Friday, December 10, 2004

Astonishing X-Men 1 - 6

Anyone who even remotely likes the X-Men at all have pretty much been going ape over this new series written by Joss Whedon and illustrated by John Cassiday. As for me, well, it's not nearly as interesting as Morrison's New X-Men run, but it sure as hell beats the crap out of Austen's X-Men and Claremont's Uncanny X-Men & Excalibur.

The one thing that I don't understand about this series is the obsession with Cassiday's art. Sure, it's pretty realistic and whatnot, but I really don't think he's all that great. In fact, I think the way he draws Beat and Cyclops is really ugly and half the time he draws Emma with big, billowing 80's hair. The new uniforms are also pretty lame, except for Kitty's, which is nothing more than a slight variation on their movie-era leather suits.

As much as I love Whedon's ability to create dialogue that snaps, I couldn't really form a relationship with any of the characters outside of the core X-Men group. The villain did nothing for me. He's some uber alien that made a pact with some government organization, blah, blah, blah. I really don't care. The fact that Nick Fury and SHIELD just waltz on in in the 6th issue and lay everything out doesn't flow very well with me either. The doctor working with the "cure" for the mutant condition is also hard to relate to.

If Whedon would have worked a little harder on creating characters that could be related to instead of focusing on the X-Men and their bickering, I would have really liked this arc. As it stands, however, it's only an above average X-Men tale. It is one that will definitely be remembered, though, simply because it features the return of fan favorite Colossus. His return from the dead has stirred up a lot of positive and negative feelings about this arc. Frankly, I don't really care so much. Colossus is back. Big deal. You know no one ever stays dead in the Marvel universe so why fret over it. I'm looking forward to some more good stories focusing on Colossus because I found him one of the few X-Men that has an interesting personality and history.

For a start to a new, high profile series, this arc succeeds in creating a lot to talk about and generates a good amount of interest because of a key continuity issue, but story-wise it was only so-so. The dialogue is superb, yes, but dialogue alone doesn't make a compelling story.

Art: 3.5
Story: 3
Overall: 3.5

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