When Cyclops — the present version — showed up at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning last issue, the scene was set for a possible epic showdown between the rival X-Men teams. With three different X-Men teams present, the fight could have gone in a spectacular amount of directions depending on how and who the members allied themselves.
In issue #10, no physical battles are fought. Instead, cooler heads prevail as the lines are drawn, invitations are given, and Cyclops proves he has the upper hand as his team goes about as it pleases. While the X-Men team calling the Jean Grey School their home want justice for the murder of Professor Xavier, no one — save for Krakoa — even attempts to throw a punch or claim a citizen’s arrest.
Despite the lack of physical violence, a flurry of verbal exchanges gives Cyclops the chance to prove he’s not the only one who’s made a controversial decision in the X-Men’s immediate history. The possessing of the five X-Men by the Phoenix Force didn’t happen by chance — it was Iron Man’s interference which diverted the Phoenix away from Hope — and the original team realizes it’s been kept in the dark. The distrust comes to a head as the issue ends with a surprise twist when one of the original X-Men members chooses a new side and takes their place on Team Cyclops.
But who is it?
Brian Michael Bendis nails it with tight scripting that elevates tension. Without wasting what’s already there — those invisible but thick conflicts hanging in the air — Bendis lets the heavy-hitters have their say with dialogue that adds more layers to an escalating situation. When past-Cyclops realizes the truth’s been trimmed, the ripples of mistrust begin to make waves. The confrontation with Hank McCoy gives Scott a chance to question authority and investigate what really happened.
Issue #10 also shows what’s going on in Mystique’s world as her team accomplishes another lucrative heist. The body count from their violent rampages rises, and it looks like the X-Men — which team to be determined — will have to step in and stop the madness before the world decides to exterminate mutants as a whole.
The pencils by Stuart Immonen look great as usual, though I did have issues with Wolverine’s exaggerated expressions. Issue #10 switches from a few pages of intense action to an intensely dramatic second and third act that’s executed with moody colors, expert scene composition, and character posturing that visualizes the scenes. It’s multi-dimensional, and the creative team’s ability to go with the flow makes this title one of the better Marvel books each month.
All-New X-Men has been consistently good with tight writing, unpredictable plotting, and heavy situations that pique interest. Issue #10 continues the streak of expert writing and art, and the title delivers with bang for the buck. Expectations are high, and fans want to see where it all leads. If Marvel can keep the current creative team together, All-New X-Men could very well be Classic X-Men.
All-New X-Men #10 (2012)
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Words: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Stuart Immonen
Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors: Marte Gracia and Rain Beredo
Letters: Cory Petit
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