All-New X-Men #20
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Mahmud Asrar, Brandon Peterson, Israel Silva
The short of it:
In the former Weapon X facility that is now the home of the Uncanny X-Men, Laura Kinney wakes up to strange surroundings, voices that are familiar and yet different, and that Weapon X logo that is burned into her DNA to not trust. I mean, she was kinda born because of them. She wakes up, pops her claws, promptly trusts no one, and runs like hell. Scott goes after her while the others digest the impromptu reveal of her being a clone of Wolverine, and then add in that Jean’s inability to mind her own damn business puts it on the table that Scott kinda digs that. He meets her outside and tries to talk her down by being friendly and honest, Laura gives him the smell check and asks the obvious “Why are you so young”, and then makes a very good point when asking why they would time travel.
Scott does what he does best, providing an almost entirely harmless person for her to speak to as she tries to take in what’s happening and where she is, only lightly pushing her to say what happened. When she clearly doesn’t want to talk about the Arena he moves on to the Purifiers, and she thinks this isn’t legit, and he again has to provide a nice and calm tone. Jean, on the other hand, starts going through her memories freely because she’s a bitch like that, and Kitty has to tell her to back the hell out. Laura is REALLY in a rough spot, and she just wants to go beat up Purifiers, so Scott hugs her. And it’s weird.
The Purifiers are being led by the son of the late Reverend William Stryker, and he views the coming of the Original X-Men as a gift from God. That he has been given the ability to kill the originals and make them pay for their sins…whether those be being a mutant or disrupting the time stream. The X-Men arrive, and Jean uses the man as a telepathic puppet before they make their entrance. Lots of punching, lots of powers, and then a big time surprise as the last thing anybody expected to happen happens!
What I liked:
The Jean and Kitty exchanges throughout the issue. I especially loved “Scott Summers fancies the genetic clone of Wolverine?” “Yes he does.” “Shudder.”, and Kitty making it very clear to Jean to get the ever loving hell out of Laura’s brain.
Most awkward hug ever.
I actually like that, for all appearances, it seems as if the move to Scott’s group from Logan’s doesn’t mean that we’re going to have non-stop appearances from the Uncanny team. I’d gladly welcome Yana becoming a regular character, but Cyclops working with his younger self needs to be kept in short doses to maintain the cool factor.
You know what was a cool visual? Laura’s hair. Last issue she was bald, this issue she starts with super short hair, and from the moment she wakes up until Scott talks her down, her hair completely regrows to its normal length. It’s subtle, it’s cool, and it provides solid enough evidence that this length of hair for her is the same as that awful pointy look Wolverine always goes back to after he heals.
Mahmud Asrar debuted this issue, doing the first half, and he makes it look fantastic. Holy crap, I had actually forgotten how much I’d been missing him on Supergirl, but then one look at Laura and the X-Men and I instantly remembered why I loved that book so much at launch. Because Mahmud is one of those rare artists who can make damn near anything that much more amazing just by being a part of the project.
The idea of a non-human Stryker leading the Purifiers may very well mean the end of the concept in the short term, but it’s a hell of a twist.
What I didn’t like:
The scene on the cover doesn’t happen in the issue, and that actually really disappoints me. I mean, yes, it’s alluded to the fact that it might eventually happen, but damnit, I was looking forward to the creepiest couple ever!
Man, does Warren have to get shot in every fight?
Boo! False advertising! We were promised Laura getting it on with somebody despite her extreme PTSD! Come to think of it, given how she was normally, extreme PTSD might be about the only thing capable of getting her to do something like get it on with Kid Cyclops.
I really want to see that pairing, by the way. I also really want to see Jean descend into jealousy as Scott hooks up with the hot new girl, despite that he’s only doing it because Jean is determined to fight the future.
I’m still regularly astonished by the fact that this concept has turned into a book that I absolutely love. Seriously, when it was announced, I thought it had the longevity of Superior Spider-Man….alright, so I really didn’t give either book nearly enough credit. I’ve learned my lessons.
So Stryker’s son is the bad guy, and he’s got some nifty ability…why do I feel like this was lifted from Ultimate?
Wait a second, so Laura’s mostly dead carcass was picked up off of Murderworld and just dumped in Florida? By who?
I would not hate it if Eva jumped ship from Uncanny to this book.
When does Kitty get a new costume?
Hey, look, it’s Lockheed! Love that little dragon….especially when writers ignore all the convoluted SWORD stuff and him talking and the like. He’s a fantastic little pet character, but when you do too much with him…nobody ever bought a book for Lockheed.
Please tell me that X goes along for the trip to space.
Tags: All-New X-Men, Brandon Peterson, Brian Michael Bendis, Cyclops, Kitty Pryde, Marvel Comics, Marvel NOW! (All-New Marvel Now!), X-23