After seeing his younger self, present-Cyclops comes to grips with seeing the love of his life, Jean Grey, whose powers of telepathy are manifesting themselves powerfully and without control. Sky-high tensions lead to a quick skirmish between two X-Men teams separated by time and change as the two teams begin to see how far things have come/gone. For the original team, seeing their arch-enemy Magneto in his present state as a de-powered X-Man has a jarring effect because the new reality against what they know and hold true. Magneto, aware of his past standing as public enemy #1, finds it just as confusing to fight against a younger squad he’s faced many times before as a younger and more powerful man.
The present team returns to the Weapon X labs, which have been reappropriated as a new headquarters, while the original X-Men try to revive Grey. Both Scotts deal with the situation in the same way, distancing themselves for a moment to reflect on matters.
For past-Scott, things are especially heavy — seeing his future self from the eyes of a teen is a traumatic affair. After all, this is the young and idealistic version of Cyclops, a dorky teacher’s pet who lacked confidence and bore the responsibilities and dreams handed down by his revered mentor Professor Charles Xavier. Putting a face to the murder of his beloved teacher, young Scott can only imagine what it took for things to turn out the way they did.
Present-Scott, seeing Jean Grey alive and well, processes the well of emotions that come with being in the presence of his long-lost wife. It’s a younger Jean, the girl that he first fell in love with, that now haunts him, and Summers knows who to blame for reopening old wounds — his former best friend, Hank McCoy, who lays dying back at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning.
It’s another triumph for Brian Michael Bendis who deftly handles the exchange between a well-established and beloved team and its more present version, which has been going through a lot of changes and developments. The very bizarre love triangle between Jean Grey and the two Scotts is successful because of its importance to the X-Men lore, and Bendis’ decision to bring in Summers before he’s revealed his feelings to this teammate makes things that much juicier now that Grey’s had a chance to look into the older Summers’ mind.
All-New X-Men is an intriguing title thanks to Bendis, but he’s not the only one deserving credit. Stuart Immonen’s pencils are amazing — dynamic and cinematic in their composition, the issue goes up another level with a concerted effort between writer and artist that makes this a top-tier book this month. Immonen knows how to place characters in panels to get at the heart of the action, and characters emote with an intensity that keeps pushing momentum forward. Wade Von Grawbadger’s inks are solid, and his use of bold and thin lines distinguishes elements keeping things fluid and bold. Likewise, the colors by Marte Garcia bring depth to each panel and page with vibrant hues that communicate time of day and location, from the low-lit interior of Weapon X to the warm reds of the sun rising as the two Scotts process their thoughts.
Going forward, All-New X-Men has proven to be a consistent and steady title with taut storylines and immense potential. The back and forth is maneuvered with precision, and the creative elements work together to build a storyline that has repercussions in store for the future.