‘All-New X-Men’ #1 Brings Back Superheroics and Road Trips [Review]
The beginning isn’t always the beginning, especially in comics. The All-New X-Men #1 that came out this week, written by Dennis Hopeless and drawn by Mark Bagley, is not the first comic with that title and number. The previous All-New X-Men series began in 2012 and ended a few months ago with the departure of writer Brian Michael Bendis and the beginning of Secret Wars.
And of course, the All-New X-Men were never exactly all new. That first series told the story of the original five X-Men — Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman, and Angel — being plucked out of the past from their early days with the team and into the present, which to them was dark future timeline. This series picks up their story — minus Marvel Girl, who’s over in Extraordinary X-Men instead — and takes it in a direction that really does feel “all new.”
In addition to the four remaining time-displaced X-Men, this book features Wolverine (that’s Laura Kinney, of course, the one true Wolverine), Idie Okonkwo, and Evan Sabahnur, aka Kid Apocalypse. As the issue begins, they’re on vacation. Angel and Wolverine are skiing in Colorado, Iceman is living it up in Austin, and Hank, Idie, and Evan are road tripping through Florida.
Of course, Scott Summers has never been much for relaxing, so he’s hiding from his teammates while he investigates a gang mutants who are causing chaos while wearing the distinctive X-mask of his now-dead older counterpart. Understandably (especially because he's Scott) this investigation is something he wants to do himself, but of course he eventually needs the help of his teammates.
This first issue tells the story of the team coming together, but it’s more of a reunion than a formation. These are seven young mutants who already know and care about each other, and they’re X-Men from the start. Scott feels alienated from the team at the moment, but the rest of the team (Hank in particular) are determined to bring him back into the fold.
This comic takes place in the same world as Extraordinary X-Men, but its focus could not be more different. The Terrigen Mists go unmentioned (which is such a relief that I kind of hate to mention them here). Rather than gathering endangered mutants into an X-Haven, this team is determined to go out into the world and do good. All-New X-Men is very solidly, very purposefully a comic book about superheroes, something that has somehow begun to seem rare within the genre of superhero comics.
Mark Bagley is doing some of his best work in years here, and proving a strong fit for the aforementioned unambiguous superheroics. Teen heroes have always been his strong suit, just as they have for Dennis Hopeless. I do wish the teen characters wore more stylish civilian clothes (other than Evan, whose muscle tee game is on point), but that’s still a widespread problem in mainstream comics. Over all, inker Andrew Hennessy and colorist Nolan Woodard bring the best out in Bagley’s style to create a classic superhero look that perfectly matches the book’s tone.
In a Marvel Universe where we’ve already heard a lot about how terrible things are for mutants, it’s a thrill to get a book about young mutants living their lives and even having fun. All-New X-Men #1 made me realize how much that’s what I’ve been wanting from this latest Marvel relaunch, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where to goes from here.