All-New X-Men 7

all new x-men 7

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing All-New X-Men 7, originally released February 6th, 2013.

Shelby: Sometimes, when you’re having a rough go of it, all you need to do is talk it out. Find a friendly ear, let go of your issues, and hopefully get some unbiased, third-party advice. It doesn’t have to be someone you know, it just has to be someone who’s there for you when you need them: the kindness of a well-timed stranger who can help you stay the course. Since this is a comic book, however, that stranger is actually a conniving villain out to manipulate you so no one can foil the master plan.

Since Scott has the bike, he decides to run a quick errand; he stops at a bank to see what he’s accumulated in a safety deposit box over the years. While he’s there, the bank calls the cops because of that whole wanted criminal thing. Luckily, Wolverine shows up to pull him out of there. Except, surprise! It’s Mystique! They have a little heart-to-heart, and she tells Scott he needs to grow a pair, shut down Old Scott, and make the school what it used to be. But actually, she’s just setting the X-Men against each other so she and hers can carry out their plans unhindered. Back at the school, Kitty is in the middle of a training session with the youngin’s. Scott walks up to Jean and hands her one of their wedding announcements from his deposit box.

Just when you thought things couldn’t get more complicated, now we’ve got Mystique to deal with. She has always struck me as one of those characters who does what they want. She doesn’t serve the purpose of the good guys or the bad (though she’s usually bad), she just does what she needs to do. That is definitely the name of the game here, as she takes advantage of the confusion of the multi-X-men situation to further her own mysterious agenda.

mystique

I’m very intrigued by the mechanics of time travel in this book. As the Young X-Men interact with their future selves, do the Old X-Men gain memories of the time their younger selves visited? Is the time stream altered that quickly? When will we start to see the effects of this meddling with time? Two things I’d love to see happen here: Jean now knows her entire future. It would be great if one day she woke up and Old Jean just wasn’t dead anymore because of it. We’ve seen the huge impact having Young Jean around has had on everyone, people would lose their shit if Jean was just suddenly alive again. Secondly, I want to see past Xavier make a play. His whole team has gone missing, I’m sure he’s been frantically mind-searching for them. If his powers could break through time and find them in the future, we’d have a whole new mess on our hands. Could he be convinced to let them continue their meddling, or would he want to remain true to the Temporal Prime Directive?

As much as the Young Scott/Old Scott/time travel conflict moves this story forward, the big draw for me is Brian Michael Bendis’ small character moments. It’s seeing Kitty and Jean roll their eyes at Bobby being Bobby. It’s Mystique-as-Wolverine flashing an Avengers membership card, claiming it means Captain America said he can do what he wants. It’s the superb acting as drawn by David Marquez when Young Scott hands Jean the wedding invitation.

scott and jean

When the mutant politics or intricacies of time travel threaten to break my brain, it’s the little moments that pull me back to the story at hand. This issue especially puts the breaks on the plot for a second to let us just spend some time with the characters. Sure, the character we spend the most time with was lying through her teeth the whole time, but that’s beside the point. Patrick: We have yet to see this tested, Shelby, but I think the time travel is supposed to be of the unchangeable-history variety. When Jean decides that the team is going to stay in the present/future and make that time right, she does so because she know the second they get back to the past and tell Xavier what’s happened, he’ll wipe their memories. PRESUMABLY, the young X-Men are having adventures right now that our old X-Men experienced but cannot remember (due to mind-wipage). Further, the young X-Men could be missing from their era for essentially no time and have it feel like days, weeks, etc. Unlike Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, there’s no relentless San Dimas clock they need to keep an eye on.

I absolutely love this Mystique stuff. She’s such a manipulative character, which is all part-n-parcel with her shapeshiftery. But I love that the biggest trick she pulls in this issue is accomplished without aid of her mutant powers. The pretending-to-be-Wolverine-the-Avenger gambit is pretty awesome, but she sets Scott on a collision course with himself (and with the school), by more or less being herself. It’s almost a statement of purpose for the series: no matter what crazy mutant and/or time travel things are going on, it’s going to be the strengths and weakness of the people involved that dictate the fate of mutant-kind.

