This is the first issue of All New X-Men, which promises a bold and unexpected new direction for the team under the Marvel NOW relaunch project. Much like DC’s New 52 venture, these new books are restarts of the various titles throughout the Marvel Universe. Unlike the New 52, these titles are still in continuity of what we’re already familiar with. It’s more of a good jumping on point for readers than a reboot, despite what misinformation you may have been given. How is this new team of X-Men? If I had to use one word to describe them, it would be… “familiar.”

Much of the promo ads we’ve seen of this title focused heavily on the time travel aspect of the original five X-Men coming to the present day Marvel Universe. While that isn’t a misdirection or an exaggeration, in this issue we find out that there is so much more to this series than that. Writer Brian Michael Bendis has come up with an ingenious idea here. At first glance, one might deem such a concept as this to be a mere marketing gimmick aimed towards those old school X-Men fans who are sick of the current complex X-Men Universe full of Wolverines and Phoenixes. Quite the contrary. If anything, this adds a whole other layer of complexity. It’d be easy to sigh and dismiss all of it, but there’s something about a younger, purer group of X-Men interacting with a more cynical and battle-weary version of themselves that is hard to ignore.

The basic premise of the book is that the current Cyclops and his team of mutant rebels have begun recruiting potentials for his Jean Grey School of Gifted Youngsters, with the intention of building an elitist revolutionary movement of mutants, separate from Xavier’s dream of mutants and humans coexisting peacefully. In fact, Cyclops’ new school is closer in line with Magneto’s original Brotherhood of Mutants than Prof. Xavier’s school. Disillusioned and disappointed by Cyclops’ new directive, Henry McCoy, a.k.a. Beast, devises a way to travel back in time with the intention of bringing a younger, more idealistic version of Cyclops and his team of X-Men to talk some sense into the current Cyclops and his mutants. Not much more is known or explored, other than this basic premise.

As with many #1 issues, this one suffers from being nothing more than a setup for the title. Now that we know the deal behind it, #2 should give us a better idea of what to expect from this series. As it is, the premise is intriguing enough to follow. It also helps that the very capable Stuart Immonen is handling the artwork. While this issue doesn’t really have a chance to showcase Immonen’s signature action sequences he’s best known for, his pencils are still very pleasing to the eye. With the talent behind this concept, I expect great things. This is a promising start to a promising series. 8/10