“All-New X-Men” #28 is a great example about how when everything clicks together, the result is a thoroughly fun comic. Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen and Wade von Grawbadger’s latest installment not only moves the current storyline forward, it also fills in some more details on last year’s “Battle of the Atom” crossover.
There’s a lot of material packed into “All-New X-Men” #28; not only does it demonstrate how the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants was formed in the future, but also see more of their attack on the time-tossed X-Men in the present day. Both portions move briskly and have a good amount of punch to them. Xavier and Raze’s plans in the future to destroy the X-Men (and how they form their team) are entertaining, because Bendis remembers that since we already know how “Battle of the Atom” turns out, and this needs to be more than just a prequel to that story. Instead, readers learn more about Xavier and Raze, as well as the state that Beast was in when the duo recruited him to their side.
It’s the present-day material that I like more, though. We’re finally getting some follow-through on Jean Grey’s new power set that was first revealed during their recent adventures in the Shi’ar Empire. We’re learning more about why this time-displaced version of Jean is so dangerous, even as the new Brotherhood attempts to learn from their lessons and take her down first. The shifting back and forth between the physical and psychic worlds is also handed well even just on a textual basis, with Bendis’ captions easing you in and giving the score early on. This is a good transition issue, moving the characters into new positions for the inevitable finale.
Immonen and von Grawbadger’s art, though — wow. There are a couple of fantastic images here, ones that sell this issue. It’s easy to point at the obvious ones, like the two-page spread of the future X-Men and Brotherhood fighting one another. With a dozen characters on the pages, this could have felt crowded or hard to follow. Instead it’s a dream, with every character getting their own little moment while still letting the entire spread looking cohesive rather than fractured. There are so many little details that work here, from the swoop of the good Iceman’s transport, to Colossus’s leap through the air, they all look energetic and dynamic.
Compare that to the final page, which is just two characters, one rushing towards the other. There’s no background other than a coloring effect, it’s about as stripped down as you can get it — and it works just as well. From the way the top character is plunging through the air with arms outstretched for an attack and legs positioned so that you can mentally fill in the springing action that happened a second earlier, there’s so much power in that pose that you can almost see the character plummeting. And likewise, the character who’s the target is so wrapped up in a different attack, you can understand why the character on the bottom is completely missing what’s about to happen; this isn’t a case where you’re thinking, “How do you not see this coming?” Instead it’s entirely sold due to the body language here, something that Immonen just nails time and time again.
If “All-New X-Men” #28 was the benchmark that all future issues made sure to reach, I’d be delighted. It’s fun, it fills in details, it gives you your money’s worth and then some. This comic can move slowly at times, but this is an example of how sometimes it finds just the right pace. Nicely done.