In All-New X-Men #19 – the series’ finale – writer Dennis Hopeless concludes his strong run with many of the same tropes that defined it – humor, teen drama and a youthful energy that set it apart from its fellow X-books. And, of course, a whole new mystery for the time-displaced X-Men to solve.
All-New X-Men #19 (Marvel Comics)
Like Brian Michael Bendis before him, Hopeless, with an assist from guest artist Paco Diaz, must close up shop on a volume of All-New X-Men so that writer Cullen Bunn can pick up the mantle in next month’s X-Men: Blue #1. Fortunately, Hopeless has a strong handle on this team and knows how to push all the right buttons.
Right off the bat, Hopeless seems to be winking at readers so they understand that Marvel realizes how sick they are of the “Terrigen death cloud.”
“No more Inhumans versus X-Men,” Kid Apocalypse tells Idie. “Thank God,” she replies.
From there, we see how far Iceman and Angel have come since being yanked several years into the future. Bobby, comfortable with his sexuality, has a boyfriend – the Inhuman Romeo. Angel, comfortable with his cosmic fire wings, is also in a relationship – with All-New Wolverine (also a movie star – way to go, Warren!).
Those are the happy X-Men. Cyclops – he’s not doing so well following the events of Inhumans Vs. X-Men. After all, Emma Frost kind of ruined the Cyclops brand in Death of X. Further complicating matters is Jean Grey’s return to Scott’s life.
First, I’d like to point out how refreshing it is to read an X-Men comic that features Cyclops and Jean interacting – even if it’s a time-displaced version of the pair. It’s just not X-Men without Scott and Jean.
And now for my angry fanboy reaction. It seems like Marvel, or at least every writer working for the publisher, never wants to see Scott and Jean romantically involved again. It’s strange to me, as their romance was part of what made the Dark Phoenix Saga a beloved classic. I’m really not a fan of how young Jean has been portrayed, from violating Iceman’s mental privacy to how she treats Scott. I get it, she’s seen her own future and wants to avoid it. But Scott was the love of classic Jean’s life – give the guy a chance! Right now, she comes across as someone who’s completely oblivious to the fact Cyclops is in love with her. Like, she’s moved on in her mind, but Scott clearly hasn’t. Space, Jean, he needs it!It’s a bummer, too, because Hopeless proved he had a great handle on Scott and Jean’s attraction to one another in the terrific X-Men: Season One hardcover.
Beast, another X-Man who’s seen better days, also seems to be unhappy with Jean. While Hank and Jean were temporarily involved in Bendis’ run, he doesn’t seem as hung up on her as Cyclops. Aside from really being into magic these days, he’s more focused on the fact that he’s figured out how to return the team to their proper place in time. Of course, there’s a twist that further messes with Scott’s brain … because Cyclops is Marvel’s new favorite punching bag, apparently.
I do wonder if Bendis or Marvel ever had a resolution to the original five’s time-displacement dilemma in mind, or if it was completely open-ended. It wouldn’t surprise me at this point if it’s the latter. I just worry that the more time we spend with these characters, the more readers will grow attached and in 10 years, we’ll still have the All-New X-Men and Old Man Logan running around alongside their classic counterparts. I’m a big fan of streamlined, non-complicated continuity. Unfortunately, the current Marvel regime seems to very much have a different state of mind.
It is what it is. And with that in mind, I have to be honest – I’d rather read these stories than stories without a version of Scott and Jean. And let’s face it, Hopeless’ story got me so fired up, I’ve written almost 800 words about it. In my opinion, any book that can elicit a reaction, whether positive or negative, is worth my $3.99.
Overall, Hopeless, artist Mark Bagley, Diaz and the series’ other creators should be proud of their work on this volume of All-New X-Men. I was a big fan of Bendis’ run and was pleasantly surprised – and relieved – to see Hopeless not repeat the formula, and instead take these young mutants’ stories in exciting new directions.
And in case you’re wondering, yes, I’ll be reading Hopeless’ Jean Grey series, even if I’m ticked at her for how she treated Scott in this issue. I like to think Scott and Jean are just going through a rough patch in their 50+ year romance.