So, Brian Bendis’ “Vs. SHIELD” resolution in Uncanny X-Men turned out to be a bit of a letdown. I mean, as far as I can tell, the guy could have very well spun a wheel of random villains and came up with that reveal. Fortunately for him, he was given an opportunity to repent for his X-sins this week with All New X-Men (in addition to issue 3 of United States of Murder Inc….you really should be reading that shit). Fortunately for us, the readers, he atones for his transgressions twice over as far as I’m concerned.
This week is the issue that brings the Original Five’s war with the All New Brotherhood to a close. Where we’d seen a lot of flashback/flashforward action in the previous couple of installments, the conclusion happens primarily in the present. I have to appreciate the way the X-Men manage to turn the tables on Evil Xavier Jr. and his army because it brought Bendis’ vision for what makes this book unique into focus. It’s becoming clear that the whole reason these younger, inexperienced versions of characters we know and love are different characters altogether just by being in the present. Jean Grey’s ever-evolving powers are symbolic that the team, despite being from the past, is capable of giving familiar enemies something they’ve never seen before.
Also, I am loving X-23’s addition to the team. I could go ahead and make the joke that “every X-team needs a Wolverine” but Bendis makes her feel like her own person separate from Logan lore and if there’s one thing any Wolverine-based character needs now more than ever, it’s to separate themselves from Wolverine. Seriously. This issue is also (to my great dismay) Stuart Immonen’s last issue on the book and he leaves on a decidedly high note. His action beats are vibrant and fun while still imposing a sense of danger and mystery in each panel. Immonen is in maximum “showing off mode” when he goes in between the physical realm and the psychic plane. The tone he’s brought to this book will be missed dearly.
Bottom Line: Bendis killed it in enjoyable Bendis fashion. A great way to finish off the All New Brotherhood (seriously, Marvel, you left money on the table not using my name) storyline and see Stuart Immonen off. 9 out of 10.