“All-New X-Men” is one of those titles where it’s not a bad book, but it’s hard to keep from feeling like it perpetually drags its feet. “All-New X-Men” #13 is a perfect example of this phenomenon, as Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen and Wade von Grawbadger draw out a conflict that feels like it’s been far too long coming.
It’s nice that we’re finally seeing a confrontation with Mystique and her latest Brotherhood, and for that matter, learning why she wanted all that money. (It doesn’t have anything to do with her simultaneous appearances in “Wolverine and the X-Men” or “Astonishing X-Men” though.) I appreciate that Bendis has a plan that’s greater than evil for the sake of evil, so that’s a small relief. Nonetheless, this plot is inching along. This is, after all, a comic that spends three pages rebutting Havok’s statement about being called a mutant in “Uncanny Avengers” from earlier this year. Did readers need 15% of this issue devoted to that? Probably not, but the pacing plods along, with another two pages at the start of the issue devoted to the same scene on the final page. It’s not a terribly exciting cliffhanger the second you put any real thought into it, and it makes “All-New X-Men” #13 have even less plot development or momentum.
Immonen and von Grawbadger’s art still looks great, though. I love the way he draws Wolverine here (it reminds me almost of Kevin Nowlan’s art), with an almost rubbery and extremely expressive face. Likewise, the expressions on Madame Hydra’s face are a riot, as she reacts to everything Mystique does this month. And lest you forget that they can also do action, the moment where the X-Men smash into the warehouse is a great example of how to have a ton of characters in a scene and not make it feel cluttered or hard to follow. Everyone gets their own unique entrance and reaction, and it’s fun to just study that half-splash and see how they approached that moment in the script.
“All-New X-Men” #13 is a book published on a pretty frequent basis, and considering how slow it moves, that’s a good thing, because I shudder to think of this was a once-a-month book. Still, a slightly faster pace would be greatly appreciated. This is entertaining enough, but it could be a lot more fun with a bit of pep added into the mix.