With only 2 comics on my pull list this week, I hoped that both of them would be good. Darth Vader 18 is, but what about All-New X-Men? The generally optimistic feel in Dennis Hopeless’s run is nice in concept, but so far, I’m having trouble deciding how I feel about this series. All-New Wolverine’s characterization is terrible, but teenaged Cyclops’s characterization is really good. There have been some great Idie moments, but some of the writing in issue 5’s Notre Dame scene felt a bit off. I wasn’t sure whether to pick up issue 7 or not, but with only one other comic to pick up this week, why not?
I didn’t give what you would call All-New X-men 4-6 favourable reviews, so when I say this issue is an improvement, that doesn’t necessarily mean much. That said, the writing in this comic is really good. In the previous issue, Toad ran over Cyclops with a car and kidnapped him, and this issue is all about the other teenaged X-Men (except for Laura and Angel, who aren’t answering their phones) trying to find him after Toad sent them a really creepy video. Cyclops is in danger, and his internal narration does a good job at exploring how his mind works under these circumstances. Toad is also written as an actual threat here, which is a nice change from how he’s usually portrayed as a loser.
Without spoiling this comic though, even if the ending isn’t all that clear on what happened in the end, it might upset some people. At this point I’m a bit skeptical that, well … no spoilers.
The art by Mark Bagley, as usual for this series, is great. The scenes with Cyclops are appropriately dark and creepy, and drunk Toad even looks like a bit of a threat. The environmental detail, both underground and in the streets of Paris, are well-detailed. The underground is complete with Toad’s shrine full of skulls and candles, and the sewers look dirty. The streets are clear for the very early morning, yet there’s still some of the debris from the Blob fight in issues 4-6. Nolan Woodard’s colouring perfectly captures this issue’s creepy mood, with the browned out underground scenes, and the more colourful interiors of the X-Men’s trailer and the clear skies outside.
This comic almost feels like a horror story in some ways, yet it doesn’t take it so far that it’s too dark. Cyclops’s characterization is great, Beast’s frustration as he tries to find his friend adds to the drama, and even though we don’t know what Adult Cyclops did, it’s hard not to feel at least some sympathy for Toad. That said, I’m not sure how I feel about this comic’s ending. That’s what holds this comic back the most for me, and how the next few issues turn out could very well improve or harm my opinion of this issue. As such, for now, I’m not sure whether to recommend this issue or not, and All-New X-Men 8 is a maybe for me.