A lot of writers talk about writing with their artist in mind but in Guardians of the Galaxy #10, you can see just how Brian Michael Bendis slightly changes up his storytelling in this issue to perfectly suit his guest artist Kevin Maguire. Featuring his second “girls night out” story in recent weeks (see also Uncanny X-Men #15,) Bendis shows Gamora, the deadliest woman in the galaxy, teaming up with Angela, a mystery wrapped in a lawsuit-sized enigma, tracking down the now missing Thanos and also fighting a bunch of Badoon slavers. The plot is what it is- a fun character piece to show these two warrior women bonding but the star of the issue is Kevin Maguire as Bendis writes a story that’s perfectly tailored to showcase Maguire’s artwork.
The brilliant thing that Brian Michael Bendis did with All New X-Men is to make our presenttime the dystopian “Days of Future Past” for the original X-Men. Today is the future that young Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Beast and Iceman don’t want to see come to be. They’ll do anything to avoid the future they were brought to where Cyclops killed Professor Xavier. In Wolverine and the X-Men #36, the past and present X-Men have to fight alongside and against an X-Men team from the future who want to send the original X-Men back to the time they really belong. (Who says time travel stories aren’t confusing?) “Battle of the Atom” continues with Jason Aaron and Giuseppe Camuncoli stepping in to move the plot along while they lead us into the second month of this crossover.
Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s Daredevil Volume 5 is chicken soup for the superhero comic book fan. The fifth volume of Waid’s run (and Samnee’s second) is about friendship, something that almost surprisingly the book has never really been about. Like almost any run on this series since the early 1980s, Waid and Samnee have been pushing Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson apart, staining their friendship and personal relationship to the point where Foggy dissolved their professional relationship by basically firing Murdock. This latest volume opens with Murdock at the bottom, with only a $20 in his pocket, shades of Miller and Mazzuchelli’s Born Again. But this book isn’t about how far Daredevil can fall; we’ve been there and done that over and over again. Starting this story that low, Waid and Samnee show us the riches of friendship, beginning with a short tale featuring the recent incarnation of Spider-Man before diving into a story where Matt Murdock has to be the strength that Foggy Nelson does not think he has within himself.
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.