All-New X-Men (vol.2) 010
Writer - Dennis Hopeless
Penciler - Mark Bagley
Inker - Andrew Hennessy
Colorist - Nolan Woodard
Letterer - VC's Cory Petit
Cover Price: $3.99
Shoulders-deep into the Apocalypse Wars, and here I am without a spare set of clothes. All-New X-Men features Beast (the time-displaced one from... er, the 1960's... "our" time) and Kid Apocalypse in the far flung past.
Here they will observe first hand how a fresh-faced En Sabah Nur becomes the tyranical Apocalypse. Daddy issues abound in this month's All-New X-Men!
A bit of background to start. The All-New X-Men were the original X-Men (from the 60's in "our" time). Contemporary Beast brought them into the present in order to scare-straight the contemporary Cyclops who was sorta-kinda spearheading a mutant revolution. Well, long story... still long, these young free-from-cynicism X-Men are now stuck in the present day. Young Hank McCoy still conducts time experiments in hopes that "his next leap, will be the leap home"... and during his latest, wound up sending both he and Kid Apocalypse back in time to ancient Egypt. Beast was snatched up by a crew of Sandstormers... and Kid Apocalypse (Evan) found himself rescued by a familiar face.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this issue is the initial meeting (and subsequent "chumming up") between Evan and En Sabah Nur. Evan, for those unaware, is a clone of Apocalypse who was revealed to be created by a cult during the first arc of Uncanny X-Force (volume 1). So, him meeting a young version of Apocalypse is pretty neat.
What is most striking about this is that young En Sabah Nur is a pretty nice guy, overall. He is kind and protective of his friends and townsfolk... not at all what one would expect from the tyrant we all know.
While the Sabahnur's get acquainted, we check in on young Hank McCoy as he is being examined by a sort of Sandstormer witch doctor. We learn that the 'stormers serve "the Master" Apocalypse, and are led by a man called Baal... who just so happens to be En Sabah Nur's father.
Back in town, we are introduced to a girl named Erika... she's loud, brash... and speaks like a teenager today, rather than one would expect in ancient Egypt. Seriously, I don't think anyone said "I am all up in you!" some several thousand years ago. This really pulled me out of the story... just a little too cute.
Daddy issues rear their ugly head when we learn that young En Sabah has let down Baal by expending too much energy on "childish things". Apparently, Baal had already tried (unsuccesfully) to make his son see things his way.
While this issue is pretty exposition-heavy, it does end with a great action sequence with the Sabahnurs and Company fighting off the invading Sandstormers. We wrap up with Baal throwing down the gauntlet at his son... and a fun homage to the cover of Uncanny X-Men #251.
Bits and Pieces:
Overall, this series feels like it's suffered a bit in its second volume. Coming off the Bendis volume, this title meandered a bit... perhaps struggling to find its identity/mission statement. Even this portion of the Apocalypse Wars feels somewhat like a not "all-in" endeavor with it only featuring two characters from the cast.
The story is fine for what it is, and does a fine job of putting all the pieces in place for the climax. Watching Evan trying to reconcile his understanding of Apocalypse with his first-hand knowledge of the adolescent En Sabah was a treat. Dialogue is a bit too cute at times, but ultimately inoffensive. Mark Bagley's art is solid as ever, and evokes a classic comics look... almost making me homesick for the way things once were.