The future has returned with an attack on the New Xavier School by the Brotherhood of Evil X-Men.
With Raze preoccupying the All-New X-Men in the cafeteria, Xorn takes out the Stepford Cuckoos by hijacking Mindee’s mind.
That leaves Emma Frost, Scott Summers, and the young Jean Grey to stand up to the mauraders. With one gigantic blast, Cyclops empties the tunnel of the invaders for a quick regroup.
While the battle itself is entertaining enough, the main purpose of All-New X-Men #27 is to give Xavier a backstory interspersed between the issue’s proceedings.
The first flashback takes place one year ago with his birth. Born to Moira MacTaggert — she’s later revealed to be Mystique — the young Xavier is quickly abandoned when MacTaggert recollects how Professor X was killed.
Years later into the future, teenage Xavier begins to experience intense pains that results in the accidental killing of his adoptive mother. Using his powers to find his real mother, he meets half-brother Raze posing in Madripoor.
How that ties in to Battle of the Atom isn’t directly clear. Xavier and his Brotherhood charged back into time to send the All-New X-Men home, but Xavier’s existence began before Hank McCoy decided to mess with time and space.
At issue’s end, Xavier and young Jean meet in mindspace to have a chat as Grey demands answers.
The issue is a whirlwind of scenes mixed together to explain one man’s journey to this point in time. We get a bit of his motivation, his heritage, and his tactical prowess — but we’re still not sure what he’s looking for.
That the Brotherhood achieves their goal so quickly speaks to team’s efficiency as well as the weaknesses of the former Phoenix Five who are still broken. Cyclops’ one optic beam leaves him down but not out, and I wish he didn’t seem so vulnerable without his mutant power — in terms of combat ability, he’s gone up against Wolverine and lived to lead another day.
Granted, the Brotherhood is 1/3 psychic, we don’t get much in terms of hand to hand this issue with only Raze spilling any blood and Emma knocking out Jean Grey with right cross. The rest are either mentally incapacitated or waiting for Xavier’s next move.
In terms of script, Brian Michael Bendis shows his word-fu with a brisk pace that doesn’t take any of the 20 or so pages for granted. Each panel moves the story along, and the reactions and dialogue seemed very natural and pertinent.
I like that Raze never quits with the scheming as he goes from posing as Laura Kinney, to his original form, then back to Kinney again in an attempt to confuse the X-Men. He fails when he tries to mimic the young Scott Summers’ dorky nature, and it gets him a Beast punch to the face.
The exchange between Raze and Xavier also works really well — we’re not sure why Raze killed his mother, but it makes sense someone would finally get tired of her antics.
As usual, the words are brought to life by Stuart Immonen’s pencils, Wade Von Grawbadger’s inks, and Marte Gracia’s colors, and Cory Petit’s letters.
I know I don’t give much credit to the letterers, and that’s not meant as a slight — it’s just something I have very little expertise or opinion on. Still, I very much like Petit’s way of keeping the growls and groans within the text bubbles with some added effect. Petit’s job is a tough one, but he does it extremely well. While Bendis is in charge of driving the story and creating sound through dialogue, the visual team prompts our imaginations through art. The letterer’s job is to create sound through visuals, from the claw stabbings to the huge optic blast explosions.
Immonen, Von Grawbadger, and Gracia are in fine form this issue — as usual. Characters look great, expressions are lively, and yada, yada, yada. You’ve read it all before in my reviews on All-New X-Men, and if I wanted to point anything out, it’s the consistency for as long as Immonen, Von Grawbadger, and Gracia are producing the work in the panels.
That said, All-New X-Men would probably be more amazing if it came in at 40 pages each issue. Bendis’ story can’t be stopped — it can only be contained — and the issues are one cliffhanger after another.
What I want to see are positive developments that give closure. It seems we’re getting a lot of building blocks, and that’s great for building tension and excitement for what’s to come. But I want my cake and eat it too.
Now, let me eat.
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