Artist: Stuart Immonen
This has to be one of my favourite series in Marvel NOW!, and although it's not the best, having had a few poor issues as of late, it is still a fun series, and NOW! seems to be a good time for the X-Men.
When the Avengers Unity Squad pay the younger X-Men a visit, which gives the young Cyclops a chance to meet the grown up version of his brother, Havok. Also Mystique continues her robbing spree.
This was an excellent issue, and although not quite perfect, the series is definitely back on the right track. Brian Michael Bendis has been all over the place lately, with this series having been average for the last couple of issues, Age of Ultron being terrible throughout, and Guardians of the Galaxy being amazing, so I'm not likely to say the same thing about his writing twice in a row. Anyway, it's nice to see this series back to the level of quality it deserves, as well as Bendis on average producing good comics. What I loved most about Bendis' writing in this issue was how he handled the emotion, and character interactions, as they were just perfect, and were what made the issue as good as it was. I also liked how at the same time Bendis managed to add some excitement, and drama to the issue, by having some volatile interactions, which really livened the issue up. At the same time this storyline with Mystique has been progressing a bit slow, and although it has been interesting, it has been dragged out slightly, and I'm happy that it appears to be coming to a head.
Stuart Immonen once again did a phenomenal job of the art on this issue, and this may be the best work he's done on the series so far. Immonen's art throughout this series has been amazing, and although there's always some minor imperfections in his artwork, it always amazes me, and the brilliant art outweighs them small imperfections by miles. The detail in Immonen's art in this issue was however much better than it's been in the last couple of issues, not looking as rushed, and looking like the fabulous art that you expect from Immonen, which was nice. The thing about Immonen's art that probably amazed me the most in this issue had to be his layouts, as although I've loved his layouts from the previous issues, there were some panels in this issue that blew me away, with the second and third page spread of Wolverine's X-Men, and the younger X-Men meeting the Avengers Unity Squad being the one that stood out the most. Besides that Immonen did a brilliant job of showing the emotions that the character's were feeling, especially between the young Jean Grey, and the Scarlet Witch, as well as the young Cyclops, and Havok. This along with other aspects of Immonen's art also added more drama to the story, which is always nice.
Since the younger X-Men appeared there have been a few groups wanting to meet them, with the normal Avengers, and Cylops' X-Men having already met them, and now the Avengers Unity Squad meeting them. To be honest the meetings between the younger X-Men and the groups they've already met were disappointing, but this time was much different, and really made up for the previous meetings. Having all the Avengers Unity Squad make a comment at one point or another was nice, but it was the reactions of Rogue, Scarlet Witch, and mainly Havok that interested me the most, as them seeing younger versions of their friends, and in Havok's case a younger version of his brother was bound to bring some emotions. At the same time the reaction the younger X-Men had to this was also very interesting, and overall the meeting couldn't have been any better.
Talking about Havok meeting his younger brother, the interaction between the young Cyclops was what I was most looking forward to in this issue, and it didn't disappoint. I will state however, that unlike what the cover suggests, neither of the two fight each other, and this was a much more emotional interaction between two brothers. It was this emotion that made this sequence brilliant, and it was nice to see these two actually being nice to one another, as neither Havok, or the older Cyclops have seen eye to eye recently, even before the death of Professor X.
WARNING: SMALL SPOILER AHEAD!
Things in this issue weren't all nice, and friendly as something shocking would happen, as the young Jean would learn Scarlet Witch's secret. If the young Cyclops/Havok interaction wasn't as emotionally brilliant as it was, this would probably be the best thing in this issue, as it really added the excitement that the series has been lacking over the last couple of issues. I also loved how yet again this brought up the question of whether the Avengers should have punished Scarlet Witch, as although it's been asked on and off quite a bit over the last year, it's still a question that's never had a proper answer, as if Cyclops is held responsible for Professor X's death whilst possessed by the Phoenix Force, surely Scarlet Witch should be held accountable for her actions during House of M.
Now Bendis didn't forget about Mystique, as the person responsible for bringing the Avengers Unity Squad to the doorstep of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning was shown continuing her robbing spree along with Sabretooth, and Lady Mastermind. Now I won't go into too much details as to what happened, as to avoid spoilers, but this was a very interesting sequence, and the interaction that Mystique, Sabretooth, and Lady Mastermind had with one another was very interesting, and I look forward to seeing the development of this.
Although not the best issue in the series so far, this issue was still brilliant, and the series is definitely back on the right track. This issue was emotional, as well as interesting, and exciting, and the interaction between younger X-Men, and the Avengers Unity Squad was outstandingly phenomenal. I would highly recommend this issue, as well as the entire series so far, as although the previous two issues prior to this were a bit poor, the series in general has been amazing, and I can't wait for the next issue.