X-Men Blue #35
Time-displaced Jean Grey meets the adult Jean Grey at a café in Italy – the same café where she’d met the Jean Grey construct way back in Generations: Phoenix and Jean Grey. They discuss the changes they have both been through, the time-displaced Jean Grey especially, who must now go back to her original timeline so that things may play out as they are meant to, even though that means giving up the person that she has become. The time-displaced Jean is worried because this sacrifice means that she has to reset everything, that it’s not all that different from dying, because although she will eventually become the adult Jean she is speaking with, it means giving up who she is and turning into someone she barely recognizes. Of course, as the future flash shows, if she stays, she becomes a dark, powerful person anyway – one who angers Galactus with a single punch to the face. But is that a better person than the Jean sitting across from her?
At Beast’s lab, the time-displaced Hank McCoy speaks to his older, blue-furred counterpart, facing a similar issue. Of course, unlike Jean, the younger Hank despises his older counterpart for having brought him into the future, and for his not thinking of how his plans might affect others. The older Hank asks the younger about the business with the magic and the demons, and the younger Hank says that it is all behind him. The older Beast doesn’t believe him, which he shouldn’t, as in the future flash, Hank is reliant on those magical powers of his as, urged on by the Goblin Queen, he goes up against Magik. In the present, Hank explains to Beast that he doesn’t need his help being sent back – Magneto has the time machine, after all – but he needs help figuring out a way to undo all of the changes the original five have gone through – resetting them, as it were. He realizes, though, that resetting all of them would be the cruelest thing to do to Bobby.
Bobby himself realizes this too, and he fears going back into the past. As he plays a round of pool with his older counterpart, complete with horrible cold puns about Romeo having ghosted the teenage Iceman, he comes to terms – somewhat – with the thought of being sent back. The only thing is, he doesn’t want to go back to lying to everyone about who he is – it felt good being himself. But at the same time, he doesn’t want to break reality, and what must be done must be done. He does get the only good future flash, though – a date with a man named Cason, who he impresses by freezing a park and making beautiful ice sculptures.
Over Tibet, Warren Worthington flies after the older Angel, who won’t listen as he tells him that he’s come to say good-bye. Instead, the older Angel leads him to the sleepers who were in Xorn’s care, mutants who are now in Angel’s care. He tells the younger Warren that it means they are in his care as well, though Warren points out that he can’t watch for them because he isn’t staying in the present. It’s probably for the better if he doesn’t, because his future flash turns out to be the most brutal of all – he fights Archangel and wins, killing him, and becoming Death of the Horsemen.
On Muir Island, Scott and Bloodstorm visit the grave of the older Cyclops. This isn’t as easy for him as it is for the other original X-Men. After all, they all have someone to get closure with. For Scott, he’s forced to look at a future that doesn’t have him in it, and he doesn’t know how to deal with that.
A series of five conversational vignettes, most with its own future flash, this is a well-written, interesting, solid issue. Bunn shows a real knack for writing the original five X-Men and their adult counterparts, and this might be the best he’s been with the teenage counterparts for the whole series up until this point, which makes it all the more sad that he will be leaving these characters behind soon. He’s really hitting his stride with the characters, and they’re absolutely interesting when they’re paired up with their older counterparts, which is not something we have seen much of lately. It makes sense that Bunn focuses a bigger chunk of page space on Jean over the others, considering the fact that she has become the de facto leader of the team since they landed in the present, but each one of the original five gets a poignant moment to shine. One wonders if they will find a way to keep some of their character changes and developments intact – especially Scott’s knowledge of what he could become, Bobby’s acceptance of who he is, Jean’s knowledge of what she is capable of, and Hank’s dalliances with magic and the knowledge of the mistakes he could make in the future.
Marcus To’s art, as always, is a delight, with its clean lines and expressive faces. Even though this issue doesn’t have much in the way of action, To finds a way to make the script shine with his layouts and character designs. It’s so easy to see how the younger and older counterparts of the characters are themselves, but also different people. Matt Milla’s colors pop – the scenes set in the present are effused with warm tones, while the future flashes are colder, starker, tinted in blue, and that really works well to show a difference between the two timelines. To and Milla make a wonderful artistic team and are the best pairing to have on board as the book starts to come to an end.
This series only gets better and better as it gets closer to its last few issues, and that's the only negative thing about this issue. Whether you're a fan of the time-displaced original five X-Men or the original original five X-Men, this is well-worth a read!
X-Men Blue #35: Pasts, Presents, and Futures
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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