All New X-Men #4
Review by Paul Bowler
Having set up home inside the disused Weapon X facility Cyclops decided to rescue Emma Frost from captivity while she was being transported by road from San Francisco. However when Magneto’s power fails Cyclops opens fire, and his optic blasts almost obliterates the military convoy. Now that she is free Emma turns on Scott for leaving her to be captured by the authorities. Realizing that the Phoenix Force has somehow affected their mutations, the former members of the Phoenix Five have to find an away to work together again to realize Scott‘s plan, even though relations between them have never been more strained.
Cyclops and his team discover a new Mutant called Benjamin with mimicking powers at a University in Texas, but they are intercepted at the scene by the Original X-Men who have travelled into the future at the behest of seriously ill Beast to try and make Cyclops see reason and bring his Mutant revolution to an end.
All New X-Men #5 opens with the confrontation we have been waiting for ever since Bendis and Immonen launched this series, a face off between the original X-Men and Cyclops! The tense standoff is brilliantly played as the Children of the Atom are shocked to see Cyclops standing side by side with Magneto, their sworn enemy, but nothing can quite prepare Jean Grey for the thoughts she picks up from the future version of Scott Summers. This is Brian Michael Bendis as his very best, the telepathic wave of tumultuous emotions and memories from two timelines come together with devastating consequences as Marvel Girl lashes out in disgust telekinetically when she realizes what Scott’s future self has done, dislodging Cyclops visor and inadvertently unleashing his optic blasts.
The two Cyclops face each other, optic blasts locked in combat, but Scott’s younger self is unable to withstand the onslaught. As both men struggle to recover, Magneto calls for Magik’s help, attacking Iceman before Illyana teleports them to Weapon X where they have hidden two new Mutants: the Australian time manipulator Eva Bell and the healer from Michigan – Christopher Muse.
While Emma Frost contemplates the reasons behind the young X-Men’s return, the Original Team takes the Blackbird back to The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning and find Kitty Pryde and Iceman keeping vigil over the Beast as they try to contact Reed Richards for help. But when they are unable to contact him Hank McCoy’s condition suddenly deteriorates and he suffers a cardiac arrest!
Every page of Stuart Immonen’s incredible artwork makes Bendis’ story flow as seamlessly as its mind-bending time travel concept. The big action set-pieces are superbly inked by Wade Von Grawbadger, with every scene beautifully enhanced by Marte Gracia’s colours. All New X-Men #4 is bursting at the temporal seams with standout moments: Jean Grey’s horror at reliving the murder of Professor X in Scott’s mind is almost palpable, as is Jean’s struggle to block out the concerned thoughts of her team mates when they rest on a flat top mountain in Colorado, but it is Emma Frost’s estranged relationship with Scott that suffers the most as spectre of Jean Grey looms large in their lives once more.
Brian Michael Bendis still has a lot of fun with the time travel concepts, offering up a brilliant scene where Kitty blames Iceman for giving Beast the idea of “letting Summers see what he has become” and inadvertently setting in motion one of the greatest paradoxes the Marvel Universe has ever known. It’s really funny how Bobby reacts to his younger self, always screaming whenever he walks into at room, unnerved by the fact that continually finds himself looking at himself. There is also a priceless moment when the Original X-Men return to the School in the stolen Blackbird and brusquely take charge of the situation and race to hep The Beast, completely ignoring Storm and Wolverine along with their simultaneous declaration of authority.
All New X-Men #4 is by far one of the best Marvel Now titles around. Bendis and Immonen have crafted an ingeniously fan pleasing storyline that has injected a wealth of new possibilities to quickly become something very special indeed.