All-New X-Men #35 wastes little time and gets right into the thick of things with an epic double-page spread of the X-Men of Earth-616 fighting alongside the Ultimate X-Men and Spider-Man against Dr. Doom’s various machinations.
The superheroes have come to Doom’s headquarters in Latveria to rescue Hank McCoy who’s being held hostage there. Things start to get a little dicey after one of the Jeans gets injured, and Miles comes to the rescue — or tries too — by flinging himself at Dr. Doom.
Now that it’s clear that Marvel’s rebooting their comic line by merging the universes and building conflicts for the coming Secret Wars, it looks the beginning of the end is near. I’m not sure if All-New X-Men will cease to exist when the dust settles, but I’m guessing the reboot will replace all of the X-Men with their ’90s form — my prediction based on the Battleworld teaser shown last year.
Secret Wars is only a few months away, and I think it’s more than a coincidence that All-New X-Men has been suffering through pacing issues. Since the beginning of this current arc, issues have dragged on with minimal plotting. Just a few days ago, a friend of mine asked me how the series was going.
“The X-Men are in the Ultimate Universe. Iceman fights Mole Man and gets arrested by cops. Jean Grey and Ultimate Spider-Man meet up with the Ultimate X-Men, Hank McCoy gets taken prisoner by Dr. Doom, and X-23 goes to Weapon X with Jimmy Hudson and Angel.”
“And that’s it.”
Sure, there were some good moments, but that synopsis covered four issues.
And were this the last issue before the reboot/relaunch, I’d be seriously disappointed. I was hoping McCoy’s mission to bring the classic X-Men to the present would have some major impact that would bring about some sort of foundational change for the current X-Men, but a couple years after Professor X was killed by a Phoenix-possessed Cyclops, it could all go right out the door.
But that’s conjecture — who knows, besides the crew at Marvel, what will really happen with the major event sweeping the Marvel continuity — or sweeping it under the rug?
Going back to All-New X-Men #35, writer Brian Michael Bendis gives us the ending first with Doom blasting away at Morales. The rest of the issue recounts the events leading up to it, starting with the Jeans using Cerebro to locate the separated X-Men and the mutant of this dimension who has the power to send them back.
As Hank works on a history of Earth-616 for Doom’s benefit, the reunited classic X-Men and their allies storm Doom’s base.
Mahmud Asrar gets the full benefit of working on a title containing more action per page. Panels are loaded with characters and movement, and Asrar’s aggressive approach creates pages brimming with urgency. Even a quiet moment — McCoy writing out a timeline of his world’s events — feels important and measured.
Marte Gracia’s colors seem to default to a purplish-violet hue for telekinetic powers, the inside of the Blackbird, Cerebro usage, and when Jean saves Miles using said powers — another prediction of mine — but overall, the issue’s loaded with bold and textured colors, adding layers to the artwork.
As a standalone issue, this is the most fun All-New X-Men’s been in a while, and I’m curious to see what happens in the next set of issues as things wrap up — or don’t. Bendis has said he’s had a plan for this story, and I’ll save my thoughts on that and the review for the series as a whole when all’s said and done.
For now, I’m hoping for a grand finale that the classic X-Men deserve.