I’ve been away from the world of ‘All-New X-Men‘ since the ‘Battle of the Atom‘ arc back at the tail-end of 2013, overall that arc felt like it lacked a little of the impact that I was hoping for but perhaps I was hoping for too much by wanting it to bring the gravitas of ‘Days of Future Past‘. Moving on from the events of that arc ‘All-New‘ still hasn’t quite managed to let go of the notion of time travel.
At this years ‘Cup O Joe‘ panel at SDCC those in attendance discussed that upcoming issues will see the consequences of his meddling finally fall on Beast but in the meantime we’ve got more timeline bending action as the future X-Men aka Brotherhood of Evil Mutants attempt once again to take out the present day and past X-Men teams. There’s also some more development around Jean Grey which hopefully won’t end up in a retelling of the ‘Phoenix Saga‘ for the modern audience.
The stand-out aspect of this book for me was always the quality of the writing, I may be a predominantly DC Comics fan but the quality of writing in Marvel is unparalleled at times and ‘All-New X-Men‘ was one of those times. The ability of the writers to discern between past, present and future versions of the same characters all inhabiting the same panels has been brilliant. But at some point in the last three-to-four months the story has become a little convoluted. In trying to write themselves a time travel story to rival those of X-Men past what the writers have in fact done is write themselves in to a difficult corner to write themselves back out of.
The story may be overblown but the characters are as strong as they ever were. The longer the past X-Men stay in the present the more their characters divert from their previous incarnations and that puts the story in to new territory each and every month. Given the upcoming trial of Beast for his crimes against time I do have hope that there are great things to come.
Where there’s X-Men there does seem to be an inevitable focus on the powers of Jean Grey and her potential to become something much more dangerous. There have been flashes of it throughout the series so far which leads me to believe that when the time comes something unexpected will happen that may just shock us all.
The other mainstay of ‘All-New X-Men‘ is the art. As much as the writers put so much effort in to each representation of the character the artists have had a massive challenge on their hands for the last 28 issues and they continue, each month, to pull some visually brilliant work. The highlight of this issue is the almost centre-spread of various future X-characters fighting Sentinels. That Marvel fun-factor remains throughout which sets it aside form the dark and foreboding atmosphere in a lot of DC titles but never does it ruin the feeling of the book.
Whilst the story is languishing a little this is still a title that I recommend you give a chance when the next jumping in point arrives.