All-New X-Men #11
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: 07/13/2016
When this volume of All-New X-Men began, it had an Ultimate Spider-Man kind of vibe going for it; and it wasn’t just because of Mark Bagley’s art. The initial story arc gave the feel of a group of teens trying to find their place in the world and a place where they fit in – especially since half of them are from another era all together. Over the past four issues, that sense of direction seems to have been lost, or perhaps pushed aside. Solo stories in team books are usually hit or miss for me, sometimes I like them and sometimes I don’t. But team books should be essentially about the team, not just individuals.
After 4 issues, writer, Dennis Hopeless finally wraps up the All-New X-Men’s part in the Apocalypse Wars. I don’t usually like crossover events because of the obvious marketing gimmick that they are; and even worse, if you don’t buy all the parts, you usually end up reading pieces of a story that are incomplete and better off told outside of the monthly titles the event is dragged through. But this event is different. The All-New X-Men’s part in the Apocalypse Wars is self-contained and complete without having to look to another title for the parts in between. Is the story great? No, but it is a solid read that gives us insight into a villain (Apocalypse, who is becoming overused), and his clone, Kid Apocalypse, who I didn’t know that much about.
The comic begins with Kid Apocalypse and En Sabah Nur racing to find the young Beast, who has been hung up on a wooden “X” after being beaten by Baal (En Sabah’s father) and his forces. The plot is predictable, but the details are what makes the story interesting. Seeing who En Sabah is before he became Apocalypse and the extremes Evan (Kid Apocalypse) is willing to go to in order to make sure En Sabah never becomes Apocalypse is worth the predictability of this tale. As a teenager, Apocalypse is not the type of person I would have expected him to be. I can almost feel a sense of empathy for him.
The art is – and has been right along – consistently solid. Bagley’s work is dynamic and visually appealing. It doesn’t leap off the page, but it does keep our attention, by pulling us along on whatever adventure Dennis Hopeless spins for us. Nolan Woodard’s colors are fantastic. His color choices, shading, and contrasts really help bring the pages to life, which does a great job complimenting Bagley’s energetic artwork.
My only complaint about All-New X-Men #11 is the cast – or lack thereof. This is a team book, and yet this is the fourth consecutive issue that has focused solely on the Beast, or the Beast and Kid Apocalypse. What about the rest of the team? Having read this title from issue #1 of volume #1 up until now, I can honestly say this book is at its best when it includes the whole cast, or most of characters – I believe the same can be said of any team book. When a team is deconstructed, in some cases that signals changes in the team or a change in the direction of the book. When members of the team are present only part of the time, we readers begin to take this as a sign that some of these members may not remain a part of the book. Hopefully, issue #12 will bring us back to a full cast and a story that will revitalize the direction of this title.
Scale of Awesomeness: 6 out of 10