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on March 26, 2012
I got this book because I really wanted to read some stories that featured Beast. I asked my comic book store what they had, and they said there wasn't really anything currently on the shelves with Beast, but that I should take a look at what Joss Whedon and John Cassaday did in "Astonishing X-Men" and sold me a copy.

I love the serial nature of comic book reading, where issues often end in cliffhangers and you have to wait a month for the story continuation. But when the writing and art are as superb as contained in this run of "Astonishing X-Men," the waiting would become agonizing. That's why I love having twelve issues collected in one volume, comprising two main story arcs.

The main story thrust revolves around the creation of a "cure" for mutants. Understandably, this kicks off a huge ethical debate. If this is a "cure," are mutants "diseased"? Will the cure be optional or mandated? The conflict is framed universally, but explored on individual levels. Since I was specifically looking for a Beast story, this did not disappoint, as Hank struggled with whether or not he would take the cure if it proved to be viable. The X-Men titles, more so than other books, always seem to touch on weighty ethical issues as well as story lines revolving around acceptance and being different. As such, it's always a title that resonates with teens, going through the awkward stage of life. This collection of "Astonishing X-Men" delivers on that front as well.

The secondary story revolves around a new danger the X-Men are facing. Without delving into spoiler territory, I can mention that it flows directly from the "cure" story line and revolves around a situation that starts in the Danger Room. I enjoyed the "cure" story line more, but liked how the "danger" story line starts to set things up for further conflict. After getting to the end, I was anxious to read the next issue, so I will be hitting my comic book store up for Book 2 when I run by to pick up Wednesday's haul.

Oh, yeah, this collection also sees the reappearance of an X-Man believed to be dead. I didn't really see it coming, and loved how it played out.

A wonderful touch in this collection are the "extras" in the end of the book. The character design sketches that are common in these kinds of collections are here, and are nice to look at. What I particularly enjoyed were the pieces with creators Joss Whedon and John Cassady. For Joss, they included a series of email correspondence between Joss and the Marvel editorial team, giving a wink and a nod to some interesting insight into the creative process. For Cassady, they included an interview, where I was extra-thrilled to see they spent some time discussing the character design for Beast.
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on March 26, 2013
I wrote the main review on volume 2, but suffice to say that this is an amazing series and must-read (I don't give that to all X-men stories. I'd rate this up there with Grant Morrison and House of M, right behind Days of Future past and God Loves Man Kills).

Get both volumes, this is #1.
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on June 25, 2014
Incredible Stories abound in this volume = from Joss Whedon a true 'mutant' super-hero in terms of Creative Powers (e.g. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the underrated Sci-Fi masterpiece 'Firefly' for TV, and of course 'Avengers' and upcoming Avengers II: Age of Ultron, and underrated SciFi masterpiece 'Serenity')!

But one of the most impressive creative feats (besides the fantastically awesome/ spot-on 'Avengers' of course) = was how Whedon was able to absolutely Maximize (both broadening & deepening) the 'mythos' of X-Men with this series: 'Astonishing X-Men' (revitalized circa 2004)!

It's obvious from the early stories collected here, that Whedon has a profoundly deep (dare I say Uncanny) connection to these mutant Heroes (more appropriately anti-heroes) => but that he also wanted to breathe new Life into this gifted bunch (and more deeply explore their true natures and intricate connections to each other - and even rekindle & reignite old relationships = like the (for the most part up till this point not fully requited) Kitty Pryde and Colossus situation - but better not get into this, for those who haven't read it yet!

I must admit that I had been away from X-men (as a reader) for many years by this point. But I think that Joss Whedon's greatest gift to more seasoned fans, was to accomplish the truly astonishing feat of making these 'X-Men' stories and characters just as (or perhaps even more) intriguing, exciting and most importantly thought-provoking as when they first began 3 decades earlier (talking about the 'new' version born in 1975 of course!) I even think the newest film: Days of Future Past owes more than a bit of its inspiration* to these astonishing pages, and its mega-mutant writer! (in addition to the original Chris Claremont/ John Byrne work, of course!)

