The heavy darkness of Immonen and Beredo’s artwork emphasizes just how daunting and murky their future, our present, actually is. While it feels like in 12 issues that not much has happened, Bendis and Immonen continue to reveal to us how our present days are a broken dream of the past.
It’s kind of amazing that most of Brian Michael Bendis’s techniques that eventually made his Avengers run a forgettable slog is working so sharply in his X-Men work. I think I spent years of my life waiting for his Avengers run “to get better.” As he tried to redefine that team for the 21st century, there was a lot of potential in that scrappy, ragtag team that had Luke Cage, Spider-Man and Wolverine on it. There was almost always the chance for it to be great but something always held it back and that was a lot of run of the mill art, the constant cycle of event storytelling and Bendis’ own quirky storytelling that never flowed half as well as he must have thought that it did.
The wonderful thing is how Bendis and Immonen are taking our concepts of the mutants’ future and turning it on its head. For the original X-Men, our present is their “Days of Future Past.” They’re seeing the future where they lost, the dream was shattered and they’ve turned into the bad guys. They’re seeing a future where the mutants are hunted and persecuted and rounded up. Bendis is creating the time that they’ll fight desperately to avoid.
Bendis recasts Cyclops as a hero in denial of his sins and his betrayal of the dreams he believed in since he was a teenager, showing him as a flawed man who has lost the control he has spent his entire life cultivating. Immonen brings to life the chaos, the pain and the anger of these three characters’ lives as they have to move on from their confusion over the destruction that they were at the center of.