Patrick Tierney

Looking like the love-child of Tom Baker and Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick has been chasing sightings of failure for as long as he can remember. His stand-offish and quiet demeanor only punctuate his awkwardly honest sense of humor. Follow him on Twitter: @MrPatrickCakes or on Tumblr: www.scottpilgrimage.tumblr.com

All New X-Men 21

          Really Bendis?  Really?  I don’t want to keep talking about you.  Honestly, I thought the matter would be settled and I could move on to warning Fatomex, Psylocke, and Marrow never to join a team with Cable.  But no, Bendis has reduced this book from an interesting concept to filler until the next cross over.  It’s not even that because filler is simply boring and unimportant.  “All-New X-Men” has turned into a joke that’s hampering the X-Men universe.

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            So we’re still dealing with the X-Men from the past.  You know, the ones that came from the sixties and are the basis for the entire web of mutant stories that sprang up since then?  Now they’re stuck in the present because the time continuum has accounted for the misplaced fractal gauges of hectosphers with gyro-dampening ju-ju bees in a gingerbread house on puppies with Elvis snake monsters.  Trust me, that sentence made more sense than the explanation they provided.  But essentially through some fiction voodoo, the original X-Men are stuck here and anything that happens to them could result in the universe collapsing like a flan in the cupboard.  And boy, is Bendis thorough in reminding everybody of it.  There’s a good third of the book in which the sixties X-Men are captured and defenseless and the Church of Humanity debates whether killing them would create a paradox.  That’s right people, the group that is based on Christian Fundamentalists are arguing science with each other for a solid ten pages rather than murdering the mutants.  Let’s not give these villains more credit than they deserve.  On more than one occasion they have been perfectly willing to cause mass devastation for the opportunity to kill some mutants.  I think a group that openly shuns any merit in evolution aren’t the kind of people that would discuss temporal paradoxes.  But I can’t be all mean to a book with the X-Men—I made a resolution to be nicer to books being kicked through the mud.

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            There’s a neat section at the start that’s drawn in the style of the seventies X-Men and the retro novelty is quite charming.  It’s a treat for long time comic book fans anytime the art in a book specifically changes and it uses the medium to its fullest potential.  Okay, that’s one nice thing I wanted to say about the book.  Because those four pages are truly the only good thing about this book.  They even managed to bring in material from “Avengers Arena” that I absolutely sodding hated.  A situation that would not have been a problem had the characters involved simply told everyone what happened and that they were kidnapped by Arcade.  See, how do you do that Bendis?  Did you accept my challenge to make this book worse?  Because it looks like you found a way by clipping the crap from other books and ram-rodding it into your book.  You don’t need to steal the suck from other books Bendis, you’re doing just fine on your own.

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            It’s sad because this is the exact paradigm that I described with “Guardians of the Galaxy”.  Bendis starts a book and really works hard to work out the kinks in the story and make it a compelling read.  But after a point he gets lazy and minor plot holes become gaping valleys.  For one thing, the villains in this book are more concerned with messing up the time stream than the heroes.  I suppose this will be a permanent disadvantage for the foes the X-Men fight, because while the villains are walking around on egg shells out of fear that they’ll break the fragile universe they cling to, the X-Men blunder into lethal situations with the care of a suicidal ragdoll soaked in gasoline.  At this point I want the X-Men to break the time line, just so that when everyone is frozen in a paradoxical Hell they can all glare and throw things at the mutants from the sixties who made more problems than they fixed.

There is a time for characters to be filled with reckless abandon, unconcerned for their own life.  And then there are times when characters should be super careful and not touch anything.  Mark Grayson learned this lesson well when he gained back his super strength but none of his other powers.  That first punch he threw that obliterated his arm told him everything he needed to know:  “I cannot go out and be a hero.”  And he didn’t.  He accepted his limitations and benched himself.  And it killed him.  He had to be passive; he went from being the one who was a driving force for justice to a bystander with no control.  His development was heartbreaking yet incredible because it was tough to see our hero so compromised.  Until the X-Men start pulling back, “All-New X-Men” will sit firmly at 25%.

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