Review: All-New X-Men #15 by Brian Bendis and David Lafuente

All-New_X-Men_15

All-New X-Men #15

Written by Brian Michael Bendis

Art by David Lafuente and Jim Campbell

 

The short of it:

Rachel Grey is back! Having been absent since AVX she explains it as off being a superhero and how now all she wants is a long shower and to sleep for a week and only then will she care about what has happened while she was gone. Hey, Storm tried to warn her, but instead she gets the impossible moment of walking into a teenage Jean Grey as she walks out of the ladies locker room. One brilliantly silent page later and they both go about their days not wanting to even think about this new reality. Meanwhile you’ve got Scott trying and failing to write a letter to Jean, but Bobby comes to save him from his self imposed misery by laying on some of his own. Bobby needs to get of there, badly, because he really can’t stand another minute of watching his future self make out with Professor Kitty. Bobby doesn’t like her, she’s mean to him, but she loves what he becomes. Screwy time travelness!

Jean is getting a telekinesis lesson from Beast (and not a telekinetic), which is a lot of him talking while she floats everything in the garage before showing off and completely disassembling Wolverine’s motorcycle, which would be fine, but Scott and Bobby take off in Wolverine’s jeep and everything crashes. Wolverine is NOT happy and Beast and Jean now have to put that bike back together. Scott and Bobby hit the town and do their best to be normal kids, but when a girl walks up to ask Scott if he knows who he looks like….Bobby straight up outs him in order to make Scott the center of attention. Then you’ve got Beast and Jean putting the bike back together, with Hank’s thoughts alternating between reading instructions and mentally undressing Jean and longing for the memories of his former best friends late wife. Jean is…well, not as creeped out as you’d expect.

Also unexpected is how into Scott and Bobby all of these girls are, especially once one of their boyfriends freaks out and bails upon realizing he’s standing with some mutants. Scott is awkward, Bobby is living for the attention, but the girls start chipping away at Scott’s exterior. At the same time, all is not right with the world, as Jean goes and calls Young Hank out on everything she just read from the mind of his adult self, and when he says she’s in love with Scott she says she isn’t and reality breaks as horrible things happen.

Scott and Bobby are still with the girls, who really dig that they’re mutants and want Scott to shoot some eye beams, and he’s heavily resistant…until there’s a high speed chase. The Young X-Men make short work of it, the girls love it, but Wolverine shows up to end their fun. The girls want their numbers, they have no phones, so they get them the old fashioned way. Back at the school we have another awkward Rachel and Jean interaction, and finally Jean having a long thought about her future as things wrap up.

 

What I liked:

  • Book ended the issue with Rachel and Jean having awkward interactions completely made it. There were no words, there did not need to be any words, it was just priceless and really set the tone for the entire book before finally closing it out.

  • Scott and Bobby out on the town, being mutant teenagers in a world where they can actually do it, was fantastic. It’s a book of moments and character growth, and Bendis works it all masterfully.

  • David Lafuente did a great job with this issue, and he absolutely nailed the respective ages of the kids on the team. Scott, Bobby, and the girls looked like a group of teenagers hanging out, not a bunch of young adults. Jean looked fifteen the entire issue, while I’ve definitely seen some work out of Immonen that makes it easy to forget she’s that young. The book looked great, loved it.

  • Young Bobby the ladies man was great. I know I gave credit there, but it’s such a great sequence. Bobby has been such a joke so far in this book, so seeing him pushed into the spotlight is great. It’s what I was wanting from the entire roster, but what we’ve only gotten thus far with Scott, Jean, and Hank.

  • People stealing Wolverine’s jeep is a time honored X-Men tradition that I think only pops up with any frequency in cartoons. Everyone steals his jeep in the cartoons, it’s the only reason he has a jeep in the first place! So I marked when it happened here.

  • For as much as I don’t like the Beast/Jean stuff, I love the way Jean is written. She doesn’t come across like the Sacred Cow Emma always thinks of, or some archetype that has to be reached for it to be X-Men. She just feels like a girl who is seeing where her future takes her and is wanting any modicum of control back.

 

What I didn’t like:

  • Hank’s mental humping of Jean was downright creepy. She’s supposed to be fifteen or sixteen and he’s thinking right at her ‘hey, go nail my younger self’. The whole bit just feels weird, and there’s a definite ignorance to the fact that Hank and Scott were, supposed to be, best friends. He didn’t just let the girl he loved pine after a guy, he let a girl he never showed any interest in be with his best friend. Something he didn’t even regret until he found out about X-Force!

  • Another person with no practical knowledge of Jean’s powers trying to show her how to use them best, when there are at least three other telekinetics on campus that could do the same thing.

  • Pretty much everything with Beast was….well, not awesome.

 

Final thoughts:

I get that Kitty, Hank, and Logan are supposed to be the main instructors, but when you’ve got a mutant like Jean who has powers that none of them share, and where there are other telepaths and telekinetics to bring in, why are they doing the teaching? You want Jean to move stuff with her mind, bring in Hellion. Need telepathy? Quentin Quire. Because, really, what can Kitty teach her about telepathy?

Opening the book with Rachel and Jean completely set the tone for my reading today, I was grinning, in a positive mood, and ready to laugh. I’m so glad I read this book first today.

So Beast claims that Jean is showing Phoenix level power by taking apart the motorcycle, but I’ve seen her do that kind of stuff without the Phoenix, not to mention all the other non-Phoenix telekinetics that have done ridiculously cool stuff. I have an issue where Nate Grey uses his TK to reach his hand through a glass window and remove something without anything breaking, straight up Kitty Pryde phasing, just with his TK. Jean disassembling a motorcycle isn’t nearly that cool.

I understand that most artists can’t handle putting out books at the pace Marvel would like to, so I understand rotating art teams and fill in guys. Most books I take issue with how drastically different those artists are, but I think Marvel is on to something special here. Stuart Immonen, David Marquez, and David Lafuente. Three guys with similar enough styles, though each very uniquely theirs, who perfectly maintain the tone of this book. Who knew that getting the old Ultimate Spider-Man guys would work so well?

I kept waiting for the freaked out boyfriend to come back with cops to try and bring down super-terrorist Scott Summers, so I was actually shocked to find out that he was just a total wuss who ran at the first sight of that which he could not understand. I think I’m just too familiar with the age-old setup of mutant hater brings cops.

Hey look! Dazztique!

I’ve been waiting since the end of the first arc to see what happens when Jean meets Rachel, and Bendis did not disappoint. Sure, I would love to see that conversation, and I expect that it will be around sooner than later, but the immediate reactions were perfect. Rachel sees a fifteen year old version of her dead mother, and Jean sees yet another piece of proof that she’s destined to wind up with Scott Summers without any choice in the matter. Plus, and more awkward, this woman that is older than her is her alternate reality daughter and I’m assuming Jean is still holding a V card and not thinking about having superhero adult children just yet.

And the more I think about it, Rachel has always had a strained relationship with Jean. I mean, sure, they eventually made their peace and got along, but for the most part, I remember adult Jean being freaked out by this grown woman calling her mom.

I’m not sure what happens to this team of X-Men after Battle for the Atom, but it would be a tragedy to lose Jean Grey from the X-Men books again.

Overall: 8/10

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