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"Nothing is what it appears to be."
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April 28 2006

Astonishing X-Men #14 review. If you didn't manage to get a hold of this comic book this week, you really missed out. It was superb.

I'm going to go on record and say this issue was one of the best things Joss has ever written. Certainly, I think it's the darkest piece of work he's ever written. The way he gets inside Scott's head is superb. And Cassaday's art? Perfect.

I found this story very uncomfortable. Which immediately made me love it. I am genuinely worried for the future of the characters, which is all too rare in most comics these days.

It's also remarkable how Joss is able to retain the core of the Claremont/Cockrum/Byrne era X-Men, and meld in (and often digest to a less frenzied, more meaningful state) the concepts from Morrison's run (which almost everyone else seems to have abandoned).

Cassaday is in top form too. And the lack of expository dialog on many panels really show how well synched they are on the storytelling.

Mostly, it's intolerable that we have to wait 2 more months for the next issue :)

[ edited by ReneRitchie on 2006-04-28 21:02 ]
I'm loving this arc so far, I really am.

But the two month wait is freaking insane.

And yet oh-so worth it.
Yeah I really loved this weeks issue, lots of Joss dialogue makes me a happy boy, especially when it's his usual brand of darkness juxtaposed with humour. Definitely my favourite issue since the 1st arc.
I agree with every positive thing said. It's all too common for writers to 'reveal' new things from deep down in a classic character's head. Joss, however, manages to make me believe that it has always been true, and makes it credible that with all the psychics among the X-Men, no one before Emma discovered it.

Well it's going back to being out out every month from September from what I remember.
Since Joss clearly loves the same era of X-Men I do -- I quit reading it around #175 or so -- I am so loving this series you cannot believe it. The first issue, with Kitty walking around remembering, almost made me squee despite my manly manliness.
I received the trade paperback collecting issues 1-12 a few days ago. I am of course a big Joss fan but I don't have a massive interest in comics or X-Men, although I'd like to appreciate them more. I've only read the first couple of issues thus far but they were entertaining, although I do think it was a little disorienting at times and there were a couple of parts where I struggled to work out what was happening. In fact, could I ask a couple of questions here?
- Where are all the other X-Men?
- What exactly is Kitty Pryde's backstory? What are her powers and such?
- The part where the X-Men are sitting on small Hawaiian islands, what was that about? Is it that giant "X" room? I remember it vaguely from the first X-Men film.

Bear in mind that I'm going on my fairly hazy recollection of the first X-Men film and parts of the old cartoon series. I really need to get X-Men 1 and 2 on DVD in preparation for X3. But I am enjoying Astonishing X-Men so far, it's nice to see Joss work in different mediums with different stories and characters.
"- Where are all the other X-Men?"

Well, there are currently three teams of X-Men living at the Mansion, plus all of the students and some other school faculty.

But each team has its own comic, and their stories are mostly kept separate to keep each series individually readable. For story purposes, it's easiest to just imagine the other X-Men are away on missions when the Astonishing stories take place at the mansion.

"- What exactly is Kitty Pryde's backstory? What are her powers and such?"

Kitty joined the X-Men at just thirteen years of age, so she's really done a lot of her growing up in this family. She also had a big love story with the X-Man Colossus, which ended badly. Years later (after Colossus died) Kitty felt she needed to get away from the X-Men lifestyle and went to college in Chicago. And now she's back.

Her power is that she can 'phaze' through solid objects, become intangible. When she passes through electronic equipment, it shorts out.

"- The part where the X-Men are sitting on small Hawaiian islands, what was that about? Is it that giant "X" room? I remember it vaguely from the first X-Men film."

No, that's the Danger Room, which wasn't in the first two X-films, though it'll be in the third. Best not to use the movies too much for a reference for the comics--they're great, but very different.

The Danger Room was built to simulate, you guessed it, danger, to train the X-Men. Originally, it was pretty rudimentary, but Xavier got some alien technology from his sometime girlfriend Lilandra, sometime empress of the Shi'ar Star Empire, which is how come the Danger Room is now fully equipped with hard-light holograms. Think the holodecks from Star Trek.

