After a disappointing anniversary issue in All-New X-Men #25, Brian Bendis was able to quickly return the series to its quality with issue #26. A big factor in the quick turn-around for the series is that Bendis brought the future Brotherhood last seen in Battle of the Atom back into the fold. The return of this group is sure to shake things up even further for the original X-Men. The fact that they are now missing their leader with past Cyclops having space adventures with his dad should make things interesting. Let’s find out if that’s the case with a full spoiler review of All-New X-Men #27.
Writer: Brian Bendis
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: One year ago at the Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, England, Moira MacTaggert is in the process of giving birth. (Odd because last we saw of her she was one of the dead that appeared during Chaos War.) Moira finishes giving birth to a baby boy. As the doctors congratulate Moira she begins to flashbacks to Phoenix-Cyclops killing Professor Xavier. Moira tells the doctors she does not want the baby. The doctor’s ask her if she is sure and Moira tells at them to take him to someone that can take care of him. The doctor’s continue to ask if she is okay with that decision and she yells at them to leave with the baby.
Once she is alone in her hospital room Mystique undoes her transformation, revealing that she is the one that gave birth to Charles Xavier’s child, not Moira. (I knew something was wrong.) She then begins crying and apologizes to Charles for not being able to raise their child.
In the present, the Future Brotherhood are outside the Xavier School’s front door. Charles Xavier Jr. tells his Brotherhood that they can’t make the same mistake twice, which Future Beast and Future Deadpool agree with. Xavier Jr. then tells Molly to do her thing. Before she does Deadpool asks if it is time and Xorn (the future version of the past Jean Grey) says that Raze (the son of Wolverine and Mystique) has been ready for three minutes.
Three minutes ago, inside the Xavier School, Kitty Pryde and the other X-Men try to help an injured Laura (X-23). A weakened Laura tells the X-Men that she was attacked by a shape-shifter. Christopher Muse is about to heal Laura but before he can use his powers to do so Laura stabs him in the throat, revealing that it is actual Raze. With Christopher out Raze attacks the rest of the X-Men. Past Beast grabs Raze and throws him across the room.
Kitty tells the others that if Raze is here then it means that the Future Brotherhood can’t be far behind. Just as she says that the lights go out inside the Xavier School. The Xavier School’s emergency is turned on and Magik wonders how someone could find the power generator when it is ten stories below them.
Celeste and Phoebe Cuckoos wonder what is going on, especially since they can’t read any minds inside the school. They find Mindee sitting alone in the hallway and when they approach her they are attacked with a psychic blast. (Mindee’s stare reminds me of the crazy eyes I saw in one of my recent blind dates. Just saying.)
The Future Brotherhood show up, revealing that Xorn was the one that took out the Stepford Cuckoos. They then begin their search for Emma Frost and Jean Grey. Just then Cyclops, Emma and Jean appear at the end of the hallway. Cyclops shoots the Future Brotherhood with a full-powered optic blast, which also causes Cyclops some pain, sending the Future Brotherhood outside the Xavier School. Jean uses her powers to close the hole in the wall that Cyclops created in order to slow the Future Brotherhood down.
Cyclops tells Jean to stay calm and keep her psychic shield up. He then says that he thought that the Brotherhood “expired” after their last battle. (So the Brotherhood is that milk that you’ve left in the fridge for too long?) Jean says that seeing the Future Brotherhood again makes her realize how annoying it is to see the original X-Men in the present. Emma says that comment makes her forgive Jean. Jean then asks about what the Future Brotherhood may want.
Years from now Charles Xavier Jr.’s foster mother is telling Xavier Jr. that his school bus is five minutes away. She goes to check on Xavier Jr. and sees that he is having his migraines again. She tells him that they should go to see a doctor but Xavier Jr. loses control of his powers and sends his mom flying into the wall. Once he regains control of his powers Xavier Jr. realizes that he just killed his mom.
Back in the present, the X-Men continue their fight with Raze inside the Xavier School. While Raze is easily outnumbered Magik checks on Christopher’s condition. The other X-Men charge at Raze who quickly transforms back into Laura, telling the X-Men that “she” is being controlled. This causes some confusion with the X-Men. Christopher suddenly gets back up after he subconsciously used his healing powers to heal himself. Raze then transforms into the past version of Cyclops while continuing to ask for help. Past Beast uses this latest transformation to punch Raze in the face, saying that he enjoyed it.
With Raze knocked out Kitty tells the X-Men to regain their composure and get ready for the Brotherhood’s next attack. Past Angel then notices Mindee has entered the room. This cause the X-Men to drop their guard and give Xavier Jr. the opening he needs to knock them all out with a psychic attack.
Years from now Xavier Jr. is in Madripoor waiting outside a hotel in the rain. Mystique arrives at the hotel. When Mystique enters her hotel room she tells Xavier Jr. that while she can’t see him she can smell him. Xavier Jr. appears from the shadows and says that he needs to remember to also about using his powers to trick every sense next time. Xavier Jr. then reads Mystique’s mind and realizes that he isn’t talking to his mother. “Mystique,” asks Xavier Jr. if he is with what’s left of SHIELD. Xavier Jr says that he is his brother. (Mystique is sure making her way through the X-Men. Whose next, having a kid with Cyclops?)
Raze undoes his transformation and Xavier Jr. learns by reading his mind further that Raze killed their mother. Raze wonders how he is just meeting Xavier Jr. now. Xavier Jr. says it’s because she gave him away. Raze laughs because Mystique decided to keep her. Raze asks Xavier Jr. if he knows who he looks like and Xavier Jr. says that he looks like his father. Raze then says that they should figure out what they want to be when they grow up together.
