All-New X-Men 9 NM Age of Apocalypse Variant Cover Ferry Mark Bagley 1st print


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All-New X-Men Vol 2 9 Age of Apocalypse Variant Cover

Writer(s) Dennis Hallum
Penciler(s) Mark Bagley
Cover Artist Pasqual Ferry
Inker(s) Andrew Hennessy
Colorist(s) Nolan Woodard
Letterer(s) Cory Petit


The ALL-NEW X-MEN’s entry into “APOCALYPSE WARS” starts here! The ALL-NEW X-MEN are on a mission to step out of the shadows of their predecessors and write their own futures. And none are more determined to forge their own way than Evan Sabahnur, who is allegedly destined to one day become the genocidal villain APOCALYPSE. But now, by way of an unintentional intervention by his teammate Beast, Evan is brought face-to-face with Apocalypse himself…and also brought face-to-face with the question he’s been running from: Can you escape your destiny?

The time displaced X-Men are seen in the Danger Room doing an exercise on a Sentinel attack. Jean is using her telepathy to read peoples mind without their consent, much to the annoyance of Shadowcat. Jean reveals Cyclops’s meeting with Mystique much to the anger of Wolverine. Meanwhile, Mystique infiltrates the Raft prison with Sabretooth and breaks Lady Mastermind out by offering her riches. To avoid the guards, Lady Mastermind creates an illusion that the guards are being attacked by Zombie Avengers. At The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, the adult Cyclops appears with Magik, Emma Frost and Magneto proclaiming ” To me my X-Men!”, the slogan of his late mentor.

“Why do I smile all the time? Why don’t I have any bad days? Because… what happens when my friends see the clone of Apocalypse looking sad or depressed or angry? Do they start to wonder? Do they start to worry? Do they start to fear? Who could blame ’em? Worst-case scenario with me — has always been Armageddon. I’m not saying it’s all an act. I am a pretty happy guy and I like my life. I really do. But I smile — because I have to.” —Genesis (Apocalypse)

Featured Characters:

Wolverine (Laura Kinney)
Oya (Idie Okonkwo)
Genesis (Evan Sabahnur)
Angel (Warren Worthington III) (Past)
Cyclops (Scott Summers) (Past)
Iceman (Bobby Drake) (Past)
Beast (Hank McCoy) (Past)

Other Characters:

Transonic (Laurie Tromette)
Rockslide (Santo Vaccarro)
Shark-Girl (Iara Dos Santos)
Bling! (Roxy Washington)
Nature Girl (Lin Li)
Trance (Hope Abbott)
Eye Boy (Trevor Hawkins)
Kid Gladiator (Kubark)

Dennis Hopeless, Mark Bagley and Andrew Hennessy’s “All-New X-Men” #9 plunges Beast and Kid Apocalypse into “Apocalypse Wars” via a trip through time in their most promising issue to date.

“All-New X-Men” #9 is the series’ first foray into “Apocalypse Wars,” the not-really-a-crossover event moving through all three core X-Men titles. While “Extraordinary X-Men” focuses on the future and “Uncanny X-Men” on the present day, “All-New X-Men” #9 goes to the distant past for what is probably the best issue from Dennis Hopeless, Mark Bagley and Andrew Hennessy to date.

The strength of this oversized issue actually lies in the first half of the story, where the team reunites with a lot of the X-Men’s other students for a party to celebrate Evan’s birthday on the remains of Utopia. Ignoring the logistics of this setup (leaving the protective zone of Limbo, no worries of Terrigan Mists and so on), it’s a good lead-in for not only a reminder of Evan’s past (raised in a virtual world based on small-town America), but an examination of what would happen if you discovered your entire childhood was a literal lie. Evan’s yearning for the life he never had but still remembers somewhat makes up for the lack of a role he’s had in the series up until this point. Hopeless writes Evan as an intriguing character, one who puts on the proverbial brave face even as he withers on the inside. Compared to Idie’s blatant struggle in Paris, this feels much more realistic and nuanced.

The second half of the book is where Evan and Hank are dropped into ancient Egypt. When Evan puts on the mask from Doctor Strange after being explicitly told not to do so, it comes across as forced. If anything, it makes me wish this issue hadn’t been oversized, with those extra pages trimmed out of that scene; the cliffhanger is the moment where the story picks up again.

Consistent from start to finish, Bagley and Hennessy continue to give us characters who move effortlessly across the page, in a wide variety of body types and overall looks. It’s the sequence in Kansas that really brings the issue home; after drawing so many characters with flashy looks and outfits, we get a lot of “normal” people who all look distinct. That said, my favorite piece of art here is the final page of that sequence, where Evan and Pickles stand beneath the towering image of the original Apocalypse at his most dangerous. Bagley and Hennessy make sure you can see the strong resemblance between the two, even as Evan looks innocent and lost while Apocalypse is the visual quintessence of a madman. It’s a good compare-and-contrast moment, and it makes the fear hovering in the back of Evan’s mind come to life in an effective way.

I’ve been hoping to see “All-New X-Men” up its game, and “All-New X-Men” #9 feels like a step in that direction. The rest of “Apocalypse Wars” is full of possibilities, and — with such a strong character portrait of Evan — it looks like Hopeless, Bagley and Hennessy are heading down the right path.

Near mint, 1st print. Bagged & Boarded.