Review: ALL-NEW X-MEN #31

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Mahmud Asrar
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 27, 2014

The time travelling young X-Men prepare to hop to other dimensions in this issue of All-New X-Men that brings artist Mahmud Asrar on board to kick off a new arc.

Brian Michael Bendis uses this issue to focus the series in on the “original X-Men” (plus X-23, minus Cyclops) and with all the Battle of the Atom and Guardians of the Galaxy business and the original crew mingling with the respective schools so much, it was nice to see them interacting as a unit. This is a fairly low key issue, primarily used to set up the situation that exists for the next arc, and for that reason not a lot happens until the final pages. Bendis fills the issue with some banter, some jokes worthy of eye rolls, and some “relationship building” for lack of a better term, but there isn’t a whole ton of meat to chew on in this issue. The situation he creates for the series going forward is interesting and has potential, but this issue barely scratches the surface of it and, therefore, feels a bit hollow. It isn’t poorly written, but it won’t knock your socks off either, and while it serves the purpose of building the framework for the next arc, you can’t help but ask for a bit more “oomph” in this issue itself.

Mahmud Asrar takes the artistic reins from Stuart Immonen and he handles himself quite well in this issue (and this is coming from a massive Immonen fan). Their styles are similar enough that the title still feels very consistent with the tone set by Immonen, but Asrar definitely is not copying his predecessor. He’s adding his own style to this book, and his own take on characters and it works. This guy is a “Young Gun” for a reason, and you can see it in this issue. When the action picks up near the end is when Asrar really shines, and I have high hopes for what we’re going to see from him going forward. Visually, this is a really solid debut and you can already see chemistry between Bendis and Asrar. That bodes very well for this title, and for readers who were worried about the major artist change.

All-New X-Men #31 serves to kick off the next storyline and it does that well. It isn’t the most explosive issue of this series, by any means, but it performs it’s task. There is, arguably, a lot of dialogue that is superfluous in this one, and that detracts from the story and makes some pages feel purely like filler. The brightest points of the issue are the things it sets up for down the road, and the introduction of Mahmud Asrar to the title. He brings a lot of energy to the book and keeps the quality high and I look forward to seeing what the creative team has in store for readers with issue #32.

The Verdict: 7.5/10


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