Artist: Frazer Irving
I originally wasn't going to get this series, hence the reason I'm reviewing it so late. I did however decide to get it as it had decent reviews, but the main reason was the upcoming Battle of the Atom crossover which features this.
The X-Men have been dragged to Limbo (Hell) by the demonic like Dormammu, and have to find a way out. Also a new mutant appears who has the ability to will things into action.
After an amazing last issue, Brian Michael Bendis continues to amaze, continuing the story he started last issue perfectly, and keeping a steady, and exciting pace. This issue started a bit slower than last issue, but once it returned to the X-Men in Limbo it soon picked up pace again. This is the type of story that Bendis is best at writing, as he always likes to play with magic in his writing, with his second New Avengers series mainly focusing on magic, and he once again did a brilliant job of introducing magic to this series. What I preferred about this time though was that it was a much different type of magic, not having any spells or incantations, simply having a magic based connection, and magic based character's. Bendis also did an amazing job of adding both drama, and suspense to this issue, as although it's only the second part of a three part story, it didn't dive too much into action, but at the same time, didn't feel like a drag. Bendis also once again did a fabulous job with the dialogue, as you could really see what the character's were thinking, and feeling through this, and it added both drama, and also at certain times humour, making the issue much more dynamic. There was also a lot of emotion shown in this issue, and Bendis handled it perfectly, making it work to the advantage of the story.
Frazer Irving once again did an outstanding job on the artwork in this issue, and I'm more than ecstatic that he's working on this story. His style simply suits the subject matter, and although there are many artists I prefer overall compared to Irving, I doubt there's anyone that could top him with this type of story. The detail in Irving's art is simply amazing, as no matter what he's drawing, whether a simple sequence involving S.H.I.E.L.D., or an extravagant sequence in Limbo, it always amazes, and the detail is never far of perfection. Talking about Limbo, that was probably the best thing about Irving's art, and the real reason that he was needed for this story. It was simply phenomenal, with everything from the scenery, to Dormammu, to the fiery setting looked beautiful, and was nothing short of awe-inspiring. The emotions that Irving showed through the character's facial expressions was also brilliant, as although it had very minor flaws, you could really tell what the character's were feeling. Now there was one thing that I didn't like about Irving's art, and that was the way he drew both Emma Frost, and the Stepford Cuckoos in diamond form, as although it wasn't terrible, it just felt unrealistic, and not as organic as it should look. Irving did however make up for this as his inking, and colouring was terrific, and although it may have been his colouring that hurt the diamond form look, the rest of his colouring was spot on, giving a very vibrant, and dynamic look to the issue.
This issue started rather differently than any other issue in this series so far, and although I was questioning it's necessity it soon showed why. Basically this sequence revealed a new mutant, one that appears to be able to will things into action, as when his girlfriends about to leave he begs her to come back, and presto she does, or at least her car does. This made the sequence, which otherwise was strange, and dull very interesting, and it showed a realism to people becoming mutants, as although it isn't real, it shows it in as real a manner as possible. I also loved the emotions that came near the end of this sequence, and although it was brief I kind of look forward to seeing it developed.
The issue then gets back to the main story, showing the X-Men in Limbo. Now this was a brilliant way to end the last issue, and seeing the continuation of it was just brilliant. This was something that I was really looking forward to in this story, and although it took the whole of last issue for it to happen, I was happy that it did. It did however make sense to keep having the X-Men from going to Limbo till now, as it spreads the story out better. Besides that I loved the reactions we got from both the X-Men, and their students (especially their students). The way the students freaked out was brilliant, and I really found it amusing. It also brought reality to these students, who haven't necessarily been taking things seriously.
This issue would also see Dormammu make another appearance, and he was obviously not finished with Magik, or the X-Men. Now I won't go into too much detail over this, but it's needless to say that there was a bit of a fight. Although this was nowhere near from being over, with Bendis obviously holding back something for the conclusion of this story in the next issue, it still added the action, and excitement that the series has needed, and although last issue also had this, it was nice to see that it continued into this issue. The reaction, and overall input from Dormammu in this issue was also brilliant, and exactly what I'd expect from him. Besides this the reactions from the students that were staying in the background was also once again amazing, and once again added a touch more humour to the issue, which was brilliant.
Now the issue didn't fully centre around the X-Men in Limbo, as besides showing the new mutant at the start of the issue, we also saw a continuation of Maria Hill pondering over the mutant situation, eventually deciding that she needs a mutant expert, who themselves is a mutant. This was a brilliant addition, and I questioned over who the choice would be, having a few thoughts in my head. I won't say who Hill would choice, as that would be too big of a spoiler, but I will say that one it was none of the people who I initialy thought of, and two that they questioning, and speculation over this person made the issue very interesting, and also added a bit of mystery.
This was a brilliant issue, and although not quite as good as last issue it was still amazing, and much better than the first four issues of the series. It had drama, and suspense, as well as a bit of mystery. It also was very exciting, and entertaining, with some brilliant action, and dialogue. It also had another couple of plot developments that were interesting, and overall the issue left me wanting more, but in a good way. After all this I would highly recommend this issue, as well as both the previous issue, and series so far, but would especially recommend this, and the previous issue, as they're both outstandingly good.