Tue
Dec 4 2012 4:00pm
5 Reasons You Should Be Reading All New X-Men

Five reasons you should be reading All New X-MenThere have been a lot of shake-ups lately in the world of comics. In the DC universe, the Joker is running amok once again trying to kill everyone in the Batman family. Vertigo is ending their long-running Hellblazer series. Dark Horse is sending Hellboy to Hell. Meanwhile, over at Marvel, the after-effects of the Avengers versus X-Men story arc have altered the flow of the X-Men world forever. The staging ground for Marvel’s newest event is called Marvel Now, and it’s giving fans some new books and new creative teams to be excited about. Among them is a brand new series called All New X-Men.

“But wait,” you might say. "What is so exciting about a new New X-Men comic? What could they possibly do that they haven’t done before?’

Well...can you say time-traveling original X-Men? Read on for five good reasons why you should absolutely check out the newest X-offering from Brian Michael Bendis.

(Warning: Spoilers included for the All-New X-Men #1)

1) The X-Men Reborn...But Not Rebooted

The premise of All New X-Men was leaked during the height of AvX, inspiring a lot of fan curiosity and (well-deserved) concern. The original X-Men are brought forward in time to the present day? Jean Grey is given a second shot at life? What’s going on here? As further details were released, the story became clearer. Original X-Man Beast witnesses the havoc caused by Cyclops, who has gone from leader of the X-Men to a mutant “liberator” whose extremist tactics are making the planets’ humans just a little nervous. So Beast hits on a plan to go back in time to the simpler days when he and Cyke were just idealistic young X-Men and assemble the original team of Iceman, Cyclops, himself, Angel, and Jean Grey to travel forward in time to talk some sense into Cyclops before it’s too late.

Five reasons you should be reading All New X-MenSounds crazy, right? So much could potentially go wrong in a storyline that’s so out there. Yet the first issue of All New X-Men proves that the storyline is in good hands, with stellar writing by the award-winning Brian Michael Bendis. Bendis is known for crafting massive storylines that shake up the Marvel universe, like the controversial Avengers Disassembled and Secret War, and he doesn’t balk at handling something as bizarre as time travel in a serious way. The X-Men history is full of time travel storylines, but very few have been as intensely character driven as this. It’s a story in which the idealism of youth is pitted against the jaded moral relativism of old heroes pushed too far, with the future of mutantkind hanging in the balance. The premise is full of opportunities for great character exploration and character growth for a lot of old fan favorites. And speaking of fan favorites....

2) Finally, Beast Gets Some Love

Five reasons you should be reading All New X-Men

“I am mutating. And it is killing me.”

All-New X-Men begins with two sentences that set the stage for how serious this new comic line will be. Apparently, the Beast’s mutation is continuing its path towards evolution, and the consequences could be fatal for our favorite feline-looking blue super genius. In the little time he’s got left, Beast has decided to become the badass we’ve all known for a long time he could be and put a serious crimp in Cyclops’ extremist ways. This brand new groove for Beast is a welcome change—it’s been a while since he’s had the spotlight in any book. In the past, Beast has been bounced from the Avengers to the X-Teams and back, always relegated to the “brain” post while the writers elevated other mutants to center stage. Hank McCoy has always been a complicated, brilliant character, one that has been shunted to the side for too long. Now, All-New X-Men is a chance for him to be front and center, as the catalyst for a major change. And change certainly seems to be on the way, for a lot of our favorite characters....

3) New Slates, New Awakenings

Five reasons you should be reading All New X-MenOne of the most interesting aspects of this new series lies in the character dynamics that these old New X-Men are going to bring to the X-Men universe. The original five are going to arrive in the modern Marvel world and have to learn about all the decisions they made in their lives—and come to terms with what that means. The first of these, of course, will be Cyclops as young, earnest Scott, who’ll have to face the devastation caused by his later incarnation, Phoenix Cyclops. Young Hank McCoy will have to look his big furry future in the face, while Iceman will get to discover just how much of his adult life he’s spent taking a backseat. Yet Angel and Jean Grey will have the most traumatic revelations in store for them, as they discover that they both led tumultuous lives and then, effectively, died. Though Angel came back from his recent demise, his original personality was wiped clean. And Jean... well....

4) Jean Grey Is Dead. Welcome Back, Jean.

Five reasons you should be reading All New X-MenThe multiple resurrections of Jean Grey throughout the X-Men comics are often cited by fans as an example of Marvel’s inability to keep any character dead for long. But All-New X-Men has found a new way to reintroduce the character without all the baggage, bringing the fresh-faced Marvel Girl into the modern era. No longer burdened by her death/resurrection/cloning cycle, this is a Jean Grey with an opportunity to start fresh. Sure, it’s as a time-traveling teenage mutant, but for fans of the original five X-Men and Jean in particular, it’s a chance at a new lease on life that comes with a built-in emotional story arc. When young Jean learns about all that happened to her, what will her reaction be? After all, the new mutant school is posthumously named after her! How will she respond to the Cyclops of the modern day and his crusade to “liberate” all mutants from oppression? How will she cope with her legacy of destruction as the Phoenix? Better yet, how will she deal with her daughter from an alternate timeline, Rachel Grey Summers? All this should make for some great character development for a character who had been stuck in a rut for some time before her death.

5) A Great New Start—All Fans Welcome!

