The past and present collide as the Original Five X-Men meet Cyclops.
All New X-Men #4
Last issue’s focus on Cyclops and the soon to be Uncanny X-Men cast was a bit of a mixed bag. Brian Michael Bendis obviously needed to build towards the meeting between past and present Cyclops that has been teased since this series was announce, but it did let some of the momentum go. However the series is back on track with this issue. Thanks to the fact that Marvel has been releasing this title weekly we get right to that meeting. If nothing else it is a confrontation that shows off all of Stuart Immonen’s artistic talent.
Visually the book sings. Immonen’s details are as sharp as his action staging. Characterisation comes in the form of subtle angry glances, gasps of shock and stern looks into the distance. His character work does a lot more than Bendis’ script in detailing the emotional trauma of Cyclops seeing his younger self. Immonen also manages to infuse the kinetic action scenes with elements of character. Older Cyclops’ beams seeming warping in the air is in stark contrast to younger Cyclops’ straight ones. This little subtle difference speaks volumes about the people they are. Also the use of shading and Marte Gracia’s colour work is masterful. The bonfire illuminating and enhancing the original five’s expressions perfectly. Cyclops’ crimson blasts giving the book a vibrancy that makes Immonen’s work even more striking than it already is. Add to this some excellent use of panel layouts, especially page 2’s literal past colliding with the present motif, and the book just looks gorgeous.
Bendis does a decent job on the script. But the plot is quite slight as it is mainly detailing the emotions involved with this encounter. As stated above it is Immonen that manages to put that across as opposed to Bendis’ writing. He continues to throw in his chatty “witty” banter with mixed results. The new mutants are subjected to his particular style of dialogue the most. It works with them as they haven’t been established long, but they also come across as the same sort of person. It is also worth noting that the moment between the two new mutants in the Weapon X facility doesn’t really add anything.
The X-Men from the Jean Grey school are seemingly just a cameo here, with there scenes echoing a few plot points we already know, with Beast condition being the main one. However there is humour to be had with Wolverine as Bendis manages to capture his demeanour quite well. But most of the cast of the school blend into the background. The same can be said for Magneto and Magik who seem to be window dressing (beautiful window dressing though thanks to Immonen). Emma does better in her appearance here than last issue, but she has little to do really.
But this is all fine as the main focus is Cyclops and yet again Bendis manages to nearly bring it home. He writes a good tortured soul, but sometimes he does come off as a bit too narcissistic. This maybe the intention, but it makes it very difficult to get behind Cyclops.
So, All New X-Men #4 is a visual treat that shows off just how important art is in delivering an engaging and emotional book. Immonen’s art makes this title a blockbuster and although Bendis has issues with characterisation and dialogue, he still delivers a fast paced narrative.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|The art.||A few fumbles with the characterisation.|