Marvel NOW! Review: All-New X-Men #3 by Brian Bendis and Stuart Immonen

All-New X-Men #3
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger, and Marte Garcia

The short of it:

Ten days ago Scott set up his new base of operations at the last place anyone would ever think to look for him, and then two days later he and Magneto went to break out a member of their team. This is when things got interesting, as the two mutant outlaws stand down a convoy…and Magneto’s powers fail. As the soldiers open fire, Scott tries his luck…and his optic blasts go out of control. The situation goes upside down, things go boom, clean up is attempted, and they manage enough control to free the prisoner…Emma Frost. Emma is pissed at Scott, and rightfully so after what he did to her to wrap up AVX….depowering her from the Phoenix, leaving her for dead, killing Xavier. Not his fault, Phoenix did it. She doesn’t care, excuses excuses, and he tells her to go read his mind…but she can’t. Powers not behaving the way they should? Potential side effects of being Phoenix boosted? Broken powers. And with the mess of incoming cops, Emma begrudgingly goes along with Scott’s exit.

Fast forward to today, however, and we’ve got another new minute. A shapeshifter. We’ll get back to him/her. The big point of this issue is how broken Scott’s powers are, I mean, yeah, Magneto and Emma aren’t doing great, and Magik actually seems to have more power and control than ever, but Scott has lost all the fine control he had gained. No more controlled bursts through his visor, it’s all out all the time. And Magneto? Magneto gives him one hell of a verbal bitchslap for screwing with his powers and refusing to take any responsibility, and he’s the Awesome Old Man we needed him to be. Just in time for them to go out to see this new mutant.

Just in time for there to be a cliffhanger of reality smashing proportions.

What I liked:

  • Weapon X as a base of operations is brilliant. I mean, yes, it’s a dark and dreary example of just how little humans care about the well beings of mutants, but it’s also a place that the X-Men won’t go searching, and no humans are going to go try and refurbish…this time. Plus, given what it was intended for, it’s probably really spacy.
  • Breaking the powers creates a ready made story arc for the former Phoenix’d X-Men, having to either regain control, or develop control over newly enhanced abilities. Because my gut is telling me Scott is stronger than ever before now.
  • On the note of Scott, there are a lot of things to put over the art for, but I have to give some love to colorist Marte Garcia for all the detail put into Scott’s out of control optic blasts. So awesome looking.
  • Beyond the coloring, the art as a whole is up the usual level of quality that readers have come to expect from Stuart Immonen. After all, this is the guy who made Fear Itself something you could look at even if reading it set your brain on fire. He’s an absolutely fantastic talent.
  • Scott and Emma. Exes who work together. I can dig it.
  • The pacing is absolutely perfect.

What I didn’t like:

  • Magneto joining the screwy power brigade because Scott attacked him with the Phoenix Force means that we should see the same thing happen to Wolverine, what with Scott setting him on fire too. I doubt we will see that happen.
  • I also don’t like how poorly defined his power shortage is. Scott has no fine control, Emma can’t read minds, but Magneto both can and can not control metal. Bullets and cars? Can’t stop them. Crush a gun? No problem.
  • Shapeshifter is kinda lame.

Final thoughts:

One of my few complaints about the first issue was Emma being on the team when we never saw her get freed on panel. I figured we’d get it eventually, and here we are, getting the flashback story with things to build on.

We’ve got the perfect excuse for a new costume for anyone on Scott’s team, and nobody gets one. Now yes, you can’t really change Magneto, or even Cyclops that drastically, but Illyana and Emma both need makeovers.

Three issues in and we’ve had more content than you’d expect in a year of Ultimate Spider-Man. Brian isn’t slowing down, but he’s also not blowing his load too early. The pacing is perfect, and I can’t wait to see where he takes the book as it keeps moving along like this.

I think he finally is going to have a trade worth the cover price as far as content goes.

Now, the fact that this book is already slipping to weekly at four bucks an issue…that may become my big hurdle here.

So a new mutant just happens to get their powers at a pro-Mutant “Cyclops Cares” rally? I want to call forced coincidence, but I think I’ll hold off to see how next issue goes with the fight in front of these college kids.

So Magneto and Scott, both with their powers turned upside down, versus the X-Kids next issue. Odds of someone dying? Much higher than Marvel would like you to believe.

Overall: 8.5/10

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