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September 22 2006

(SPOILER) Astonishing X-Men #17 review - "so good it will make your face explode". Yes it really was that good. The issue had thrills, spills and plenty of "Bloody hell. Did that really happen?" moments.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say this was John best drawn X-issue to date. And the story? Too many highlights to choose from. Superb stuff.

Sweet. I love this comic more than any comic I've read previously. I just wish anywhere in town got it earlier- it's usually stocked about two weeks after it's released. Meh.
Can't wait to read it.

.
The explanation of the backstory here was really helpful to me. Now maybe I don't have to go back to that Essential X-Men compilation book that I found confusing.
That's actually true. Comic open, face everywhere ;).

Highlights for me include the (obvious pick) Wolverine/beer scene just the fantastic way all the pieces are being so expertly moved around ready for the finale and of course the big reveal (arguably something you could only do in comics because in a film you'd recognise the voice before you saw the image).

And I agree that this is probably the best art i've seen Cassaday do in AXM (and that's saying something).

Brilliant. Effulgent even ;).
Numfar,

Truly an effulgent issue. S.W.O.R.D.'s inside man completely caught me by surprise, after I called all the big revelations last issue, so that was cool. Now I just want to know what Blindfold was up to there with Colossus.
You know, I'm actually going to have to start reading these. The sentence "so good it will make your head explode" lends me to think I could actually enjoy these

I've gotta say, I was always a bit of a comic snob. I dont know if its a British thing, but anyone reading comics, even as a kid, was )and still is) labelled a geek. Regardless any comic I did read as a child turned out to be rubbish with lots of "pows! splats! and Booms!". I would have rather have read an actual book (yes I was a little precocious; I read The Lord Of The Rings at 7) and so did. I guess the idea that comics were like that fastened into my mind and so when anyone (online or in front of me) said Comics were good, I couldnt understand how anyone could like the Bam! Schlock! ness of it all.

"Fray" however changed that a lot for me. I took a chance on buying it, and I found out just how much I loved the way the story was told and the beautiful and brilliant visuals. I bought Tales of The Slayer and Vampires (which I love) and the Firefly one (which was kinda mediocre). The idea of getting into this story (one which has years and years and thousands of different of issues, well established characters etc.) is a bit daunting. Perhaps if I have a little bit of money in the next year, I'll check the first couple of issues out. If I dont like them, I wont carry on. If I do, well then I'll start buying buying buying!!!!
Give it a try Apocalypse. You can get 'Gifted' (the first story arc of AXM collecting issues 1-6) for under seven quid from Amazon UK and probably not much more in your local comic or book shop. If you dig through some of the threads on here you'll find quick guides to the characters but I reckon if you've seen the X-men films (or even just the first one) you should be able to follow it no probs.

You'll miss some of the in-jokes and references of course but the story is still great (I don't get most of the homages and so on because i'm not an X-men reader but i'm still really enjoying the comics) since Astonishing is deliberately designed to be relatively continuity free.
I definitely wouldn't call AXM continuity-free--the current storyline especially is full of continuity. Joss is just a good enough writer that the continuity just adds more layers to the story, rather than make it confusing.
Joss is really writing some great stuff with this arc, especially the few issues. I'd have to put Atonishing as my favourite comic being published at the moment.
I definitely wouldn't call AXM continuity-free--the current storyline especially is full of continuity. Joss is just a good enough writer that the continuity just adds more layers to the story, rather than make it confusing.


I definitely agree with you there as AXM was the first X-Men comic I ever read and I still found it easy to follow.

[ edited by derf on 2006-09-22 15:07 ]
That's interesting Telltale because, as I say, i'm not a regular X-Men reader (the last time I read non-AXM X-men was the early 90s and even then I didn't read them regularly) but I don't feel like i'm missing anything (though i'm sure it's not as full an experience for me as it is for long-time fans).

Is there anything specific I could benefit by knowing/reading ?
I think the most important stuff to read to "get" all of AXM would be Morrison's New X-men. A hardcover omnibus is being released in a couple months. It's fantastic, and Joss has said that it was what got him back into X-men.
Well, there's a lot of little touches. The visual homages have been discussed here before--classic images that John has copied/adapted into his art, like all Kitty's memories when she returned to the mansion in #1. There's the baby in this issue--I didn't even realize until I read it in the above link that he was named after Colossus's late brother. The current group of villains are all very important to Emma's past--I don't think it's been mentioned in AXM, but Negasonic Teenage Warhead was a student of Emma's who died. Emma has a history of her students dying on her, and cold as she may seem, that has always hit her very hard.

