Monday, 29 December 2014

All-New X-Men Vol.2: Here to Stay (Marvel NOW!) Review


All-New X-Men Vol.2: Here to Stay (Marvel NOW!)

Guys, it's getting kinda' squashy in this
corner...
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artists: David Marquez and Stuart Immonen

Collects: All-New X-Men #6-10

Background Information:

In Avengers VS X-Men (which, if there was honesty in advertising, would be called Stop Liking X-Men and Like The Avengers Instead) X-Men leader Cyclops not only became the new perceivably-evil-dude, but he also killed mentor Professor Xavier and became the most hated figure in the Marvel Universe. Beast, tortured by the fact that his leader and former besty (bestie? Is there a way to say that? Can someone find me a white girl to ask?) is now the least nice mutant out there (and considering that wolverine fronts the other team, is saying something), decides to bring the original X-Men from the past with the sole purpose of making Cyclops feel bad. It doesn’t sound particularly coherent, but there’s a good story here.

Review:

Okay, the first volume of All-New X-Men was fantastic. It was a set-up unlike any other. Young X-men confronted their future selves, or lack thereof and ended up fairly traumatised. Volume 2, Here to Stay does build on that trauma, and the story does develop.

It just doesn’t feel that way throughout the whole book.

Man, I'm a Gen Y, and even I agree with Cyclops!
It’s hard to say exactly what the story is here, as multiple things seem to be happening, but basically, it boils down to this: young Jean is scared of her newfound powers, young Cyclops is trying to find out where he went wrong and young Angel wants to know why nobody will talk about what happened to him. Iceman is busy being funny and Beast is… almost absent in this volume- which is weird, since he was a huge part of last volume. In the meantime, Mystique is gathering mutants to create self-satisfying chaos.

I know, it’s probably unfair to make comparisons to the last volume, but there’s really a dip here. It was nice having a volume that had a story structure. It doesn’t feel like that’s happening in this volume. This is more of a “day in the life of very unhappy teenagers”. Not that it isn’t entertaining; just that it feels like not much happens.

See, Here to Stay is a relatively actionless volume. Sure, there’s the odd skirmish, but never are the fights significant to the story- they almost needn’t be there at all. I’m not one to think that comics need to have fights all the way through, by now we need to see the stakes get raised and this volume just doesn’t do that.

It’s not all negative, though, because Bendis’ writing here is awesome. Iceman steals nearly every scene he’s in- be he young or old. You just get the vibe that Bendis loves the character. Young Iceman’s interactions with Kitty Pryde are especially entertaining, considering that she is in love with his older self.

Oh, did I mention old Cyclops has a new costume? Well,
he does.
By far, though, the jewel of this collection is issue 8; where Captain America argues with old Beast about bringing the past X-Men to the present. Here, you don’t actually hear the two discuss much, instead, you get Kitty and Old Iceman mockingly mimicking the two. It’s a great moment of comedy and the kind of scene you want to read again and again. I get annoyed by the amount of focus given to the Avengers in Marvel NOW!, and it’s really great to see Bendis not being afraid to joke at the Avengers’ expense.

The art by Stuart Immonen and David Marquez is just as on point as it was in the last volume. They love drawing these characters just as much as Bendis loves writing them. It’s phenomenal art, and you can’t, I repeat, CAN’T miss it.

Here to Stay doesn’t achieve much, but it’s a fun bout of non-achievement. It gets a three out of five ways to spell besti (seriously, how do you spell that? White girls?).

***

+ Iceman is perfect.

+ If nothing else, issue 8 makes the volume worth buying.

- Not much happens.

Alternate Option: All-New X-Men: Yesterday’s X-Men

You can’t read Here to Stay without reading this one.