Comics : All-New X-Men #31

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This story is part of an Arc: "The Ultimate Adventure"
     Part 1 / Part 2

This review was first published on: Oct 2014.

Background...

Beast brought the original five X-Men from the past to the present. Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Angel and Beast have fought and struggled to find a place in this world. Cyclops has recently gone into space with his father (Corsair) and they have joined the Uncanny X-Men after defeating the Future Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. With barely a moments rest, present day Cyclops and others are called to a reading of the last will and testament of Professor Charles Xavier.

In Detail...

All-New X-Men #31
Oct 2014 : SM Guest
Summary: Ultimate Spider-Man (Miles Morales) appears
Arc: Part 1 of "The Ultimate Adventure"
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Artist:  Mahmud Asrar
Cover Art:  Stuart Immonen
Lettering:  VC's Cory Petit
Colorist:  Jason Keith, Marte Gracia
Executive Producer:  Alan Fine
Publisher:  Dan Buckley
Chief Creative Officer:  Joe Quesada
Editor In Chief:  Axel Alonso
Editor:  Mike Marts
Assistant Editor:  Xander Jarowey
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Review

In the Ultimate Universe, Tony Stark and Doctor Amadeus Cho stand at the site of the multiversal portal (see Spider-Men and Ultimate Cataclysm for more details). Stark offers to buy the portal and promises to keep Cho on as the expert scientist. Suddenly the machines overcharge and the portal closes in a flash of energy! Cho is distraught but Stark wonders what happened to cause it to close…

In the Marvel Universe, Angel and X-23 arrive back at the site of the New Xavier School. They see Cyclops, Emma Frost, Dazzler, Majik and Kitty Pryde leave and question the remaining X-Men on what is happening. Jean talks separately to X-23 and is pleased that she is happier with Angel and that he definitely a good guy for her.

Inside, Angel finds Beast tinkering with cerebro. One of the red lights signifying a mutant suddenly surges with the same flash of energy from the multiversal portal and they both go flying! Jean comes down to see what is going on and they decide that there must be a mutant in need. They agree to go help… though they probably shouldn’t.

As they watch the Blackbird take off, Celeste informs Hijack and Goldballs that the original X-Men and X-23 have gone on a mission no one told them to go on.

At her graduation, a young woman called Carmen is having her class photo taken when she begins emitting a surge of energy that matches the portal and cerebro! She sees the House of M Universe and Asgard appear before her as her classmates scarper! The X-Men arrive promptly and try to calm her down. Beast inappropriately asks her for some samples and her panic escalates. The police arrive and the X-Men suggest that they take her somewhere safer to which she yells “No!” There is the same flash of energy!

Iceman finds himself somewhere in the dark. Above him sit Mole Man and his moloids waiting to strike!

Jean Grey finds herself standing amidst New York traffic! She flies out of the way and up to a building to gain a better vantage point of where she is and how she got there. Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man, lands besides her wondering where he recognises her from!

In General...

So I knew there wasn't going to be much Spider-Man but I had to read the arc from the beginning so picked this up.

It is a pretty terrible start to an arc. There is little groundwork on where the current cast of character are (both emotionally, physically and how they relate to one another), there's a focus on Angel and X-23 but she comes across as mixed-up and unlikeable and then, by way of a suitably-placed new mutant, all things kick off. I know an arc needs to be a slow burner, but there's not enough substance nor actual excitement here to warrant a new reader (like me) to want to become involved with these characters.

I'm sure there was a cleverer way of getting the cast to the Ultimate Universe other than just creating a mutant. How she ties in to the portal's original existence might be clever, but that's for a few issues down the line I'm sure (after calamity and endangerment ensue)!

Then you've got Brian Michael Bendis simply throwing the All-New X-Men together with another of his titles. He's done it with Guardians Of The Galaxy, Uncanny X-Men and now with Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man. It says a lot about the potential of these characters that they've come from the past only to be carried by a superfluous amount of others. I hope he delivers a little more complexity as they interact with the Ultimate characters we know.

Mahmud Asrar is a current Marvel Young Gun. He employs stylistic choices similar to Stuart Immonen and Olivier Coipel. Both of these rank in my all-time favourite artists. Asrar, as of yet, doesn't quite meet the detail, scope and storytelling mastery that the more experienced artists do. There are some overposed characters, mis-timed expressions and panels that contain too many people when they don't need to. There is a sense of quality but some rough edges appear throughout.

Overall Rating...

Bendis does a poor job of engaging new readers and Asrar's art requires subtlety.