Well, this was uneXpected.
If you’re a regular reader of my X-Men Blue reviews, you know I’ve been a bit hard on writer Cullen Bunn’s “Cross Time Capers” arc. By no means has it been bad (the art alone by RB Silva has been fantastic), I just couldn’t get a handle on where exactly this trip through time was headed. Other than through time, obviously.
Well, it turns out Bunn and Silva were bringing us to, quite possibly, one of X-Men Blue’s most important issues yet. Forget about this series’ whole X-Men-working-with-Magneto angle–this comic delivers the most significant development in the original five’s lives since the final issue of Dennis Hopeless’ All-New X-Men.Throughout this arc, we’ve seen that time is broken. And it looks like the original X-Men are to blame. These aren’t your father’s original five, though, as they decided to off Magneto and his Brotherhood early on. After visiting the X-Men of 2099 and the original Generation X, the Blue squad has traveled back to the same early confrontation where Magneto and his minions were wiped out.
If you’ve ever read early Magneto appearances, you know that the Master of Magnetism used to come across as a bit… unhinged. Bunn clearly has fun here, balancing maniacal madman Magneto with the more dignified anti-hero we all know and, well, still fear.
It’s fun to see a Magneto who says things like, “Have a care, girl. I will not be spoken to–” and even more refreshing to see a confident Jean shut him down with ease. Now, if only modern Teen Jean could get this version of Magneto to shut up…
Anyway, this issue is unique in that it shelves a lot of this series’ usual story beats (setting up new mysteries, the teenage love triangles) in favor of solid story advancement. In recent issues, I feel like Bunn has been more focused on playing the long game and not spending enough time resolving some of his dangling plot threads. The fact that the revelations here are so significant makes up for that.
Now, you should never believe every rumor you read on the internet (I know, the internet!), but there have been a few of late that X-Men Blue could be nearing its conclusion. If we’ve learned anything from recent history, it’s that this series will eventually end and be replaced with something all-new and all-different, I’m sure. Whether that’s in 2018 or five years from now, who knows? But if there’s any truth to these rumors, I can definitely see how this issue could signal the beginning of “the end” for our heroes.
But we’ll see. At any rate, next issue looks to be a doozy.
Ultimately, X-Men Blue #19 serves as a great example of why this series is so much fun to read. Classic characters with a fresh twist, heart and comedy (Bunn has some fun with thought bubbles), and the feeling that anything could happen… and possibly break the timestream in the process.
Silva, of course, continues to deliver in the art department but I also want to give a special shout-out to regular cover artist Arthur Adams for one of this series’ best covers yet. I love seeing the classic and modern costumes showcased through the whole mirror motif. Awesome as always, Art!