Mark Bagley – All New X-Men vol.2 #1

The American comic-book artist Mark Bagley (1957-) is the artist of the new All-New X-Men series with the author Dennis Hopeless. In 1983, Mark Bagley won the Marvel Tryout Contest, which got him the chance to work for the Marvel editions. His first important job was the New Warriors series in 1990, a new series based on a group of teenagers, which ended being one of the most successful series of Marvel in the 1990s. Then Mark Bagley became the official artist of the flagship title of Marvel, the Amazing Spider-Man, from 1991 to 1996. He left the Spider-Man character but soon was asked to return to it for a new Marvel universe, the Ultimate one with the Ultimate Spider-Man with Brian Michael Bendis. Their collaboration lasted eleven years, and Mark Bagley left Ultimate Spider-Man on the #111th issue. He returned for the Death of Spider-Man‘s arc with Brian Michael Bendis en 2011: the artistic duo killed the character they both created back in 2000. More recently, Mark Bagley worked on the new Fantastic Four version (2013) with Matt Fraction and on Hulk (2014) with Mark Waid.

The first characters who appear are the ones we’ve already seen in the All-New Wolverine series: Warren Worthington, aka Angel, and Laura Kinney, aka Wolverine. The issues started with a ski racing between two masked characters, one of whom being Laura. Due to a careless mistake, she tripped and fall from the top of the mountain. The second character rushed towards her and jumped, before flying off with Laura in his arms, thus revealing his identity. Angry at him for saving her, Laura violently unmasked Warren. This double-page spread is in the line with what we saw in the first issue of All-New Wolverine : Angel is ready to save Laura’s life at any cost, even if he might get hurt, and this is annoying for her. She thinks that because of her powers she’s indestructible, but she’s not. At the solely thought that Wolverine might hurt herself, Angel’s losing his mind. This is understandable : Laura is Warren’s first real love – besides his crush on his teammate Jean. Laura still doesn’t understand why Warren is so concern about her well-being, and Mark Bagley‘s drawings express perfectly such incomprehension and annoyance. 

Mark Bagley - All New X-Men #1 p.3-4
Mark Bagley – All New X-Men #1 p.3-4 © Mark Bagley / Marvel

There is a new team of villains in America, and its name is the Ghosts of Cyclops. Masked with X-marked visors – just like Cyclops’ since the beginning of his revolution (just after Avengers versus X-Men) – these new mutants are terrorizing Chicago. They claimed to be Cyclops’ heirs, the successors of his revolution. Even if eight months have passed, I doubt that Cyclops ended up killing and bullying anyone for his own pleasure. The Ghosts of Cyclops are a band of fanatics who misunderstood Cyclops’s true message. Despite the fact that he didn’t agree with everything his adult counterpart did, the young Scott couldn’t keep a low profile while an entire neighborhood was under attack. Like the hero he is – and always was and will be – Scott punched Thirst (aka Austin Deprez), the leader of the Ghosts of Cyclops and knocked his head on the ground. He didn’t fire one optic blast at all and used only his fists and his head to counter-attack. In a quick succession of panels, Mark Bagley perfectly drew Scott’s assault and the rapidity of his action. 

Mark Bagley - All New X-Men #1 p.10
Mark Bagley – All New X-Men #1 p.10 © Mark Bagley / Marvel

Scared away by the police, the Ghosts of Cyclops fled, leaving behind them Thirst’s wallet. In the university’s library, Scott was doing some research about Austin Deprez, when the Ghosts of Cyclops interrupted him and threw him across the room. For this page, Mark Bagley chose to depict the three other members of the original X-Men while Scott was fighting against the Ghosts of Cyclops. If Warren was cooking and eating with Laura in their kitchen, Boddy was dancing with Evan and Idie and Hank was reading. All of them were enjoying their life, except Scott. As a true hero, he tracked down the Ghosts and tried to stop them. The contrast between the fighting scenes and the eating-dancing-reading ones is strong, impressive. The original X-Men are enjoying their life, like any other human being while Scott is being beat up by a band of guys who claimed to be Cyclops’ heirs … the same one their beating up. Once again, despite all of the punches and the fact that he’s bleeding, Scott isn’t using his powers … 

Mark Bagley - All New X-Men #1 p.18
Mark Bagley – All New X-Men #1 p.18 © Mark Bagley / Marvel

… until the Ghosts picked on an old man who was trying to rescue him. Scott removed his glasses from his eyes and freed his optic blast in an amazing full-page. The only visible parts of his assailant are his right leg and his right hand. He is projected towards our own space. His huge limbs strengthen the impression of power of Scott’s beam of energy. Scott liberates an optic blast of raw energy, with enough power to knock down his massive opponent. 

Mark Bagley - All New X-Men #1 p.20
Mark Bagley – All New X-Men #1 p.20 © Mark Bagley / Marvel

Unfortunately, this huge optic blast wasn’t sufficient enough to defeat every one of the Ghosts of Cyclops. Thanks to the Cerebro technology inside Hank’s van and a Bamf named Pickles, the All New X-Men team came to Scott’s rescue. Laura is wearing her Wolverine’s costume, the original X-Men their regular costume – which Kitty gave to them – and Evan and Idie new ones, suitable for battles. If five of them seem ready to fight, Idie’s face expresses a different feeling, maybe fear or surprise. Laura’s body is more feminine under Mark Bagley‘s pencils than David Lopez‘ (see All-New Wolverine #1), but Hank is clearly  disproportionate. His hands themselves are bigger than Kid Apocalypse’s torso. He is no giant, so I don’t understand why Mark Bagley drew him like this. Beside that, this is a beautiful full-page, and I like the fact that Mark Bagley has placed the spectator’s point of view right between two of the Ghosts of Cyclops. We are like one of them, surprise to see the X-Men coming to the rescue. 

Mark Bagley - All New X-Men #1 p.23
Mark Bagley – All New X-Men #1 p.23 © Mark Bagley / Marvel

All New X-Men was one of my favorite series before Secret Wars, and I was eager to see and read the new volume of the original X-Men’s adventures. I’m glad that for once a X-Men series doesn’t focus on the M-Pox but rather on Cyclops’ revolution and its consequences. Dennis Hopeless and Mark Bagley presents to us a different version of Scott Summers, who tries to grow up away from his adult self’s shadow. The adult Scott is like the father figure from whom the young Scott tries to get away from. I love the fact that a hint was already made about Iceman’s love life with the armadillo mascot guy: Bobby’s recent coming-out didn’t reach a dead-end, but is used like any other character’s feature and background. I like the addition of Kid Apocalypse to the team – after all he’s also a young version of a well-known mutant – but I’m more skeptical about Idie : she never convinced me during her time in Wolverine and the X-Men


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