[WARNING: Contains SPOILERS for All New X-Men #15.]
Over the last few months, the ancient mutant Apocalypse has dominated the world of the X-Men, both on the big screen and in the pages of the Marvel Universe. The Extraordinary X-Men captured an alternate version of Apocalypse following the events of the “Apocalypse Wars,” in the hopes of finally returning some order to their chaotic lives. Unfortunately, peace and tranquility aren’t usually hallmarks for residents at the Jean Grey School or their time-displaced selves either, who're merely looking for a little rest and relaxation in Miami.
Downtime wasn’t on the menu in South Beach it seems, as young Cyclops found himself battling a many-tentacle creature conjured by Beast. Unfortunately, Hank McCoy’s soul-searching conjure was only the tip of the iceberg.
All New X-Men #15, written by Dennis Hopeless (Spider-Woman) and drawn by Mark Bagley (Avengers Assemble) and Andrew Hennessy (Avengers Arena), kicks off with a hellish bang as Scott Summers' video game session turned demon fight from the prior issue resumes. He and Beast subdue the hell spawn, while simultaneously Iceman, Idie Okonkwo, and the younger, not so chained-in-the-basement teen version of Apocalypse (or Kid Apocalypse), enjoy an evening of clubbing. Their night of revelry is cut short, though, when a colossal demon tromps onto the beach right in front of them.
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Fortunately for the unprepared team, Laura Kinney’s Wolverine and young Angel (recently reconnecting) have been making good use of their chill time by, well, stomping monsters. He slingshots Wolverine clean through the monster’s eye (in a lovely graphic sequence) which takes out the hellion, at least for now. It turns out that Hank’s experiments in the Airstream portal to hell are only a tiny piece of their problems. The Goblin Queen, the alter-ego of Jean Grey's clone Madelyne Pryor, is at work, conjuring an army of rejuvenating gremlins and demons to attack the city.
Bagley’s expressive pencils and Hopeless' always snappy dialogue are definitely highlights of the latest All New X-Men. Some of the most interesting aspects of the All New X-Men #15, though, come in the subtle hints and world-building scattered throughout the issue. The conflict between the Inhumans and X-Men gets a shout out (naturally), first as Iceman gets a number from an Inhuman, who subtly goes by the name Romeo, and later as young Beast hints at the failures of his older, bluer self (perhaps revealed in Death of X).
Of course, the largest curiosity is the early onslaught of hellish creatures big and small. At present, it’s not entirely clear how the Goblin Queen (who's also the mother of Cable) managed to escape destruction on Battleworld, although apparently she escaped through limbo, but she’s definitely back in a massive way. Her arrival not only portends a heap of trouble for the X-Men and the citizens of Miami, but could have some interesting implications for the future of the MU.
For instance, in Totally Awesome Hulk #11, Amadeus Cho took on a ten-ton terror in Austin, Texas. Lately, monsters have been cropping up throughout the MU, from a reanimated Hulk to reanimated relatives in The Clone Conspiracy. Could these early terrors, as well as the return of the Goblin Queen, pave the way for the Monsters Unleashed! event in January, or are some of these monstrous incidents unrelated to Marvel’s upcoming monster-fest? It will certainly be interesting to find out in the coming months.
Naturally, we’ll keep you up-to-date as monsters from outer space, the oceanic depths, and perhaps even hell invade every corner of the MU.
All New X-Men #15 is currently available online and in print.