It took about 5 issues for me to warm up to this book, but I’ve finally caught up with the rest of the industry. I still say the problem is that the first 5 issues were spoiled in online interviews. Since then, Bendis is really doing a good job as the caretaker of the X-franchise.
I never would have imagined that it would be young Angel that came out doubting the Beast, but at least someone is calling out the X-Men for turning on Scott Summers. Cyclops might be a bit confrontational, but I’m not sure he’s doing anything wrong. He’s doing exactly what he has been since he formed the mutant nation of Utopia; he’s trying to protect his species. Seeing Angel come doubting into Beast’s lab was a great moment. For all his intelligence and planning, the modern day Beast is a bit of a drama bomb.
Also as expected, Magneto isn’t quite as duplicitous as he seemed. In fact, he’s probably more so. I’m glad Bendis decided to keep Mags loyal for a couple of reasons. First of all, until some more X-Men join Cyclops’ Xavier Academy, he needs every “name” character he can get on his side. Losing even one really weakens his position as a foil for Wolverine’s posse. Second, it adds yet another layer of dysfunction and drama onto Cyclops’ squad. For a team with only four members, they have a lot to bicker about.
All-New features Mystique and Sabretooth breaking out Lady Mastermind, yet another strong move. We can only watch the mirroring factions of X-Men posture and grumble at each other for so long. Eventually, we need a team of villainous mutants to be the antagonists, and I’d say Mystique’s team is looking pretty strong. Add in a couple of bricks and they’ll be in good shape. Shape-shifting and illusions are a bit redundant as far as powers, but I like both characters enough to see the potential on this team.
The art in Bendis’ X-corner is an accomplishment too. Chris Bachalo’s heavily stylized pencils can sometimes be hard to follow, but there is no doubt they are fun. His Hulk in particular is quite fun. I did notice some differences in posture and position while the Avengers were supposedly locked in time, but that’s a small complaint.
Stuart Immonen’s triumphant return to the X-Men is striking too. I complain about un-earned splash pages, but Immonen’s page of horrors? Wow. Lady Mastermind’s powers are going to be a pleasure to see if Immonen continues to show them this effectively.