Review: All-New X-Men #17

all_new_x_men__17All-New X-Men #17 offers another grassroots perspective, of how the IvX conflict directly impacts another faction of X-Men. What I have been enjoying about issues of this series I have read is its heartfelt, real-life, tone. This is a title that really looks at the X-Men and mutants in general in terms of their place of the world. This brings a flavor of storytelling to the X-books that in my opinion has been missing since the post-schism New Mutants title.

It’s safe to say that all of the time-displaced X-Men have encountered some degree of development or milestones that they would not have experienced otherwise in their own temporal continuity. This issue focuses on bobby’s new experiences as he explores his sexual identity. The issue centers on Bobby Drakes budding romance with the Inhuman Romeo. The timing of this romance is tragic given the current state of affairs between the Inhumans and the X-Men, but it makes for a fresh and poignant perspective on the conflict.

Bobby’s and Romeo’s relationship makes me think about authentic buy-in, perspective appreciation and cooperation that is required to transform any seemingly intractable conflict. Despite the fatal stakes for mutant-kind Bobby is firmly aware of the cultural importance of Terrigen. Similarly, I am sure that Romeo is equally concerned about Bobby’s stake in the conflict not just on romantic grounds but in terms of his well being. The way the currently conflict is going if either side wins their relationship will be threatened, because of this we can argue that Bobby and Romeo are perhaps the most invested in a solution that benefits both species. This reality is poised to make the two important players in this conflict going forward.

Much of this issue shows bobby’s reaction to the impending assault on Attilan and it’s punctuated with flashbacks of his previous dates with Romeo dates. It  was really heartfelt and anchors the emotional stakes for Bobby. I really enjoyed how the encounter between Bobby and his peers upon the news of the Attilan offensive mirrors the Senior X-Men’s encounter with Beast when he vehemently protests their chosen action. Whereas Beast’s objection was immediately interpreted as a security threat and allegiance to the Inhumans resulting in his detainment, Bobby’s objection was understood and no such action was taken against him. Maybe this speaks to the fact that youth are more open, and diligent in exploring more peaceful options. I hope they explore this parallel further. Especially given the launch of the recent champions team which has an inhuman and mutant in their ranks.

All-New X-Men is to be commended for being a solid example of intersectional storytelling. Throughout this title’s run we’ve seen these young X-Men deal with thorny issues such as religion, genetic determination, the consequences of magic and interspecies relations. In the recent light of IvX it has maintained this intersectional bent while organically contributing to the greater arc without losing its voice, a feat not easily accomplished.

A small note about the art, Mark Bagley really did a good job of capturing  the expressive emotion on the team’s faces in this issue. Apart from that though, there was a moment  where I assume Bobby experiences his first kiss, where his ice form shatters away. Not sure if this was intentional but it seemed artistically to be a symbolic flourish, for “breaking ice” between the two warring super species.. kudos. I’m sure it’s no mistake that Bobby’s boyfriend is named Romeo, and obvious wink to Romeo and Juliet. Another strong tie-in to an already awesome core event.

Story: Dennis Hopeless Art: Mark Bagley
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review