By Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen & Marte Gracia
It’s a right of passage that all X-Men teams have a villainous group that is a match for them and that pester them throughout their run of stories. For the All-New X-Men there is a new brotherhood that appeared in the Battle of the Atom crossover that have appeared a couple of times and been a thorn in their side.
This issue, much like the last one jumps around a little, as we get panels that show off the past and the present. While Bendis does a good job of filling in many of the gaps that readers may have with the brotherhood, the jumping of time periods can be a bit confusing and take a reader out of the story. The background that Bendis gives us on Raze and Xavier Jr. helps us understand the reasons they are mounting this attack, and it’s a realistic reason. Bendis also gives us an explanation as to how dead members of the brotherhood keep coming back to life that should be satisfying for fans. We are also treated to more of the battle, and there seems to be a theme going where Scott and Jean are always the target of the big baddies: nothing changes for this arc and the first two X-Men are once again front and center.
The art is, of course, provided by Stuart Immonen with colors by Marte Gracia. Immonen is so consistently good that it’s hard to nitpick about his work. There is great emotion on the faces of Scott and Jean as Cyclops is being forced to kill Jean by Xavier Jr. The eyes of those two characters as this scene plays out were magnificent. We also get a great spread page of a future battle from the X-Men and brotherhood that is excellent. While Immonen’s pencils are great as usual, Marte Gracia really compliments the book with his colors as well, they make the art standout and push it over the edge.
This issue of All-New X-Men was pretty good, but it will lose some readers with all the time jumping. If you can get past the all of that, it should be an enjoyable read. Bendis continues to flesh out characters that need attention and he makes them interesting. The art is as good as it’s ever been and Gracia’s colors do wonders for this title. A solid issue for one of the best books on the rack.