Bendis and Bachalo continue to move beautifully together on this title. Bachalo’s hard-edged-yet-cartoony look perfectly compliments Bendis’ hard-edged-yet-cartoony writing as we get a look at the encounter from All-New X-Men between the faculty of Cyclops’ new school and everyone else of the Jean Grey school from inside the minds of the most powerful psychics present at the time: The Stepford Cuckoos. The whole “retell a story from a different angle” notion can work to give the reader a different perspective or can come off as lazy and here it’s definitely the former as the Stepfords immediately get into their mentor’s mind and realize that something’s gone horribly wrong with her powers. This leads to one of the few open, honest, frank, and rather touching dialogs between the four of them and better explains why the Cuckoos seemingly arbitrarily decided to side with Emma Frost and the rest of Cyclops’ team.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, as it is, we get to see Cyclops’ flock of new mutants doing what new mutants do seemingly do best: experimenting with their powers and flirting like awkward teens. Bendis has a real knack for writing naturalistic yet sharp dialog, and while I can’t fully deny the complaints that his characters tend to have a similar voice, I can’t say I have a problem with it either. I want to live in a world where everyone’s a little bit witty. Bachalo continues to show that he’s a master of his craft with scenes of everyone standing still and posturing for one another looking just as dynamic and interesting as the scenes of people frantically fleeing from dino-dragons. And to everyone who thought Magik escaped AVX unscathed, this issue lets you know you that there WILL be consequences as her powers begin to flare up in horrifying and unexpected ways.
A lot happens in this issue, but a great deal of it could be summed as sound and fury signifying nothing. I love the dynamics forming between all the characters, but it’s forming at a glacial pace. I know it’s only been four issues, but very little has actually happened in this book that wasn't covered in All-New X-Men and reading both books is ALMOST starting to feel redundant. I’m still unsure of precisely what Cyclops wants or is trying to achieve and I have absolutely NO idea who the villain or threat of this story is supposed to be. And speaking of All-New X-Men: that cliffhanger that the last issue ended with? Completely and casually revealed in this one!
It’s only been four issues, so perhaps my problem with the pacing isn't fully warranted, but this book almost feels supplemental. It’s amazingly well-written and well-drawn supplement, so for now it’s still easy to recommend, but I’m hoping they cut to the chase in the next issue or two. It really did bother me that they just casually revealed the All-New X-Men cliffhanger, but to be fair, those two things are the only things that kept the book from being a perfect 5. I can’t stress enough how much I hope these new characters are sticking around for the long-run as I’ve come to absolutely love each and every one of them in a very, VERY brief time.