All-New X-Men #34
By Brian Michael Bendis, Mahmud Asrar and Marte Gracia
The clash between the 616 and the Ultimate universe continues in All-New X-Men #34. Having characters cross over into the Ultimate universe has been teased for a while and Miles Morales has even met his 616 counter part in Spider-Men, but this is the first time the X-Men have made the trip. Perhaps by the end of the arc Miles Morales will finally ditch the wasteland that is the Ultimate universe and join the real heroes in the 616.
As this story arc continues, Brian Michael Bendis is dividing the page time between all of the characters, but it never seems like we get enough of anyone. It’s nice that he is allowing all of the characters to be in the issue, but the sample size won’t satisfy the reader’s palette. One of the good things Bendis does this issue is keeping some continuity alive as he has a police officer talk about when Iceman was on the cover of Time Magazine. This event happened all the way back in Ultimate X-Men #15 and it’s nice that Bendis incorporated it into the issue. Another touch of continuity used by Bendis is that he has X-23 lay some knowledge on Warren and Jimmy about world hopping. X-23 did some time traveling in X-Force and even though this is technically world hopping, she still has the sense to know how some things may work. It was a nice little touch by Bendis that shows that he is doing some research from past stories and titles.
The art duties this month were handled by Mahmud Asrar with colors by Marte Gracia. First and foremost, Cyclops should be nowhere on this cover. He is no longer in this book and yet he still appears on the cover. If this is a mistake it is a careless one that should be caught by editorial or somebody. That aside, Asrar’s art really improved this month over his previous issues. Character’s heads don’t look misshapen and people look very normal and not distorted. He also has an awesome full-page spread of the two Jean Grey’s reading each others’ mind. This was no doubt a tough panel to draw and to show the history of both characters was not easy. Asrar also makes great use of shading in many panels, such as the heated debate between Teen Hank and Dr. Doom. The colors by Gracia are good as usual and they really shine in the panels where Teen Jean is involved – her red hair demands your attention.
This was a decent issue, but nothing that will knock your socks off. The cliffhanger at the end is a bit weak, but if you’re reading this book you’re going to be back next month anyway. There is still a lot to uncover in this arc as Bendis and Asrar literally show us what happens when worlds collide.