now we already have the fifth issue, if you’re going to attract new readers don’t break the once a month rule and just release it when ever you feel like it.

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And I have spoken with a lot of people about this, a big chunk of them being my real life friends voice concern and are now just scrambling to catch up with what’s going on by buying the back issues off of eBay and other places, plus the trade isn’t coming out for at least 3 more months so this is their only viable option.

This release schedule makes me nervous since I don’t think Immonen can keep up with it, but now that the second wave of Marvel Now books is on its way I think the release schedule will go back to normal and all will be well with the world.

All-New X-Men is the anti Iron Man, its a great jumping on point for new readers, easily the best of the entire Marvel Now initiative and in these five issues you are going to get so much bang for your buck, I personally cannot wait for the next issue and the start of Uncanny X-Men to get more revolutionary Cyclops/Bendis bliss.

Final Verdict: A-

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