I just pulled myself up from a rock face using a root, a MacGyver-esque contraption, and my extraordinary upper body strength. You see, Brian Michael Bendis left me hanging on this cliff at the end of this issue. Though my arms are very sore, I consider myself lucky that this cliff has wifi, because I just have to tell you about “All New X-men” #10.
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by Stuart Immonen
The Uncanny X-Men come to the Jean Grey School to recruit.Who will join Cyclops and his revolutionary crew? The answer will shock you!Mystique and Sabretooth continue to hatch their master plan and it doesn’t bode well for the All-New X-Men.
Despite the fact that this run is only a few months old, it already feels epic. This feeling of importance may stem from the inclusion of characters from days gone by. They are, after all, the root of a half century of lore. Young Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Iceman and Angel bring both a sense of nostalgia and a youthful naivety to the table, and give the book an ineffably fresh tone.
The long awaited Scott on Scott action arrives in this issue. Initially conflicting accounts on everything from Charles Xavier’s murder, to the status of mutantkind today boggle Young Scott’s mind. You must understand he has never been exposed to the twenty-four hour news cycle, so this is new to him. However, when he is directly confronted with his older self, Young Scott makes his feelings about the more seasoned Cyclops’ plans perfectly clear.Young Scott finally denounces the actions of his older counterpart. He goes on to say that he will save the world and fix everything (which is essentially the same thing that Old Scott is saying, but the irony seems lost on both of them).
The two versions of Cyclops play out an internal struggle before our eyes. Young Scott is altruistic, and scared out of his mind about the future that faces him and his friends. The Older Scott has lived through the horror, and has come through the fires forged into a harder, more jaded version of himself. The two stand on opposite sides, though they are essentially the same person. “All New X-men” #10 illustrates that “the right thing,” is subjective. Time, experience, and environment all play a hand in creating the rose-colored-wayfarers through which we see the world.
The theme driving this book is: to err is mutant. “All New X-men” is a dazzling dance in the moral gray. Bendis takes every opportunity to cast doubt on the motives driving the characters’ decisions. Nothing is sacred in this world. This book is so engaging because it invites readers to question everything, as they are continually forced to see the two sides to every story. The X-men are at war with themselves. In a literal sense, of course, but also in a more figurative, internal way.
There is no absolute good or evil here. This is a full value scale lying somewhere between the black hat and the white, it seems unlikely that anyone will be riding off into the sunset any time soon.
Immonen’s art in this issue is perfection. He astutely captures emotion, and plunges beneath the surface of the dialogue to reveal both intention and motivation each time he renders a face. Wolverine is looking especially fierce in this issue. I do have one question though, were Kitty’s outrageous pony tail and Storm’s mane-like mohawk inspired by “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”? Royalties may be owed, this is a serious query. Whatever the case may be Immonen continually draws the X-men so that they are individually recognizable, and uniquely animated.
Immonen’s strong grasp of character and kinetic style make him uniquely suited to take on this sprawling narrative. The book has a distinct visual impact that takes the story to new heights. He is a true asset to the “All New X-men” team.
The color work gives various palettes to various settings, helping distinguish one plot, and place, from another. The drab earth tones of New York City and the prison escape scene help set the human world apart from the mutant world of the Jean Grey School, which is lively and vibrant. I also very much enjoyed the crosshatching a geometric break up of backgrounds present in this issue. It felt new, or a least revitalized, in a world where comic art is often indistinct.Continued below
“All New X-men” #10 is a vital chapter in an inspired run. Though some of the levity has been replaced by tension, it retains that entertaining quality we expect from Bendis. Immonen and the rest of the creative team lend incredible talent to the title. I am in for the long haul with “All New X-men.”
Now, if you will excuse me, I see the rescue helicopter just over the ridge; I need to send up a flare. I may cut off a finger before they get here, and see if I can get a book deal out of this. Stay tuned.
Final Verdict: 8.3 – Buy