All-New X-Men #13
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger, and Rain Beredo
The short of it:
The book opens with a Phoenix powered Jean Grey bringing everybody to their knees as Wolverine and Kid Cyclops go into panic mode.
Six hours ago our story starts with the All-New X-Men, along with Wolverine and Kitty, flying back from their talk with the Uncanny Avengers. They’re going to investigate one of the scenes of Mystique framing them, which means Kitty and Logan have to teach Jean more telepathy tricks. See, they need to not be seen by people that believe them hostile, and the jet can cloak, but that isn’t them. Logan is able to get the scent, but Jean drops her psychic cloaks and they have to hightail it. Rookie mistake! It’s no big deal, they can bail. Got what they needed.
Meanwhile you have Mystique and company watching Havok’s now famous ‘call me Alex’ speech. Lady Mastermind is pissy, she either wants to know Mystique’s plan or she’s gone, I mean, what’s all the damn money for? The Silver Samurai, a new one that I don’t even pretend to be familiar with, arrives to herald Madame Hydra…who is very impressed by the mountain of cash that Mystique has accumulated. Madame Hydra has something that Mystique wants, and she’s ready to throw that mountain of cash to get it.
Then you’ve got the All-New X-Men listening to Havok’s speech, and this is where the issue gets opinionated. Apparently mutant isn’t a dirty word yet when the kids are from, and Kitty needs to let them understand. She tells them a story about her childhood, and a boy she likes revealing himself to be incredibly anti-semitic. She may be able to fly under the radar without a physical mutation, and with a last name that doesn’t sound Jewish, but she’s proud of who she is and doesn’t agree at all with what Alex claims to want.
Mystique continues with her buy of a big piece of X-history, but it’s interrupted by the arrival of the X-Men looking to initiate the sort of beatdown that always happens when you put Wolverine and Sabretooth in the same room. Alas, that melee doesn’t last nearly long enough.
Because Regan Wyngarde sees Jean Grey and all she can think about is sweet sweet vengeance.
What I liked:
Resolution! Bendis let the Mystique plot simmer just long enough for it to start to come to a head here, and her attempt at buying Madripoor is just priceless.
I like Wolverine going full force with everyones nicknames and nobody else taking too kindly to it. I mean, Scott will always be Slim, and Jean will always be Jeannie. It’s the little things.
Kitty’s speech was wonderful. Comparing her Judaism to her X-gene, she paints a story about not understanding the racism just because she flies under the radar. About how even the racists didn’t seem to understand that what they were doing was wrong. It’s a very Bendis kind of character moment, and it’s perfect. He REALLY gets Kitty Pryde.
Regan’s vengeance has the making of something awesome. I love the character and really do enjoy seeing her get big moments. Of course, now I think she’s going to die next issue, but at least she’d go out with a bang!
Mystique’s plans are great, I mean, I can’t see the logic behind buying the island at all, but as a fan of the X-Men I’m all like “Madripoor!” and I don’t care that I don’t get it. Bendis has been doing a great job with her.
At what point does putting over Stuart Immonen and Wade Von Grawbadger as one of the best art teams in comics become boring? I dunno, and I’ll let you know when it happens, because this book is still visually spectacular.
What I didn’t like:
Iceman’s humor with the word ‘Madripoor’ fell completely flat with me. The jokes have been hit or miss with the kid version of Bobby, but this was just painful. Had Bendis opted for words that could actually sound like he heard it wrong there would have been some funny, but as it stands? I mean, say it, Madripoor, that’s not THAT hard!
Rachel Grey, Betsy Braddock, Nate Grey, and Quentin Quire. Four telepaths, three I know for a fact are at the Jean Grey School, all of them of top tier psychic ability, and Jean is taking lessons from Kitty and Logan. That does not make sense.
So last time I saw Viper she had some giant snake hat thanks to the events of Secret Warriors, and that’s gone now and she’s looking quite a bit more Viper like than Madame Hydra esque and…am I the only one who likes the Viper name more? Madame Hydra makes her sound like she belongs in a brothel.
I like the design of the new Silver Samurai, but I miss Kenuichio Harada. That look was classic, and that character had so much bad ass potential that was rarely squandered when he appeared on panel.
A few issues later and I no longer feel like Warren’s departure was meant to have any true long term ramifications on this title, rather it was just an excuse to not bury him in the background in this book.
No More Phoenix really lasted a long time.
So is the Phoenix a Lady Mastermind trick, or is Bendis reestablishing the late 90’s Phoenix energy signature that Jean had?
The only time this book gives me a headache is when I try to make sense out of it alongside Wolverine and the X-Men. Where Sabretooth is in charge of the group and Mystique is working as a teacher for the Hellfire Academy…which Sabretooth is Headmaster of. Much different than here where Mystique has her brotherhood and busted Sabretooth out of jail to create it. Though that group also has Sauron, and this group also needs Sauron.
Sauron is awesome.
Everyone calling Kitty “Professor” is growing on me. Now all we need is “PROFESSOR K IS A JERK!”