In All New X-men 2, the original 5 X-Men were brought to modern times. As if being time displaced isn’t enough, now they will have their first inter dimensional adventure. They headed out in the last issue to help a new mutant, whose powers accessed different realities. Without Kitty Pryde to help, they ended up scaring the new mutant even more, sparking her abilities which scattered them around the Ultimate Universe. That’s where this issue picks up, with not only the All New X-Men lost, but separated.
Each of the young X-Men find themselves in different situations. Angel finds himself in the Savage Land, meeting Jimmy Hudson before flying off in confusion. Iceman finds himself trapped in a lair with a villain and his minions, where his talkative self does him no favours. Beast finds himself in a foreign country, and probably not the safest country for a superhero to be in. X-23 finds herself in the middle of a football match, where she quickly discovers that this earth is even less friendly to mutants than her own and sparks a giant police chase. Out of everyone, Jean Grey is the only one to find any sort of help, through Miles Morales aka. Ultimate Spider-Man.
Who better to handle their adventures into the Ultimate Universe than one of its original founders, Brian Michael Bendis? Each of these scenes is enjoyable in their own way, introducing the Ultimate Universe very well to newcomers without relying on info dumping. Jean Grey’s scenes with Spider-Man waste no time in setting up the plot and establishing how stuck they really are. Their interactions are fun, and do a good job at keeping their characters straight. Her scenes take up nearly half of the comic and make up most of the dialogue. Of the other scenes, X-23’s is the one with the most progression with the chase scene fully established while showing how fearful Ultimate humans are of mutants. Angel and Iceman’s scenes do little more than setup, while Beasts shows him analyzing his situation and facing down with a very powerful villain. Everyone’s characterization is spot on however; even X-23’s dialogue feels better than usual for Bendis, save for saying “um” in one panel when she’d just think it.
The art by Mahmud Asar is solid. Larger panels do a great job at establishing the environment, especially with Angel and Beast’s scenes. Angel finds himself on a cliff, overlooking a valley and several dinosaurs. There’s a fair amount of detail in his scene, including shadow work, lighting and reflections in the water. Jean Grey’s confusion while conversing with Miles, followed by her look panic when learning the severity of her situation are both very well drawn. Her despair is especially well handled on the last page. The only substantial flaw is in X-23’s eyes, which seem to switch colour mid-issue. In her opening pages they’re dark brown, yet when she peeks in a rear-view mirror they’re correctly green.
In some ways this resembles the Guardians of the Galaxy’s recent storyline where each member was separated, except it’s handled much better here. The situations are quickly established, with the more dynamic ones taking up more pages. Overall, it’s a fun comic with a potential sense of hopelessness that could easily explore each character in later issues. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great way to start this storyline. While not everyone will enjoy Bendis’s style of writing, if you’re an X-Men fan who hasn’t given All New X-Men a chance yet, you should, and this issue is a good place to start.