Angel and, uh, Angel bond over a flyover that turns into a battle between X-Man(s) and HYDRA.
Readers get a clear view of how far Angel has come from his 1963 debut. By creating a situation that highlights the differences between the younger and more uptight Angel to the carefree and veteran present version, scribe Brian Michael Bendis shows what kind of distance a character can travel in 50 years.
When Angel first debuted, he was the young and wealthy Warren Worthington III — a mutant whose powers manifested themselves in the wings that grew out of his shoulder blades. His elitist attitude caused problems in the group, and over the years, Angel found himself the target of those outside the group who wanted to change and control him. Eventually becoming Archangel after Apocalypse gave him new metallic wings, Worthington became an efficient killer able to fly at high speeds, shoot poisoned “feathers,” and cut through objects in his flight path.
The physical change affected the character’s personality, and Archangel struggled internally with what he’d become. He eventually grew back his feathered wings only to become overtaken again by the Archangel persona. After he died, he returned to the living in his current state as an amnesiac.
Complicated history aside, the pair of Angels make a formidable duo who manage to stifle HYDRA’s plans to take over Avengers Tower. When the Avengers return — and in due time — Captain America realizes something’s amiss. The Captain calls for an immediate meeting between himself and Hank McCoy and comes face to face with the younger version of the most wanted mutant on the planet, Scott Summers.
It’s a great issue with a lot of internal mechanics. We see and understand how it feels for the X-Men to meet future versions of themselves. Things would be more cheery if the future was pleasant, but the world is a place in which the former leader of the X-Men is a wanted murderer, his ex-wife is dead — again — and the mutant population has dwindled to several hundred.
Exploring the past by bringing its people into the present and having them exist alongside and in contrast to their older selves, Bendis develops motivations by creating history. Questions as to why Jean Grey, Ms. Marvel herself, could ever reach the point of destroying the entire universe and its lifeforms become answered as the pendulum swings from one side of weakness to the other side of control.
It’s been years since the X-Men first hit stores, and they’ve come a long way. All-New X-Men is that family reunion, the one with the uncles talking about how tall the kids have grown. A cousin says you’ve gained weight, and your friends start to realize how big you’ve gotten.
We don’t always see what’s in front of us until we pull out those old family photos.
Big ups to David Marquez for creating panels filled with great range — the first half is filled with bombastic action while the second half tells its story through character expressions. Marquez’s pencils/inks are clean and crisp, and Marte Garcia’s colors have a sheen that keeps things tight while influencing the mood. The issue’s art high point, or highest point — it really has a lot going for it — is the interaction shown between Kitty Pryde and Bobby Drake as they parody the conversation between Captain America and Hank McCoy.
It’s a comical scene that could have been very serious, but the outcome is precious and memorable.
All-New X-Men keeps it interesting, and that’s a hard thing to do. In issue #8, readers get to see a little bit of the past. We all know how it ends, so to speak, but that doesn’t mean we know where it’s going.
All-New X-Men (2012)
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Words: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: David Marquez
Colors: Marte Gracia
Letters: Cory Petit