Monday, June 2, 2008

Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1

I just managed to read Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 last night, and I found myself a little perplexed by the book.

Obviously meant to cap off the 24-issue, 4 year run by Joss Whedon and John Cassady on Astonishing X-Men, it works to wrap up the stories he's been writing and as he gets ready to hand the reigns over to another creative team, make sure there isn't too much left dangling.

But four years is a long time, and Whedon makes some creative decisions that don't lend themselves to periodical issues. I could have done with a little exposition and flashback work, which is avoided in favour of some fan service by the writer as he tries to include as many heroes in the Marvel Universe as he can. Granted, he does write a decent Spidey, but for a book with a big #1 on the cover, it really should have taken a little time to remind the readers who the characters were, specifically in the residents of Breakworld, Ord included, and Agent Brand, as well as the newest X-Man, Armour. This will matter less, of course, when the book is republished in the trade, but the fact is I didn't buy the trade, I bought the issue, and I felt a little let down about it.

The best part of the book was the ending, and Kitty really should have gotten some more of the spotlight during the run in order to drive home the poignancy of her sacrifice. It does have a stronger impact when you look at how Astonishing begins, with Kitty's return to the mansion and her memories of growing up there, but that was four years ago for the readers, and should have been brought back into our minds.

John Cassady was his usual brilliant self, and I feel the really added to the book, trying hard to add emotional resonance to a single issue whose script was lacking, and did so, especially with the great moment of redemption for Ord. It's a shame he wasn't given the chance to recap his own work.

All in all, once collected, I'm sure this chapter will fit right in as a nice ending, but as a single issue, it was less than grand. As well, if you have a favorite heroine, and she's cute and spunky, you'd do well to keep Joss Whedon away from her.

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