Monday, August 31, 2015

All-New X-Men by Brian Michael Bendis #1

I don't think I could have ever chosen a more perfect comic book series to read as I start the second wave of my X-Men comics diet this year than doing it with Brian Michael Bendis' All-New X-Men. First, let's begin this review with a context. I was an uber-geek fan of Jeff Parker's 2009-2011 PG-13 awesomeness that was X-Men: First Class which occupied me most of last May so I was really looking forward to seeing my Original Core Five (OCF, as I call them) in another title and this was why Bendis' current ongoing series hits my sweet spot just right.

I also can't believe I've truly spent six months going through X-Men classics and fan-favorites earlier this year, and now that I'm back after taking a side trip with Batman for July and Hellblazer for August, I'm going to start it by enjoying this September with this delightful title. I've read Bendis' work in House of M which was an impressive piece of fiction, if anything else. I already have confidence in him as an X-Men writer and for this series, he certainly delivered. Equipped by the fabulous and seriously faint-inducing eye-candy visual work by artist Stuart Immonen, All-New X-Men is essentially my paradise on earth.

The first debut issue opens with Hank McCoy's journal entry where he admits that he is once again going through the next stage of his beast mutation which is all kinds of hellish pain and he stresses that he may not survive this one at all. Contextually speaking, the events for this title is smacked in the aftermath of the 2012 crossover saga that was AVX: Avengers vs. the X-Men which generally became a pissing contest as the issues went on, but at the heart of it, it was a landmark story about the Phoenix Force being communally divided into four mutants (or what is it five? It's all a blur for me now) and the last two standing were Cyclops and Emma Frost. And then Cyclops took the Phoenix's power all to himself, murdered the fuck out of Charles Xavier, and psychologically and spiritually broke down completely as the power consumed him. 

Fast-forward through all that: "mutant messiah" Hope became the new receptor of the Phoenix Force after Scott had a brief moment of clarity, and she started going around the world to fix all the awful things that the force itself committed on earth. But when it's time to let go of her newfound power, Hope outright refused until Scarlet Witch stepped in and convinced her. Together, they released the Phoenix into the cosmos where it dispersed and, suddenly, mutants all over the globe were getting born again after the shitty decimation that happened in the House of M storyline. This is where All-New X-Men comes in play. 

We were introduced to two new mutants: Eva, who can stop time, and Christopher, who can probably not just heal a person but raise it from the dead. Cyclops, Magneto, Emma Frost and Magik (Illyana) are a team now, apparently, and Scott invites this young mutants to join the "revolution". Meanwhile, Ororo, Bobby and Kitty watch the news coverage that track Cyclops and his gang's upsetting activities that have human casualties which Bobby argued goes against everything he remembered about the Scott Summers he grew up with who wanted a peaceful co-existence with mutants. Yes, the mighty Cyclops has fallen so far and Hank--who is afraid he is going to drop dead any second now as he mutates--decided to take the only course of action that he deemed fit, and it was all thanks to Bobby's harmless suggestion:

Hank, brilliant scientist who knows a thing or two about time-space continuum and how to travel through it, goes back during an idyllic time when there were only the five of the most hopeful and aspiring young mutants who are composed of the first class of the X-Men. He chose a rather timely moment when his younger self was just about to quit the team and walk out of the mansion for good. The moment he appeared before the young Henry, all blue giant fur, his more human counterpart recognized him instantly. Warren, Bobby, Jean and Scott were worried and tried to call for the Professor but Beast insisted that they all have to hear what he has to say and calling Xavier will prevent that. The Prof will most probably send back Hank to his own timeline and then mind-wipe his students (the dude is prone to solving problems like that). Still baffled, amazed and annoyed by this plot development, the OCF refused to listen to whatever incomprehensible insanity is happening in front of them until Beast dropped this worrisome truth-bomb about the future Scott Summers that definitely got their attention:

The old-fashioned and quirky Original Core Five First Class of X-Men traveling to the future to encounter a darker vision of a life they have never anticipated? HOW CAN ANYONE NOT BE READING THIS MASTERPIECE IN THE MAKING?


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