After the conclusion of Secret Wars, All-New X-Men will be returning to the comic book stands but this time with a new writer. That writer is Hopeless, Dennis Hopeless. This may seem like quite the leap for Hopeless to go from a few B and C rate books to the high profile All-New X-Men but I think Hopeless is very hopeful and well deserved of the position Marvel has placed him in.
Okay, that is enough of the world play and puns. I used up all the fun in the intro, it’s time to get serious. Dennis Hopeless has been writing for Marvel Comics for a number of years, but he was given a big opportunity in late 2012 when Marvel NOW! was launched. Dennis was given the writing duties on two titles, Avengers Arena and Cable and the X-Force. Two books which were on the low end of the hype scale, but on the high end of the curiosity scale. Avengers Arena, a tough sell based on it’s similarity to Battle Royal and The Hunger Games, surprised readers as it stepped away from the comparisons and became it’s own survival story. A book that some were probably placing cancellation bets on not only finished it’s run but also launched Avengers Undercover, a sequel to the successful Marvel comic not starring Wolverine. Avengers Arena was not a story about being a superhero, it was a story about surviving and essentially being a teenager. As Hopeless moved into Avengers Undercover, he focused more on the temptations that youth face and where the lines between right and wrong are blurred. The stars of both these titles are teenagers. Hopeless was able to make a cast of 16 C and D rate characters relevant and extremely compelling. He dialed himself into everyone, even Red Raven who was in the comic for one page. I was familiar with three of the characters prior to reading Avengers Arena and because of the unique voice each character was given, I knew them all by the end.
Hopeless has recently written a few of the Secret Wars tie ins which frankly were not that great, however this is to no fault of the writing. He was given two X-books with stupid stories. I enjoyed Inferno because of Hopeless’ character work, but when it came to the story I just didn’t care. Colossus is allowed to lead a team of X-Men once a year to save his sister Illyana from the Inferno, as long as he puts in a year of work for the X-Men. This is just too ridiculous for me. I realize you don’t want to risk all your good X-Men on a dangerous hunt for one person…but come on! Use some of those 364 days to plan something better than a raid. It’s Illyana! You’re the X-Men! Save her! Anyways, Inferno rant aside, Hopeless did some great character work on this book and showed he can handle an X-team. I found myself reading the series with the occasional screaming at the book.
Hopeless has proven that he can do great character work, the problem is he has been placed on a few books with story flaws. I am excited to see what he can do with a cast of characters we have been enjoying Bendis write for the past three years. The whole point to All-New X-Men is that they are kids. They are not prepared for the journey they made and they are struggling to find their place as heroes. I can’t think of a better writer to handle this story, Hopeless is the perfect match. The most exciting part is the new additions to the team. First off there is X-23, who Hopeless already nailed in Avengers Arena. The X-23 issue of Arena was one of the strongest in the run. He will have no problem writing Laura. The other two characters are Oya and Kid Apocalypse, two characters who have had their moments in the past 2 years. I’m sure Hopeless is re-inking his type writer ribbon preparing for those two. Expect some emotional moments as you fall in love with those two characters.
At the beginning of Avengers Arena there were pretty clear “good” kids and “bad” kids, but as the story unfolded they were all tossed into the same pile as just kids. The most upsetting issue for me was the one where the biggest asshole of the book, Nara was killed. That issue we finally got inside her head and found out that most aggressive actions have scars at their origin. I don’t know where Hopeless is going to take the dynamics of this team, but look for him to set someone up as the jerk and then shortly flip the switch on you. My guess is Scott will have some terrific moments because of the whole growing up to be a terrorist thing.
This “promotion” of Dennis Hopeless to writer of All-New X-Men is surprising but also earned. If they keep putting him on nothing books eventually he will be swept under the rug as the guy who never reached his potential. This is his chance to shine on a large scale. He has earned it, but now it is time to perform. If he succeeds it could make his career. If he fails, well…get ready for a Venompool book Hopeless.
P.S. Patrick, if you don’t go change All-New X-Men from Nah to Yay! I will now take it personally. Canadian’s eh? Bunch of touchy feely hockey lovers.