Monday, September 9, 2013

Book Review: All-new X-Men. Vol. 1, Yesterday's X-Men by by Brian Michael Bendis (Author), and Stuart Immonen (Illustrations)

During Avengers vs. X-Men,Cyclops, leader of various teams of the X-Men for, oh, forever, possessed/was possessed by the Phoenix force. He went from slightly obsessed with preserving the remaining mutants to flat-out crazy dark in no time flat. After the Phoenix force was dealt with, he was briefly penitent, but because the world hates-and-fears mutants, he was pushed back into darkness in record time.

Now he's teamed up with Magneto, who is back to being evil again, and is declaring a mutant revolution. In order to stop him, Beast imports the past X-Men with the idea that the young, idealistic Scott will be able stop cynical, evil Scott, or at least make him feel good and guilty.

It's an interesting idea, but there's not much room for it to grow here. Yesterday's X-Men is very much a stage-setting volume and what comes after might or might not develop into something character-driven and fun, but for the moment, I'm left wondering. I have liked X-Men stories in the past--devoured them in fact--but I'm starting to wonder if the series and I are going to get along very well this time around. Maybe I should go back to the independents again.

As with the whole Avengers vs. X-Men series (or at least, all I've read of it; there seem to be an uncountable number of side books) a good many things happen "because plot." I know the "hates and fears" thing is part of the whole X-Men schtick and has been from the beginning, but there's very little refinement here. Three different teens, two with completely non-scary power manifestations (one is a healer), are surrounded by the authorities the moment their powers show. Their parents disown them. Their friends don't like them any more. Really? Come on. I know people are weird, scary, and unpredictable. They're also disorganized, prone to letting things go, and actually capable of loving their children, friends, and relations. It's been years since "the mutant gene" first manifested, and I have a hard time thinking that most of the world still panics at the thought of non-explody mutants. See what I mean about me and the series?

Also, I have to take a moment to whine about Cyclops: I rather liked the idealistic version, and I've been frustrated by various writers working over the years to make him more interesting, usually by adding a lot of angst and anger to his character and subtracting any and all thought and planning from his skill set.

As I mentioned earlier, the bulk of this volume is spent setting the scene and bringing the old team forward. There's not much time for present X-men to interact with their past selves, or for the past selves to see the world and try to cope with how it has changed and how they--their future selves--have responded. It'll be interesting to see how that develops, and whether the various writers can handle the oversized team(s?) that will result.

Until next time!

Yesterday's X-Men on Goodreads
Yesterday's X-Men on Amazon

Did you write a review I should add? Know of one? If so, contact me and let me know!

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