We’ve got a new artist on board this month. David Marquez takes over from Stuart Immonen, and it’s remarkable how well Marquez is able to emulate that style. It’s sort of American Comic Book Standard, but the attention to acting and details so convincingly sell the world to me. Bendis being Bendis, the story is written in such a decompressed way as to let the details speak for themselves. It’s amazing the amount of restraint that Bendis shows by not putting words into Scott’s mouth – he knows he doesn’t need to and that the simple human acting will carry the scene on its own. Here is my favorite bit of acting in the issue (I sliced it up a little so we can see the complete moment at once).

Young Scott discovers his future past

The way that incredulous smirk melts off his face when he realizes what’s in his hands… just fucking beautiful is what it is.

This is going to be a silly place to bring this up: but I am just starting to understand the appeal of setting superhero stories in the real world. Or, some version thereof, anyway. Marvel’s NYC has started to grow on me through Daredevil, Amazing / Superior Spider-Man and Hawkeye, but I always kinda figured that that was just a fictional abstraction of the city anyway, so what does it matter? But then I noticed a real-world detail in the bank and it hit me (which is awesome, because it hits Cyclops at that exact same moment).

Scott made the cover of Rolling Stone

People, Time and Rolling Stone, all with cover stories about Mutants. If we were reading a DC comic, those publications would be fake (and they’d all be subsidiaries of the Daily Planet). Seeing these real magazines confirm the stories that the future X-men have been telling him has got to be devastating – a final “yes, that is what’s happening – for real.”

So now that Scott is back at school and has one goal, while his future-wife has a nearly polar opposite goal, how’s all this going to proceed from here? I’m enjoying the deliberate pacing of this series, but I do wonder when the rubber will meet the road and we get a little action. I don’t mean the following as a criticism at all, but we only single one act of violence in this whole issue and it’s part of a training exercise. I don’t think I can say that about any other comic I’ve read this week. Can you?

For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to Comixology and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?

11 comments on “All-New X-Men 7

  1. I’m especially impressed by the emotions conveyed by Scott in this issue because of the challenge presented by his glasses. Especially the ones he’s wearing in the panel above: they completely obscure his eyes, hell, half his face. To still be able to understand completely what he is thinking and feeling is really rewarding as a reader.

    • I don’t know what to make of it, but I love the bold color choice for Scott’s big glasses. Even in these scenes that mostly take place in the dark bank vault – where everything else is cast as a murky blue – those things are a fiery red.

  2. Patrick, we’ve been assuming “what ever happened, happened,” but we’ve yet to get a confirmation on that. If that’s the case, then there’s no fear of any lasting damage happening to they young X-Men, since we know they must all survive this encounter. Which is to say, Wolverine’s assumption that killing Young Scott would cause Old Evil Scott to disappear doesn’t make sense, since we already know that stuff happened. The alternative is equally weird, though. Can Young Scott not die because of some kind of hand of fate? Or if he dies, will this somehow just not affect OE Scott? Or, if he dies, and OE Scott ceased to exist, would that send ripples through time such that Hank never needed to go back in time (which was explicitly to deal with OE Scott)? Time travel stories be trippin’

  3. I have faith that Bendis is building towards something awesome, but damnit if I don’t just want to read an ongoing of Young Scott on the run from everyone and everything. Basically, it’s The Fugitive, but with Cyclops and Wolverine in the role of Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones, respectively. AND WHO DOESN’T WANT THAT?!

  4. I had the total mindfreak experience of reading the new All New X-Men AND watching Looper for the first time yesterday. How many times as a kid (or maybe late teenager, if I’m being honest here) did you guys pull one of these intense moments where you write down the time and date, as well as your location, and say “if time travel is ever invented in my lifetime I’m going to use it to travel back and visit myself in exactly two minutes!” and then intensely count down the time. Of course it never worked, but I can’t be sure that that’s not because I currently have no idea where the hell that piece of paper is!

  5. Given his acquisition of crazy-huge, old-school 3d glasses, I am now waiting for Young Scott to get a pair of Kanye-glasses, but adjustable. You know, the ones like french blinds? Where the button on the side would lever the thin, horizontal flaps open and he would shoot out a dozen horizontal beams of Eyeball Death-Lasers… come on Marquez, it’ll be sweet.

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