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All New X-Men #2

by tskavlan on December 02, 2012

 

I am incredibly conflicted about All New X-Men, and we are only two issues into the series.  On one hand, I am absolutely on board with this premise.  It makes sense and it is just an absolute blast.  Not to mention the art (I’ll get to it, I promise) is about as good as it can get.  Yet there is just this little thing that keeps nagging at me while I read this title.  The question that just will not go away, no matter how great Stuart Immonen’s pencils are or how stellar Bendis’ dialogue is this:  who is this comic for?

 

I enjoyed the second issue of Bendis’ flagship X-title even more than I did his debut.  Which is not actually that surprising if you have followed Bendis’ career closely.  He does not always write slam-dunk premiers.  However, the dialogue in this issue really popped.  The scenes with Wolverine especially were poignant and spot on for his character.  Bendis wrote all of these characters true to form, not only in their current characterizations but the “vintage” iterations of these X-men as well.  Time travel can be such a hit or miss trope, especially when younger and older versions of the same character, but Bendis handles it deftly and makes the interactions between our heroes and what they have become organic and enjoyable.

 

Stuart Immonen’s work on this second issue is building into something memorable.  Clean lines and able cartooning work makes this second issue a perfect example of how art should function in a superhero comic.  Immonen’s pencils and layouts work hand in hand with Bendis’ script to make an incredibly readable and emotive narrative.  What is truly remarkable however, is how he handles panels.  I was shocked flipping back through this issue for a second time to see that there is only one double page spread and maybe one or two splash pages through out the comic.  This is a book that feels very big.  Characters explode out of panels and the angles Immonen draws from make even simple pages of dialogue interesting and extremely readable. 

 

Now, I have been, up until this point incredibly laudatory of this comic book, but as I come to a conclusion I have to share the nagging little annoyance that kept poking at me as I read All New X-Men #2.  This Marvel Now! title is not for new readers.  There is no possible way that it can be.  Unless I am crazy, to really appreciate the subtleties and intricacies Bendis and Immonen are putting in this title already, a reader would have to have a fairly deep knowledge of X-history.  Part of the beauty of the premise rests upon knowing what kind of person (or rather, mutant) Scott Summers was before the events of Avengers vs. X-men.  The same could be said for Beast.  And don’t even get me started on Jean Grey.  If Marvel Now! is supposed to be a chance for readers who are not familiar with the history of the X-men to meet and fall in love with these characters.  I suppose I have to make this concession:  when I first got into the X-men, I wasn’t spoon-fed the details of everything that had happened before the issue I picked up.  I just grabbed an issue of Uncanny and ran with it.  However, for a title that boasts “All New” and is touted as one of the main Marvel titles going forward, one would think they would make it just a tiny it more new reader friendly.

 

Does that mean this is not worth reading?  No, not in the least.  The final page of this issue boasts some of the best cartooning and eye-popping art I have seen in an x-title in a very long time.  I think this a comic everyone should be checking out, even if some of the character interaction is hard to follow or appreciate for new readers.  I trust Bendis and thus I trust this title.  It is going somewhere special and any good X-fan should give it a chance.

Our Score:

7/10

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