Most of the X-Men tie-ins for last year’s Secret Wars event were good. Years of Future Past felt like a great love letter to the original Days of Future Past for example. Of the tie-ins though, Dennis Hopeless’s Inferno was probably the most enjoyable. It found a near perfect balance between dark storytelling, weirdness and just being plain fun. At the end of the event, Madalyne Pryor pretty much took Illyana’s place as the queen of the Limbo Underworld, and that version of the Goblin Queen has now found her way to the main Marvel Universe. How did she arrive? Who cares – it’s not like they’ve fully explained how Old Man Logan arrived either.
All-New X-Men 12 kind of started the demonic invasion with All-New Wolverine and Angel fighting demons while working out their relationship issues. ANXM 14 featured Cyclops taking care of a weird squid monster, while teasing this issue. Today’s All-New X-Men entry kicks off the Goblin Queen’s invasion full force, dividing the X-Men team into two groups for starters. Outside their trailer, Angel, Laura, Evan, Iceman and Idie are fighting one-eyed monsters the size of skyscrapers, hordes of small goblins and other weird monsters. Inside their trailer, Beast and Cyclops are dealing with squid monsters and giant insects. It’s all pretty chaotic, and that’s what makes it fun.
There isn’t much room for character development in this issue, but Beast talks with Cyclops a little about some of his recent failures and insecurities. I’ve complained a lot about Laura Kinney’s characterization in this series, but she’s fine here. She doesn’t do anything stupid or say anything way out of character. Cyclops meanwhile shows a touch of his leadership skills as Beast is carrying him around (he is after all still recovering from his leg injury). There’s not too much else to say about this issue. It’s a chaotic, fun way to properly kick off this story arc.
Mark Bagley’s art is great. The fight inside the trailer feels claustrophobic as Cyclops and Beast are surrounded by what’s best described as hellfire. There’s a fair amount of debris in their increasingly damaged trailer, like wood chunks flying around after the giant insect tries to smash Cyclops. With the fight outside, there’s a great amount of detail on Miami Beach’s skyscrapers, with palm trees and bushes. The one-eyed monster looks like he’s having fun wreaking havoc with a bit of a goofy smile, but still looks scary at the same time. The goblins all have a distinct looks while still all having similar features. It’s a nice touch. The fight scenes also flow well and make great use of Iceman’s powers, Angel’s speed and Laura’s claws chopping off goblin hands. Nolan Woodard’s colouring is also great. The inside of the trailer is tinted bright orange with all the fire, while the outside scenes are nice and colourful, balancing Miami’s night sky with red and white goblins, and Laura’s goblin blood-soaked body.
All-New X-Men remains the most optimistic and entertaining X-Men team book on the market right now. This issue doesn’t seem to have any problems with characterization, and after so many character focused issues lately, it’s nice to see the team working together again. It’s just a team of teenaged X-Men fighting Madalyne Pryor’s demon army. If that sounds interesting, at least give this issue a read.