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All New X-Men #12

Review by Paul Bowler

When the Original X-Men decided to remain in the future, despite Angel’s objections, the team began to fall apart. They were shocked when Angel left to join the Uncanny X-Men and Cyclops’ rival school. The young Jean Grey also struggled to cope with the discovery of her adult memories and the unpredictability of her powers. Elsewhere the shape-shifting Mutant known as Mystique has joined forces with Sabertooth and Lady Mastermind to carry out a series of robberies posing as the Original X-Men. As the Original X-Men set out on their next mission with Wolverine and Kitty, their aircraft is forced to land by the Uncanny Avengers, who are led by Alex Summers, the brother that Cyclops thought he’d lost.

All New X-Men #12 sees the first encounter between the young Scott Summers and his brother Alex Summers.  In another marvellously time warping twist by Brian Michael Bendis, this means that Alex is now paradoxically older than his older brother. The cover of All New X-Men #12 may depict a battle between Cyclops and Havok; however what we actually get is the complete opposite, and its all the more rewarding for it.

Brian Michael Bendis provides some of the best moments in the series so far, as Scott is reunited with Alex for the first time, at least from the younger Scott’s perspective. The dialogue in these scenes is fantastic, it’s great to see these two characters finally meet, and it gives them a chance to talk quietly and alone without interruption.

All New X-Men #12 (Cover)

However, it’s not long before Jean has a peek inside the mind of the Scarlet Witch and all hell breaks loose. Horrified by the ramifications of Wanda’s actions during M Day, Jean unleashes the full fury of her powers at her. While the battle between Jean and the Scarlet Witch is spectacular, it’s all over very quickly, and when Captain America reveals that the Original X-Men are now wanted felons the full extent of what Mystique has done becomes clear to all concerned.

This issue of All New X-Men draws some striking parallels between Wanda’s role in M Day and how Cyclops acted after he became corrupted by the by the Phoenix Force in AvX. It brings everything – past and present – into sharp focus in the most dramatic way possible. The Original X-Men are quick to pick up on this, placing both teams on the spot as some particularly awkward questions are asked by the young X-Men.

The art by Stuart Immonen is absolutely stunning. Every page is beautifully rendered; Scott’s reunion with Alex is the real highlight of this issue though, although the quick fight between Wanda and Jean is also excellent. We also get to catch up with Mystique, Sabertooth, and Lady Mastermind as they stage a robbery at the Bank of England. I particularly like the way Regan questions Mystique about her plans for all the money they’ve been stealing, the sharp witted dialogue by Bendis hit’s the nail right on the head, and the illusion Lady Mastermind uses to cover their escape is brilliantly captured in a full-page-splash by Immonen.

All New X-Men #12 is another fantastic instalment, it’s full of brilliantly written character moments by Brian Michael Bendis, and Stuart Immonen and his art team continue to impress on all fronts. This is one of the best X-Men books around, and I highly recommend it.