Five reasons you should be reading All New X-Men

One of the most off-putting problems encountered by would-be new comic readers is the daunting task of catching up on the years of back issues that comprise X-Men history. A Wikipedia search couldn’t possibly provide everything a new fan would need to know just to keep the all the twisting strands of X-History straight in their heads. With this storyline, Brian Michael Bendis offers fans a chance to step into the story already in progress through the fresh perspective of the time-hopping X-kids. These wide-eyed teens will be just as lost as their prospective new readers will be, and the retrospective look back at their own histories could give fans the foothold they need to fully discover the X-Men legacy for the first time. Then, as a bonus, fans new and old get to experience these new adventures as part of the package, keeping us all hooked. Instead of resorting to a massive reboot, Bendis and Marvel have found an elegant, story-based solution to finding the perfect jumping-on point for new fans that could provide a bright new future for our favorite mutant heroes.

After reading the first issue of All New X-Men, readers have been left with tons of questions: Why do the X-teens get stuck in the future? How will they cope with seeing what they’ve done with their lives? What will that mean for the timeline? How does Cyclops respond to meeting his past self? Will Beast survive his mutation? And how will they ever get back? All New X-Men offers these questions as proof that this new story offers the chance to take risks with the franchise in a really compelling way. How well it will go from here, the future only knows.


Shoshana Kessock is a comics fan, photographer, game developer, LARPer and all around geek girl. She’s the creator of Phoenix Outlaw Productions and ReImaginedReality.com.

9 comments
Dave Thompson
1. DKT
I might give this a go. I've been waiting for a good X-Men storyline since both Grant Morrison and Joss Whedon's runs, and this might be it. When's it coming out?
solarsoul25
2. solarsoul25
Wow, you have convinced me. I have been interested in jumping into comics for awhile now (I am 28 and never got seriously into them, but am now looking for new hobbies), but the overwhelming history behind them is pretty daunting. This sounds like a good one to give a try!
solarsoul25
3. arby64
Jean Grey is given a second shot at life?

I think we are way past second at this point.
Colleen Palmer
4. arianrose
I've been an X-Men fan off and on for about 20 years now (pause while my head spins. Oof). I picked up All New X-Men mostly because of my own frustration with the Schism plotline, and a desire to see how the bizarre plotline would play out.

I loved it. The story is tight, the dialog precise, and the art is magnificent, even viewed digitally on my smartphone. I'm really looking forward to the rest of this arc. It's even getting me out of my habit of waiting for trades.
solarsoul25
5. Earl Rogers
One good reason to not read this comic:

Brian Michael Bendis.

His dialogue has been exquisitely clunky and odd so far, especially when he has Bobby explaining things about Scott Summers to Ororo and Kitty like they haven't known and worked with Scott for considerably longer than Bobby and Scott did in the original X- Men days.
Alan Brown
6. AlanBrown
When I heard the premise for this new series, I was quite honestly not looking forward to it, as it is a pretty contrived set-up. But it is quite well executed, and I am finding it very enjoyable.
There is the mystery hanging over it all of how the 'time stream' will be restored, so these characters will grow up into the characters they are now meeting in the future. If, indeed, it ever does get resolved at all, as time travel rules are pretty slippery in comic books.
I myself am very much enjoying seeing the old characters. In particular, I enjoy seeing Hank McCoy back in his old, glasses-wearing form, and the team interacting the way they did back when I first met them.
One of the most interesting things to see will be how Wolverine reacts to this--his unrequited love suddenly reborn, fresh, young and beautiful. Somehow I doubt he will let this new chance at love slip away.
So, count me as one skeptic who has become a believer.
solarsoul25
7. chaosprime
I'm really enjoying the whole thing where we've reached the point where the present continuity is, reasonably and believably, a dark future that needs to reach back for the help of the innocent and idealistic past to save it.

And I don't care what anybody says, I would happily shank anyone who isn't named Ellis or Morrison for more Bendis dialogue. (Of course, I read New Exiles not that long ago, so I might have a skewed perspective on just how horrific normal "comic-booky" dialogue is.)
Chris Hawks
8. SaltManZ
I picked up issue #2 today, not realizing it wasn't the first issue, or that the third issue was out as well.

For background, I got into the X-Men with Uncanny in the 260s-70s, and got out as Claremont was making his first comeback (shortly after the second X-Men series reached issue #100.) I haven't really paid significant attention to the Marvel universe since.

For all that, I loved this issue. The banter of the original members was a delight, and the decision they made at the end of the issue was just perfect.
solarsoul25
9. Sandinista
I love how Marvel are always claiming a series is a "great jumping in point!" or "no back knowledge needed!" when everyone knows it's a bunch of BS. They are just trying to drum up sales.

To even BEGIN to fully understand, much less enjoy, this overhyped, gimmicky new series from Bendis you have to know about M-Day, Hope Summers, the evolution of Cyclops in the last 4 years or so and the events of Schism. That's years of storylines right there. Utterly impenetrable to the newbie.

And what I find hilarious is that even though Marvel is desperate for new readers they insist on constantly making things worse by making it as hard as possible for new readers to figure out how or where to start reading.

For example, a new "New Mutants" series was started in 2003...it was cancelled a year later and its characters moved to a title named "New X-Men: Academy X"... not to be confused with the recently ended "New X-Men" by Grant Morrison...this title was cancelled in 2008 and its characters and storylines moved to "Young X-Men". ..and so on.

How can anyone hope that a casual reader will know where to start reading? I'm an experienced comic book reader of more than 20 years and even I needed several hours of Google help to try to piece together a reading list to help my friends catch up with modern X-Men.

Marvel seems desperate to alienate as many new readers as possible.

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