All New X-Men, Angel, Brian Michael Bendis, Cyclops, Hank McCoy, Iceman, Jean Grey, Marvel Comics, Marvel Now, Next-Generation Mutation, Original X-Men, Scott Summers, Stuart Immonen, Wolverine, X-Men
All New X-Men #2
Review by Paul Bowler
Having travelled back in time Hank McCoy persuades the Original X-Men to return with him to the future, hoping they will be able to prevent Cyclops from bringing about a Mutant Apocalypse that could engulf them all. The young X-Men emerge from the Time Cube in front of The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning to be confronted with a with their future selves. Unable to hide the pain of his Next-Generation Mutation any longer, The Beast collapses and is taken to the infirmary. While the X-Men look after Hank, the young members of the original X-Men are left to marvel at the changes to the school and their discoveries about the future. After Jean telepathically subdues Wolverine they see a news report about Cyclops on TV and decide to carry out their mission anyway, ignoring the possible dangers their intervention might cause to the space-time continuum, and stealing a Black Bird before jetting off to confront Cyclops.
All New X-Men #2 sees Brian Michael Bendis on top form as the Original X-Men take their first tentative steps into the future. This is a fun issue that will leave X-Men fans with a big silly smile on their face as they watch the original team interacting with the strange new world they find themselves in. One of the most hilarious moments is when Iceman comes face to face with himself, and the ease at which the young Jean Grey sends Logan to sleep when he’s lecturing them is priceless!
The humour is skilfully handled by Bendis, it never detracts form the plot, and some of the best moments come when Hank is trying to get the original team to come back with him to the future. Here the comedy is tempered with some genuinely touching scenes, particularly when Hank inadvertently reveals Jean will be able to read minds, then later when he tells them how Cyclops has already killed Professor X in the future.
It’s also surprising just how quickly these “little” X-Men (as Wolverine labels them) begin to adapt to their surrounding. Their training may be rough around the edges, but they easily take out Wolverine when he attacks them when they arrive outside the school – presumably because he detected Scott’s scent and thought the school was under attack. They also cope well with their new foreknowledge: Jean seems positively flippant about being dead in the future and dating a homicidal mutant terrorist, Hank McCoy steps in to help treat his fuzzy future self, Scott is determined to uphold Xavier’s dream, while Bobby enjoys the novelty of widescreen TV, only Warren seems to be uncomfortable and suggests that maybe they should return to their own time.
Stuart Immonen’s art is astounding, every scene bursts with detail and energy, perfectly realizing the different generations of the X-Men and striking just the right balance between the humour and some key emotional beats. The youthful exuberance and innocence of the original X-Men is like a breath of fresh air as they breeze into the present, a scene that is encapsulated brilliantly in a stunning two page spread by Immonen when the young X-Men materialize outside the school and look up in awe at the wondrous things the future has in store for them.
Two issues in and I’m hooked. All New X-Men has a brilliant premise, one that I’m sure Bendis and Immonen have only just begun to explore. The time travel elements, if you consider the catastrophic paradoxes that could result from the X-Men crossing over their own time lines, are a little hard to get your head around. Hell, you’d probably go and lock yourself in Hank McCoy’s lab and never come out if you think about it too much!
All New X-Men #2 is fantastic fun and one of the best Marvel Now titles I have had the pleasure to read so far.