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Inherent Vice
Thomas Pynchon, Ron McLarty
The Best Horror of the Year Volume Five
Ellen Datlow, Laird Barron, Conrad Williams, Ramsey Campbell
Locus Solus (Alma Classics)
Raymond Roussel
Blackout (Newsflesh Trilogy, #3)
Mira Grant, Paula Christensen, Michael Goldstrom
All-New X-Men, Vol. 2: Here to Stay - David Marquez, Stuart Immonen, Brian Michael Bendis Well, finally, a new X-Men volume that was actually good and felt like reading something from the good old days.

Not surprisingly, it's because these are old school X-Men from the good old days. I ended up with volume 2 in the series, but it's pretty easy to catch up. Apparently the premise this time around is that the classic X-Men -- Beast, Iceman, Angel, Marvel Girl, and Cyclops -- have been brought forward to the future (our present) by modern-day Beast (the blue-furred version) to avert a mutant genocide. So it's a major culture/personality clash between the old X-Men and the new. Kitty Pryde is the Headmistress of Xavier Academy now, but Storm and Wolverine are still around, as well as Beast, Angel, and Iceman, new versions.

So, let's see, modern-day Jean Grey is still Dark Phoenixed and dead, while modern-day Cyclops killed Professor Xavier and is now the Big Bad, preaching revolution with Magneto and Magick. (Speaking of her, whatever happened to Colossus?)

There are some side plots with the Avengers, Hydra, and Shield, but mostly this volume is a bunch of very confused, very distraught kids from the 60s coming to terms with a 21st century in which their grown-up future selves have turned hard and bitter in a world that, from their perspective, has turned to shit, with Charles Xavier's dream as dead as he is.

There is humor in this volume, but it's rather dark. And while everyone is in character, consistent with their previous versions, you can already see how being yanked into the future is changing the personalities of the classic X-Men. The more they are exposed to a world different from the one they grew up in, the more they are going to deviate from their old selves. Angel is freaking out, but it's Jean Grey who is already starting to become scary. Without Professor Xavier around to instill his strict ethics, she's already abusing her newly-discovered telepathic powers.

I liked David Marquez's sharp penciling and the lush coloring, which looks contemporary but still evokes the style of the original X-Men.

I still wish there weren't so many mutants to keep track of, and given that this is a collection of monthly issues, the story wanders a bit from chapter to chapter (there'd be no need for random appearances by Hydra or cameos by the Avengers in a single-volume story). But this is an X-Men line I'd actually like to follow. It has the same sense of fun and drama, while telling a serious story that is actually going somewhere, that some of the better classic X-Men arcs had.

Obviously, if superheroes are not your thing, this book isn't going to interest you, but it's something deliberately written to appeal to new and old X-Men fans alike, and I think it succeeds.