Back to the Next Generation: All New X-Men #1

Comic: All New X-Men issue 1, written by Brian Michael Bendis

When we last left Cyclops, he’d gone off the deep end a bit. Years ago, the love of his life, Jean Grey, was possessed by the Phoenix Force and wound up destroying her life and an entire planet in the process. Recently, the Phoenix Force returned to Earth and Cyclops proved that you don’t always learn from the past. Next thing you know, he and his current flame Emma Frost are hosts for the Phoenix Force, and, while they don’t destroy a planet, they came pretty close (as chronicled in this summer’s big event Avengers Vs. X-Men). Charles Xavier, the on-again-off-again mentor of Cyclops, was killed in the fray, and the future of Cyclops was uncertain after the Phoenix Force abandoned him.

In Brian Michael Bendis‘ new series, All New X-Men, we catch up with Cyclops, who’s now leading a splinter group that includes two dubious members, Magneto and Emma Frost (both of whom debuted as villains). The group is essentially doing what the X-Men normally do, and that is recruiting new mutants at the point where they first manifest their powers. Only, with recent events in mind, it’s hard to say if Cyclops and his cadre are on the level.

Beast, frequently depicted as the conscience of the group, decides something must be done about his old friend Cyclops, and, with the help of Iceman, another premier member of the X-Men, they concoct an incredibly loopy scheme. It’s like something right out of Disney’s The Kid or this year’s Looper. To make Cyclops return to his former self, they decide to enlist… his former self!

While Beast for some reason doesn’t go back in time and save Charles Xavier, he does go back and bring the original X-Men roster to the present day. Since the X-Men comic began way back in the 60s, we see some pretty significant revisions being made in the story (similar to the relaunching of the James Bond franchise). Whether or not they’ll wear their retro yellow costumes is a question on every fanboy’s lips. The conflict now is whether or not Beast’s trippy ploy will work.

I for one sure hope it does. The X-Men franchise has a tendency to turn into a bleak melodrama full of double-crosses and strange love affairs. When the series first began under Stan Lee’s supervision, it was essentially a byproduct of the Civil Rights movement (although, oddly enough, it featured very few minorities). I would very much like the series to focus on the evils of discrimination and the quest for equal rights again. At the very least, All New X-Men shares one thing in common with the classic comics: it’s campy.

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What is your opinion of All New X-Men 1?

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