Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen get the evil Brotherhood from the future back together again in an exciting and surprisingly dense "All-New X-Men" #27. While their first appearance left a bit to be desired, there is more depth and intrigue to the time displaced bad guys this time around.
This is a surprisingly dense issue, especially for a Bendis book, perhaps because it jumps back and forth in time and reveals significant things about the future Brotherhood of Mutants characters with an almost matter of fact attitude. The parentage of two of the characters -- who turn out to be half brothers, both sons of Mystique -- is rather shocking and leaves a lot of room for future explanation.
It's hard to know whether this stuff with the future characters is all meticulously planned out and well crafted or just something that seemed like a good idea at the time. That said, Bendis is clearly one of the "architects" at Marvel, so it doesn't seem like he would be cavalier with such big world-building and character evolutions. That said, one can really feel him having fun as he cuts loose with these characters.
Perhaps the best thing about this issue however, is that now that our young original X-Men, displaced in time, have been thrown in with Bendis' "Uncanny X-Men" team, the dynamic has shifted in an intriguing way. Readers get a chance to see young mutants -- those who will go on to one day become legends -- and those who are just starting out, but on equal inexperienced footing. The contrasts and similarities are rich and I hope Bendis makes the most of them.
What can one say about Stuart Immonen's work? He draws superheroes so effortlessly, so beautifully, it's like second nature. Everything is beautiful and expertly detailed, just rich enough that their world feels fully realized and vivid and yet never getting bogged down in the details and losing sight of the characters, which is, of course, what we are all here for.
Immonen's Molly is particularly sublime from a design standpoint. As a fan of the underused character, the way she is written and drawn just begs to be allowed further exploration -- how she came to be in this place, who she is now, what happened to her, everything. It feels like a "because you demanded it" story just waiting to happen.
It's impressive that 27 issues into this book, a book many (including yours truly) feared would be a gimmicky nightmare, there's still a ton of creativity on display with the original creators still on board, which is indeed rare. Now that the teams from "Uncanny X-Men" and "All-New X-Men" are housed under the same roof, it will be interesting to see what Bendis can do as he has two books focused on one huge team. It brings back nostalgic memories of the old X-Men Blue and Gold Teams era with a whole different spin.