Okay, I’ll bite. All-New X-Men is everything you might expect from the previews that have trickled forward up until this debut issue. The original X-Men from those first few issues (sliding timeline says 50’s/60’s/70’s?) are set to travel BACK TO THE FUTURE to confront the twisted mirror versions of themselves. Especially Scott. And except for Iceman. Iceman has only gotten cooler (thank you, I’m here all week). Except the Back to the Future spin on things is only set in motion in the last few pages, with our big blue furry Beast aptly playing the part of Doc Brown. Up until the final few pages, Scott and his Uncanny X-Men (just announced to also be written by Bendis) are doing their thing finding new mutants while Bendis writes the Wolverine & the X-Men crew sans Wolverine, Kitty, or any of the kids, doing their thing. I suppose surprisingly, with those two teams doing their own things, it’s Beast’s story, and the big guy taking it upon himself to use the time machine he evidently has. Which is the biggest logic gap, from Bendis, isn’t it? If not for the gorgeous panel work from Stuat Immonen (seriously, he’s never not doing cool stuff with comic books, is he?), I would be railing against the fact that the book's entire concept seems to hinge on Beast rashly traveling back in time (out of character, and also being greedy about it, because he wants to save his life). This isn’t the Beast character who has become so much the patron saint of mutants that he’s even on Fraction’s New Avengers dream team, replacing Professor X. This is certainly spitting in the face of a lot of Doc Brown-esque “Don’t &$%# With Time Travel!”, that Beast’s friends like Reed Richards, Tony Stark, Hank Pym, Bruce Banner, et al, would have a fiiiiield day with. So that rings untrue, though ultimately it’s still Stuart Immonen, and Bendis is nothing if not a very interesting writer… even when he’s not Ultimate Comics Spider-Man good. Of course I want to keep reading this, if only to see Classic All-New Young Old X-Men react to the future, and people they’ve become.
So All New X-Men equals the return of classic X-Men? I'm confused.
Sarcasm aside, this book was not what I was expecting. I wasn't a fan of the AvX event and didn't read the consequences book, though I caught up on that basics of what happened before reading All New X-Men. Scott is apparently now a mutant rights terrorist, attacking humans who may pose a threat to new mutants as their powers surface. He's joined by Emma and Magneto, more likely candidates for the terrorist label, as they scour the globe trying to make first contact with these new mutants, causing a lot of destruction along the way. It's old hat for Magneto but Scott doesn't wear it well. The whole shift in his character during AvX and now this mutant terrorist angle seem really unnatural. Which is why Beast is traveling back in time to get young Scott on his side.
It's an interesting premise, and I'll go along for the ride, but, honestly? Time travel never turns out well and the opportunity for plot gaps is plentiful. There's already a few, but they're minor enough they don't distract from the story too much. For now.
I'm the kind of gal who will happily read anything that Stuart Immonen is illustrating. His pencilwork is gorgeous, and though Wade Von Grawbadger's inks are a bit heavy handed at times, Marte Gracia's colours balance everything out. Everyone looks right when Stuart draws them: Cyclops is slim but athletic, exactly how "Slim" Summers should look. Beast is a muscular hulk with enough human features to balance out his animalistic side. It's particularly interesting to see young, human Beast beside modern day furry blue Beast; Stuart kept enough common features that you're immediately able to identify the younger version when he appears.
I'll keep reading this series to see how things turn out, but I won't lie, there's a nostalgic part of me that wants things to go back to the way they used to be: one team that's focused on a greater goal that can handle internal disputes without causing universe-encompassing battles to happen.
I am still giggling at the visual of Beast as Doc Brown though. Thanks, Russel!