Prepare to be astonished
Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 by Joss Whedon and John Cassady
*This week's review is a day late because books were delayed from Memorial Day.
A lot of people are familiar with Joss Whedon for his work on TV and movies. Little do they realize that he is also one of today's top comic book writers. And among the top of what he has brought to the industry is Astonishing X-Men.
He has written all 24 issues of the series, as well as the Giant-Size edition that I'm reviewing here. In today's industry, that's a relatively long run. Unfortunately, is took about 4 years to get it all out. For those that can't handle that complex math, that's only about one issue every two months. Normally, that sort of lateness can cost you readers. For the uninitiated, most comics come out once a month. That's the average, as a good penciler usually can crank out about a page a day. If a book takes longer than that, readers get frustrated. It's hard enough to remember what you read when the book last came out, but if you double the time between issues, some people get annoyed and drop the book.
Astonishing, though, has not really suffered from that. each issue has been, get ready for it... astonishing. Whedon has managed to keep the readers' interest by keeping the stories fresh and introducing new elements that we haven't really seen before. That seems like such an easy concept on paper, but there's so many comics out there that seem to just rehash stuff.
Plus, I'll buy anything that has John Cassaday's interiors. This guy's storytelling abilities are so awesome that I want to date his art. That's right, I want to take pages out of my comic books, bring them to dinner and a movie, and make passionate love to them. And those are just the pages with scenery.
Now that you're fully disturbed, let me talk about the book a little bit. This one's got guest appearances galore. Naturally, it's an end-of-the-world situation; how could you justify charging $2 more for the book if it wasn't? So they bring in a bunch of the big guns, Mr. Fantastic, Dr. Strange, Iron Man, who inevitably prove impotent to stop the situation since it's not their book.
All of which leads to perhaps the MOST heroic and just jaw-dropping act of self-sacrifice that I have ever witnessed. I won't spoil it for you, but I will say that it involves a major act of deep penetration.
Superheroes deserve to have some deep penetration every once in a while. For as many times as they save the world, it's only fitting.
There's also some uncomfortable situations with Beast in this book. I mean the dude's a big furry blue cat. I don't really need to see him having sexual tension with anyone. What I need to see is more of Emma Frost back in the days when Frank Quitely was drawing her. I need to Sue Storm have an outfit that matches her codename. I don't need to see a giant blue feline flirting.
What I do like seeing in this book is a lot of Colossus. That guy was one of my favorites growing up, and I was disappointed that he didn't get more screen time in the movies. To get you up to speed, the past few issues have been about him being the fulfillment of some prophecy to destroy some alien planet. The way that the whole thing plays out is pretty intense and involves Wolverine doing what he does best to someone's arm.
Overall, it was a fitting way for Whedon and Cassaday to close out their run on the book. I'm disappointed to see them go, but at least they're leaving before they end up ruining it.
Who should read this book:
People who love X-Men.
People who like big blockbuster epics.
People who are against the Superhuman Registration Act.