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May 26 2004

A Not-As-Glowing Review of Astonishing X-Men #1. A review from someone who's not nearly a Joss fan.

A more positive review, at the same site, is located here:

The issue had some issues but I think it is a lot stronger than Don is giving it credit for. After I said in my review, the issue is a great start but I was just used to Grant Morrison's epic style of storytelling that it came off as a little quaint to me. Not bad, just different and that takes a little getting used. Also, I'm just not totally sold on Cassady's superhero work. Still, if you have not read X-Men in years or you are new to the franchise, this reads like something fresh & new...not to mention funny. If I had to rate it, I'd go 8/10.
It was obvious this guy had a biased opinion. First off he admitted that Buffy and Angel did nothing for him. So I would have to imagine he did nothing more then watch one episode or so and gave up.

One thing I learned early on is that Joss Whedon has a certain writing style that is very indirect. Once you learned to catch on to his dialogue techniques you start to pick up on the quick references and the brand of humor in his writing.

Obviously, he didn't watch enough of JW work to get that far and that is probably why it did nothing for him. I have not read the comic but at least 3 of my friends have and they loved it. All basically said the same thing, it had been a long time since the dialogue in an XMEN comic has been that good. Since they are comic freaks I will take their word for it.
All basically said the same thing, it had been a long time since the dialogue in an XMEN comic has been that good.

My best friend, who is not a Joss fan but is a comics fan said the same thing: "Wow, what an original idea! Have a comic that's written by a good writer!"

On the strength of this first issue, he actually expressed interest in watching Buffy and Angel. Hooked another one! ;-)
I understand many of this guy's points, but not all of them. He does need to give Joss more credit. He does partially judge it based on redundancies in recent X-titles, but at least he is gracious enough to point out that he realizes that he shouldn't be doing that (cuz it's not like Joss reads all of them).

I actually found Kitty Pryde boring, but I suspect she'll grow on me.

And as much as I hate spandexed superheros, Joss was able to have that make sense here, not unintenionally laughable.

And I don't think any of us get this: "Watching the Buffy TV show was the equivalent of listening to fingernails scratching their way across a blackboard. Don't ask me why."

So, yeah, he does need to bump up his rating at least one point. I'd give it about a 7.5/10.
"It was obvious this guy had a biased opinion."

That's why it's an opinion?
I think the point is that he admitted at the beginning he doesn't care a bit for any of Joss' work. I do feel that if someone had given him the issue without telling him who wrote it, the review might have been slightly different.

Funny as well is that he complains he's seen it all before. Well, people have been praising Grant Morrisson's run all over the place (and I assume they will be the same people that won't like Joss. Could be wrong, just a feeling) but pretty much all of Morrisson's plots were ancient too. Something he readily admitted. X-Men has been around for 40 years, themes are bound to be repeated if you keep certain basic elements. And they always do. It's wether or not a writer can give a new spin and /or feel to things. Morrisson often did this and I'm sure Joss will too. (haven't read the issue yet)

But when someone says they loathed Buffy, Angel and Firefly (Nails across a chalkboard? Ookay) then frankly I know their opinion will matter little to me since it's simply too far removed from my own tastes. He would tell me Buffy sucks. And I loved Buffy so....from my personal point of view, I can't really care what he says. If he'd been someone who didn't know squat about Joss, or was a fan, but not a gushing fan, then I'd put more stock in it.
As a fanboy FYI-- although I'm sure many of you know-- X-men's Kitty Pryde (Katherine Anne Pryde) is Whedon's model for Buffy; and his teenage comicbook crush. Joss has also admitted that the Uncanny X-Men (circa 1980s) were the biggest influence on his work, so it's clear that his take on them is going to be drawn from the Claremont-Cockrum/Byrne/Paul Smith-era. Issue 168, in particular, with its striking Smith cover of Kitty Pryde (story: "Professor Xavier is a jerk!") is definitely one of the big favorites of old-school X-fans like Whedon.
A bad review from this guy is actually a very good thing from my point of view since he's been dissing my favorite X-books for years, I wouldn't have liked him to like Astonishing, it would have bothered me a lot!

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