By Brian Michael Bendis, Mahmud Asrar and Marte Gracia
All-New X-Men continues its clash with the ultimate universe this month as we get to see some more interaction between many of the characters. X-23 and Angel team up with Jimmy Hudson, while Jean and Miles seek help from Ganke. We can deduce that at some point, there will be a bit of a battle, but that may have to wait until next month.
Brian Michael Bendis has his hands in both of these universes, which makes this a great scenario for him. He clearly has a grasp on all the characters, but his best panels are between Jean, Miles and Ganke. While X-23 and Angel’s talk with Jimmy is a good scene as well, Jean and Miles steal the issue. There is a level of humor and seriousness that Jean and Miles exhibit that make the team-up more fun. If there is a drawback to the issue it’s that Iceman and Beast’s storylines are progressing a bit slower than the other two, but when you are juggling four characters, it’s tough to give everyone equal time.
The art duties are handled by Mahmud Asrar with colors by Marte Gracia. Asrar has a rough time drawing Iceman, as his head looks slightly deformed in a couple of panels, but his pencils this issue have improved. There is an awesome panel of Iceman looking at one of Moleman’s creatures as it busts out from the sewers. This panel looks very Immonen-esque. Asrar improved on his details in many panels, which was one of the knocks against him last issue. This time around, characters at a distance don’t look like faceless globs of ink and color, they actually have an expression on their face. The colors by Marte Gracia are superb, as always, which adds to the improving art. This has been the best issue by Mahmud Asrar yet, and it looks like he’s getting better every month.
While many might see this as a filler issue, there were several things that happened with the characters. Brian Bendis has been taking his time with his stories, which is fine as long as there is a satisfying end. The art continues to improve each time we get a new issue as Asrar gets more comfortable drawing the characters. All-New X-Men has been the best selling X-book since it came out, it’s not hard to see why.