After two volumes, we finally get a traditional superhero story involving the time-displaced X-Men. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed seeing young Scott, Bobby, Hank, Warren and Jean interact with their modern-day counterparts and the rest of the X-Men, but even Bendis has his limits as to how long he can make superheroes sitting around and talking come off as interesting. So we get an appropriately old-school scheme from Mystique, Sabretooth and Lady Mastermind as they go on a worldwide crime spree to frame the time-displaced mutants and steal a ton of money to further their nefarious plans. It’s certainly not an original plan, but there’s a certain novelty to it in the sense that it’s the kind of plot the time-traveling mutants would’ve had to deal with back in the early days of their title’s run. Even though the volume kicks off on an anticlimactic note -- anyone who also reads Bendis’ “Uncanny X-Men” already knew which X-man would be defecting to Cyclops’ team -- things do pick up from there. We get an encounter between this group and the Uncanny Avengers, allowing Havok to meet his “younger” brother and for Jean Grey to freak out at finding out about the Scarlet Witch’s “No More Mutants” episode, and then the X-Men throw down against Mystique and company. So there’s some good action here and it allows artist Stuart Immonen to show that he’s great at handling these kinds of scenes, along with all of the talking heads.
That’s not to say that all of the dialogue and character interaction we get here is substandard compared to the previous volumes. Kitty Pryde gets a good sequence where she states her own thoughts on Havok’s infamous “M-word” speech, and it works as a nice takedown of such and character moment as well. With all due respect to Havok, it’s also nice seeing him bond with young Cyclops in a way that we’ve never seen the two do before. I’m less sold on some of the things we see in the final issue here, which has some nice art from David Lafuente and serves as a bit of downtime before the “Battle of the Atom” crossover kicks off. Though I can believe that Beast felt the way he did about Jean back in the day, she seems way too accepting of the feelings of his younger self for it to come off as plausible (unless she’s doing it as a way to derail her future with Scott, which would be a more interesting path to pursue). I’m also surprised that the girls Scott and Bobby encounter in Salem Center are so accepting of them, given the former’s status as an outlaw mutant revolutionary. These aren’t dealbreaking issues, however, and I found that there was enough quality material here to hold my interest and have me looking forward to seeing where things go from here.