writer: Brian Michael Bendis / artist: Chris Bachalo / Marvel Comics
So, Brian Bendis started off with a lot of promise when he first brought us “The Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier.” It opened up strong as a poignant look at a fractured family brought back together under complete duress to put their fallen patriarch’s final affairs in order. Then, it started to drag a bit. It dragged a lot, actually. There were two issues that, despite being structurally on point, lagged on like the second season of the The Wire. But the time has finally come to wrap it up. Can Bendis finish strong?
When we left our mutant heroes, the latest Omega level mutant, Matthew Mallow, was running amok, frightened, alone and repeatedly naked. With Scott, Emma and Magik down for the count, young (or newly not-so-young) recruit Eva Bell uses her time bending powers to do the potentially stupidest thing she could possibly do: get a younger Charles Xavier and bring him to the present for guidance. Even despite this being a bad idea, Young Xavier’s interactions with the other recruits is easily the most engaging of the issue.
Bendis also uses this as a great platform to checker Xavier’s past a bit because in case you didn’t know this already, there are few figureheads throughout history that haven’t dirtied their hands. Meanwhile, while I was fully prepared to hate Chris Bachalo’s artwork this time, he managed to make an issue that didn’t have a whole lot of action beat (his strength) work really well. Usually, there would be a lot of awkward looking faces during the exposition scence, but Bachalo seems to have improved as the arc has gone on.
Bottom Line: The payoff simply didn’t justify the awkward lag for the past couple of issues, but Bendis and Bachalo still managed to make an awesome read. 8 out of 10.