It all began on a training event in Tabula Rasa. For Tempus, deadly danger caused her time-travel abilities to spark out of control, and she vanished; returning, apparently moments later but years older, and strangely haunted. Now, finally, Brian Bendis is telling that tale – and it’s good!
First of all, I’d like to point out that he’s taken the boldest direction for any X-Men annual I’ve ever read. The majority of annuals are big on headline heroes such as Cyclops, Storm, and Wolverine. They are not usually the kind of issues to star a relative newcomer to the X-Men, and have only one other member of the cast pop up. It’s a credit to Brian Bendis that he’s willing to take this risk. From a narrative viewpoint, it’s also extremely sensible. An annual risks cutting into the ongoing stories from the books themselves, and this strategy neatly avoids that disruption.
The time-jumping is amazing. The appearance of New Mars – and Killraven’s time / reality – is actually a tremendously smart bit of trickery, giving an opportunity for stunning splash-pages and a preview that actually tricks you away from realising where the annual’s focus will lie. That being said, in interviews Bendis had said that the X-Men of 2099 would appear, and play a key role, and so the next stop on Tempus’ jaunts was no surprise.
A moment to pause and look in wonder at the art. Seriously, this is amazing stuff, with each splash-page truly deserving.
The book is purportedly laying the foundations for ‘Secret Wars’, and, critically, the X-Men’s role in it. Which frankly makes me think Eva will be far more important to the X-Men’s future than I realised; she’s left with deep emotional ties to another realm in Battleworld, and I don’t know which place she’d truly consider home. (That being said, I have a nasty suspicion there’s a logic gap coming, so I’ll be watching with great care.)
I cannot wait to see what happens in the second part of this storyline, the ‘All-New X-Men Annual’.
I can’t believe this score… but 10/10.