The Avengers and X-Men’s Epic Battle is over. Scott went insane. Charley took the dirt nap. Hope and Wanda made everything better. So Now what?

Well, NOW is the time for Marvel to shuffle the deck and play a new hand. It’s relaunch city as The House of Ideas brings us 23 new #1s with all-new creative teams over the next 5 months. What will the new 23 have in store for us Marvel Zombies? Well, be sure to check out this column each week as we dissect the first issue of every new title under the Marvel Now Banner. And I don’t mean Bruce Banner…..well except when the title has the Hulk in it….you get what I mean. So sit back and relax as we check out what’s new in the 616.

Out of all the Marvel Now titles, this one was one of the first to be announced. If you ask some people, it’s part of the reason the whole Marvel Now thing is happening. Bendis was wrapping up his Avengers tale and this became his next stop on the career train (I always hated the career train. It usually drops me off at some job like office temp and never any of the cool stops like film director or super spy). So this week, the book finally came out with Bendis at the helm and Stuart Immonen on pencils and nothing will be the same again!…..Sorry for the dramatics. I grew up on X-Men in the late eighties and early nineties and the covers of the issues always said stuff like that. It’s kind of ingrained on my memory. But this is the book of the relaunch that intrigued me the most I wanted to see what Bendis could do with Marvel’s Merry Mutants, especially since Avengers vs. X-Men left them is such a wounded state. They’re hurting and would Bendis have the cure. And hey, I enjoy Immonen art as much as the next guy so checking out his work on an X-Book looked like it might be fun. And it pretty much was.

The issues starts off with good old Hank McCoy, aka The Beast, going through some tough times. It appears he’s going through another next-gen mutation and he doesn’t know if his body can take it. We then cut to Austrailia where a girl with a protective brother is in the midst of an attempted night of clubbing when she finds out she has the ability to freeze time. What follows is what looks like Cyclops (who’s miraculously out of prison since his appearance in Uncanny Avengers), Emma Frost and Magneto appearing on the scene to offer the girl assistance. It’s reminiscent of old X-Factor stories, except that when the authorities show up, Cyke and the gang lay ’em to waste. It appears that Cyclops is really taking to the mutant liberator/terrorist role he’s now in. This of course is getting some international attention. The faculty of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning are also picking up on this and are trying to figure out the best way to deal with the situation. Iceman wants to shut one-eye and the gang down but Storm sees that that will only lead to a Mutant civil war and no one wants that. Iceman looks at the situation and thinks that the younger versions of themselves would never put up with this. It’s this statement that sparks Beast’s thinking of the old days himself and how they might not be gone. We then jump back in time to when it was just the first students of Xavier at the mansion. Young Hank is ready to just walk away from the X-Men and Scott is trying to calm him down when future Beast walks into the picture. He basically explains the future needs their help at stopping Mutant Genocide from happening. And that brings us the “To Be Continued…” graphic that we all expected to end this chapter.

Well, this was pretty much what I expected. This is a classic set up issue. We get some of the major players interacting to show the audience where they’re at and what head space they’re in. There’s a few character moments and leading bits of dialogue and the real story doesn’t start until the last page. As I briefly mentioned in the paragraph above, isn’t Cyke suppose to be in jail. In Uncanny Avengers, he looks pretty secure in the prison. Maybe I missed something. Anyways, I know that there will be an explanation for this but I don’t really want to have to wait until Bendis’ Uncanny X-Men book starts up in a couple of months. That being said, there’s still some interesting things going on here. I like the fact that Cyclops appears to be the antagonist of the story. Bendis appears to be setting him up to be at least the first big “villain” that the All New X-Men will have to deal with. I was surprised to see that the time travel and gathering of the original X-Men was so deliberate. Usually in stories like this, the team from the past or future accidentally gets sucked through time and needs to find away to get back. In this story, that convention gets thrown out the window as the future comes calling for the past to crash the party. It’s a different way of doing things and I hope that it leads to an exciting payoff. Out of all the moments in the book I think I enjoyed the fact that young Beast recognizes old Beast right away, even though they look so different from each other. It was a nice touch to show how in tune Hank is with himself. Overall, despite some of the usual X-baggage that is present in every mutant book, this story did a good job of setting the stage for a new series. I just wish there were more of the first X-team in it as opposed to just the last few pages.

The art on the book looks great. Immonen has really evolved as a penciler the inks by Wade von Grawbadger do an excellent job of making the images really stand out. Add Marte Gracia’s colours to the mix with their moody shades and you’ve got a very pretty book on your hands. I really like Immonen’s ability to make reveals seem grand. The young mutant first finding out her power, and the entrances of both Cyclops in Austrailia and future Beast in the past look fantastic and really get their point across. The storytelling going on in the art is tight and I really look forward to seeing more in the next issue. I just wish he wouldn’t draw Iceman like Cold Miser at points. Other than that, some great art in this first issue.

In the end, while the book didn’t have a very exciting start, it did a good job of setting up the series and heightened my anticipation for the next issue. I think the concept of the story is cool and the players involved are well developed and I can’t wait to see how the original team will interact with their future counterparts. This could end up being a great series. Right now, it’s off to a nice start. Pick up All New X-Men today and see for yourself. Check back here tomorrow for more reviews of Marvel Now titles that came out this week.

So this 1st Issue is done but there’s plenty more to come. Check back here in the coming week’s to find out which books are worth your time which are a waste of it.

And if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!

Recent Marvel Now Reviews:

Nightmares and New Suits (My Review of Iron Man #1)

X-Men and Avengers Sharing Together! (My Review of A+X #1)

Dueling with Dead Presidents (My Review of Deadpool #1