The first issue gave an interesting outside look at Cyclops' new team and direction for the X-Men. It established the fact that these weren't the X-Men we were used to. They definitely weren't going to be seen as heroes, especially with Cyclops being seen as a terrorist trying to start a 'revolution.'
The focus shifts in the second issue as we get a direct look at the characters. More importantly, we find out what's up between Emma Frost and Cyclops. As mentioned in the first issue, those affected by the Phoenix Force in AVENGERS VS. X-MEN have discovered their powers are no longer working the way they used to. This puts the former powerful X-Men in a different position. The lack of knowing exactly where their power levels stand adds an element of mystery and suspense to characters we're already familiar with. The addition of new characters also bridges the gap between old and new.
What may be most alarming is seeing Emma in a moment of vulnerability. She's always been a character full of pride and the unstable nature of her power along with her standing with Scott allows us to see her in a new light. The new mutants also serve the purpose of the everyman. We get a mix of reactions to suddenly gaining new powers as well as being recruited to this team of X-Men. Too often in the past, the mutants were simply brought on and that was the end of the introduction. It's a life changing move and it's great to see the reaction explored once again. Seeing a brief layout of Cyclops' school was also a treat that reminds you of the old annuals where we'd see these sort of diagrams.
Despite not having a lot of actual action, it's a great set up for the direction of the series. Chris Bachalo's art works and the subtle differences from panel to panel make scenes of conversation great. The reactions of the new recruits is great as well.
We're getting a great set up in these first two issues but it almost feels like we're still in a holding pattern waiting for something to happen. It's important to see how this team will operate and what the new mutants think of their situation. The tease of a traitor has been revealed but we're still not quite sure if we can trust the motive already given.
The new mutants and their mixed reactions is great but they're not too likable at this point. One is (I'll avoid mention his possible new codename) but maybe we just need to see more of the others to care about them in this series.
There is a set up for a big clash at the end. There's some confusion as to how they arrived at the location so quickly. We know the X-Men teleported here but how did the others arrive moments later?
Brian Michael Bendis continues his flipside take on the X-Men. It's great to see a writer apply different takes to the same franchise. ALL-NEW X-MEN and UNCANNY X-MEN are not and should not be similar titles. The first issue gave us an outside look at the characters but with the more direct storytelling here, we get some insights into their current status after having their powers messed up at the end of AVENGERS VS. X-MEN. Seeing Emma Frost in a slightly vulnerable position was surprising and provided more insight into her character. Chris Bachalo does a great job depicting several scenes of conversation. There is some action here but as things are still being established, it's important to see how this series will move forward. Bendis is delivering questions and mysteries to this series and that's adding to the excitement that has been much needed in the X-Men franchise.