Wednesday, October 30, 2013

All-New X-Men #16 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

All-New X-Men #16:  Man, I did not see that coming.  I was actually sort of rushing through the last half of the issue, because I thought that we had already seen the big reveal, that original Jean might be right and the future X-Men aren't who they say they are.  As a result, I thought that Bendis was being overly dramatic with Xorn taking off her helmet, since it was pretty clear to me that it would be a scarred Rachel.  I was obviously wrong at least on one (though possibly both) accounts.  

The revelation that Xorn is Jean Grey is interesting on several fronts.  First, original Jean tells original Scott that she doubts that Professor X will be able to completely erase her memory of their time in the present now that she's developed her telepathy.  In my last review, I expressed a similar doubt.  I had been thinking that it would be difficult for physical reasons, like original Bobby inexplicably being able to use his powers better.  But, that same logic obviously applies to original Jean, whose powers are mental and not physical.  So, she's making essentially the same argument, that it's probably unlikely that Professor X will be able to make them "forget" their progress.  I'm glad that Bendis addressed it, not only because it keeps the story more realistic, but also because this added level of uncertainty about how everything is going to wind up resolved really ups the drama.

But, building off that premise, that Professor X won't be able to erase their memories completely, you obviously have to wonder if original Jean remembering something about her future leads her to make different decisions, resulting in future Jean being alive and well, as we see here.  If you go with the way that Bendis has portrayed the space/time continuum so far in this series, this change would have to be something that hasn't yet been realized in the present continuity.  After all, original Scott's near-death experience caused present Scott to disappear; it implies that future Jean would have suddenly appeared by now if original Jean made a different decision in the past (like not letting Xorn kill her).  I'm not sure how it would work -- original Jean would somehow make a time-lapsed decision that hasn't yet activated -- but Bendis has eight more issues to clarify that situation.

Finally, the revelation that "Xorn" was future Jean doesn't remove original Jean's fear that the future X-Men aren't who they say they are (or at least don't have the original X-Men's best interests at heart).  Simply because this woman looks like Jean doesn't mean that she is.

Essentially, I have no idea where this story is going and it's always a pleasure to be able to say that in a good way.

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