Back in the present Cyclops, Emma and Jean get out of the room they are in and Emma wonders how the three of them are going to get to the other X-Men. Cyclops tells Emma that she is in charge. Emma tells Jean to keep up the psychic guards, something Jean is having a tough time doing do to all the screaming caused by the Future Brotherhood psychically torturing the other X-Men. As they carefully walk through the school Cyclops tells Emma and Jean that they will defeat the Future Brotherhood again.
Emma asks Jean how she is doing. Jean says that they have found her and are trying to take her out psychically. Emma punches Jean in the face in order to knock her out. Cyclops says that Emma must’ve enjoyed that. Emma says she did it because the Future Brotherhood has an adult Jean Grey and Xavier Jr. on their side against a teenage Jean Grey.
Jean finds herself welcomed to the astral plane by Xavier Jr., who is with Xorn and the Stepford Cuckoos. Xavier Jr. tells Jean that last time they were caught by surprise due to underestimating the young Jean’s powers and now he is going to rectify that mistake. Jean asks Xavier Jr. and Xorn what their plan is. End of issue.
The Good: During the course of Battle of the Atom we got a glimpse at the direction the original X-Men were heading before the arrival of the future version of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and now we see that continue. The difference between Battle of the Atom and the story in All-New X-Men #26 is that Brian Bendis has changed the narrative focus to spotlight Xavier Jr. and Raze. This switch in the narrative gives us the opportunity to get a better look at the motivation of the future Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
What surprised me about this change in the narrative is how much of it dealt with the problems Xavier Jr. and Raze with their parents, specifically Mystique. Bendis did a good job keeping the brothers’ hatred focused on how Mystique choose to raise the children she had with Professor Xavier and Wolverine. It kept Xavier Jr. and Raze history with the X-Men ambiguous while still giving us plenty of revelations. And their shared hatred gave them enough motivation to become the architects of the Brother of Evil Mutants.
One question I have from all the scenes that took place in the Brotherhood’s future was why Xavier Jr. was given his father’s name. While there is no denying that Xavier Jr. looks exactly like his father, there was no clear history given between his foster mother and his mutant roots. It’s one of those details that I am interested in seeing revealed soon because it can’t just be a coincidence, especially since he got to keep his last name of Xavier instead of using his foster parents’ name.
All-New X-Men #27 also continued the emphasis on the dynamic between the young group of X-Men students that Cyclops assembled and the original X-Men. This is the first full issue where we got to see how both young groups of X-Men act together. It’s good to see characters like Christopher Muse get some character development outside of Uncanny X-Men as he learns that there is another facet to his healing powers.
Past Beast was also given something else to do than just be bottling up his emotions and focusing on his work. It’s nice to see him given some release after everything that happened with Jean by getting to punch the Cyclops transformed Raze. I hope this is a sign that Bendis will give past Beast some positive character growth because he’s been the character hardest to connect within this series.
The other dynamic that Bendis continued to develop in this issue was the one with Cyclops, Emma, and Jean. The whole ordeal in space with the Shi’ar really changed Jean in the fact that she is more willing to take orders from others, specifically Cyclops. Adding Emma to the mix also gave us a chance to see how Emma will always feel a little threatened by any Jean with how she took every opportunity to take a jab at Jean. At the same time, I enjoyed seeing how Cyclops and Emma were each trying to keep Jean level headed in this chaotic situation in their own ways.
The ending with Jean entering the astral plane that had Xavier Jr. and Xorn waiting for her added some more intrigue into what will happen in the next issue. With Jean in the middle of a crisis of character, this is the best time for Xavier Jr. and Xorn to take out one of the biggest threats in the X-Men. The fact that the Stepford Cuckoos are also in the astral plane is interesting because they look to be Xavier Jr.’s prisoners and not there of their own accord.
Stuart Immonen continues to be at his best in this issue. Even though All-New X-Men #26 is heavy on the dialogue, like most Bendis comic books tend to be, what was different in this issue is that Immonen got different types of scenes to work with. From the birthing scene to when the Xavier School goes into emergency mode it was all given the right type of mood. I especially enjoyed how Immonen drew Raze to be someone that enjoys causing mayhem and inflicting harm on others.
The Bad: The one problem that I did have with this issue is the inclusion of Mystique into Xavier Jr.’s origin. The thing that makes the X-Men the most difficult franchise to get into is the confusing continuity that the X-Men have. What’s made Bendis run on the X-Men so great up to this point is that he has only lightly touched upon the X-Men history by referencing to it but focusing his stories on things established post-Avengers vs. X-Men.
But now that we are given the knowledge that Mystique and Professor Xavier hooked up it puts into question the time table of everything. Mystique and Professor X have never had a relationship in the comics and aren’t ever seen together so to have them hook up off-screen seems to be randomly forced into the story due to the current X-Men movie continuity. There weren’t even hints at Mystique being pregnant which is odd since she has been an active character, whether as an X-Men or villain. Now Bendis has unnecessarily put into question when certain things fit in since Mystique has already given birth to Xavier’s kid and tells us how much time has passed since AvX. It’s just a reminder to readers of how convoluted can be and in the process push away those just looking to focus on moving forward with these characters.
Overall: All-New X-Men #27 continues the unofficial crossover between the All-New and Uncanny X-Men teams and does a fantastic job in re-introducing the future version of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. The change in the narrative to put a focus on the origin story of Charles Xavier Jr. and Raze gives added depth to the future that this Brotherhood comes from. The more we can see Bendis develop this version of the Brotherhood the better. Their presence adds to the trouble the original X-Men are constantly in by staying in the present. And so far Bendis is keeping things small by having it all set in the Xavier School which gives the story more of a focus on the character dynamics. Hopefully, that continues because scenes like those shared by Cyclops, Emma and Jean really helped this issue stand out.