By Brian Michael Bendis, Mahmud Asrar and Rain Beredo
This issue had a leak a couple of days ago that spoiled the issue for a number of fans. That was not a huge part of the issue and isn’t even the most interesting part of the book. With that said, All-New X-Men #40 had several good things going for it and we should focus on those instead of any internet cracking spoilers.
The Utopians are in the house and those who have the misfortune of running into them generally don’t fare too well. Brian Michael Bendis has some mystery around these characters and their motivations are definitely a cause for concern. Even though the Utopians aren’t in the issue a ton, they are one of the more interesting pieces. Bendis also builds on the X-23 and Angel relationship this month. Bendis gives us some nice dialogue from Angel as to what makes him the way he is. This is actually very reasonable and completely makes sense. Bendis writes Angel very well and he comes off much more likable after this issue. Finally, the conversation between Jean and Bobby that raised a bunch of controversy was handled well. Bendis could have botched this with some clunky dialogue, but he actually did it in a way that shouldn’t upset many fans. Keep in mind that this is one issue and the events will unfold in the next couple of months.
The pencils this issue are done by Mahmu Asrar with colors by Rain Beredo. Asrar has had some problems with consistency in a few issues, and there are some spotty places here as well. One of the main problems is that it seems a few panels are repeated or used again. This is most prevalent in the conversation between Bobby and Jean. Asrar has gotten better since he started this title though, and he has some very good panels. A shot of the group laying with their backs on the grass and looking at the clouds is well done. The final full-page spread of the Utopians is also very cool. Asrar did well enough this issue and has steadily improved each month.
This could have been a disaster of an issue, but Bendis wrote the controversial scene well. Many of the people who have a problem with this haven’t actually read the book and only read the headlines. The art has continued to get better, but could still use a tiny bit more work. This was a solid and fun issue from a book that has consistently been great.