If you want to skip to the long review (and possible spoilers), skip down to the bottom (Look for the cover as your signal to start. I have a shorter abridged review.) Otherwise stick with me.
I stopped following X-Men when the movies came out. They didn’t really strike me with the same wonder that some of the other entertainment mediums. (It also didn’t help that some of the acting and dialogue felt a little weak in my opinion.) 2014 got me back into X-Men however. Two things happened X-Men Days of Future Past was released and I went home for summer break. I came into my room and found a bunch of comics lying on my bed (thanks dad). It was a variety of stories (Iron Fist, Captain America, Justice Society of America). The one that caught my eye was Avengers vs X-Men. I had been itching to read it and nice to see that my dad got it. i read it and despite missing out on some previous stuff that happened earlier, it wasn’t too hard to catch up. But after finishing the story, I wanted to see a continuation of the ripple effect of the story. So All New X- Men was next on the list.
The story starts with Henry McCoy suffering from another stage in his mutation. He believes that this process will be the death of him. Not wanting to leave his friends and teammates without help and hope, he travels to the past to get help from the Original X-Men hoping that Cyclops will see his younger self it will fill him with regret and grief while inspiring the younger Cyclops to try and stop his older self from starting war between mutants.
At the same time Cyclops and his allies spend their time saving newly discovered mutants and taking them under their tutelage. Cyclops however is leading from a different perspective of elitism and freedom/revolution. This leads to a confrontation where both forces meet and we see how the conflict will ripple and affect the members of the X-Men.
I have seen posts on Instagram, Facebook, (and pretty much every other social media known to man) showing little snippets of panels from this story arc. I have to say that it really intrigued me. Because of this and reasons that I stated previously, I had to pick up the first volume and see what this was about. The first thing that caught my eye was the slightly more realistic proportions given to the character. Many (superhero) comics feature their heroes with jacked, ultra stylized depictions of the human form. I for one actually like it and don’t mind it at all. Here in this story though, it would not work. These mutants are supposed to represent humanity despite having mutant powers. They need to seem vulnerable and like any humans that they encounter in society. It helps the view to translate that they look human and emotionally they feel human. The line work and composition within each of the panels flow nicely which allowed me to really focus on the story without getting distracted by chaotic imagery. The background details help to support the focal points within the panels and are perfectly placed without being overbearing or too chaotic.
Coolest Panels/Coolest Moments:
It’s no surprise that some of the better drawn panels are the full page spreads or even double spreads. There are more details and a little more effort that is usually put into it. This one in particular is pretty cool. Young Jean Grey speaks to Beast and he allows her to view the entire lifespan of her older self. (Talk about a head rush.) We as the viewer empathize with her as we get a small dose of sensory overload with all the panels surrounding Jean. Being attentive to bring the reader in to feel with Jean really speaks volumes to the professionalism that this comic is taking as a literary work
The nice thing about this first volume is despite the chaos that happened in AvX, this left me with a lot of hope. The potential for this story is limitless as they can affect time in different ways and alter/ parallel previous stories that we have seen. The characters have given me excitement because I cannot wait to see how they will grow and be affected arriving in this new world where the rules may have changed and the guiding hand of Professor Xavier is gone. It is up to the legacy that he left behind to guide the originals through their journey.
The first volume absolutely blew me away. Despite the themes that have been presented over and over, the series as a whole felt new and fresh with the introduction of the new mutants as well as the younger counterparts of the original X-Men. Having these new mutants and original X-men help to breath life into both sides of the story as they are trying to figure out what is going on in this new world as well as keep us up to date with the plans and ideas that both sides intend to do. It also allows for the experienced characters to give information to the reader as they speak to the inexperienced ones. For characters like Christopher Muse, and Eva Belle, they are discovering their mutant powers for the first time and dealing with the effects socially, emotionally, physically. Our younger heroes are thrown into a world that they do not understand. Fortunately we have Cyclops (both young and old) to juxtapose the point/counterpoint discussion that will prevail throughout this arc. There is an interesting dynamic going on with the innocent, pure (possibly naive) and untainted/ idealized notion of who the X-men are supposed to be and what they are to stand for in contrast with the hardened, fed up, more experienced character.
If you want to start with X-Men or get back into the fray, Yesterday’s X-Men is a great place to start. If you want, jump a little farther back and start with Avengers vs X-Men. It will set the basis for everything else that happens. Some other volumes that happen simultaneously is Uncanny X-Men Vol 1: Revolution, and X-Men Vol 1: Primer.
All New X-Men: Yesterday’s X-Men (Teen)
Criteria based off of this blog post that I read. Criteria For Judging Quality in Comics
Art: 9/10 Solid anatomy with good composition and angles. As a whole it was clean and consistent throughout.
Story: 9/10 The story starts ramping up quickly and does not stop. Well paced and kept me interested all the way through. Nice moments of tension and emotion mixed between the action panels.
Dialogue: 8/10 Careful attention to different ways people talk and communicate with each other. Solid monologue from Cyclops when he sees the original X-Men for the first time.
Resonance: 9/10 A fun read and with everything that is happening can’t wait to see the direction that will be taken.