All-New X-Men 28

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing All-New X-Men 28, originally released June 11th, 2014.

Taylor: Madness fills an interesting role in our imagination. Just enough madness and you’re considered a genius. A little too much madness and you’re considered a nut. We tend to think of someone as being “mad” if they have any of a number of mental defects but retain enough of their personality to still be somewhat coherent. Perhaps the most well known madman of all time is Ahab. His singular quest to destroy the white whale consumed his entire life, even if he did retain the vestiges of a sane man. And that’s perhaps what makes him such a disturbing character. Despite (or perhaps because of ) his madness, he is charismatic. We forget that he’s insane sometimes and actually feel that his quest against Moby Dick is justified. Xavier is similarly hell-bent on killing the X-Men of the past, and similarly might have good reasons for wanting to do so. All-New X-Men 28 has me wondering if this quest is the errand of a madman or the product of love gone awry.

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All-New X-Men 26

all new x-men 26

Today,  Patrick and Greg are discussing All-New X-Men 26, originally released April 20th, 2014.

Patrick: Superheroes are tools. No, not the “Superman is such a tool” kind of way, but in that they are all able to act as narrative and emotional shortcuts. Between shapeshifters and psychics, healers and teleporters, extra-dimensional sorcerers and reality-manipulators, there’s really nothing that the X-Men aren’t capable of. The brevity with which they can be used to evoke emotions might be even more impressive — just think of the ennui immediately invoked by the appearance of Jean Grey, or the uneasy sense of righteous revolution that accompanies Magneto. Brian Michael Bendis’ All-New X-Men seems designed to celebrate this tool box: bring the original quintet of X-Men to the present day brings all of those emotional shortcuts to the fore. Issue 26 might be the first time Bendis actually uses those tools, instead of laying them out neatly for us to all to quietly admire before putting them back in their protective cases. Continue reading

All-New X-Men 25

Today,  Taylor and Shelby are discussing All-New X-Men 25, originally released April 9th, 2014.

Taylor: They, the ever shifting and nebulous authority that knows more than us, is always saying that hindsight is 20/20. Once events have played out, we know exactly what we should have done in a given situation to obtain our desired results. It’s a damned feeling; there’s nothing you can do about it but you kick yourself for not doing the right thing. This feeling is often so frustrating that it can keep us up at night, pondering the grand “what if?” While that can be crushing, just imagine what the feeling would be like if perhaps you could change the past, if only you thought about it hard enough. Hank McCoy (the one in his proper time) knows this feeling and All-New X-Men 25 shows us just how deep and dark that hole can be.

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All-New X-Men 24

Alternating Currents: All-New X-Men 24, Drew and ShelbyToday,  Drew and Shelby are discussing All-New X-Men 24, originally released March 12th, 2014. This issue is part of the Trial of Jean Grey event.

jean gray divDrew: As much as I can understand the appeal of seeing your favorite superheroes fight, the strained justifications for why they were fighting in the first place always got in the way of it being any fun. Shouldn’t Superman have heard of Batman? Shouldn’t they know they’re on the same side? These problems are exacerbated in cohesive publishing universes where you can confirm that, yeah, every hero should basically have heard of every other hero by now. Brian Michael Bendis discovered a creative end-run around this problem in All-New X-Men — the time-displaced original X-Men ultimately missed a LOT of introductions to Earth’s superheroes — which finds its logical conclusion issue 24 as they face off against the Shi’ar Imperial Guard. I mean, honestly, how would they know they were on the same side? Continue reading

All-New X-Men 22

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Today,  Taylor and Shelby are discussing All-New X-Men 22, originally released January 22, 2014. This issue is part of the Trial of Jean Grey event.

