All New X-Men #20
By Brian Michael Bendis, Brandon Peterson & Mahmud Asrar
This is a cover that caused quite a stir. X-23 kissing Scott Summer. A Wolverine clone kissing a time displaced Cyclops. As is usually the case with these types of things, the cover isn’t always that relevant to the story and just there to build hype and buzz. Well, in this case, mission accomplished.
Last time, X-23 was assisted and brought in by the All-New X-Men. This issue, she is awake and being bothered by Hank and Bobby. She notices she’s in Weapon X’s old facility and books it. It’s Scott who talks her into believing they are friends and for real. What is the first thing they do once trust is gained? Obviously it’s get revenge on the Purifiers.
Brian Michael Bendis has really made this a much more interesting concept than I could have expected. He actually made this one of the best X-books on the shelves. There are so many things to like about this issue, but definitely the dynamic between Scott and X-23 stands out. He does an excellent job of allowing their conversation to flow naturally, right down to the awkward hug. There is also a lot of humor injected into this issue, mostly from Bobby, but it really adds to the enjoyment of the story. As usual, Bendis leaves us with a good cliffhanger to make us anxiously wait for next month.
The artwork is done by Brandon Peterson and Mahmud Asrar. Peterson is definitely a talented guy and he is very familiar with this universe, but this issue seemed a bit off and it is most likely the artist by committee going on here. There were some panels where faces seemed oddly shaped or body parts were a bit disproportioned. That being said, Peterson had some excellent panels including a nice spread as the team breaks into the Purifiers’ base. Asrar’s art in this issue seems very similar to Stuart Immonen’s, which is good, but it’s mixed with Peterson’s at the end and the styles are different. It would have been better if there was one style consistently throughout the book.
Despite some minor flaws with the art, this is an excellent issue and if X-23 stays with the team, that’s even better. Bendis continues to make this a must read every month and still keeps it fresh and surprising. While this isn’t the flagship X-title, there is a very strong possibility that it could be sometime in the not too distant future.