Welcome ComicAttackers and X-fans to this week’s edition of The All-New Uncanny X-Piles!
We proudly present to you a handful of this site’s merriest, but least mentally stable reviewers who have kindly dropped by once again to regale you with their thoughts on that one X-Title that has impacted them the most, whether good or bad, from this past week’s releases. So keep reading, True Believers, to discover what Capekiller, InfiniteSpeech, SpidermanGeek, and The Comic Book Clergyman each had to say about your favorite Marvel mutants’ written adventures and don’t forget to leave a comment to tell us what YOU think!
Last issue, a small team of X-Men accompanied X-23 to track down the Purifiers and upon entering their base of operations, the X-Men were overpowered and captured by William Stryker’s super-powered son. The issue opens with a 4-page flashback that shows William Stryker dealing with A.I.M. to fix whatever is ailing his son. This sequence’s art is handled by X-Men: God Love, Man Kills artist Brent Anderson who manages to successfully evoke nostalgia from X-Men fans and effectively links elements of Chris Claremont’s classic story to what Brian Michael Bendis is presenting us with in this issue.
Unfortunately, that is probably the best moment of the entire book. The problem here is that both A.I.M. and the Purifiers have a history of being nothing more than fodder for superheroes. Even in an alliance, the perceived level of threat that both these groups present has little to no impact. Especially when taking into consideration that they are trying to hold the X-Men captive with nothing more than shackles. Kitty Pryde, X-23, Iceman & Jean Grey… in shackles? Have A.I.M. and the Purifiers not done their homework? At least they duct taped Scott’s ruby quarts glasses to his face. *facepalm*. As one might expect, the X-Men free themselves with ease and turn the tide on their enemies before we even hit the last page. Sorry, should I have called out “SPOILERS”?
Brandon Peterson’s art carried an inconsistent level of detail throughout. Some of his choice of angles did not do his line work any favors either. Maybe we as readers were just too spoiled with Stuart Immonen’s body of work on this title. Peterson did a good job of keeping a similar tone to the book set by his predecessor, but alas it simply falls short, especially after being treated to Brent Anderson’s guest work. Overall, it felt phoned in.
The bottom line is that All-New X-Men #21 is a very dry issue that offers little in the way of character development and centers around two groups of foes that readers simply don’t care about and haven’t cared about since the 80’s. This story might appeal to fans of X-Men: God Love, Man Kills, but I don’t think that even they will lose much sleep over missing out on this issue. -SG
I certainly do not want to live in the past when it comes to the X-Men, but every now and then, I want to remember why I fell in love with them in the first place. It is issues like this one that call me back to a simpler time, when there were just a handful of X-Men, and their interactions with one another really meant something.
Jason Aaron is really hitting on a classic take in this series, centering on Nightcrawler and redefining why he is crucial to the X-Men. In the last few years, since Second Coming, I have felt that the X-books have been drifting, but could never quite put my finger on what (or who) was missing. In this third issue of Amazing X-Men, I realize that Nightcrawler plays a really important role in the series, and his exclusion over the years has hurt the books.
The X-Men are still in the afterlife, displaced between Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. They are separated and defeated by the forces of Azazel. Aaron gives us a great soliloquy by the red-deviled father of Kurt Wagner, as to his motivations in concocting this scheme of taking over the afterlife. This issue also shows us that Hank McCoy has made his way to the “other side,” and his battle with Azazel’s demons is corrupting his own soul as well.
But the treat in this issue is the return to the deeply loving relationship between Nightcrawler and Storm. These two were never a couple, although they had frequent flirtations over the years. Aaron solidifies Kurt’s feelings by showing that he was drawn to Ororo by more than friendship, and he uses a nice flashback sequence to illustrate this.
Ed McGuinness was a great choice for this story. It’s no coincidence that his art is very reminiscent of John Byrne’s, and Dexter Vines’ inks are akin to Terry Austin’s. The art is not a retread, but definitely in the same wheelhouse. Beast, Nightcrawler, and even Storm look more like their classic looks than I have seen in a long time. Also, the way McGuinness choreographs Beast’s fight scene is really fun.
Overall, this is a wonderful issue, full of dynamic action, tender relationship moments, and classic X-Men storytelling. -JJ
I have to come right out and say it, this book got my X-juices up and flowing again. Between Bendis’ “quippy” writing and Bachalo’s beautifully gestural lines, this story really feels like something new and something old all at the same time. And this, my friends is a wonderful thing!
Magneto’s role since the fall of the Phoenix Five has been questionable to say the least. It isn’t the first time we’ve seen Erik a shadow of the super villain he used to be, but this has been different. Bendis begins to change all that in this issue, with Magneto clearly asserting himself as one of the major players on the mutant landscape once again.
For me, giving the mutants a safe haven where they can gather has always been a natural and welcome fit. Whether it was Mutant Town, Genosha, Utopia or Providence, it only made sense that these persecuted people would gather for both their own personal safety and happiness. With the destruction of the aforementioned locations, it was just a matter of time before we were introduced to a new mutant hot spot. Insert Genosha here! It has long been in the works that Genosha would become a home for the world’s mutants, it just wasn’t completely clear what the end result would look like. While we still don’t have a perfect picture, it is definitely a little clearer.
I really enjoyed the pacing of this story. The way Bendis followed Magneto around gave the story a real contemplative feel. I really felt as though Magneto was leading me around, and together we were uncovering a few more details clarifying the current mutant situation. Like he always has, Bendis’ dialogue makes the characters relatable. I truly believe he has revolutionized the way we should write a comic book. He is one of the few writers who is able to capture a wide range of emotion and information with very few words. And when you think about it, isn’t this the whole idea behind the comic medium? Whether it is Dazzler quipping with Magneto, or Blob not being able to hold back his excitement with Magneto, Bendis really makes these characters relatable. So much so, that I often find myself reading their quips (sorry for using the word so often…) out loud!
Anyone who has ever read any of my reviews knows how much I love Bachalo’s art. I consider the guy a modern master! I love way he has no respect for the traditional page/panel approach at all. You truly have to be an intelligent reader (yes, that’s right, I said reader) to be able to scan through and interpret Chris’ visual narrative. His crowd scenes are voluptuous, and he messes with the composition in every single panel. He and Bendis work so well together that they should never be allowed to be separated! All this love aside, I do have one gripe. I don’t care for the clean shaven, bald Magneto. He looks way too young for me. Later in the book however, this is rectified when Erik travels to Madripoor. The goatee and fedora are much more in keeping with the style an X-fan would come to expect of Magneto.
This book is a fantastic jumping on point for anyone interested in diving into the world of X. It references a little bit of back story which is easily researched if the reader so desires, but if you are simply looking for a place to move forward, this is the spot for you. If for no other reason, you should read this book simply to help you remember how bad ass Magneto is! -CK