“That is the scariest thing I’ve ever heard, and I grew up in hell – literally.” The best X-Men titles always have a downtime issue here and there, and after the All New X-Men’s encounter with the Future Brotherhood, they needed one. That’s what ANXM 30 is.
This issue is broken into two halves. The first half is exactly what the cover suggests, with Angel and X-23 having a night on the town and bonding. It’s actually a nice scene, allowing X-23 to have a bit of fun after years of straight abuse, conflict and pain. It kind of makes sense for Angel, a young boy who grew up privileged, to find himself attracted to a girl with a dark past. X-23’s dialogue is still a bit off with her use of expressions, but the sentiment behind her words feels perfectly in character. When she denies being as pretty as Jean Grey after Warren says so, it matches how she was talked down to for much of her childhood, and Warren even has to stop her from trying to scare him off with talks of her dark past.
The second half of the book is all about Jean Grey and Emma Frost beginning their psychic training. The banter between them showcases the huge historic rivalry between Emma and the original Jean Grey, and the gathering audience with the kids makes it all the more entertaining. The way their “battle” ends is surprising, and while some may not enjoy the result, it certainly has both comedic and dramatic potential, hence the “scary” quote I opened with. The brief scene between Kitty Pryde and Peter Quill’s hologram is also kind of charming. This kind of issue is where Brian Michael Bendis is at his best. When he allows his characters to relax and talk, he gets fantastic moments out of them.
My only concern is, are the Stepford Cuckoo’s supposed to have telekinesis? Or did they somehow tap into Jean’s while she was distracted by Emma. Oh well, it’s not a huge issue.
Sara Pichelli’s art is great. It’s a bright, colourful style that’s pleasing to the eye. Even without the different coloured outfits, it’s easy to tell different characters apart. Every single scene has plenty of background detail, whether it’s all the signs around the bar’s exterior, the Canadian wilderness or even inside the old Weapon X facility. The opening scene in one of Warren’s family estates is full of nice furniture and fancy shelves, of course knocked around and scratched up by whatever nondescript antics occurred the night before. The wordless scene in the “Black Out Club” tell the story of two superheroes trying to enjoy themselves in a club, only to get attacked by a bunch of thug wannabes. Each person in the club has a different appearance, and the red lighting add to the mood. The mix of expressions between Emma Frost and Jean Grey perfectly display their emotions.
This is a great X-Men comic. It builds on most of the main characters in the All New X-Men series and has fun doing so. The only character who still has very little character development to this point, Iceman, is promised to have his moment in the next issue when they go dimension hopping to the Ultimate Universe. There’s a reason why this remains the top selling X-Men team book since it began (it’s debatable whether this or Uncanny X-men are the better titles right now), and if you’re a fan of the franchise who hasn’t given it a shot yet, you really should.