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Taylor: Poor Jean Grey, girl just can’t catch break. When you’re one of the world’s most powerful mutants, it’s hard to lead anything resembling a normal, happy life. There’s always going to be someone who wants to harness your power or someone who wants your help for good or for evil. If that weren’t bad enough, when you wield the powers she does maintaining your everyday life and personal relationships becomes a challenge in and of itself. The ability to read people’s thoughts while maybe useful can also be a burden, for the old axiom “ignorance is bliss” sometimes proves too true. All-New X-Men 22 begins The Trial of Jean Grey, a crossover event with Guardians of the Galaxy, and if this issue is a harbinger of things of things to come, it will be a blast. Not only will we get some great “X-Men in Space” action, but the complex of character of Jean Grey will step into the limelight virtually guaranteeing an entering and emotional ride.

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All-New X-Men 18

Today,  Ethan and Taylor are discussing All-New X-Men 18, originally released November 13th, 2013.

Ethan: The best part of being in a relationship is that you get to spend so much time with the one you love. The worst part of being in a relationship is that you get to spend so much time with the one you love. For the X-Men, isolated from the world by that tricky little accident of being born with the X-gene, their ties to each other are incredibly strong. It’s no surprise that they so often find passionate love and lifelong friendship inside their circle. Just like any family or couple, though, they often drive each other completely crazy. Breathing room is hard to find when you’re all stuck in the same space, whether it’s a mansion or a mountain bunker, and All-New X-Men #18 explores how they fight, how they cope, and how they move forward.

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X-Men: Battle of the Atom 2

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Today, Patrick and Ethan are discussing X-Men: Battle of the Atom 2, originally released October 30th, 2013. This issue is part of the Battle of the Atom event. Click here for our complete coverage of Battle of the Atom.

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‘But,’ said Sam, and tears started in his eyes, “I thought you were going to enjoy the Shire, too, for years and years, after all you have done.’

‘So I thought too, once. But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.’

-Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King

Patrick: There’s a timbre to endings — a quiet cadence that mixes melancholy with hope. It’s an absurdly powerful tool in the writer’s box of tricks, and when it works, its hits the reader’s heart like a sock full of pennies. It’s the payout on the contract struck between the author and the audience, and it’s important for those moments to land. Battle of the Atom 2 executes so many muted goodbyes that it necessitates four epilogues, and aching sincerity occupying about half the issue. None of these moments reach the poetic heights of our buddy Tolkien up there, but the issue does manage its own form of bitter-sweet closure. It’s just the kind of closure that promises that we’re going to keep right on trucking on to the next adventure… and inevitably, to the next reality-warping event. Continue reading

X-Men: Battle of the Atom 1

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Today,  Patrick and Taylor are discussing X-Men: Battle of the Atom 1 originally released September 4th, 2013. This issue is part of the Battle of the Atom event. Click here for our complete coverage of Battle of the Atom.

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Patrick: Hey, is it just me, or does it seem like comic book movies are growing more courageous in what they’re willing to put on the screen. I blame Thor for laying some of the sillier cards on that table and daring the audience to object. Subsequent superhero movies have followed suit: the Krypton sequence in Man of Steel is long and unapologetically alien, Avengers featured the fucking Chitauri, and the upcoming X-Men movie will feature the bonkers time travel insanity of Days of Future Past. Battle of the Atom feels like a challenge to those emboldened film franchises: as if to say: “You don’t know what crazy is. Brother, this is Marvel Comics, we’ve got three versions of Beast interacting with each other – we know crazy.”

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All-New X-Men 15

all new x-men 15

Today,  Shelby and Patrick are discussing All-New X-Men 15, originally released August 7th, 2013.

Shelby: No one knows better than I the importance of taking a break every once in a while; heck, I took several writing breaks before I even started this post. But seriously, it’s important to take breaks to keep from getting burned out, and the same applies to comic books. Stories take little breaks with what we call “hang-out issues,” where the bulk of the plot consists of the characters hanging-out. The beauty of the hang-out issue is, when it’s done well, we get a story break AND character development. Artists take breaks too, but the obviously visual nature of art can make an artist break more jarring and disruptive. This month, Brian Michael Bendis gives us a story break as we wait for Battle of the Atom to start, and David Lafuente gives Stuart Immonen a break on pencils; the result is a story which feels very different from what we’re used to in All-New X-Men.

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