After my first reading of this comic, I didn’t know what to think. Some things seemed to work, and others I wasn’t so sure. After a second reading I now know how I feel. From the start there are things about Dennis Hopeless’s All-New X-Men that work quite well. The more optimistic mood compared to Extraordinary X-Men and Uncanny X-men could make this series more enjoyable, and the character work with Cyclops, Iceman, Evan and Idie is actually quite good. That said, there are a lot of problems with this series as a whole and they’re really starting to pile up.
First off, let’s talk about what works in All-New X-Men 6. The last issue was mostly a big fight scene where the teenaged X-men took on an adult Blob in Paris. Some of the character moments were good, but the entire issue felt like a big mess where for some reason, it seemed like all of the X-Men were deaf. This issue’s Blob fight is better than the last. Now that everyone’s in on the fight, they focus on not only trying to take him down, but Idie in particular redirects him away from Notre Dame. Her internal narration does a great job at exploring her internal struggles and her Catholic faith that she’s trying to figure out, even if it’s a bit weird when she doesn’t understand why she cares about Notre Dame. Even if you’re not religious, it’s still a very famous landmark. The action is also pretty fun, and the way it ends is really intense in the right ways.
That said, all the same problems that plague this series are present here. The last issue also ended with Angel announcing his plans to break up with All-New Wolverine, and so far, it looks like they’re actually going through with it. Although a lot of X-23 fans will be happy about this, it’s hard to care when their relationship is so poorly written from the start in this series. Laura’s internal narration where she says she didn’t expect Blob to move so fast is out of character. She’s been shown many times to have a lot of knowledge when it comes to famous X-Men villains, so she should know that Blob can move, and that his skin is very hard to penetrate (making her thoughts about severing his tendons kind of silly). That’s not to say Laura never makes mistakes, but her mistakes here are completely out of character.
Warren’s internal narration about Laura is just as bad, because not only does it further illustrate how Hopeless has written her as a mindless berserker instead of the strategist she’s supposed to be, but it implies that even after 18 months, Warren doesn’t know a thing about her. When he talks about his inner darkness, it feels like it’s almost completely out of nowhere. And once again, Hopeless completely forgets that the Blob is supposed to be afraid of fire. It’s also never explained where he got his powers back from, which is important considering he was depowered on M-Day and his MGH operation was shut down during Brian Michael Bendis’s run.
The art by Mark Bagley is really good. The opening pages alone are filled with a really intense fight, complete with debris and a variety of facial expressions, and a well-detailed Notre Dame in the background. This level of detail continues throughout the issue, with Ide’s impressive showing of her temperature manipulation, storefronts being destroyed by the Blob’s rampage and the rage in Angel’s eyes when he unleashes himself. Nolan Woodard’s colouring is also great. Everything’s bright and colourful, even for a scene that mostly takes place at night.
This issue isn’t as bad as the last one, or issue 4 for that matter, but it’s still a mixed bag with some characters being written much better than others. The Blob’s powers are never explained when they really should have been and it’s hard to care about All-New Wolverine and Angel’s break-up. The ending teaser isn’t bad, but when this series is mediocre like this as a whole, I’m finding it hard to care. In the end I found myself kind of bored with this issue, so I don’t recommend it, and this might actually be my last. If that’s the case, then this will be the first series I’ve ever dropped with Laura Kinney in it. Both Tom Taylor’s All-New Wolverine and Hopeless’s own Spider-Woman series are much better than this.
7/10 (would be a 6 without Bagley’s art)
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I’m still enjoying All New X-Men, but there are niggles with the writing that I have that mirror many of the points you raised, particularly where it comes to the characterization of Angel and X23. It all seems a bit forced at times, which is a shame, as there is a lot of potential in this series. I do really like the art though, it suits the title perfectly, I just wish the story would be as good as the visuals.
There is definitely stuff to like about this series, the art being at the top of that list.
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Yes, despite the niggling flaws, some awkward characterization, the art on this X-Men book looks really good.
I enjoyed this. I thought it was solid work. I love his work with Idie here, and the Hank stuff. And Angel gets to be cool, which is incredibly rare.
And no book drawn by Mark Bagley can ever be considered “bad.” So there is that.
Well, unless it’s Chuck Austin writing an X-Men book with Bagley on art, but that’s not likely to happen any time soon.