At the end of the last issue of All-New X-Men, it looked like young Cyclops died. Thankfully, this issue proved that he didn’t; the falling sewer ceiling badly injured him but he’ll survive. Meanwhile, young Beast is ready to give up on his search for a way back home, so he seeks help from Dr. Strange. Pretty much this entire issue is Beast’s interacting with Dr. Strange, and for the most part it’s really good. Also, good timing since the Dr. Strange teaser came out this past week.
Writer Dennis Hopeless kicked off this comic with a very emotional scene as young Hank McCoy is almost ready to break down while he’s talking to Cyclops’s unconscious body. He opens himself up in ways that he rarely does and the writing behind it is great. The rest of the comic isn’t nearly as dramatic, but the interactions between Beast and Dr. Strange are still well-written. The way Beast seems to put down magic when he first finds the Sorcerer Supreme feels a bit awkward, but it also doesn’t feel out of character. Without spoilers, the way Beast ends up helping Dr. Strange is also a nice touch, and for all we know, what Beast learns could very well help the All-New X-Men in the very near future.
The art by Paco Diaz is great. There’s a smooth appearance to everything, and there’s a lot of detail. The waiting room in the hospital almost looks like a photo, save for the obvious lines in the shadows, and the floor reflects light realistically. When Beast puts on a special mask Dr. Strange gave him that allows him to see the magical realm, everything besides himself turns black and white and the entire environment is filled with all sorts of bizarre horrors. If I have one complaint about the art, it’s that Beast’s scared expression and determined look in the fight scene look a bit too similar, but otherwise facial expressions do a good job to convey emotions. Also when his own mindset allows him to see the magical world in equations, the effect is brilliant. Rachelle Rosenberg’s colouring is also great. Save for the intentional black and white sections, everything is bright, colourful and appealing.
I actually enjoyed this comic more on my second reading than my first. Not only did this issue ease my worries about the previous entry, but it’s a fun team up between two people who you wouldn’t think would interact very much. The cover says it all – one’s a man of science, and the other is all about magic. I’m still not quite sold on this series, but if All-New X-Men stays around this kind of quality level, and if All-New Wolverine’s characterization improves, then I’ll be happy to stick around. Those who are enjoying All-New X-Men so far should pick this up, and this also serves as a decent one-shot that teams Beast up with Dr. Strange, also making this worth picking up if that interests you.