But I don't think it's really that you miss anything if you haven't read the old stories--as said, everything necessary is explained--but if you do know the history, everything just makes an extra bit of sense, it gains more resonance.

If you're looking for background reading, I'd suggest the New X-Men: E Is for Exctinction trade, which contains Emma joining the team proper, the first appearance of Cassandra Nova, and the massacre of the Genoshan mutants.

Edit:
ashvsdeadite is of course correct. The Omnibus--if you're willing to make the investment--the best way to read the Morrison run. It costs $99.99 and it will crush your lap if you put it there while reading it, but--judging by the existing Omniboo--it will be a very high quality edition of the complete run, at great value for the number of pages.

(And when you've finished that one, go for the Uncanny X-Men vol.1 Omnibus for the issues that made Joss an X-fan the first time around. First appearances galore, including Kitty and Emma.)

[ edited by Telltale on 2006-09-22 18:42 ]
I think the most important stuff to read to "get" all of AXM would be Morrison's New X-men.


Except the last plot arc which was just dreadful. I've been a fan of Grant Morrison since he wrote Zenith in the lat 80s but his last X-story was just plain woeful.
The last one was just plain weird, but the one before that tossed out twenty-five years of character development for Magneto. ( = why I don't mind the way Mag's appearance there has been retconned away so quickly.)

E for Extinction and Riot at Xavier's were easily my favorite Morrison arc, and after Riot he went downhill, but all in all it remains a definitive run with some fantastic stories.
Except the last plot arc which was just dreadful. I've been a fan of Grant Morrison since he wrote Zenith in the lat 80s but his last X-story was just plain woeful.


It was that future thing right? I concur, that was quite awful and weird.

Telltale, thanks to remind me of that talkie thingie.
.
Cheers guys, I think i'll look up the trades Telltale mentions. £70 seems a bit steep for an omnibus i'm not sure i'll like (and that my lap certainly won't ;).
Despite being an Ellis-ian now, I'm not the biggest fan of his run on Excalibur--he just seemed uncomfortable working in that established universe, and it was the age of "let's be hip and edgy." I always enjoyed, though.

That and the Soulsword Trilogy, but then I tend to get a bit obsessive about anything having to do with Illyana. ;-)
This is the third issue in a row where the story has challenged my preconceptions. The first time I read it, I found it disturbing and , while outstandingly written, I wasn't sure I liked all of the choices or the direction.

By the second and third time I'd re-read it, I realized I'd been right--I loved them.

While the first arc, "Gifted" gave me what I wanted, this arc is giving me things I never even considered.

Well out of my stagnated comfort level, I'm solidly entertained and can't wait for #18.


[ edited by FaithFan on 2006-09-22 19:21 ]
Well I think I may seriously consider buying "Gifted". If I dont like it, at least I can say I've tried it. And I thought exactly the same about Fray, which proved to be well worth the investment.
Okay, let me ask: I know the X-Men reasonably well (reasonably meaning, more than your average person, but substantially less than your average X-freak)

I have the Dark Phoenix Saga, I know the backstories, I love the cartoon show from the 90s, and I have several comics from my younger years. However, aside from seeing the movies, I left X-Men behind a while ago.

I know it's written by Joss, so it's quality, but what is it about the story itself that makes it worth getting? I think the reason I haven't picked up Astonishing is because, even though it's Joss, it's still just the X-Men.
What is it about the story itself? The same thing that grabs you in other Joss stories - believable characters, great dialogue, an astounding mix of funny and action and crying and happy.
I have to congratulate Joss on the reveal of the mole's identity; that was the one cast member I hadn't even considered, and yet it made the most sense. I'm just wondering how far back this gig extends for that character... since the start of this storyline? The start of the series? The character's earliest encounters with the X-Men?

Also, I presume

[ edited by daylight on 2006-09-22 20:24 ]

While the first arc, "Gifted" gave me what I wanted, this arc is giving me things I never even considered.


This is my favourite arc so far. It's so darn intricate, so very Whedon. Some of his best writing period.
I got my copy today and just read it now. Once again top notch stuff. Lots of surprises and once again leaving me desperate for the next issue. So glad it's back to monthly.
Faithfan,

Thinking about this arc in its entirety, it feels like Joss has put his fanboy awe--so to speak; he's mentioned this himself--behind him and now feels comfortable really shaking things up. Yay him, I say.
Telltale,
In terms of Joss TV missage, I note that we are currently getting one Joss-script per month, which is more than we got when he had three shows on the air. And how cool was it that he put Kitty through this whole heartbreaking, from the highest high to the lowest low, arc in the first half-dozen pages of the latest issue alone.

And now, in issue #18, a lower place . . .

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