All-New X-Men #18 (Marvel)

XMen18

Rating: 4/5 – Character moments dominate this dramatic issue.

So many of writer Brian Michael Bendis’ books are “talking issues”.  Issues where the main characters encounter no action or danger, instead Bendis focuses on the characterization and drama that takes place between the characters.  This is one of those issues.  Although I wasn’t always a fan of these issues types of issues when Bendis was writing the Avengers books, here it works as the X-Men have always had a heavy dose of drama between the characters and storylines.

All New X-Men number eighteen takes place in the aftermath of the Battle of the Atom story.  Kitty Pryde takes center stage as she, and the X-Men from the past follow her to join Cyclops and his Uncanny X-men team.  This allows Bendis to explore all the different conflicts and friction between team members.  Whether it’s between Jean Grey and the Stepford Cuckoos, or the pre-blue fur Beast and Magneto, there’s plenty of great dialogue and conflict within the interactions.  At the same time Bendis is able to write some touching scenes as well.  There’s a particular scene between Kitty and Magick that was both touching and humorous at the same time.  This issue is full of moments like this and it’s a packed read.

It’s all pencilled by Stuart Immonen who is able to handle the character drama perfectly.  He uses great facial expressions and telling character poses to drive the dramatics.  I love Immonen on this book as he’s able to balance both the action and quiet moments flawlessly.  My only complaint is that the X-Men’s costumes change this issue, and unfortunately they don’t change for the better.  I’m a long-time X-Men fan so it’s always fun to see the yellow and gold costumes.  They’re modernized here and although they give a nod to the past, I’m still not sure they work.  It’s a minor point in what’s overall a very solid, well written issue.

I couldn’t be happier that Bendis is on these X-Books as he’s able to capture all the drama and character moments that I loved about the X-books in the past.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas – shawn@comicspectrum.com
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