Friday, September 25, 2015

All-New X-Men by Brian Michael Bendis Volume 6

Previously in ANXM: Storm, Beast (and another mutant who I just forgot and I am too tired to look through my last review to double-check his/her identity) picked up Kitty, Cyclops, Emma and Illyana from their not-so-secret-anymore-bunker/school-with-an-ironic-mocking-name, because they're about to uncover the last will and testament of the late Charles Xavier (who, if y'all still care and remember and I hope so because he had a bastard son who came back from the future just to remind us about it for the last three fucking issues) has been brutally and mercilessly murdered by a Phoenix-possessed Scott Summers because--if you're going to kill your father figure--you might as well have a cosmic excuse about it. Putting that aside, Cyke still got invited to the reading of the will which was nice, I guess. Wolverine is probably not happy to see his jerk face again, though. And Kitty--who basically called it quits with Storm and Wolverine back in Battle of the Atom because she felt that they betrayed her trust--would be put in yet another awkward position being in the same room with the said betrayers. But hey, it couldn't possibly be more awkward than dating the dimension-hopping Peter a goddamn hologram. So yeah, Kitty will be fine. She's going to see her ex Bobby a.k.a the Iceman though but Kitty is a big girl now. 

With the adults gone, the kids are left to their own devices. It's irresponsible in a way but fuck the kids. They'll be all right as long as they stay in the bunker. AND OF COURSE THEY DON'T, especially the OCF. A cerebro alert updated them to the whereabouts of a new mutant who just unlocked her powers. It's bad because the girl is scared, awkward and distrustful of these bunch of teen mutants just dropping out of nowhere, trying to convince her to go with them. It became worse when the police arrived at the scene which caused panic with the young mutant who cannot control her powers yet and accidentally zapped Jean, Laura, Warren, Hank and Bobby to unknown places, separate from each other and devoid of any familiar acquaintance. Now the five of them are lost in their own personal hell.

We got some cool scenes with Bobby as he fights mole people down the sewers and struggles to remain in ice form while on land because Atlanta, Georgia is scathing hot, which in turn dampened his powers. Elsewhere, Laura and Warren were reunited (how convenient was it that they both ended up in Savage Land?) and have met up with Wolverine's alternate-universe son, James Jr. who was weirded out to meet the pair but was open-minded enough to hear them out and possibly try to help them get back to their world. Meanwhile, Hank is kidnapped by Dr. Doom in a rather ironic yet pretty clever allusion to Beauty and the Beast where Doom is the Beast and Hank is his Beauty and he wanted to keep him there in Latveria after recognizing his genius and future use he could provide. Hank got to talk about his feelings of guilt and inadequacy with Doom which was pretty hilarious because of all the people he had to open up with it, it's with his captor. I can't wait to see if this relationship becomes appropriately Stockholm Syndrome-y in Hank's case. That would drive home the B&B allusion even further.

Jean Grey, once again, got the better, more nuanced scenes when she encountered the all-female X-Men of the Ultimate world with Miles Morales as Spider-man who totes is already crushing on her sweet ass (ugh, I don't get it though). Jean Grey meets the Ultimate Jean and they hugged because why not? At this point I'm treating her scenes with indifference. She's an integral part of the ANXM narrative, I get that, but I'm more invested to see how the other will fare in their dimensions especially since their contributions are just as interesting. Bobby finally stopped being just a comedic punchline; Hank is owning up to his angst and fears about the future his older self inflicted, and Warren and Laura could actually be a great romantic couple as long as we spend more time on them. So, overall, these issues were getting better and I hope Bendis continues to pick up things from now and lessen the Jean Grey-worship while he's at it.

The premise for this four-issued arc didn't start out strong but it was interesting and could have been more nuanced with an additional three to four more issues where we might get to see the OCF deal and overcome something as a group and not just solely depend on Jean Grey's functionality to carry them over a storyline which has been Bendis' go-to scapegoat resolution. It had been ripe with many possibilities, to separate the characters in different locations where they can have their own solo adventures. These did happen but were too abrupt to fully form any meaningful development and, as much as I'm abhorred to say, we still spend more time with Jean's scenes than the rest, since hers are composed of how they are going to get out of there. By issue #35, they did find the mutant whose ability is to create portals and didn't have that much of a hard time convincing her to get them all back safely. It was all too neatly concluded, is all I'm saying. Dr. Doom was such a throwaway character here and even Miles Morales was there to be a crutch to Jean. 

BUT WHAT IF THEY DIDN'T GET OUT JUST YET? What if they decided they could also make some change in that dimension, sort of like a test run before returning to their actual world and apply the same method, knowing better the success rate of their actions? But what if one of them got killed during their stay in the Ultimate-verse? Like Bobby, for example? That would mean his current self in Earth 616 would expire as well. How will that affect things? What if Laura decided to stay behind Ultimate because she's happier there? Would Warren stick by her or return with the OCF to Earth 616 where he doesn't have a girl he cares about? What happens if two Jean Greys are put together in the same timeline? Will they remain comrades throughout or eventually cancel each other out? How would the X-Men from Earth 616--especially Kitty Pryde--react to this? Would they try finding the OCF or just decide that it's the best thing that ever happened because now they don't have to worry about them running around their timeline? And what if the OCF comes back again, will the X-Men still accept them as their own or completely treat them as eyesores, maybe even become their adversaries in whatever goals the OCF want to accomplish? 

We will never know now and I actually don't care.


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