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All New X-Men #1

Review by Paul Bowler

 Now that new Mutants are beginning to appear worldwide after the dissipation of the Phoenix Energy during the climax of AvX, the X-Men try and settle back into their lives at The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. Cyclops and the core members his extinction team are now fugitives championing the rights of new Mutants, using whatever means necessary to help them. Back at the school Storm, Kitty, and Iceman can hardly believe their eyes when they watch a TV report featuring Cyclops and his team as they violently protect a new time warping mutant in Australia.

Iceman is all for confronting Cyclops and “shutting him down”, but Storm is vehemently against such a course of action, believing that it could very well lead to the X-Men being bitterly divided by a Mutant Civil War. The Beast stands listening, quietly watching another incident with Cyclops and his team as it plays out on a tablet device – this time rescuing a young Mutant with healing powers from Police custody in Michigan – and wearily Hank agrees with Iceman’s strategy. When his friends notice how exhausted Hank is he makes an excuse about being tired and walks away, but they are unaware that Hank is secretly suffering from the agonizing physical trauma of a Next-Generation Mutation – one that could very well prove fatal.

So the Beast decides that what time he has left to try and get Cyclops to see reason should be used to resolve the situation as quickly as possible, and to do that he takes the drastic measure of travelling back in time to talk to the Original X-Men: Scott Summers, Jean Grey, Bobby Drake, Warren Worthington III, and his own past self before his current mutation, Hank McCoy. The Beast appeals to Scott and his flabbergasted team mates, quickly explaining what has happened before asking them to travel back to the future so Scott can try and prevent his future self from committing Mutant Genocide!

Of all the new Marvel Now titles All New X-Men #1 has been perhaps one of the most highly anticipated, and with Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen at the helm for this premier issue X-Men fans are in for a real treat. With the world still reeling from the events of AvX, Bendis skilfully crafts a tale that provides a perfect fusion between two eras. Now that Cyclops and his Extinction team are helping to save new Mutants from persecution, we are presented with a world that now fears and mistrusts the Children of the Atom more than ever before. It will also be interesting to see how the other members of the original X-Men will cope when they encounter their future counterparts, as well as the strange new world they find themselves in.

Stuart Immonen’s dramatic artwork successfully highlights every aspect of Bendis’ intricate storyline, as well as showcasing the entire cast of All New X-Men #1and balancing the quieter – more character driven moments – with the big action set-pieces. This issue also has the superb Wade Von Grawbadger on inks, vibrant colours by Marte Gracia; with letterer and production wizard Cory Petit ensuring that every nuance of Bendis’ story is flawlessly realized.

Right from the outset we are plunged into Hank McCoy’s plight to conceal his Next-Generation Mutation from his friends. His pain and suffering is hard to watch, as is his decision to hide the condition from his friends, but even he can see that history might well be repeating itself as he watches Cyclops using any means necessary to protect the two new Mutants introduced this issue. Storm is right to wish to avoid another conflict, although they are surprised when Beast agrees with Iceman that they should take a more proactive stance against Scott this time – however none of them could realize that Hank might try to resolve the situation himself by attempting to recruit the Original X-Men from the past.

All New X-Men #1 poses many tantalizing opportunities for Brian Michael Bendis to explore in the coming issues. Aside from possibly breaking every law in space, time, and probably physics to bring the Original team of X-Men back to the present, we are sure to have some great encounters between each incarnation of Scott Summers – especially if the older Scott Summers gets to meet the younger version of his lost love Jean Grey. The possibilities are endless, although I hope the Beast isn’t left to suffer for too long and that his younger self will help him find a cure to stabilize his mutation.

The X-Men have been splintered for far too long, All New X-Men #1is the first confident step in restoring these teams to their former glory, fusing the X-Men’s past with their present in this brilliant addition to the ongoing Marvel Now range. I had my doubts about the return of the original X-Men, but I’m happy to say that Bendis and Immonen have done a fantastic job with it. All New X-Men #1 is one of the most innovative new titles from Marvel Now, it’s great to see the original X-Men again, and I look forward to seeing how this storyline develops over the months ahead.

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