Posted March 6, 2013 by Mikael Angelo Francisco in Comics

ALL-NEW X-MEN #8 Shines the Spotlight on the Avenging Angels [Spoilers]

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
Colorist: Marte Gracia


The volatile battle between the tag-team of Angels past and present and HYDRA terrorists in front of Avengers Tower is easily one of the best and most energetic action sequences in ALL-NEW X-MEN so far. The younger, inexperienced Warren Worthington, coerced into action by his more carefree and aerially adept modern self, gets his own time to shine, after essentially being a background character in this book since the start of the run. The heroic pair of winged warriors inevitably attracts the attention of Captain America and the rest of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (in no small part due to the fact that the entirety of the violent skirmish pretty much happened right in front of their house), leading the Avengers to take one of their jets and pay a visit to a certain school…

If there’s one purpose that ALL-NEW X-MEN serves adequately, it’s to illustrate the grave differences between the original five X-Men and their jaded (or, in the case of one, very dead) modern-day counterparts. It’s both interesting and sad to note that out of all the members of the original roster, only Iceman has really managed to live a relatively peaceful life. Beast has undergone at least three grotesque and bothersome transformations, each one arguably stranger than the last; half the world hates Cyclops for making the world a better place and THEN lashing out after he got poked and prodded and threatened by the Avengers; Jean Grey is… er… as dead as disco, and whenever she comes back to life, things start getting burned to death.

Warren has had it particularly rough – he has been manipulated, used, abused, depressed, suicidal, and even wingless. During the course of 50 years of real-world publication time, Warren has been an undercover “mutant hunter”, a Horseman of Apocalypse, and even a member of a secret killer squad. Hell, when “being dead” isn’t even the most terrible thing to ever happen to you,  you know you’ve had a crappy life. It’s nice, then, to see (thanks to Bendis and co.) that the innocent, naive young Warren gets to meet the post-X-Force version of himself – a reborn Angel that isn’t scarred and tarnished, yet isn’t exactly Warren.

I’ve often expressed my dismay about the title’s apparent focus on emphasizing that everyone hates Scott Summers, but this issue’s focus on Angel, as well as a nice, character-defining moment for the younger version of Summers, has once again raised my hopes for this book. Bendis’s dialogue remains as hip and lively as ever: a particularly entertaining bit shows Kitty Pride and modern Iceman engaging in a stereotype-driven mock conversation, as they try to guess the exchange of messages between Beast and Cap from a distance. However, it’s really David Marquez’s artwork that makes such sequences work – the expressive eyes, appropriate expressions and masterful depiction of body language.

I was kind of expecting an all-out “shoot first, ask later” melee between the Avengers and the original five – then again, that probably wouldn’t work as well as I think it would. The ending is also a bit of a shocking eye-opener, as we get to see the more terrifying repercussions of Beast’s meddling with the timestream…

…The All-New X-Men have a ticking time-bomb in their midst, just waiting to explode.

Verdict: 4.5/5

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Mikael Angelo Francisco