Graphic Novel Friday: All Now! and All-New X-Men

As part of Marvel Comics’ new Marvel Now! initiative, long-running superhero teams sport new rosters, costumes, and motives. After the events of Avengers vs. X-Men, both teams were left reeling, but it was the X-Men who suffered the biggest loss: Professor X at the hands of team leader Cyclops. No one felt this loss more than Henry McCoy (a.k.a. “Beast”), who was also a founding member with Scott Summers.

Additionally, Beast keeps a secret close to his furry blue chest: he is dying. And as a super-scientist, if he cannot find a cure no one can. Except. What if there was a way for Henry McCoy to consult with the only person who could match his brains? What if Henry McCoy were to enlist the help of Henry McCoy, and what if the only person who could talk Scott Summers out of his murderous funk is Scott Summers? This mind-bending hypothetical kicks of All-New X-Men Vol. 1 (subtitled Yesterday’s X-Men—everything old is all-new again),written by superstar hit-maker Brian Michael Bendis, who left a mountain of Avengers stories and influence to freshen up Marvel’s mighty mutants. With this first volume, Bendis has already crafted what feels like a classic run, where the pages cannot turn quickly enough and the revelations compound.

In order to consult with himself, Beast does what X-Men do: he time travels. In the past, Beast finds the original X-Men and pleads with them to travel to their future to help the X-Men of present day. Plus, two Henry McCoys have a better chance at saving his/their life/lives than one. It’s heady stuff and Bendis wisely skips over the finer details of paradoxes in favor of character moments, where he excels. Beast sees a young Jean Grey, as yet untouched by the Dark Phoenix and her ultimate fate, and marvels at her youth, attitude, and beauty. Of course, yesterday’s X-Men hop aboard with Beast to the present day, where they encounter the all-new X-Men, a team weary from decades of inner mutant battles and a public who hates and fears them now more than ever.

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