note* it has also been widely acknowledged that movie X-Men: Last Stand shares key story elements with the first-part of 'Astonishing X-Men'
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on December 5, 2014
This is simply one of the best collections of comic books I have ever read. While I didn't buy the Ultimate collection, I have the softcover editions that comprise this story. Mr. Whedon's writing is original and witty. Mr. Cassaday's artwork is inventive and realistic. I highly recommend it.
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on March 27, 2014
I knew I would love this because it is X-Men and Joss Whedon and Kitty plays a major role. The art was great, the story was good, and the characters were all complex. My one complaint was that the subject of the cure seemed to be dropped halfway through, which was a bit confusing. I definitely can't wait to pick up volume 2 though to see where things go from the cliffhanger ending!
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on July 14, 2015
As far as X-men go, this series is awesome! This is an on-going series but Whedon's/Cassaday's run has a complete story arch in two volumes (ultimate collections volume 1-2). I can't speak for the rest of the series, but this story arch certainly had me blown away at some points. Read this. It's freaking amazing. That's all I have to say about that.
PS
If you're new to X-men, I highly (highly) recommend reading Grant Morrison's New X-men series FIRST and if you're feeling especially adventurous, read X-Men: Dream's End before New X-men. The writing in Dream's End isn't as good as New/Astonishing X-men but this collection has important story points that will help you understand certain moments in Astonishing X-men a bit better. Mind you, you won't be completely lost if you skip over Dream's End, so it's your call. Of course, if you wanted to have a complete and total understanding of the X-men saga, you could go even further back. There's 50 years of X-men backstory that'll enlighten you to every aspect of the X-men mythos. The question is: How far do you want to go down the rabbit hole? Ain't nobody got time for all that!
You won't be completely lost if you dive in head first into Astonishing X-men, HOWEVER, I insist that you (at least) read New X-men before tackling Astonishing X-men. You will not be disappointed, and it'll make Astonishing X-men that much more enjoyable.
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on January 26, 2014
As a thirty-something, I wanted a book to jump back into comics and this was a good place to start...however I think it does require some basic knowledge of the most popular core X-men characters (Wolverine, Kitty, Cyclops, Emma, Hank) and the "Danger Room" to follow.

Only caveat I would have is that unless you want to keep the book, you might consider Marvel Unlimited subscription....
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on June 30, 2014
This was my first introduction to X-Men comics. This collection is very easy to jump into if you have any amount of knowledge of the typical X-men lineup. The story is very well written, the art is awesome, and I look forward to reading the rest of the Astonishing X-Men series.
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on October 19, 2015
This is a really good X-Men comic! I have seen issues like this before where there are people trying to "Cure" the mutants and it causes a big rift in the mutant community. They did it in the original 90's X-Men cartoon, in the X-Men live action movies, and a few times in the comics as well. This comic also shows the return of a main character and also ends with a bit of a twist involving another main character. I could go into detail but I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it yet.

All in all it's a good comic and any X-Men fan will enjoy reading it. Check it out!
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on September 19, 2015
Collecting issues 1-12 of writer Joss Whedon and artist John Cassaday's classic run of X-Men. Both writer and artist create space and room for the reader to breathe in and take time to enjoy this ensemble cast of mostly classic X-characters including Cyclops, the Beast, Woverine, Kitty (and her pet dragon Lockheed), and (yes!!!) Colossus. (It's also nice that there's not a heavy focus on Wolverine.) The only character not classic in the sense that they hadn't been a long-standing X-person is Emma Frost (ex-the White Queen) but she's along for the ride as Cyclops' lover/ confidant/ co-leader/ covert op? We'll see.

At any rate Whedon purposefully channels the 1980s X-Men runs here with having Cyclops re-establishing the team to act as a team of heroes once again. They all don't get along and the world still hates and fears them so some things don't change but it's refreshing to see the mutants have a few breaks in between their life and death adventures. In this run there are two main threats: a cure to the mutant gene goes public with alien science backing this and the Danger Room develops sentience and turns into Danger whose mission is to kill the X-Men. Professor X returns at the end of the run to face off against Danger, someone he's responsible for creating and hurting. The action is fast paced when it gets moving but the plot development takes time to simmer. It's a nice balance and works well. And Cassaday's clean line and art doesn't clutter the background up too often. It draws our eyes to our beloved heroes and their emotions with just enough background to ground the story in space.

Well done.
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