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All New X-Men #30

by Tori B. on August 14, 2014

It’s the psychic duel that everyone looks forward to every year it seems—especially Bobby whose probably having his wildest teenage boy fantasies achieved. …Except not really.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Sara Pichelli & Marte Gracia
Cover: Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger, & Marte Gracia
Publisher: Marvel
This takes place literally right before the Will and Testament of Charles Xavier so it’s a bit of a filler issue, and an easy point to jump into the series for anyone who’s interested in starting—which is pretty recommended for anyone who’s into the X-Men. Bendis is playing a lot with these characters some are growing in interesting ways, and others less so, but the series continues to prove to be a solid series to hang onto within the X-Men universe. Within the exploration of these characters there’s also a lot of new relationships blooming, which can either work in favour of earning the audience’s respect or having them turn away from the story completely. Unfortunately Bendis gets it right about 50% of the time. Which isn’t horrible but it’s a rocky track record and certainly not for readers who aren’t remotely interested in the romantic interests of these characters. In this issue especially, seeing as it’s more of a filler, a lot of the relationships are thrown more into the audience’s face than usual. Which as previously mentioned, holds the story only about half the time… well perhaps two thirds of the time in this issue.
Bendis doesn’t quite have a knack for writing X-23 yet and her relationship with Angel seems awkward and forced upon us at best. Not to mention their ‘night out’ flashback seems out of character for the both of them. Which isn’t to say that he won’t eventually get into the rhythm of writing her, he had similar issues when he first had a hand at writing Emma Frost, but as we see in this issue, there’s been a lot of improvement on her handling. This issue actually ends up being a huge character growth and development arc which is amazing to see. Emma goes head to head with Jean Grey. Jean Grey who lays everything out on the table leaving Emma to get over her previous hangups. What happens between the two is genuinely one of the best things to witness and it’s about time, because catty girl fights are clichéd and we’re due to move on to better things. Not to mention the interaction between the two is a highlight of Pichelli’s talents because everyone (especially Emma) looks gorgeously rendered—and her take on certain iconic panels of previous X-Men arcs (dealing mainly with Emma and Scott’s relationship) are almost more stunning than the original. Almost. At the very least puts a more modern feel to it, keeping to the current aesthetic of the series.
We also get more glimpses of Kitty and her kind of relationship with Peter Quill (Legendary Outlaw: Star-Lord ) …which is actually super cute and it may not be for everyone but it at least holds some charm to it.
So yes, the issue is very relationship heavy, but is lighthearted at most, Bendis excels in his study of characters and humor, keeping readers mildly entertained between bouts of bigger action.
As far as filler issues goes, this one is well crafted and carries a huge character movement for a big Marvel character—which was surprisingly handled incredibly well and looked gorgeous at the same time.
( There are literally no complaints from this Emma Frost stan about her new character direction, and that’s saying something. )

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