If the All-New X-Men were getting at all accustomed to their place here in the present — well, that’s gone out the window.
Not only are they in the wrong time, they’re suddenly also in the wrong universe.
The original X-Men ran to the rescue of a mutant discovering her powers only to be sent to the Ultimate universe a few days past Galactus’ attack. Last we saw, Jean Grey was introducing herself to Miles Morales, the Spider-Man of Earth-1610.
All-New X-Men #32 brings us up to speed with the rest of the teammates. Angel finds himself in the Savage Land where he meets Wolverine’s son Jimmy Hudson. Hudson recognizes Angel’s face, but the scent’s all wrong.
Hank McCoy lands on a beach somewhere in Europe. The scenery goes from romantic getaway to the Legion of Doom (Doctor Doom, that is) as McCoy comes to realize he’s been sent to Latveria. X-23 pops up in the middle of a football game. Flashing her claws sends everyone out of the stadium in a hurry as the athletes and spectators alike flee from the presence of a mutant. And as for Bobby Drake — he’s quickly overrun by Mole Man’s horde somewhere underground.
The main focus of the issue revolves around Grey’s encounter with Morales. Tapping into his mind, she takes in all of the major events — from childhood to spider bite, Peter Parker’s death to Galactus coming to feed. Morales, aware of the portal to another dimension, takes Jean to Amadeus Cho’s lab. The young scientist would love to help Jean and her team get home, but there’s a huge problem — the portal’s gone.
All-New X-Men #32 is cut and dry, an issue that makes sure to include the various X-Men coming to grips with what’s happening. I like that the situations are becoming more dire for each character, though I wish there had been a bit more urgency to ramp up the pace. We see X-23 crashing her bike in order to make a getaway, but it doesn’t seem anything out of the ordinary, seeing as how bad things had gotten for her in her own universe.
The scripts are well-done, and the scenes last as long as they need to in order to give readers a glimpse of what’s going on. Brian Michael Bendis doesn’t create any surprises here, but his writing’s solid. Mole Man seeing Iceman in his midst is well written — I love that he’s as confused as anyone else would be with a living snowman in his midst.
As for Mahmud Asrar — last issue, the artwork seemed a bit rough, especially coming from someone with Asrar’s talents. It’s much better this time around with Marte Gracia’s colors taking full advantage of the details. The Mole Man scene is incredibly atmospheric with details coming out via Gracia’s shading. The lines throughout seems more polished, and I’m not getting that sense Asrar’s fudging the panels the way it felt last issue. I still have issue’s with Grey’s lips — it looks as though she needs a napkin to wipe off whatever she ate.
Overall, there’s not much to say about All-New X-Men #32. It’s not a filler issue because there are several threads working parallel to each other with the main plot spinning towards getting these X-Men back to their universe — or not.
And it’s also not the most gripping story for the moment — the scenes go about presenting danger in various forms for the X-Men, but it hardly creates the need to have Ultimate Spider-Man pop up in an X-Men book. The idea’s cool and all, but this story arc desperately needs some buildup and relevant plot points. I, for one, want the title focusing more on the clear and present dangers of being displaced by time. This Ultimate Universe story feels more like a distraction at the moment.
But what’s to come could definitely turn these feelings inside-out. I’m not going to write this issue off — it’s the journey in between the beginning and ending. So far, this story arc hasn’t gotten off to an awesome start, lacking that punch and gumption I’ve come to expect from the title. There needs to be a why for this what, and I think the real value of this story will be seen from the next set of issues. Remember, it’s not how you start — it’s how you finish. The payoff could be the end justifying the means.
Let’s hope so.
All-New X-Men #32 (2013)
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Words: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Mahmud Asrar
Colors: Marte Gracia
Letters: Cory Petit