All-New X-Men #40 (Marvel)

All-New X-Men #40

CREDIT: Marvel Comics

Rating: 4/5 – One of My Favorite Character Pieces of the Series
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Alamo.

I had not read an “X” book in 20 years when I decided to pick up All-New X-Men #1. The premise sounded fresh and exciting and it seemed like an easy way into what I think is the convoluted world of Marvel’s mutants. For the most part, it has lived up to my expectations by never getting pulled into overly complex storylines and often focusing on the characters rather than the obligatory action of superhero comics (although there has been plenty of that as well). With this penultimate issue before the series ends, we get one of these respites in action and it results in one of my favorite character pieces of the series.

Book-ended between some shadowy occurrences on Utopia Island, the All-New X-Men lounge around and decompress after the Black Vortex event that has seen all of them transformed in one way or another. Having a bunch of superheroes sit around and shoot the breeze has always been writer Brian Michael Bendis’ specialty and he doesn’t disappoint with dialogue that is witty and real world. The big news coming out of this issue is that one of the original 5 X-Men is gay, but the news is hardly shocking to the time-displaced X-Men. Not because any of them suspected, but because they realize that the stigma attached to homosexuality isn’t the thing it was back in their day. I think it’s an interesting twist when you consider that the mutant phenomenon is used as a device to represent and highlight society’s bigotry towards those who are deemed different. Less hyped is the culmination of a romance that has been brewing for several issues in a genuinely sweet exchange that provides some real character development for another X-Man. Uncharacteristically, Bendis pulls back on the dialogue towards the end of the scene and allows artist Mahmud Asrar a full page to tell the story in an almost cinematic manner. The rest of the issue is set up for an impending battle and we get some humorous moments from S.H.I.E.L.D. as they deal with the aforementioned problems on Utopia Island. At a time when story arc decompression has become the norm, it will be interesting to how this storyline wraps up with only one issue left in the series.

The All-New X-Men story began as a misguided attempt by present day Beast to change the future. Forty issues in, and with the realization that things are worse than ever, the time-displaced teens simply struggle to adapt to present day circumstances. This issue may not have been the most action packed of the series, but it has expertly explored and highlighted how these X-Men have changed and grown. At its core, that’s what this series has always been about. I don’t know what awaits these teens on the other side of Marvel’s coming “reorganization,” but I hope they stick around so we can find out.

Reviewed by: Adam Alamo
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