Remember that scene towards the end of The Shawkshank Redemption where Red finds the box that Andy had hidden? When Tim Robbins is doing the voice over of the letter and says, “If you’ve come this far, maybe you’re willing to come a little further.” That’s basically how this issue of All-New X-Men feels. The last issue before the next cross-over event, Battle of the Atom, starts is pretty much the “filler” issue.
The thing that is going to leave readers the most divided on this issue is the art. With Marvel double shipping, and artists already having large workloads, books having rotating art teams is pretty unavoidable. A lot of times it’s not even a big deal. There might be a few noticeable differences such as stronger lines, or the way that a characters brow is illustrated, but one can usually read through without distraction. That is not the case with All-New X-Men #15. David Lafuente’s art is going to stand out to anyone who has been reading this series since the first issue. The difference in style exacerbates the juvenile feel of the issue.
A lot of the dialogue feels immature. Granted, this could be a reflection of the original X-Men being young and brash, but it almost feels like reading a #1 of yet another X-Title being launched. Young X-Men, maybe? Bobby Drake and Scott Summers are still complaining about how much more expensive everything is in the future, and reaching new levels of boredom. This sets up Scott being away from the mansion (and as a result, Jean) as he and Bobby decide to go out and try to find something to do. Jean is the stand out in this issue, not because of the moments with Beast, but becasue Rachel Grey has finally returned to the mansion. The panels that show the awkard tension between the two is definitely the highlight of the issue.
Then there’s the whole Beast in love with Jean thing. It felt odd and out of place. On one hand, Hank McCoy should know better than to get carried away with his thoughts when in the presence of a younger, but perhaps more powerful, Jean. On the other, Beast’s recklessness is kind of what got this entire series started. It felt unnatural, and forced into the plot, as if the decision was made on the pretense of “Which characters haven’t hooked up yet?” It does, however, continue along the theme that drastic changes are being made to the timeline, adding to the theme to next month’s Battle of the Atom.
Overall, as an issue to set up the next big Marvel event All-New X-Men #15 falls short, and will leave readers feeling a little slighted.
This article was first posted on August 9, 2013