In All-New X-Men #10, the Uncanny X-Men show up at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning on a recruitment drive, which doesn’t go down well with Wolverine and faculty but does result in a few defections (one of which is left as a cliffhanger, although there are enough clues along the way to make it obvious who it is). Meanwhile, the subplot with Mystique, Sabretooth, and Lady Mastermind continues to build, with the trio of villains amassing a large sum of money by robbing banks. Their illegal activities are having the added side effect of stirring up anti-mutant sentiment, a concept Marvel seems keen to reintroduce now that new mutants are springing up again.
As has become the norm for this series, it’s another talky affair; the only action scene is an illusory fake-out, and the rest of the pages are given over to people having conversations on a front lawn (as happened in Uncanny X-Men #3, come to think of if). But that’s actually fair enough, given that the title doesn’t star a combat team and that much of the tension of this issue is based on the possibility of violence breaking out between the two factions.
By this point Brian Michael Bendis has a decent grip on the cast – his take on Emma Frost has noticeably improved since the early issues, I’m particularly fond of his Kitty Pryde, and the character work across the board is strong. And whilst Stuart Immonen’s strength with action sequences has largely been underutilised thus far, he handles the quieter moments ably, injecting a sense of vibrancy into even the most static of scenes.
The only drawback is that I’m beginning to wonder if the title hasn’t drifted away from its supposed premise. The hook at the beginning was that the original X-Men have been brought to the future in an attempt to show present day Cyclops just how far he has fallen. This issue touches upon that, with his younger self confronting him, but unsurprisingly the older Scott Summers isn’t interested in being lectured by a teenager. Which is perfectly reasonable – what self-respecting adult would take advice from their teenage self? But dismissing the arguments of the original X-Men so easily fundamentally undermines their function: by all appearances, they’ve failed in their intended mission, meaning there is no compelling reason for them to not just go back to their own time. The next few issues really need to establish the direction All-New X-Men will be moving in going forward whilst injecting a newfound sense of purpose.