Saturday, September 12, 2015

All-New X-Men by Brian Michael Bendis #18

Let's not talk about Battle of the Atom. I will not talk about Battle of the Atom from now on because, quite frankly, my immense enjoyment of that story arc was almost as equal as my atrocious bafflement towards it. I know I loved it and that I was happy about it, but I was also mentally exhausted after putting myself through it. I'm just not ready to write a cohesive review for that one so let's get back to the chronological order of Bendis' ANXM roster which is a comic book series that is still my most favorite thing in the world right now (this and Broadway actor/rock star Reeve Carney).

After the BoTa clusterfuck, Kitty Pryde shockingly decided to leave the Jean Grey Institute of Higher Learning, turning her back on her long-time comrades (and surrogate parents) Ororo and Logan whom she felt betrayed by. I won't go into details; just know that her departure is rightly justified in a way. She then decided to join her best friend Illyana (Magik) who is a member of present-day Cyclops' Dream Team of Mutant Revolution (yes, I made a new pet name for it. DTMR. Shit, I gotta make a glossary of my made-up abbreviations some time). Now since Kitty is their Professor X for this timeline, the OCF felt the need to come with her since they don't feel like the rest of the current X-Men are accepting of them anyway. This is great news to Warren who was pleased that his friends finally saw some sense and now the five of them are complete once more.

I don't really believe Kitty agreed with Cyclops' vision since she has her own way of doing things but I like that they're able to be civil with each other. The man may have murdered Professor X (whose role Kitty has been filling lately for the teenage OCF), but Kitty does respect him and does not harbor bitter feelings towards him in the long run unlike Wolverine. I think Kitty wanted to let bygones be bygones and focus more on training her students who are counting on her guidance, and this characterization for Kitty Pryde in this series has most definitely endeared her to me. Since reading her character in action for the first time in X-Men Forever and then for Days of Future Past, I find Kitty to be one of the exceptionally likable and enjoyable X-characters out there. Her development, relationships with people, and principles always get me interested because they're well-written, and her role in this title is no exception.

This issue had a lot of stellar moments of comedy and insight. Bendis has captured Jeff Parker's voice when he wrote X-Men: First Class three years ago and then improved on it, adding more nuances and layers on the characterizations of my favorite X-Men team by now: the Original Core Five as I will fondly always call them. Seeing the five back together and living inside the previous Weapon X facility (because Scott has a morbid sense of humor; though he maintains he chose said place as a symbolic gesture, sort of "claiming it back" from its anti-mutant occupants back in the day), and coming into their own in spite of the bonkers time-displacement thing. I'm going to start citing my favorite moments in this show and trust me, there are plenty of them!

First, this quibble between Jean and one of the Steford sisters. Jean's quip about her being a failed "Emma Frost" test tube baby was a sick burn, at least according to the other Steford sister who seemed to fancy Jean, and may want to dye her hair red just to piss of her twin. It's cute. I want to see Jean be the "wallflower" to the "cheerleader" trope of the Stephord sisters. Because they are still is high school after all, whether you as a reader choose to view it or not. Who doesn't love a coming-of-age story anyway? If you don't, why are you reading ANXM?

We also get a cutesy conversation between Hank and Magneto. Hank had this to say about Magneto's expertise in the machinery for their quarters and then Hank gets more awkward by pointing out how obviously awkward it is that the two of them are even talking--which was made even more awkward when the recruit Benjamin (shape-shifter from issue #3) looks on, dumbfounded by the events unfolding...

...and keep unfolding, apparently because he's about to get served his first slice of X-Men soap opera antics in the form of Jean-Hank-Scott love triad. And, like someone about to discover an addiction, he cannot stop watching.

Benjamin didn't realize that, out of nowhere, he now has an official cable subscription to this drama, and yet I think he's compelled to watch. It's not like they've noticed him just sitting there and eating his snacks. I can't help but giggle at his little panels on the sides.

Meanwhile, Kitty and Illyana have a heart-to-heart in the middle of the snowy plains, reminiscing of the good old days while dreading the future. They talk about Colossus for a while who is Illyana's brother and Kitty's ex-boyfriend. Honestly, neither of them has a clue which of their relationship with the man is messier, more complicated and ten shades of fucked! And neither do I. But then, we had this rather cutesy moment when Illyana tried to hug Kitty but Kitty phased and she fell over on her stupid head. It's so rare to see the dark and formidable Magik make a fool out of herself like this! I actually miss this side of her. Too bad she's a hell-bitch temptress/sorceress most of the time who will always struggle between the darkness and light. When all else fails, at least there's Kitty. I'm going to call them KITTYANA from now on. I can't have my Cherik (thanks for murdering the prof, Cyke! You ass) so I will settle for some girl-on-girl platonic bonding moments, okay?! 

When Kitty left the Institute, she also broke up with Iceman who argued about her decision to leave. That is not a good thing for the young Bobby who is innocent about all this. It's bad enough that his future self is hooking up with his teacher; now said teacher just dumped his future self's ass and she possibly take out all her bitterness and scorn on him. However, Kitty reassures him that is not the case. She hates him, the teen Bobby, for different reasons altogether. We also got this gold moment with Hank as Kitty tried to use him as an example of a model student that Bobby should emulate:


And then we get some serious motivational speech that I loved:

...which was undermined by the fact that Jean is far too consumed listening to the thoughts of her love interests instead. Both Scott and Hank are considerable douchebags in their inner monologues which made me cringe and chuckle all at once:

She was pissed enough about these douchebags that she was able to LEVITATE HERSELF OFF THE GROUND! Ah, the things a powerful telepathic girl will do to get away from her pesky, obsessive love interests. I feel ya, girl. I feel ya.

And then she had a nice sorta-flirty moment with Warren which made me roll my eyes because GODDAMMIT PLEASE DO NOT MAKE MORE GEOMETRIC LOVE COMPLICATIONS WITH THE OCF! If we get a third contender in Warren, then this might as well become a cheesy and ridiculous game show about blind dates where a girl has to choose among three suitors by asking them banal questions to measure their comparability BUT I WOULD STILL READ THE HELL OUT OF THAT so who am I kidding?

Anyway, this nice moment was interrupted when Hank receives an alert from his own device connected to Magneto's police scanners-whatever that monitors mutant activity in the city. Currently, there is a scared and alone mutant being hunted down. So the OCF pack up, with Kitty's ominous phrase ending this issue in an exciting note: "You're about to see something else you're probably not ready for."


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