Posted by  Pete Albano - January 18, 2013

All New X-Men

Here Comes Yesterday

all new x-men
All-New X-Men, Vol. 1: Here Comes Yesterday

Collects issues 1 to 5

During moments of crisis I would sometimes indulge in daydreams were I would travel back in time to warn myself of impending danger. Such a meeting between the old me and the young me would surely be ripe with possibilities. Surely my younger self would initially react with panic at how old and worn 'he' had become. The older me would suppress surprise at the foolishness of 'his' younger self. All sorts of possibilities in such a meeting.

Reading 'All New X-Men : Here Comes Yesterday' reminds me of this indulgent fantasy because Brian Michael Bendis takes the same premise of travelling through time to meet oneself and crafts a breathtaking story with it. And by breathtaking I mean a page-turning, chuckle inducing, tragic, action-packed, shocking story. This is the best five issues of an X-book I've read in a long time.

There are no more heroes here and no more villains. These are people who happen to have powers and the struggle in these pages are inside the characters more so then outside - although there is plenty of action. Bendis has taken the long history of the X-Men and used it to add depth to this story arc.

Iceman meets Iceman

Among all the X-Men I have three favorites : Beast, Cyclops, and Colossus. Peter isn't here but both Hank and Scott are front and center. Both Scotts - the one that got possessed by the Phoenix force and Slim Summers from the innocent days of the first team. As for Hank, Beast, in an act of desperation - or, as Wolverine secretly thinks, pure heroism - brought about by his impending death, travels back in time to bring the original X-Men to the present. The idea is for the younger Scott to confront the older Cyclops and remind him of, well, of when he was young and idealistic and hopefully snap him out of his current trajectory of gathering mutants for a revolution.

Scott reacts to the news that his future self killed Professor X

My past readings of the original sixties X-Men even lets me pinpoint when Hank chooses to contact the original team. That would be issue no. 8, the issue that first introduces Unus the Untouchable. This meeting between Beast and the original X-Men is a great showcase for what makes All-New X-Men so successful : A compelling plot backed by brilliant execution of the details.

Here are some examples from that meeting:

When the young Hank McCoy sees Beast before him no words of introduction are said but young Hank just knows that the giant blue, well, beast, before him is him.

I kept rereading the discussion between Beast and the X-Men and it doesn't read like a proper script. It is non-linear and disjointed, just like a real conversation.

At some point the Beast has no choice but to inform Scott and the the others that the future Scott has killed the Professor. You can just imagine the impact of this on Scott. When Beast tells this - what Scott describes as "disgusting thing" to them he is half turned away from them, Beast keeps a stoic face, that comes out as fierce - but you can see that it is as hard for him to say as it is for them to hear. Just a powerful moment, all the nuances of the exchange are captured wonderfully.

Upon hearing the Beast's revelation about the death of the Professor at his hands Scott gets angry but he doesn't turn to Beast but to Hank. Brilliant and so realistic, Scott doesn't know the Beast well enough to explode in front of him so he turns to the young Beast, his friend, Hank McCoy.

At another point in the conversation, while Beast is talking to Jean, who is dead in the future, he stops and just mumbles :"Look at you. I didn't -- I didn't think it would be this hard". Next panel, Hank looking at the Beast with just the right expression of alarm, and you know that young Hank, because he is Beast, senses that something is "wrong" with Jean in the future.

At the end of the conversation the Beast leaves the team to go outside and wait for their decision. On their own I would expect them all to turn to Cyclops regarding the "purported" death of Professor X at his hands. But that is not what happens. Hank slumps down and the team gathers around him. He has a look of shock on his face as the others ask if he is okay, and he says : "I just can't imagine what I've been through". Just brilliant.

jean grey
Jean Grey arrives in the future to realize that her future self is dead

Over the whole story arc broods the tragic figure of Cyclops. No more straight-laced cookie cutter super-hero, Scott Summers has become a renegade with a burden. And what a burden it is: He has killed Professor X, considering their history, that's an act of patricide. As I read "Here Comes Yesterday" I keep asking myself "How can Cyclops function after an act like that?". The answer is given by Cyclops himself, he says it's not him, its the Phoenix force. That is how Scott can go on. But this anchor of sanity is going to be swept away - by Magneto - who makes it very clear to Cyclops that the death of Xavier and his actions during 'Avengers vs. X-Men' was all him - that's the single most devastating scene in the book.

white queen
Emma Frost learns of the "return" of Jean Grey

So I'm bleeding for Cyclops and cheering for the Beast and I'm absolutely delighted to see the sixties team in the 21st century but most of all I'm celebrating the way Bendis, Immonen, von Grawbadger (inker), and Gracia (colorist) executed this first 'All-New X-Men' story arc.

If you know and love the X-Men, you will love this book.

A young mutant reminds Cyclops of his reputation

all new x-men
All-New X-Men, Vol. 1: Here Comes Yesterday

Collects issues 1 to 5

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