Friday, July 11, 2014
Review: All-New X-Men Vol. 2 Here To Stay
All- New X-Men Vol. 2 Here To Stay is the second volume of the new X-Men series where the original X-Men come forward in time to the present. The original X-Men have decided to stay in the present and make things right, as they are shocked at the way things have turned out. Jean, after learning in volume 1 what happens to her, and dealing with her newly emerging powers of telepathy, is in a bit of shock. Cyclops is also dealing with the things he has learned about the future, and as he goes to a safe deposit box to see what his future self has left for him (mind twisty, huh?) he runs into Mystique, who uses her shapeshifting abilities to approach him and give him some advice.
The original team meet the Avengers, who show up after an attack by HYDRA. The Avengers appearance is not very good. I love the idea of these two teams meeting, it just wasn't handled very well. Lazy writing, or at least it seems that way to me. Bendis wants to get the groups together so he has HYDRA attack Avengers tower- but why would HYDRA do something that dumb? They are of course easily repulsed, it just doesn't make sense. HYDRA is rarely so overt, but it serves the purpose of getting the parties together- but once they are, the dialogue is terrible. Basically Captain America is asking Beast why there are two different versions of the X-Men running around. We don't actually hear the conversation- Bendis writes it so that Kitty and Iceman are mimicking what they think Cap and Beast are saying. It's supposed to be funny, and is a little I suppose- but Cap is written totally as a preachy Boy Scout, and one of my pet peeves is when Cap is written that way. This conversation could have been so much more than Cap acting like a police officer scolding a bunch of teens.
Meanwhile, Mystique and Sabretooth free Lady Mastermind from prison and go on a heist spree, using their powers to basically get rich at this point. I kinda like Mystique's attitude- she been around for years, and is portrayed here as jaded at this point- she used to care about the mutant struggle, but with Xavier dead she doesn't care anymore, and is just out for herself now. This volume ends with the present day Cyclops and his crew showing up at the school and making a pitch to the students to join him in his crusade for mutant rights- again it's hard to see Cyclops arrayed against Storm, Kitty and Wolverine, I just have a hard time buying it- but I'm going with it. Maria Hill, director of SHIELD, then informs the X-Men of Mystique's crime spree and as they are digesting this information cyclops reappears- and a surprise person accepts his invitation. The spark are going to fly now!
There are some moments where the characters do things out of character. For example, at one point the original Angel (who didn't want to stay and was the only to vote against) tries to leave using the time machine- Jean stops him I just can't really see the young Jean doing that- but that's just me, and this series is about taking familiar characters in new directions. So even though I have quibbles about like that, I'm just going with it.
I liked the dynamic between Kitty and Jean, it's quite a turnaround to see Kitty as the older one now, the mentor Here's a little snippet of conversation between the two as Jean newly emerging telepathy causes her to be inundated with the thoughts of those around her, and Kitty tries to help her cope. Some of the thoughts she hears are hilarious, by the way!
Kitty: "Focus on me. In your head are 1000 little doors. Doors! You close each door. One by one, you close them."
And later, after this works...
"That was good, what you did there. Who taugh you that?
Kitty: "You did."
I really like the premise of this series, it's fresh and a lot of fun, and while it can be a bit uneven, it has rekindled my interest in the X-Men, and that hasn't happened in a long time. If you're new to the X-Men it can be daunting to start anywhere frankly- with so many years of continuity to keep straight. This is as good a place to start as any, although there's no substitute for the classic stories that inspired the movies- but if you don't want to go back that far, this is a decent starting point.