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All New X-Men #14

by Tori B. on July 18, 2013

It’s all just a bunch of mind games. When you put a blossoming telepath against a master illusionist with a grudge, it’s just one trick after another, but only one mind-messer will come victorious.
 
 
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis | Artists: Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger, & Marte Gracia
Cover: Immonen, von Grawbadger, & Gracia | Publisher: Marvel
 
 
For a second, how worried was everyone that we were going to be put through the ringer again over Jean Grey and the Phoenix, all thanks to Mastermind. And how big of a relief was it that we might actually be moving on from that ordeal (sort of).
 
All New X-Men utilizes its villains, and does it well. As the incredibly biased X-Men fan, all the villains that we’re seeing are the bad guys that are hard to hate. Even if you’re rooting for the X-Men, it’s still a little satisfying to see someone like Lady Mastermind have the upper hand, even if for a brief moment.
 
What I’m finding lately that with the way Bendis writes, it seems well suited for the X-Men titles because while a lot of the dialogue may seem repetitive, it’s also very familiar in actuality to the way we talk, making it easy to relate to the characters, and the X-Men and mutants are meant to be relatable as they struggle to fit into society (because what kid at some point in their life doesn’t). There’s also a good balance of action layered on the dialogue, which is a huge testament to Immonen and his beautiful compositions. In the beginning the paneling was hard to follow, but 14 issues in, the masterpiece of it really comes through. It’s engaging, delivers on the action, but there’s still dialogue over it all. It’s a crack team (including letterer Cory Petit who has to put all that dialogue in) that delivers on a strong issue with each release.
 
I’m positive Bendis has found his rhythm with the All New title with it’s serious moments, dramatic moments, and some genuinely hilarious moments too. (I’ll spoil it for you, but if you don’t laugh when Thor gets hit in the head with a snowball, you’re a robot).
 
Something to keep in mind though is while All New has been marketed as an easy in for new readers into the X-Men genre, it certainly isn’t. This issue alone deals with a lot of the rich X-Men history not only concerning the Phoenix but other characters and their relationships with one another too. There are a good handful of flashbacks and references to older X-Men events that I can’t imagine it being easy for a new reader to grasp everything that’s occurring. It seems more like a fun journey for older X-Men fans (as there are constant nods to X-Men history) to take as we watch some X-Men grow up (it’s really touching to see Kitty being referred to as “professor”), and others have a second chance at growing up—maybe to be better than before.

Our Score:

9/10

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