Written by Brian Michael Bendis.
The first comic book I’ve read is to be All-New X-Men #040, mainly because I’ve been getting into the franchise lately after discovering the series X-Men: Evolution and the big-screen adaptations.
And, my god. Whether all comic books are this great, or whether that be something applying to this example, this review must show. All-New X-Men #040 simply exaggerated everything I already felt about the X-Men, and why I love them so much. The powers are downplayed and the personalities are more important. These writers get young people. How they talk, how they think. And their abilities are almost non-existent. Instead, they look like emotional metaphors. There have been many times we’ve felt violated or intruded-upon and have wished we could instantly create a wall of ice to protect us. Their mutations give them different different abilities, yes, but they’re the same power; to physically manifest how they feel.
And it’s Iceman by far that’s the pinnacle of this. In keeping with the pro-social priority, he’s confronted by a telepath who naturally knows his mind, and that he’s gay. That scene played-out so well, and I draw particular attention to it because of its execution. It happened on one page of nine panels, with the two of them having their own side, with their facial expression evolving as the story’s told vertically, simultaneously highlighting the two sides of a conversation. And it was so well-done because it capitalised on the medium’s ability to show multiple events together. Which is complemented by the art style that makes the characters so likeable. Without him even saying anything, Iceman’s train of thought is obvious: “What’s this about?”, “This is weird”, “Wait… does she know?”, “Am I over-analysing things?” and “Wait… she knows”. And it was all in the expression.
This story, unofficially titled Utopians, really managed to convey information through images and words, but understood how much to use of each. And that lead the way not only to one of the core members of the best superhero team adding to representation of diversity (which the X-Men are supposed to do anyway), but also opened an intriguing storyline also – what about future-Iceman? He isn’t gay, and yet present-Iceman is? Hopefully, this will actually lead somewhere interesting and cosmic rather than just being an excuse to ignore continuity. The time-travel story arc currently happening is a bit complex right now, but if I stick with it, I’ll surely understand.
This is definitely a line I’ll be sticking with.