All-New X-Men #9
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils by Stuart Immonen
Inks by Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors by Marte Gracia & Rain Beredo
Review by Joey Braccino
**GREAT JUMPING-ON POINT FOR NEW READERS**
The Original X-Men versus Mutant-Hunting SENTINELS in all-out, super-powered, four-colored fantastic fisticuffs!!! Kitty Pryde takes our time-displaced mutants to school!!! Mystique and Sabretooth go recruiting in the worst place in Marveldom!!! Jean Grey gets scarier and scarier!!! Stuart Immonen returns to the art team!!! And, to sum it all up, Brian Michael Bendis delivers another exceptional issue in what is one of Marvel NOW!’s premiere new series.
All-New X-Men #9 captures everything awesome about Bendis’ budding tenure with the X-Universe: nuanced characterization, simmering stakes, moral ambiguity, and cinematic action sequences. There is an energy and fervor to ANXM that, in all honesty, a lot of the other Marvel NOW! launches could only hope to imitate. I won’t say that the X-Universe has lacked this energy in recent years because, for those of that read the X-books through the Extinction phase, Bendis is just the latest in a long line of exceptional storytellers to take up the mantle of maker for our merry mutants, but I must admit that the story Bendis is telling in these pages is unlike anything else on the stands.
Stuart Immonen and the stable of colorists, inkers, and letterers produce a visually engaging comic book like no other. Immonen is often lauded for his kinetic aesthetic, but its his unique layouts and paneling that really steal the show with ANXM. From high-vantage point double-page action spreads to rapid successions of overlaying talking-head panels, Immonen does it all in these 24-page books. My ONLY criticism of Immonen’s designs for our heroes and villains is the similarity between the costume of a returning baddie and the costume of a certain former-White-Queen. Granted this is probably more a comment on Chris Bachalo’s design for Emma Frost, but I do like to think that in some universe somewhere, Chris Bachalo, Brian Bendis, and Stuart Immonen get together for tacos and play Tomb Raider and compare notes on designs so as to avoid any glaring similarities.
Oh, and where are those new costumes for the Original Five all those solicits promised!?!?!? JK! I forgive Bendis and Co. for this omission simply because of one spectacular gender-equality line that Mystique delivers during the aforementioned “recruitment” scene. I love my books social-equity-conscious!!!
You need to be reading this book. Fortunately, Bendis provides an excellent jumping-on point for new readers. Issue #9 captures all of the positive elements of All-New X-Men so far (including Stuart Immonen’s gorgeous artwork) and jams them all into a fantastic, well-structured comic book. Oh, and the final page is GLORIOUS.