The original five X-Men take on the Danger Room and Mystique does a little recruiting.
All-New X-Men #9
This is one of those issues that seems like the series is catching its breath before plunging into the next part of this fast paced mutant melodrama. Brian Michael Bendis takes time to develop concepts he introduced, whilst progressing narrative strands and delivering a cliffhanger that links into his work on Uncanny X-Men.
Watching the fallout from Jean’s actions in the previous issue is a joy as her new direction is utterly compelling. Her conversations with Kitty and Scott are well handled. Bendis exploits the young mutant’s power to both propel the plot forward and create drama. His script excels in depicting the melodramatic nature of the character’s reactions and the moral ambiguity Jean’s telepathy produces. It makes for interesting reading and is a strong element of the narrative.
Another strong element is the discussion young Angel has with present day Beast. Angel quizzing Beast on his intentions, the idea of the mutant genocide and what it will take to get Beast to fight for mutants makes for solid character work. Bendis delivers a blow-by-blow account of Beast’s thought process that says a lot about Hank McCoy’s character. Also Angel’s doubt about the reasons why he is in the present continues his own narrative journey. Bendis yet again manages to make an engaging scene that deals with just two people talking.
But for all the talking and pontificating there is some action thrown in as well. The danger room sequence is a lot of fun. Having Kitty just stand there as the young X-Men attempt to fight Sentinels was a witty move by Bendis. He has given the phasing mutant a solid voice and role within the book. He has made her very engaging here as she handles Jean’s use of power, Scott’s secrets and Bobby’s crush with authority and compassion. Also Bobby’s crush adds a level of humour that doesn’t get in the way, but is still funny.
Moving away from the X-Men, Bendis propels Mystique’s plot forward. She has recruited Sabertooth and breaks out Lady Mastermind to help make a lot of money. This new angle for the villain continues on from her previous appearance. Her utter apathy for the mutant race is palpable, and Bendis gives her a compelling case for he new direction. The out for themselves mutants gives this new teaming of X-Villains an unpredictability to their actions that makes them an interesting addition. Also the Mystique subplot thematically ties into the rest of this issue’s overarching idea about the abuse of power. This subtext makes the issue a richer reading experience.
However the art is somewhat lacking. Stuart Immonen is back but his work seems to have taken a dip in quality. A lot of it is less distinct as his usual detailed art is missing on certain pages. Especially when dealing with Iceman and that final page. The Marvel Zombies homage is quite rough also. The danger room scene is better handled. It’s kinetic and quite dynamic, which allows the fight to pop off the page. Also his characters for the most part are expressive. So his art isn’t a write off at all, but you can’t help but notice how much Marte Gracia and Rain Beredo’s excellent colours elevate Immonen’s work.
Even though the art doesn’t quite impress, All New X-Men #9 is still a great read. Bendis has really excelled himself with this series and this issue is no different. His use of character and melodrama gives the book a unique identity within the Marvel Now! Initiative. His script explores his characters, from their motivations to their concerns, and in doing so he has delivered a compelling issue. With another visit from the Uncanny X-Men on the horizon, Bendis looks set to continue building All New X-Men into the best flagship title the franchise has had in a long time.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|A character driven piece that has a dash of action and humour. Also poses a nice moral quandary about the use of power.||Immonen’s aren’t lacks impact and seems a bit rushed in places.|