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All New X-Men #29

Review by Paul Bowler

The Future Brotherhood of Evil Mutants is back, led by the progeny of Charles Xavier and Mystique. The original X-Men, together with new teammate X-23, and their leader, Professor Kitty Pryde, had just returned to Cyclops’ New Xavier School on Earth following their adventure in space with the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Starjammers to rescue Jean Grey from the Shi’ar – afterwards the young Cyclops then decided to leave the X-Men and remain with his father, Corsair. The Brotherhood infiltrated the school and took over the Stepford Sisters Hive Mind to attack the X-Men and the mindscape of Jean Grey. Now, as Jean’s psychic battle with the son of Xavier intensifies, X-23 gets her chance to strike back…

All New X-Men #29 is an astonishingly brilliant issue from Brian Michael Bendis. The return of the Future Brotherhood has made for a really exciting storyline, every element of the time travelling plot that Bendis has weaved into the narrative achieves an uncanny synergy with the sheer audacity of the multiple paradoxes and quandaries it generates. Heaven only knows what all this is doing to the time stream, it certainly makes a great story though, and the way Bendis manages to bring it all together this issue is amazing.

All New X-Men #29 Cover

I really liked how Jean manages to turn the tables on the son of Xavier in this issue. Everything spins out from last issues cliff-hanger, when Jean began to fight back with her new psychic power levels, and gave X-23 her chance to ambush Xavier. X-23’s savage attack on the son of Xavier is enough to break his influences over the X-Men and the Future Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, except for his brother Raze, who quickly rushes in to fight X-23. The stunning art of Stuart Immonen, together with inker Wade Von Grawbadger, and with colorists Marte Gracia and Jason Keith on this issue, make the big action set piece that follows, with its elaborate two-page spreads and big sash pages, about as breathtaking and exciting as anything we’ve ever seen in this title.

There is also a great dynamic forming between the original X-Men and the present day X-Men now, with the adult Cyclops and Emma Frost keeping Jean focused during her mindscape battle with Xavier’s son, while Kitty Pryde and Magik lead the rest of the X-Men into battle. I also thought the fight between X-23 and Raze was really good, it was savage and brutal, and they both seem fairly evenly matched.

We also learn more about the Future Brotherhood, including the full extent of Xavier’s control over them, and there is a rather unsettling discovery about Xorn as well. The psychic confrontation on the mindscape between Xavier and Jean cleverly uses bold colors to define the combatant’s abilities, with icy blue tones highlighting the attacks by Xavier’s son, while Jean’s new power set manifests within vivid hues of pink and violet.

There are some really good scenes for the adult Cyclops and Emma Frost over the course of this issue, especially for Cyclops, as he points out to the value of the lessons the All New X-Men have learned on this day. Brian Michael Bendis manages once more to skilfully address the issue of Original X-Men’s inability to return to their own time, balancing it perfectly with the way the Future Brotherhood has been manipulated by Xavier’s son, effectively forming a time warping coda with the future events witnessed last issue as the Brotherhood plotted the X-Men’s downfall.

All New X-Men #29 is a highly enjoyable and action packed issue. With all its time twisting surprises this issue will be one to read a few times to pick up all the nuances that Bendis has included, and I expect, like me, you’ll probably agree with Iceman when he says that time travel gives him a headache if you think about it too much! Finally, last word goes to that stunning cover by Immonen, Grawbadger, and Gracia, featuring Angel riding a motorbike. Well, it certainly provides a great conclusion to this story with the Future Brotherhood, and if next issues teaser image is anything to go by, it seems that romance could soon be in the air.