Review: ALL-NEW X-MEN #18

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Stuart Immonen
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: November 13, 2013

ANXMEN2012018_DC11_LRThe All-New X-Men head to a new school after the fallout of Battle of the Atom and their internal strife is once again the focus of All-New X-Men.

This is a very welcomed thing. These five characters are like lightning in a bottle when Bendis has them together, and without the burden of 380 characters in Battle of the Atom to worry about, their relationships can once again shine. Bendis does an excellent job in this issue of making their arrival at the Xavier School a somewhat less-than-cordial one from some of the students and, given what has happened in the X-world since the original X-Men have arrived, these new students certainly ruffle some feathers. Bendis is absolutely locked in with the dialogue of all the characters in this issue. Being the writer of Uncanny X-Men, these are all characters he is well acquainted with and his command of their personalities is fantastic. It was interesting to see the All-New X-Men thrown in with characters who were recently their enemies, and to see Kitty reunited with old friends like Magik and Cyclops. The issue is filled with an aura of, I dare say, healing for the senior characters as the young X-Men attempt to find their place in this world, and within their own team. These kids are a long way from having it worked out, and Bendis has made it very clear that they will not simply be rehashing the steps of their past selves in the X-Men continuity. These kids are wild cards in an already wild X-world, and delving into their minds in this issue shows that they are all over the place and unpredictable…which is fabulous. This is, quite simply, a very well written comic and I applaud Bendis for taking this issue a little slowly after the events of Battle of the Atom to get the primary characters (and the readers) acclimated to the new status quo.

Stuart Immonen delivers simply fantastic art throughout the issue, with his work in this series being so solid there almost isn’t much to say about it anymore. He delivers sharp, crisp pencils that suit Bendis’ script perfectly and nail all the subtle nuance Bendis is going for with the dialogue. His facial work in this issue is amazing, with characters that are extremely expressive, no matter the emotion. He even manages to make a character like Magneto dynamic while hidden completely by a helmet and the pages with Jean Grey and the Cuckoos are full of life, with anger and confusion leaping from the page. His layouts in the issue are excellent and his pacing, particularly with respect to pages involving Jean, is simply fantastic. The colour work by Marte Gracia takes Immonen’s pencils to the next level and gives this issue great shot of energy. His colour work suits Immonen’s style perfectly and leads to an issue that is visually engaging and dynamic from start to finish.

All-New X-Men #18 is an excellent comic from a superstar creative team. Bendis & Immonen are on fire and I am excited to see where they are taking this series. Battle of the Atom is in the rear view mirror and the All-New X-Men are here to stay, count me in for the long haul.

The Verdict: 9.0/10


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