Rating: 3.5/5 – Some awkward moments don’t hinder the overall enjoyment
If you’ve been an X-Men fan for a while, then you’ll know that every so often they have a break in whatever serious story they’re telling and take a moment to show the quieter side of the X-Men’s lives. This is one of those issues. There’s a pause in the action to focus on the more personal side of the younger X-Men’s lives which allows writer Brian Michael Bendis to build up their characterization and make us feel for these characters a bit more. Although we get to see most of the X-Men in this issue, it primarily focuses (which you can tell from the cover) on Jean Grey and the Beast, Hank McCoy.
Not only is this is a quieter issue of X-Men, but it can also be described as a'”soap opera” issue. Whether it be with Iceman and Kitty Pride or Jean Grey and Beast, love is the central theme. Although most of it is fun and cute, it was a bit weird in the opening of the issue when the present day Hank Mccoy is reminiscing about his past infatuation for the now younger Jean Grey. It came off awkward with the much older Beast thinking of the now much younger Jean Grey in that way. It didn’t help with guest artist David LaFuente who makes his characters look much younger when compared to regular artist Stuart Immonen. It all works well by the end of the book and it does comes off as realistic, but still, it felt just a little awkward to read.
If you’re not familiar with LaFuente’s art, he did work on Ultimate Spider-Man previously with Bendis. He has a very manga feel to the art which I feel works in the Ultimate Universe, but doesn’t work as well here. To be clear, the art is well done, but it’s just such a departure from what the book’s style has been previously and the characters all look much, much younger.
Throughout this issue we also get to see some humorous interactions between Wolverine and Beast, as well as some fun with Cyclops and Iceman. It’s a lighthearted issue that gives the reader a breather before the big X-Men crossover starting next month titled Battle of the Atom. Aside from the awkwardness, it’s a well written issue that gives these “new” X-Men more depth. Bendis’ writing style fits this type of issue perfectly. I’m interested in next month’s event and feel that this issue may be the calm before the storm.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas – firstname.lastname@example.org
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