Now that the classic X-Men have decided to stay in the present — or have had their minds made up, so to speak– it’s time for training.
Kitty Pryde gives the original, and young, five a chance to show off their skills with a Sentinel attack staged in the Danger Room’s version of Times Square. The team shows they’re nowhere near battle-ready — at least not for this decade — as they dive headfirst into the fray. Readers get to see the team tackle on a squad of giant robots and fail miserably due to poor planning and lack of strategy.
Seeing the historic team fight the future brings to mind bar discussions about how well yesteryear’s athletes would do in modern competitions.
There are bright spots and potential — Jean Grey begins to harness her burgeoning telepathic powers, and Cyclops starts to take charge, showing off some of the leadership abilities that made him Professor Xavier’s star pupil. Professor Pryde’s accolades shine a spotlight on the young Scott Summers which causes Grey to poke around in his mind.
Controversy begins to swirl around Cyclops’ meeting with the shape-shifting mutant, and the timing brings the situation closer to a boil as Mystique and Sabertooth free Lady Mastermind from a maximum security prison. Mystique, finding herself without direction and no reason to fight with or against humanity, has decided to use her talents for self-gain. The team under construction looks like it will be filled with heavy hitters ready to make an impact sometime in the future.
It’s another solid issue with Stuart Immonen back on pencils. David Marquez did a wonderful job in Immonen’s place, and there’s a lot to appreciate when it comes to critiquing either artist’s panels.
While Marquez’s artwork was distinguished by its clean layouts and designs, Immonen’s shadows and lighting detail bring an atmospheric look to the title, especially in the Times Square pages. The inks by Wade Von Grawbadger have a layered look with thick muscled blacks that go along with delicate facial features. A change in the coloring department as colorist Marte Gracia is joined by Rain Beredo might be the extra push that plays up the drama on the color contrasts causing the artwork to pop off the page in vibrant bursts this issue, particularly with a two-page spread lit up by Jean Grey’s fire-red hair. With the mask off, Grey’s red hair looks great without looking artificial, and the similarity between her locks and Cyclops’ ruby red glasses connects the two X-Men teammates.
It’s hard to say what will happen as a result of Hank McCoy’s tampering with time, and from this side of the page, it seems presumptuous to assume that Jean Grey are going to fall in love, especially with the pair having knowledge of how things turn out. Whether writer Brian Michael Bendis will tie up loose ends or obliterate continuity remains to be seen, and many things are possible at this juncture as Bendis may revisit classic storylines, like the Phoenix saga and Days of Future Past.
When Angel and present-Beast discuss the purpose of bringing the X-Men to the here and now, the plot thickens as Beast realizes his mission could have the unintended effect of making the future happen even sooner. A meeting between Cyclops and Cyclops puts Wolverine and the rest of the school on edge, and the issue ends there. Excitement describes what I’m feeling, and All-New X-Men’s successful run fuels that emotion with some serious gas ready to burn.
All-New X-Men #9 (2012)
Words: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Stuart Immonen
Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors: Marte Gracia and Rain Beredo
Letters: Cory Petit