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All New X-Men #28

Review by Paul Bowler

Unable to return to their own time, the original X-Men now reside at Cyclops’ new Xavier School, along with new teammate X-23, and their leader, Professor Kitty Pryde. After the All New X-Men teamed up with the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Starjammers to save Jean Grey from the Shi’ar throne world, the teenage Cyclops was reunited with his father, Corsair, and decided to leave the X-Men and join the Starjammers. Now, with the X-Men back on Earth, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants from the future has travelled back in time to the present day. Infiltrating the school, the Brotherhood attacked, X-23 was stabbed, now they control the Stepford Sisters Hive Mind, and they quickly used this advantage to strike at the mindscape of the young Jean Grey…

All New X-Men #28 is another great issue by Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen, and Wade Von Grawbadger, as numerous plot threads from the current storyline begin to converge, we also gain a new perspective on last years Battle of the Atom crossover event. It’s fascinating to witness how the Evil Brotherhood was formed in the future, while their attack on the Original X-Men unfolds simultaneously in the present day. The way that Bendis manages to balance each branch of this issues time warping narrative is simply superb, there is a hell of a lot of plot crammed into this issue, and the sheer pace and spectacle of it all is breathtaking. All New X-Men #28 ingeniously serves as a prequel of sorts to Battle of the Atom, I really liked the scenes featuring Xavier’s son (the leader of the future Brotherhood) and Raze, where we saw the terrible state that Beast was in when they discovered him and brought him into the fold.

All New X-Men #28 (Cover)

As the X-Men struggle against the future Brotherhoods attack in the present, the plot continues to build on the implications of Jean’s new power set that was revealed in The Trial of Jean Grey, when the X-Men joined forces with the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Starjammers to rescue Jean from the Shi’ar Empire after she was put on trial for the crimes of her older, Phoenix-Possessed, self. Having realized that he should have dealt with Jean first last time, and how dangerous she can be, the young Xavier and his future Brotherhood hijacked the Stepford Sisters Hive Mind to strike at Jean’s mindscape and attack the X-Men. The smooth transition between the psychic plane and the physical reality heightens the tension further, as the issue build towards an exciting, and very surprising conclusion.

Stuart Immonen’s art on All New X-Men #28 is as stunning as ever. Together with Wade Von Grawbadger’s inks and the excellent work of colorist Marte Gracia, this issue looks incredible. There are so many stand out scenes in this issue: from the intricate detail of the scrawled equations on the walls of the future Beast’s lab, through to the spectacular double-page spread featuring a tremendous battle between the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and the future X-Men, and watching Jean’s torment in the haunting bleakness of the Hive Mind, the way in which Immonen seamlessly envelopes us within the entwined narratives of present and future events is truly astonishing.

All New X-Men #28 moves along at a cracking pace, and rapidly builds towards its thrilling final moments as the adult Cyclops and Emma Frost attempt to get the young Jean away from the Brotherhood, when a surprise attack catches everyone off guard. That fact that all the characters are so wrapped up in what’s happening, that none of them actually see what’s coming, is also testament to how well Bendis handles these characters, its thrilling stuff, and Immonen’s art on that final page captures the intensity of that moment perfectly.

I was surprised to see the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants return so soon after Battle of the Atom, but I’m really glad that Bendis has brought them back. They are such a fascinating group of characters, we get to learn a lot more about them, and the reasoning behind their return to the past is really clever. All New X-Men #28 is a thoroughly enjoyable issue, it’s packed with action, and the gripping time-twisting storyline is elevated to a whole new level as we discover more about the future Brotherhood and their plans.