Marvel's All-New X-Men Annual by Bendis, Sorrentino, and Maiolo | Fanboys Anonymous

Marvel's All-New X-Men Annual by Bendis, Sorrentino, and Maiolo

Posted by Sean Hamilton Sunday, January 4, 2015
Eva Bells journey comes full circle
All-New X-Men Annual cover
by Andrea Sorrentino
The triumph and trial of time travel.

The Uncanny X-Men Annual was a great story, as we followed the adventure of the young time-displaced X-Man Eva Bell. The art from Andrea Sorretino and Marcelo Maiolo was fantastic. We were tempted, by the end, with a delicious cliffhanger ending, to be picked up in writer Brian Michael Bendis' other X-Men flagship title.

When we left the trail of Eva Bell, the young mutant had just landed in prehistoric times, a charging triceratops bearing down on her. Eva had traversed multiple time periods, established a young family in the future and witnessed the demise of her mentor, the Sorcerer Supreme Ilyana Rasputin. Bendis continues the journey in the All-New X-Men Annual.

Bendis makes his readers feel the emotional weight of Eva's personal anguish as she attempts to find her family in the year 2099. An early surprise in this issue is the appearance of Morgana Le Fey, who had been banished to the prehistory during the Dark Reign storyline from Marvel. Le Fey tries to manipulate Eva to help both of them escape the past.

Following Eva's escape through a picturesque time-scape, she winds up back in 2099, yet due to the butterfly effect and an accessible explanation about the impact of time travel from a new Sorceror Supreme, it is a different one from the time passage she left. It is during this passage that Bendis shows wider audiences just how broken the time spectrum is for Marvel, which could be a speculative lead in to upcoming events in the Marvel calendar this year.

Lush greens pop out in prehistory
Eva Bell jumps back to prehistoric times
Carefully reading between the lines, a clue is deposited here for the earnest observer. Bendis explains that by Eva traveling back and forth through time, her family does not now exist; the effect of time travel negated her previous time spent in 2099. If this is extrapolated to other Marvel characters and storylines, e.g., the original X-Men in the regular All-New X-Men series, it is possible that at some point their adventures may be held up to the same butterfly effect and consequences by Marvel. It will be interesting to see how this plays into the Secret Wars event later this year.

Sorrentino's art is just as good as it was in the previous part of this story. As with most Bendis-written stories, there is a lot of panel work, but this is pulled off superbly by Sorrentino. The panel arrangements are mostly conventional, but mixed up every 4–5 pages by some some original Sorrentino flair. There is a great feel and tone emanating from the artwork, brought to life by the colors of Maiolo. The dreary future in dark yellow and brown hues is a nice contrast to the prehistoric greens. Of special mention for both artists are the double-page spreads of Eva's epic time travel journey back to the year 2099 and the butterfly effect explanation pages. These both have a lot of time and effort in the spreads and are truly magnificent to take in, each requiring some extra time to appreciate the extent of the art involved.

Eva tries to jump back to 2099
Eva Bell traverses time
The collaboration across both X-Men annuals for the artists mentioned above has been a great way to cap off 2014 for the X-Men series. The story of Eva Bell has a certain satisfaction to filling in the missing parts regarding her role in Uncanny X-Men. This had been played up by both Marvel and Bendis to build up to the release of these annuals and has been pulled off well. This is largely due to the artistic talents of Sorrentino and Maiolo.

While this may have ticked the boxes for us, let us know what you think about the All-New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men annuals. What do you think of the art? Did the story live up to your expectations? Leave your thoughts below or post a comment on Facebook or Twitter.

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