Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils by Stuart Immonen
Young Beast helps Old Beast figure out the key to saving their life. Jean decides the young X-Men need to stay in the present.
As much as I do enjoy this book, I have to admit there are some shortcomings with All New X-Men. The overall pace of this book is way too slow for a book that comes out bi-weekly. Maybe Bendis isn’t trying to blow his wad so soon, maybe he’s planning for a marathon, not a sprint, but in my opinion things need to be pushed along a little further. Finally at the end of issue #5 Jean sounds the call to arms for her crew of young X-Men. It shouldn’t take 5 issues at $3.99 a pop for a comic to declare it’s basic premise. I understand that the stories must be built, but I wouldn’t wait 5 issues for Steve Rogers to finally become Captain America or 5 issues for Peter Parker to finally get bitten by the spider. We all know what the premise of this book is; it shouldn’t take up to the very last few pages of the fifth issue and $20 for a book to finally tell you what it’s about. If this were anything other than an X book I would have crossed this title off my pull list by now, but it is an X book, and I love the X-Men and the idea behind this book, so lo and behold, I am still here.
Old Beast, with the help of his younger self, finally figure out how to save their life after his self inflicted last mutation became unstable, almost killing Beast in the process. Though the scenes where they finally figure out what went wrong with the unstable mutation, I am more than happy that this plot point looks to be wrapped up. I felt this sub plot was a distraction to what we all want to see, young X-Men on the loose in the present. Too many pages have been dedicated to the Beast storyline and if it weren’t for that then we might have already seen the young X-Men in action. It almost seemed to be filler, as it hasn’t connected to the main plot in any way. So now that this issue as been resolved I am fully expecting the pace to quicken so we can finally get to some action.
Like I said though, at least these scenes did hold some interest for me, and for you I assume, particularly when Jean wants to see her future while she is in Beast’s mind helping to connect the two Beasts, as older Beast is in a coma. To be honest though, Beast willfully letting Jean see what becomes of her seemed like a move that was out of place for a scientist with an understanding of how this could effect things going forward. He never once hesitated or tried to warn Jean of the consequences. He just said ‘okay, go for it.’ There is some truly heavy stuff floating around in there concerning Jean, I thought it odd that he didn’t at least warn her first. Nonetheless, I did find this aspect of the story to be interesting, but it also serves to stilt the pace of the book as well. After such a slow start, Jean sees her future and immediately decides what the young X-Men need to do. You would think after being exposed to all that she would need some time to process it and deal with it her, but no, she is all resolve right off the bat. It would have been nice to have less Beast and more time for everything that Jean took in to resonate with her. It seems we went from a slow pace to too quick of a pace all within in a few pages.
The most interesting part of the book was only a few panels though. After Jean talks her crew into staying in the present, the only dissenter, Angel, is gravely upset by the fact that his present self isn’t…present, leading him to wonder what has happened to him. If you’ve read any of Remender’s Uncanny X-Force run then you know what happened him and with just a few panels Bendis begins the fleshing out of what could be one of the best sub plots of this book. How will Angel react when he finds out about everything that happened during the Uncanny X-Force “Dark Angel Saga”? That alone could keep me coming back to this book, though it better not take another 5 issues before we touch upon this again.
Immonen’s art is impressive in this issue, especially the splash page where Jean sees her future through Beast’s thoughts. His work has been spot on in All New X-Men and I am waiting for Bendis’ script to finally set him loose on some real action as about 80% of everything he’s drawn as been conversations between the characters, it almost seems as if the art is being held back by the slow pacing of the book as well. I hold onto the hope that when the action does start to get intense that Immonen will finally get a moment to shine.
Though this book hasn’t terrible, its actually been pretty good, I was starting to find the lack of action and definition of the story to be grueling. Now that things with Beast seem to be resolved and the characters have committed themselves to an idea I am hoping that everything will be ratcheted up moving forward. As much as I love Bendis’ work, I know that he can do so much more with one of the most inspiring premises to come out of MarvelNOW!
3 out of 5 nerds
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