All New X-Men #13
Review by Paul Bowler
Jean Grey continues to struggle with her newly awakened telepathic powers and the knowledge she has gained of the future, while her team mates wonder if Angel’s defection to the adult Cyclops’ rival team will be permanent. To complicate matters further Mystique, Sabertooth, and Lady Mastermind have been using the X-Men’s identities to conduct a series of high-profile robberies. The young X-Men later encountered the Uncanny Avengers and Scott met his brother Alex. Together with Wolverine and Kitty, the teenage X-Men set out to find Mystique and clear their name, but first they need to find out exactly what she intends to do with all the money.
All New X-Men #13 opens in spectacular fashion, with a jaw-dropping sneak peak at the issues closing moments, before turning the clock back six hours to show the events leading up to this momentous event. The original X-Men accompany Wolverine and Kitty to Resilient International in Seattle, where Jean uses her psychic powers to hide their presence so they can investigate the scene of the robbery. Wolverine picks ups Sabertooth’s scent just as Jean’s concentration falters, they are discovered, but Iceman shields them with an ice barrier so they can escape.
However, it is after they resume their search for Mystique where the young X-Men hear the speech Havok made earlier in the day, along with Kitty’s response to it, and the story she recounts about her first experience of racism that proves to be the real highlight of the issue. Brian Michael Bendis skilfully addresses this issue as the original X-Men discuss Warren’s departure, allowing Jean and Scott to share a quite moment together, before they ask Kitty‘s opinion about Havok’s speech. It a superb piece of writing by Bendis, where Kitty tells a story from her teenage years – about an anti-semitic comment a boy made without knowing she was Jewish – that draws a stark contrast with her own heartbreaking experience and Alex’s statement that the “M” word represents everything he hates. Kitty is proud to be Jewish and proud to be a Mutant, and although Alex Summers speech is a well intentioned attempt to smooth over the damage to human / mutant relations in the wake of what his brother did in AvX, its certainly clear that Kitty doesn’t feel that she, or anyone, should ever have to shy away from telling people who they are in the way that Havok‘s speech implies.
Its moments like this that makes All New X-Men such a rewarding experience. Brian Michael Bendis has such a grasp on these characters, Kitty’s passionate speech not only highlights the differences between what the X-Men and the Uncanny Avengers are trying to achieve, but it also shows the inner strength that Kitty possesses – and makes you realise just how Havok’s speech could actually end up being incredibly counter productive. A page of this speech, which originally took place in Uncanny Avengers #5, is reprinted at the end of this issue – serving to create a synergy between the two books while placing their opposing views into context against the backdrop of these events.
The art by Stuart Immonen really brings this scene to life, he captures the reactions of the Original X-Men to Kitty’s response to Havok’s speech perfectly, and this is probably some of the finest work he has done of the series to date. While the colours might not be quite on par with Marte Gracia’s work, Rain Beredo has still done a great job with this issue, and he manages to maintain the consistency and tone of the previous instalments.
There are some really funny moments involving Iceman this issue, especially after he discovers that Tony Stark is actually Iron Man, and later when he asks Logan if his mutant name is Hound Dog as he attempts to detect Sabertooth’s scent at Resilient International.
We also get learn to what Mystique has planned for the all money her new Brotherhood have stolen, when Madame Hydra and the Silver Samurai arrive for a meeting with Raven, Sabertooth, and Lady Mastermind. It seems that Madame Hydra has control of something that Mystique wants, namely the island called Madrpoor, and Raven offers her the money the Brotherhood have stolen so she can buy this centrepiece of vice and criminality.
All New X-Men #13 races to a dramatic conclusion as the Original X-Men disobey orders to join Wolverine and Kitty in gate crashing Mystique’s meeting with Hydra, offering Lady Mastermind the perfect opportunity to take revenge on Jean Grey for destroying her family and driving her father mad by seemingly reaching into Jean’s mind and triggering her apparent manifestation of the Phoenix Force. Whether this shocking turn of events is actually real, possibly caused by some bizarre time travelling paradox, or just another one of Lady Mastermind’s illusions remains to be seen, but it certainly provides an exciting cliff-hanger.
This is another fantastic issue by Brian Michael Bendis, his writing has made All New X-Men one of the best comics around, and the art by Stuart Immonen is absolutely incredible. I always look forward to reading All New X-Men, and this issue is one of the best ever.