All New X-Men #9
Review by Paul Bowler
After encountering his future self, Warren helped his metal winged counterpart defend Avengers Tower from an attack by Hydra, but after witnessing both Angel’s in action the Avengers decide to return with them to the school where the Beast explains the situation to Captain America. When the Avengers leave Angel breaks into Hank’s lab, determined to return to his own time. The young Jean Grey intervenes, shocking everyone when she uses her newfound telepathic powers to forcibly alter Warren’s mind and make him stay.
The original X-Men face one of their toughest challenges yet in All New X-Men #9 when Kitty decides its time for their first training session in the Danger Room. With the exercise set against the backdrop of Times Square, the young X-Men struggle to cope as they find themselves attacked by the Sentinels. After her students fail to work together as a team, Kitty ends the training programme, and encourages them to discuss how they went wrong.
As they head for their next class, Jean telepathically pries into Scott’s mind, and asks him who Mystique is. Kitty is horrified that Scott didn’t tell them about Mystique, but he refuses to discuss it, and storms out of the room.
Meanwhile a Maria Hill arrives at The Raft by helicopter with a new prisoner for the Ryker’s Maximum Security Installation, the Mutant known as Sabertooth! Once inside the facility Sabertooth breaks free of his shackles and tears the guars apart, leaving Mystique free to sheds the disguise of Maria Hill and release Lady Mastermind from her cell. Mystique has a proposal for Regan, one that involves using their extraordinary powers to get rich!
Back at The Jean Grey School of Higher Learning the young Angel questions the Beast about why there is no sign of the mutant genocide he told them about. Hank explains how hopes the presence of the original X-Men will make this eras Scott Summers see reason, that he brought them here to avert a disaster, not to witness a mutant genocide. However, the school day is suddenly brought to an abrupt end, when some surprise visitors materialise outside…
All New X-Men #9 is another outstanding character driven piece by Brian Michael Bendis. I really like the dynamic that Bendis has built up between Kitty and the original X-Men. She has forged a great relationship with her students, helping them learn from their mistakes, and it’s good to see Kitty addressing the way Jean has been abusing her telepathic powers. When it emerges that Cyclops has been approached by Mystique it leaves everyone stunned, especially as he refuses to talk about it, leaving us wondering exactly what he intends to do next. One of the best aspects of All New X-Men is the way Bendis has taken the time to allow the story to evolve at a natural pace, although it might by a bit too wordy and slow for some, I feel its one of this books strongest points.
We also discover more about Mystique’s plans, and that her agenda involves more than simply manipulating the young Scott Summers doubts about his mission. The way Mystique organizes Lady Mastermind’s escape from The Raft with Sabertooth is brutal in its simplicity, as Sabertooth quickly disposes of the guards, leaving Mystique free to make a deal with Regan that will enable them all to become extremely rich.
It’s also nice to see Angel finally getting to play a more active role, after being effectively sidelined for the most part, his conversation with the Beast in his lab offers us a greater insight into the reasoning behind Hank‘s actions. The way that Beast makes Warren realise how events could unfold if he hadn’t acted is truly inspired. Faced with only two possible outcomes, Hank sought out a third, and in doing so he believes that the shock of seeing original X-Men will bring Scott Summers to his senses and end his call for a mutant revolution.
All New X-Men #9 features the return of Stuart Immonen to the series with some incredible action set-pieces as the original X-Men take on the Sentinels in Times Square. This spectacular sequence is the highlight of the issue, the Sentinels look amazing, and it’s great to see the original X-Men going up against them. Immonen is also equally adept at the quieter moments that punctuate the action, perfectly capturing every emotional beat and facial expression, particularly when Kitty and Jean clash over the way she keeps sneaking a look at everyone’s thoughts.
Together with Bendis’ time warping storyline and Immonen’s stunning art, All New X-Men continues to build on its original premise, and with yet another fantastic cliff-hanger it remains one of my favourite titles from Marvel Now.