Don’t let the cover fool you — this issue is all about training.
After Kitty Pryde’s sudden switch to Cyclops’ X-Men team, the class X-Men get acclimated to living in Weapon X with their new teammate Magneto.
It’s a strange time for the classic X-Men, and the teenage love triangle continues as Hank McCoy questions Jean Grey about her decision to flee with young Scott Summers during the Battle of the Atom story arc. The jealousy goes up a tier when young Scott walks in on the squabble. Jean tunes in psychically and listens in on both of her wanna-be suitors until the anger in her causes her to rise — literally.
All-New X-Men #18 is a great jump-on point for readers looking to get into X-Men. Brian Michael Bendis’ writing style is easy to follow with dialogue that’s natural. There’s an easy-breezy feel to the text, and the intelligent scripting stays grounded and fresh.
In one scene, Bendis takes the opportunity to further explore Illyana Rasputin’s relationship with Kitty Pryde, and their conversation about Colossus turns into a great moment. When Illyana uncharacteristically goes in for a hug, Kitty characteristically reacts by phasing. The awkwardness, drawn beautifully by Stuart Immonen, lets the characters spill on their feelings without feeling overdone and forced. It’s an awesome one on one, and hopefully there will be more of them.
The classic X-Men get brand new uniforms courtesy of Magik’s magic, and the Power Rangers color scheming seems a little jarring at first. The modern look feels a little uniform-ish, and it brands the teens very differently than the rest of Cyclops’ team who look much more stylish and intimidating. I get what they’re going for — the classic X-Men are students in training, and they don’t get the cool suits just yet. I have to say I’m a little worried about the “teens with attitude” direction — if that’s what the creative team is going for.
Besides character design, it’s a welcome sight to see Immonen still on the title. His artwork is easy to interpret, has a lot of detail with dramatic flair, and it’s attractive to the eye. It reminds me of Terry Dodson’s work — the characters are active and expressive.
The inks and colors by Wade Von Grawbadger and Marte Gracia are top notch. The levels have a great range from abyss-level blacks to bright reds, and the contrasting colors between Jean’s red hair and the Stepfords’ blonde, creates visual tension in the panels. Overall, it’s eye-catching and brilliant, even when the color scheme goes monochromatic — for instance, when Eva Bell shows Bobby Drake his new room — the bluish hues give the panels distinction.
All-New X-Men gives new and old readers of the X-Men titles more of what we’d expect — drama and conflict. The team will have to overcome love squares, the modern world, villains, and its own membership. In comic book terms, it’s a tremendous list worth checking out on a month to month basis.
All-New X-Men #18 (2012)
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Words: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Stuart Immonen
Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors: Marte Gracia
Letters: Cory Petit
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