In Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen’s “All-New X-Men” #10, Cyclops and his “fellow rebels” show up on Wolverine’s Jean Grey School lawn sporting news of their New Xavier School and looking for defectors — er, recruits. The offer actually makes very obvious sense, but Wolverine is enraged just at the sight of Cyclops and his team let alone the idea of them poaching his students. Meanwhile Mystique is up to serious hi-jinx and chaos, as per usual.
Bendis’ work here continues his wonderful contrasts in chemistry between both old and new X-Men, and now, with “Uncanny X-Men” guest starring, readers get a little more exploration for those strained relationships as well. If you’re here for character relationships, you’ll be pleased. If you’re here for plotting and story advancements, you may be a bit disappointed. Not much occurs except for the cliffhanger that one of the characters (and it’s pretty obvious which one) is going to head off to join the New Xavier School either as a student or as an undercover agent — perhaps in the end it will actually be both. The Cuckoos defection was pretty much a given, but the way this issue plays out, the surprise character is feeling like one too. Still, if you’re more interested in characters than genuinely shocking cliffhangers, there’s still a lot to like in “All-New X-Men” #10.
Immonen continues to handle the massive cast that is always popping up in this book with seeming ease. He’s got a great feel for everyone and his contrasts between the young and old are particularly engaging. His take on Wolverine in this issue is a bit surprising, choosing to draw Logan as particularly “ugly” and even a bit inhuman looking. It’s certainly a far cry from the more Hugh Jackman-esque look so many artists have adopted for Wolverine over the years. I tend to like it — Wolverine should be short, and feral, and not particularly dashing, and if this signals a change back to that, this reader is all for it. This is simply a stunningly beautiful book from pencils and inks, to colors. It’s effective and engaging, easy to follow, but full of detail. It’s honestly hard to imagine a better looking book across the board.
Ten issues into its run, “All-New X-Men” has surprised me repeatedly since its inception. Smart character work, gorgeous storytelling by both Stuart Immonen and David Marquez, and a story that’s keeping readers on their toes is all adding up to one of the more interesting Marvel offerings of 2013.