By Dennis Hopeless, Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy, Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit
All-New X-Men has the task of taking away the serious tone of the X-line. Without discrediting this book at all, this is the series that focuses on the younger members and all the mistakes they make. So far, the series has been pretty good and well written and drawn. As we start our second story arc, we see if Dennis Hopeless can get a firmer grasp on some of the characters and build on the momentum from his last arc.
One of the things that really works for this issue is the struggle Warren is having with Laura sacrificing her body for the good of the team. Dennis Hopeless does a great job of showing several instances where she relies on her healing factor to save a situation. Warren’s gripe is very legitimate, and Hopeless writes him well in his argument with Laura. Having said that, Hopeless’ handle on Laura seems a bit off. If you’ve been following X-23, you know she’s a calculating killer that usually always has a plan of attack. She wouldn’t just crash in through a window and absorb 150 bullets. This doesn’t seem at all in character with what she did during X-Force. Hopeless gives a reason as to why she does those things in this issue, but it may not be good enough for some fans. Hopeless does a very nice job of making the Blob a serious villain again too. It’s easy to just pass him off as a loser, but he is a powerful mutant who can do some damage if provoked. As stated in previous reviews, Kid Apocalypse and Idie are still under utilized and are kind of just there.
The pencils this issue are handled by Mark Bagley with inks from Andrew Hennessy and colors by Nolan Woodard. Bagley has improved on this title in his four issues. He was never bad by any means, but there’s a sense that he’s more comfortable and Hennessy’s steady inks keep it consistently smooth. Bagley has a style that is very accessible, but this issue he is able to draw some gruesome panels, like when X-23 is pulling bullets out of her body with tweezers. In other books, namely All-New Wolverine, Angel’s costume has looked ridiculous and been badly drawn. Bagley has fared the best with his costume and Angel looks very good here. The colors by Nolan Woodard are good as usual. He’s given plenty of opportunity to show off as X-23 jumps into fires, get sprayed by bullets and breaks through ice. Each of these situations requires different shades and Woodard does them all with ease.
All-New X-Men has some characterization problems, but it is still a very fun read and should keep you entertained. Dennis Hopeless has built an interesting premise as the young X-Men hop from place to place, stopping crime before it happens. The art is one of the strongest things about this particular book, and it continues to improve each issue. If you’re not enjoying All-New X-Men, there’s something wrong.