Review: All-New X-Men #26
“It’s as if All-New X-Men is the slick Italian sports car of comic books: it’s very pretty to look at certainly, but it also has all the horses under its hood to take you on a dramatic, spellbinding ride that you’ll be hard-pressed to forget.”
All-New X-Men #26
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: Marte Gracia
It’s weird when I look back at old comics and old reviews I’ve written because time changes your perception of events after they’ve happened; my tastes have definitely changed, my perception of a book may have changed in lieu of the continuity that’s played out in the series as the story travels from Point A to Point B. Stuff just changes over time and, as readers, there is very little we can about it. My first published book review regarded Brian Michael Bendis’ work on New Avengers #26 way back in 2007…and now, here I am, picking up a copy of All-New X-Men #26 and I’m right back to square one with my feelings:
Brian Michael Bendis tells a good story…period.
All-New X-Men #26, much like nearly every issue of this MARVEL NOW book, is a pitch-perfect example of a “great” X-Men title. I think Bendis’ knack for quirky, naturalistic banter is his greatest strength in an issue that is a segue between story arcs. His ability to dance his characters around with witty repartee leads to juxtaposed moments of sincerity like “Old” Cyclops and “Young” Jean Grey finally speaking to one another candidly or the fact that readers are fed a very thought-provoking beat amidst all of the issue’s lighter tones that begins to re-examine the entire existence of this book and the ramifications of Beast’s decision to travel back and “time-nap” the very young, “original five” X-Men.
There are times where well-read fans of comics (especially X-Men fans) question the use of mechanisms like “time travel” and “divergent time lines” but I think that Bendis has done a very good job of creating a new, mysterious problem that almost seems anti-paradoxical. The time-lost original X-Men are unable to return home so the obvious question seems to be, “Why aren’t things changing at all?” It’s almost as if the current status quo of Bendis’ run on All-New (as well as Uncanny) could very well be a meta-critical look at all of the problems created by the X-Men’s previous creators and their absolute butchering of linear time without taking in the consequences of stories to come.
I’d be remiss to not mention Stuart Immonen’s prowess as a storyteller; it’s not a secret whatsoever. He’s easily one of the best artists in mainstream comics today. Immonen’s work shines brightly with the expert hands of inker Wade Von Grawbadger and colorist Marte Gracia; their cohesion is so perfect that every page is technically dynamic and so seamlessly sublime that you’ll simply speed through an issue of their work effortlessly. It’s as if All-New X-Men is the slick Italian sports car of comic books: it’s very pretty to look at certainly, but it also has the all the horses under its hood to take you on dramatic, spellbinding ride that you’ll be hard-pressed to forget.
As a lifelong X-Men reader with roughly 30 years invested in these characters, I have to say that All-New X-Men is as close as it gets to having the expansive Claremont-era storylines that elude modern comics in their current truncated, made-for-trade 5-issue state of being. Bendis’ deft storytelling coupled with Immonen’s smooth, iconic style makes reading an issue of All-New X-Men a refreshing experience when it is compared to other less organized, less cohesive monthly books from the ‘Big 2’. If you haven’t been on board since #1, now’s the time to go back and gather up the trades because this train has already left the station, #26 is the perfect moment to hop aboard for one Marvel’s best monthly titles…before [spoiler alert] the futuristic Brotherhood returns to destroy them in two weeks!