Following the events of Avengers vs. X-Men, Professor X’s group of mutants have hit a new low. Charles Xavier is dead, while Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magik and Magneto are working together to start a mutant revolution. At a loss for next steps, a passing comment from present day Iceman sparks an event that will break the spacetime continuum. Through the use of time travel, the original five X-Men come to the present to stop Cyclops from completing his misguided plan. This fateful event is a convenient way for All New X-Men Vol. 1: Yesterday’s X-Men to relaunch the franchise while acknowledging everything that came before. Yet it’s also a risky fictional device to use, as any missteps can undermine and tarnish the entire timeline.
Admittedly, I came into this as a complete comic book newbie. I know a lot about the X-Men through their presence in other mediums, but I’ve never gone to the source for story content. Because of the way this book starts, it was very easy for me to contextualize the situation and simply move forward with it. For me, my frame of reference is the 90s X-Men cartoon, and I was impressed with how much of that story, tone and feel still holds true today. Despite having never read an X-Men comic before, this felt like coming home. I don’t have much of a frame of reference for what makes for good comic art, but I really like the work done here. I love the general art direction as well as the way in which all of the action shots are rendered. It didn’t take much work to get fully immersed in this world almost immediately.
The five issues in this graphic novel cover each side moving forward with their respective plans. Of course, there’s no shortage of drama that comes with convincing the original X-Men to travel forward in time to see what becomes of themselves in the future, but things aren’t so rosy for Cyclops and Magneto either. On the run after breaking out of prison, they don’t have anywhere to hid or anyone else to work with. Even between the two of them, things are a bit tense, as Magneto carries an unspoken animosity towards Scott over the weakening of his powers. Both sides eventually clash in the first of what could be many cross-era showdowns.
This first series of issues in All New X-Men Vol. 1 do a great job of laying the groundwork for the future. Having both timelines collide in this way opens the door for many interesting possibilities; some of which are established here or are alluded to coming up later on. Based on the way its final pages end, I can’t wait to read more.