Review: All-New X-Men #14 by Brian Bendis and Stuart Immonen

All-New_X-Men_14

All-New X-Men #14

Written by Brian Michael Bendis

Art by Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger, and Marte Gracia

 

The short of it:

Apparently all it took was a little push from Lady Mastermind to make Jean go full blown PHOENIX on Mystique’s ass! Now, Raven is pretty much just pissing herself, but Wolverine? He’s been there, he’s done that, and if Jean is going Phoenix then he’s just going to stop things before they go upside down and kill her dead. Buttttt…..Jean isn’t Phoenix, and she was using her telepathy to make the villains wet themselves without realizing that her team could see it too. Whatever, they can all still fight, and then Professor X can show up? And it really takes them until Wolverine gets gutshot by Mystique to realize that Lady Mastermind makes the best illusions?

Of course, this takes the fight to Jean against Regan, the Mutant Mistress of Illusions against the Girl Who Would Be Phoenix. Mirages versus mind whammies. Jean wins in one panel. Back to the big brawl! Kitty and Madame Hydra! Iceman and Sabretooth! Wolverine and Mystique! She says he doesn’t know what he’s fighting about, he tells her exactly what her plan was, she admits that he does know! Beast versus Silver Samurai! Jean with humiliations against Mystique and Sabretooth! Really, it’s a big fight, and the action is well put together, and everyone gets a moment to shine, and it’s awesome.

Then it ends and the Uncanny Avengers show up, only they really don’t because Lady Mastermind wanted to get away so they stop her, and then the Uncanny Avengers actually show up. We know this because Iceman totally snowballs Thor in the head. The vets give the kids some credit for a job well done, and it’s the first time Captain America hasn’t been a dick since before AVX.

Mystique is taken to an Extra-Max jail, and Maria Hill wants to see for herself after all the troubles that began with Mystique impersonating her. Of course, Mystique has already abandoned ship under the guise of Maria Hill because you can’t keep an awesome shape changing villain down.

And man, Jean is moody. And angry.

 

What I liked:

  • The Jean as Phoenix mind-twist of an opening was handled great. Bendis lived up to his jaw dropping cliffhanger without having to devalue anything. Plus, Mystique cowering in fear is always great.

  • For all the big fight issues I’ve seen from Brian Bendis over the years, this was far and away the smoothest. Stuart, Wade, and Marte absolutely dominated this book visually, and Bendis’s pacing is tighter than a vice. Ridiculously enjoyable fight sequences.

  • Mystique and Sabretooth loose via ‘humiliation’. Mystique being telepathically put to sleep while Creed screams “Owwy ow ow ow!” in pain. Love it.

  • Thor got snowballed!

  • Wolverine and Mystique have a brief exchange where she says he doesn’t even know why they’re fighting, so he explains her master plan and she owns up that he’s right. A very Bendis-y moment that was pulled off spectacularly well in this situation.

  • Bendis really does ‘get’ Mystique. He’s giving her top tier treatment, making her a threat, and despite losing he’s yet to bury her. It’s the opposite of what he did in New Avengers where by the time he was done you couldn’t take The Hood seriously as a bad guy.

 

What I didn’t like:

  • Beast went from one of the more entertaining characters of the first few issues to the new Warren. He’s just sorta there, though he does get more dialogue, but it isn’t any good.

  • How inept are Maria Hill and the rest of SHIELD? Mystique keeps copying her and escaping from the most super of super jails.

  • I do not like the idea of sending Jean to the realm of dark and moody.

 

Final thoughts:

At one point Mystique makes fun of Wolverine for being a schoolteacher, but that’s exactly what she’s doing at the Hellfire Academy over in Wolverine and the X-Men.

Brian Bendis is a very mean person, giving us all this Phoenix stuff that is so much better than the waste of the Phoenix that was AVX. The worst part? They made such a big deal about destroying it that I can’t see Jean actually going true Phoenix instead of just using it as a scary visual.

Does anybody else remember a time and a place when the X-Men could go beat up bad guys and not have to answer to the Avengers? Comics Nexus remembers.

Summers Brothers High Five! The moment may have been cheesy, but I liked it.

The Uncanny Avengers are quickly outliving their usefulness in this book, though. This is, what, their fourth appearance? Fifth?

Regan attacks Kid Jean with visions of Scott making out with Emma. These are supposed to bother her….why? She and Scott aren’t together yet, and she only met Emma the one time.

How did fake Xavier fool anybody for any length of time? I mean, yes, they say he’s from the past, but how would he know to show up right there and then? It’s obviously fake even before Lady Mastermind is all like ‘what are you waiting for’.

Hydra went down way too easy. I didn’t even notice Madame Hydra getting KO’d my first read though, I had just assumed she got away.

As much as I love Mystique’s costume, I can’t possibly be the only person who thinks it’s time to get rid of the skull belt for good, can I? It just looks so….blatant eighties villain?

Half the time Kid Iceman looks like a walking snowman, and the other half is a walking ghost.

Overall: 8.5/10

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