(And incidentally, the 'giant X room' would be the movie interpretation of Cerebro (now upgraded to Cerebra) Xavier machine with which he can boost his telepathy and find mutants.)
I wish I knew how to read comics well, so I can find out for myself just how good Joss's work on AXM is. But, unfortunately, my brain just isn't wired that way.
Add my voice to the love of this issue in particular. Fantastic.
Reading comics is hardly difficult. If you're truly struggling, I highly recommend the book "Understanding Comics", by Scott McCloud. In fact I recommend that book even if you think you know comics inside out. There's always something you don't know, and this book has surprised me on many counts (and I've only read the first forty pages!).

By the way, might I add to the initial comment, you don't "miss out" on comics (unless of course they sell out on a retailer level, and I think AXM has been going long enough for retailers to be getting the numbers right by now) - it's not like a television show, they're generally on the shelf for a month or two. So if you didn't pick it up on Wednesday, don't let that put you off getting it tomorrow. :)
I adore Astonishing. I know about the X-Men, my parents were readers, but never really read them myself. I picked up Astonishing because it was Whedon and I adored Fray.

I hated the fact that they killed Colossus in regular continuancy. I remember my parents bitching about that little detail quite often. Well, I'd been reading Ultimate X-Men for a while when Astonishing came out.

And I was blown away by issue four.

The best part was that I didn't have to know every single thing about the previous X-Men comics to get it. Yet Joss managed to mention everything briefly without getting bogged down with little editors notes. True, the "Dangerous" arch left something to be desired, but there were shinning moments in that as well.

However, this issue with the ending . . . Yegods.

What exactly is Kitty Pryde's backstory? What are her powers and such?

I also wanted to add to this that Kitty can also walk in the air, thanks to her ability to phase. Also, when she's in her phased form, psychics have a hard time locating her, and I don't think they can really do anything to her mind when she's in that form. She's invulnerable to almost anything, but if I remember correctly, admantium does have some sort of effect on her when she's in her phased form.

She's one hell of a martial artist too. And a trained dancer, I think. I'd check an actual X-Men site for more info. :-D
I concur, fantastic issue, one of the best of Astonishing thus far. It's truly truly brilliant and the end...oh man, how am I supposed to wait until June?!
Thanks to both Telltale and Emma Frost for the information! I also noticed she said sarcastically to Logan "Are you going to fight with me next?" and he said something along the lines of "I couldn't compete with your ninja powers". I'm guessing that was a joke as her powers seem to be more defensive?
Actually, Razor, she does have ninja training. She was once brainwashed by Logan's own old sensei Ogun, who was an evil spirit. She broke free of the brainwashing, but kept the ninja training.

It's somewhat complicated, but suffice to say that she's learnt to be a great fighter.

(That's why Kitty's "I'm not a fighter." comment didn't sit well with me. But I chose to believe she was just referring to thar fact that she retired from the fighting teams for a while--that she wouldn't, instead of couldn't.)
I'm new to Astonishing X-Men and I wanted to ask if someone could tell me how many issues there are out and how many do they plan on having? I'm going to be purchasing them soon. Thank you.
Well, funnily enough there's 14 WheelsofJoy ;-). As far as I know the plan is to have 24 issues and then a giant sized annual to end the run but obviously that may change (especially given that it's the bestselling X title by a long way and often in the top 3 or 4 ongoing titles). If you want to catch up there are two trade paperbacks or one hardback of the first 12 issues.

Really good issue. Great character stuff on Cyclops, took someone i've had very little interest in over the years and made him instantly fascinating. And the Kitty 'moment' was excellent too.

Gotta second/umpteenth the anti-waiting stance. Bi-monthly blows ;).
I've pretty much loved every issue of AXM. I've never had much interest in Cyclops at all, but Joss has really gotten him down to an interesting place. All complex about leadership and everything. (I remember something in the first six issues where he was in his old costume with a tu-tu or something). And it's easy to tell Kitty is one of Joss' favorite, as all her lines are in complete Joss-speak.

Two of my favorite moments from this one (invisible as somewhat spoilery)

Well in response to Telltale


I now realize I'm an idiot for not realizing that the big reveal was

What. A. Dipstick. I. Am.

[ edited by UnpluggedCrazy on 2006-05-01 19:24 ]

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