While this series is still running the slow burn, it seems to be working in its favour. It gives plenty more time to focus on character development and this issue is full of it.
As the cover suggests, this issue focuses mostly on Jean Grey. She meets her sort-of daughter Rachel for the first time in several amusing panels, but spends most of her time talking with both old and young beast. Both scenes are dramatically effective, and they seem to fit well with the pre Uncanny X-Men days. There are enough jokes to keep this issue entertaining, but her dramatic scenes are arguably the highlight in today’s All New X-Men. There’s a line in this issue where Jean says she’s only had telepathy for several days now – seems like the original five have been through a lot in those several days. That’s the nature of comics though, it’s best not to worry about in-universe time.
Young Cyclops and Iceman have their own little adventure as well, meeting up with human teenagers who are excited to meet them. It’s a more lighthearted sequence of events that shows them learning to accept the future they’re in. Will they even want to return to the past anymore?
The art is a bit of an acquired taste. I think it’s fine, although some panels are better than others. The moment where Jean meets Rachel is brilliantly drawn – no dialogue is needed to convey exactly what’s going on. Character expressions are very well handled, as is the body language. The panel where Cyclops and Iceman arrive at a carnival sets the scene wonderfully. On the downside, eye sizes seem very inconsistent, and young beast looks a little … off. There are hardly any backgrounds at all, and most of the existing backgrounds are barren.
Apart from the art’s downfalls, this is an excellent comic. When most titles are moving at a rapid pace these days, it’s nice to have a book that takes things relatively slow. I was worried when I first learned Brian Michael Bendis was writing X-Men comics, but so far they’ve been surprisingly good. This feels a lot like one of Claremont’s downtime issues, and that’s certainly not a bad thing.