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[Comic Review] In Absentia — All-New X-Men #26

Cyclops’ departure from the classic X-Men squad leaves the rest of his team reeling as they seek answers in the wake of Jean Grey’s trial.

In All-New X-Men #26, we finally get some alone time with the elder Scott Summers and Jean as they discuss what’s been going on in everyone else’s minds, and the topics range from their current mindsets, drawing boundaries, and planning for the immediate future.

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All-New X-Men #24 Review

www.hypergeeky.comCan you be tried for a crime your older self committed?

In his zealous attempts to bring the Phoenix to justice, Gladiator has bitten off way more than he can chew. After kidnapping the young Jean Grey and putting her front and center in front of the known universe, Gladiator finds his own motivations are on trial when J’son of Spartax appears.

It’s then that J’son recounts how Gladiator had all of Jean’s family killed because of a theory that the Phoenix Force was attracted to the Grey genealogy.

J’son also makes a valid statement — having killed her family, has Gladiator only given the yet-to-be Phoenix a reason for revenge?

www.hypergeeky.comMeanwhile, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Starjammers, and the All-New X-Men have a plan to steal a Shi’ar spaceship. Using Angela as bait, the team flies into the Shi’ar homeworld unimpeded.

It’s this last quarter of the issue that really gets the blood flowing.

The hijacked ship lands in a mass of rubble, and Rocket Raccoon fires the first shots in an epic battle between the Shi’ar Imperial Guard led by Gladiator and the Jean Grey rescue squad.

A terse battle ends with a sort of stalemate when Jean appears and tells everyone, “You’re right. I am guilty. I am a monster.”

Well, that escalated quickly.

I take back what I said in the review for the last Guardians of the Galaxy issue when I questioned whether two issues were enough to complete this story. All-New X-Men #24 is a great chapter to set up the final issue before a double-sized issue celebrating an all-star jam. If that means an epilogue or something to set up young Scott Summers’ adventures with his father Corsair, then it looks like Brian Michael Bendis and company have it all planned out.

One issue away from the finale, we get more setup and a lot of complicated conflicts that really play around with the X-Men continuity. J’son pointing out the backwards logic in Gladiator’s preemptive trial only sets up what looks like a devastating attack by Jean who’s showing signs she may be connecting with the Phoenix.

But isn’t the Phoenix dead, wished away by Hope during AvX?

I’m excited to think of a possibility when present Hank McCoy realizes he didn’t just bring back the classic X-Men — he revived one of the most powerful forces in the universe.

Bendis is on point with great pointed dialogue, a plot that works down to the hijacking of the Shi’ar ship that shows how capable Angela is on combat, and a bit of that trademark humor.

Stuart Immonen’s pencils are fantastic, if not just for the characters and designs, but the cinematic compositions in each panel. Producers and directors, take notice — this is how the X-Men movies should look and feel.

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Wade Von Grawbadger’s inks do much for the feel — the dramatic shadows and the distinct lines that makes everything you see visually discernible. Marte Gracia’s colors also do an amazing job of creating atmosphere with emotional prompts. There’s the coldness of space, and the sunset over a destroyed Shi’ar city.

All of this solidifies All-New X-Men’s place in Marvel’s monthly catalogue, and anyone who bemoaned the creation of the title should give it a chance. After 24 solid issues of deconstructing the X-Universe and breathing life into this generation’s stories, Bendis has created a fine legacy as the present X-Father. The stories act both as a tribute and groundbreaking history for the X-Men canon, and the direction it’s going in could provide for some amazing stories to stand alongside Claremont and Byrne’s on the X-Men shelf.


Previous Issue in Story Arc: Guardians of the Galaxy #12 Review

Previous Issue: All-New X-Men #23 Review

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All-New X-Men #23 Review

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A few days ago, I imagined what I’d ask Brian Michael Bendis if I could get one question in for an interview.

“What is it about you that Marvel would put their X-Men franchise in your hands?”

Bendis is talented, obviously, and he’s shaping up to be the Chris Claremont of this generation. But that question wasn’t meant to get more information about what we already know — it’s what quality Bendis sees in himself.

What makes him the best man for this job, specifically? More than just work ethic or the ability to meet deadlines — what’s required of the man who would lead the X-Men back to its glory days as Marvel’s most dynamic and storied team?

In the way that Scott Snyder and Batman are tied together, Bendis is now the legal guardian of the X-Men, and after reading All-New X-Men #23, I feel one step closer to understanding why he’s the right wordsmith for the job.

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All-New X-Men #20 Review

www.hypergeeky.comLaura Kinney — Wolverine’s genetic clone — wakes up in her birthplace, the new home of the classic X-Men who have joined forces with Cyclops’ Uncanny X-Men team.

Waking up in Weapon X, the facility that created her, immediately puts X-23 into a defensive mode, and it doesn’t help that her senses tell her she’s with familiar but younger-looking faces.

Young Scott Summers takes the initiative to reach out to the startled Kinney, and his calm and cool demeanor keeps the volatile situation from getting further out of hand. Kinney would rather keep the details of her troubled past in the dark while taking her anger out on the Purifiers — the zealots the X-Men rescued Laura from last issue.

Returning to Florida for an attack on the Purifiers’ compound reveals the organization is led by William Stryker’s son. Just as the X-Men are about to claim another victory, Stryker unleashes a blast that leaves everyone in the room stunned.

The irony isn’t lost here — Stryker’s mission to rid the world of mutants possibly stems from the fact he himself is one. Papa Stryker will go down in history as one of the X-Men’s top villains, and for the classic X-Men who’ve yet to come face to face with him, their first battle with the Strykers happens here and now with the William’s progeny.

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That Brian Michael Bendis would create villains related to villains that would factor later/earlier into the X-Men’s story shows the field’s wide open for interesting conflicts. Bendis gets to play within a vast sandbox filled with history, characters, and plotlines weaving in time through twists and turns.

Add to that the awesomely ironic and budding romance between young Scott and Laura, a relationship that makes the already awkward situation between Summers and Jean Grey all the more complicated. It also adds a new perspective on Cyclops’ relationship with Wolverine, and the story has gained a new and interesting dimension that will hopefully be played up as the story progresses.

The revolving door of artists continues to turn with Brandon Peterson covering the second half of the book. Mahmud Asrar joins the creative team with an art style that’s closer to Stuart Immonen’s. Asrar’s doe-eyed characters are attractive and expressive, playing a huge part in getting the point and tone across for Kinney and Summers’ first interaction. Scott’s hug looks natural, effectively bringing back haunting adolescent memories, and Asrar gets the credit for getting it right.

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Peterson gets to draw the action-heavy second act, and though his young X-Men characters still look too old, the panels don’t lack for detail. Each panel is filled with cinematic compositions that really go above and beyond. Peterson took his time with the artwork, and it shows with the amount of work put forth in these pages.

Not to be outdone or ignored, Israel Silva and Marte Gracia’s colors look beautiful. Each page pops with color, and the shades add muscle tone along with facial highlights that add to the characters’ facial expressions. The concerted efforts between the members of the creative team form another solid book to the title.

Where the story goes from here remains to be seen, though the cover may provide the biggest hint of things to come. With X-23 joining the X-Men ranks, the X-Universe has added another great character to its ongoing story, and it’s an addition that adds intrigue to go along with that teenage drama.


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