By Dennis Hopeless, Mark Bagley and Nolan Woodard
All-New X-Men has hit its second volume and for the first time we have a new writer at the helm too, as Dennis Hopeless takes over for Brian Michael Bendis. This is a particularly crucial volume for this series because it could possibly determine if these characters stick around. While the premise has mixed reviews, any X-fan owes it to themselves to at least give this series an arc to see if it clicks with them.
Dennis Hopeless is trying to do some decent things with this series. While we don’t know much about what happened during that 8-month gap after Secret Wars, we do know that some major things went down. Hopeless is doing a good job of showing us the lasting effects that it has on Cyclops as he tries to prove to everyone that he is not the same man. This is shown in such little things as Scott refusing to resist arrest after he is busted fighting or not breaking out of prison. Hopeless also seems to be leading us toward a few problems between X-23 and Angel. As they attempt to get a couple of members of the Ghosts of Cyclops, Angel pulls X-23 out of the fight and she yells at him. Her words to him speak volumes and it’s clear they are not on the same page. One thing about this issue that seems off is the inclusion of Idie and Genesis. So far these two characters have not really done anything and feel out of place on this team. They don’t seem to have a place in the book so far and have been annoying. Perhaps Hopeless will do something with them soon, but they did not come off well in this issue.
The pencils this issue are handled by Mark Bagley with colors by Nolan Woodard. Let’s get this out of the way: the cover to this issue is awesome. Bagley drew a great cover that was an instant draw for me. Now, the rest of this issue is done fairly well by Bagley. There are times where his art (most notably when Beast and Iceman are getting pizza) are reminiscent of Riverdale. If you take away all the super powers, Mark Bagley could be drawing Archie. That’s not a diss by any means, it’s just that Bagley’s style matches an Archie book. This is a finely drawn issue with only a few snags here and there. One of the problems here is facial details almost disappear in some medium-sized panels. This is pretty common with far shots, but in medium shots it becomes a slight problem. Bagley does have a good grasp on many of these characters, and his X-23 looks great. His style for her is similar to an Alan Davis looking character. The colors by Nolan Woodard are effective this issue and really help give Bagley’s art a fun feel. He helps keep this book from looking too dark, which is exactly what it should never be.
All-New X-Men #2 is a fun book that should be a nice easy read. Dennis Hopeless has some skill with these younger characters and it’s showing in his writing. The art by Bagley and Woodard is light and allows this to be the book where you don’t have to think about death and extinction. If you’re not in the mood for dark and mysterious, this is a book for you.