Brotherhood drama of future's past
The mutants in the Secret Xavier School have been paralyzed with pain, but this issue is sure to make any X-Men fan ecstatic.
This issue flips back and forth between a suitably depressing future and the desperate present as the formation and motivations of the future brotherhood are revealed.
This is where the answers come. Who is young Xavier? What is his relationship with the future brotherhood? Why is Beast a part of a plot to attack the X-Men of the present and past? Many of the motivations of the brotherhood are brilliantly shown through Brian Michael Bendis' witty repartee.
This is one of Bendis' best-written issues; not only of All-New X-Men, but arguably of his entire career. The pacing, the dialogue, the drama and the action are all expertly combined to move this fantastic plot along. Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger, and Marte Gracia all combine their powers to form astonishing art that is sure to cause your brain to melt from unrelenting joy. Immonen's expansive panels capture the immensity of the surroundings and the intimacy of the suspense.
Throughout the issue the X-Men are struggling through a perilous situation. Xavier machinations are forming, evolving, and delivering the feeling he may just win the day. Each page is full of emotion and you'll find yourself turning every one of them to see how the X-Men might escape the most desperate of circumstances. A seed is planted early in the issue that is cleverly called back to deliver a spectacular cliffhanger ending that will ensure you see what happens next issue.
For those that read the Bendis Avengers during the Heroic Age, there may be a moment of narrative recall that is the same, but different. You have future beast with chalk and boards contemplating the dizzying complexities of a time enigma causing him personal strife. Then comes a figure form the past to make it all better. There are great character moments during the scene but it almost seems Bendis is borrowing from his past self to tell a story about the future brotherhood. Despite the reused concept, the art, conversation, and moments all deliver superb character development and reveal the deep motivations of those we have come to love and fear.
While this issue may not be a perfect jumping-on point, anybody who has at least followed the X-Men through Battle of the Atom should be able to pick up midstream without much difficulty. The action, adventure, and suspense are expertly woven in one of Bendis' best issues. This is the rising action of a story that is not to be missed.