Tuesday, January 31, 2017

ALL-NEW X-MEN VOL. 1: YESTERDAY'S X-MEN by Brian Michael Bendis

The X-Men comics were my favorites when I was younger, and I wanted to jump back into reading them with a more contemporary story. The X-Men have been around for a while, embedded in our zeitgeist with many different iterations, and sometimes it feels like they've told every story they could. Not only that but one big critique that many people have is that the universe has gotten too big, with too many characters, and it can get a bit overwhelming. That's why I think that this story arc in the debut volume of All-New X-Men is so cool. Bendis not only was able to find a fresh, clever idea, but with this idea, he was able to bring the focus back to the basics: a core, familiar group of mutants, the original five!

Because the X-Men can't figure out how to handle Cyclops, who recently broke bad and is now modeling himself as a mutant revolutionary with Magneto and the White Queen at his side, Beast has the dumbass genius idea to go back in time, gather up the original five teenage students of Xavier (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Angel, and Beast himself), and bring them back to the future to see if they can talk some sense into mean Cyclops and show him how far he's fallen. What could possibly go wrong?

So this first volume isn't exactly jam-packed with mutant action but focuses more on fleshing out the cool concept and it's ramifications. How would the act of bringing the past versions of the X-men to this time affect the time/space continuum? How would the younger versions feel with seeing what their future lives entail? How would today's Cyclops react after seeing a younger version of himself and Jean Grey, the wife he's lost? And speaking of the young Jean Grey, she's the real star of this show who provides the book's heart. She begins to develop her telepathic powers and it's not the easiest thing, especially under the circumstances. I'm excited to see what happens next, and I think it would be awesome if Bendis used this time travel incident and tied it into established X-canon. For example, it would be so interesting if, by going into the future and developing her abilities there, that's the way that the Phoenix Force was initially able to tap into Jean Grey, jump-starting the popular Phoenix Saga? So many possibilities...


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