All New X-Men #3 is a bit of a change of pace, as we find out what present day Cyclops and his team of X-Men (Magneto and Magik) have been doing in the aftermath of Avengers vs. X-Men. The search goes on for the newly discovered mutants of the world, as we learn that Cyclops has the intention of turning the old Weapon X facility into their brand new HQ, which not everyone is happy with. The most vocal of the dissenters is Magneto, who has probably experienced more tragedy and hardship in his life than any other mutant on Earth. Magneto feels that Cyclops’ rash acts of judgement were his own all along, despite being possessed and controlled by the Phoenix Force. Another voice of disagreement is Cyclops’ (ex?) girlfriend, Emma Frost, who has clearly not forgiven Scott for being responsible for the death of Professor Charles Xavier. While it’s a bit unclear on the exact status of their relationship, Emma’s words to Scott are anything but reassuring and warm.

Another interesting twist is that it seems any mutant possessed or touched by the Phoenix Force has had their abilities altered in some way, to mostly negative effect, save for possibly Magik, who seems to be relishing her newfound power. Magneto vows to make Scott get to the bottom of things and restore their powers back to normal… or else. Although he’s been on the side of the angels for a while now, this issue reminds readers of the man he once was and how he could easily slip back into that madness. As the drama unfolds, Cyclops and his team get a surprise visit from some “old friends.” This is the showdown we’ve been waiting for, since the book began!

As always, Bendis has an expert handle on all of the characters, particularly Magneto and Emma. Things have often been shades of gray in the mutant books throughout the years and this title continues that tradition. Even months after the last issue of Avengers vs. X-Men, who’s to say who was right or wrong in that confrontation? While the first reaction is to choose The Avengers, it’s really hard to not empathize and even sympathize with Cyclops’ plight. Humans CAN be and often ARE horrible. It’s easy to see how his younger idealistic self could become so cynical and even elitist, in a way. Bendis did a great job in showing Scott’s internal struggle, as he considers his friends’ words. Artist Stuart Immonen perfectly captures the action and pathos of the characters, striking the perfect balance of both the epic and personal. With the X-Men of the past due to confront their future selves, it should be interesting to see how they act towards one another. Especially Cyclops. Bring on issue #4 as fast you can, Marvel! 8.5/10

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