X-Men: Apocalypse is a bloated film that wants more than anything to be epic in scale. Stuck with a ponderous first 45 minutes resetting up the world of the X-Men one decade after the events of X-Men: First Class (where apparently only some of our characters have actually aged) the movie has to spend far too much time catching us up on current events. With the script hamstrung by the need to properly introduce not only the movie’s villain Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), which means flashbacks to ancient Egypt, but also several new characters who will make up both Apocalypse’s Four Horseman (Olivia Munn, Ben Hardy, Alexandra Shipp) and the new version of the X-Men (Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Lana Condor) it takes quite some time before director Bryan Singer‘s movie gets on track.
With the resurrection of Apocalypse, who begins recruiting new mutants for his army, the movie begins in earnest with Mystique‘s (Jennifer Lawrence) return to the mansion and Professor X‘s (James McAvoy) abduction. After an appearance by Stryker (Josh Helman), used only to shoehorn in a cameo of Singer’s favorite mutant, Mystique will gather a few mutants together to reform the X-Men.
Marvel relaunches its flagship X-Men title with a new team of Psylocke, Archangel, M, Mystique, Fantomex, and Sabretooth led by Magneto. Uncanny X-Men #1 starts off with more of a whimper than a bang with a pointless story about Magneto’s team rescuing mutants who don’t have any interest in being rescued and have chosen to hide from the world until a time when mutant hostility and deadly mists are things of the past.
The cast of characters interests me, and I’m glad to see Magneto has adopted a bit of his old look back into his style, but I have a hard time seeing this team hold together for any amount of time. A fan of Magneto, Archangel, and Psychocke, I’m happy to see the threesome have found a home in a new title, but I’m not sure they couldn’t have done far better. M, the character I know least about, may interest me the most from what we see in this first issue.
The newest volume of All-New X-Men continues to focus on the time-displaced X-Men from the past and the friends they have made in the present. Issue #2 gives us more of X-23 (renamed Wolverine now) and Angel‘s romance, but it’s primary focus is to catch up on the younger Cyclops who feels trapped following the death of his older self.
After hiding for weeks without using his powers Cyclops unleashes his power to fight off a group of young mutant thugs causing trouble under the name the “Ghosts of Cyclops.” The use of his powers not only allows his friends to finally locate him but also gets the character thrown into prison for his role in destroying the local library.
Brian Michael Bendis’ run on Uncanny X-Men comes to an end with the return of the original volume’s numbering structure (in yet another example of Marvel’s bizarre system where 600 immediately follows 35). The oversized issue brings a close various plot threads explored in his run, finds a way to bring Cyclops (at least partially) back into the larger X-Men family, the Beast being called on his (many) questionable decisions, and makes a couple of statements concerning the love lives of some of the time-displaced X-Men that other writers will have to sort out.