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Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Box Hardcover – September 2, 2009

3.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel; First Edition edition (September 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785133909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785133902
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #330,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Warren Ellis is the award-winning writer of graphic novels like TRANSMETROPOLITAN, FELL, MINISTRY OF SPACE and PLANETARY, and the author of the NYT-bestselling GUN MACHINE (being adapted for TV by Microsoft Xbox) and the "underground classic" novel CROOKED LITTLE VEIN. The movie RED is based on his graphic novel of the same name, its sequel having been released in summer 2013. His GRAVEL books are in development for film at Legendary Pictures. IRON MAN 3 is based on his Marvel Comics graphic novel IRON MAN: EXTREMIS. He's also written extensively for VICE, WIRED UK and Reuters on technological and cultural matters. Warren Ellis is currently working on a non-fiction book about the future of the city for Farrar Giroux Straus.

His newest publication is the digital short-story single DEAD PIG COLLECTOR, from FSG Originals. His next book will be the novella NORMAL, also from FSG.

A documentary about his work, CAPTURED GHOSTS, was released in 2012.

Recognitions include the NUIG Literary and Debating Society's President's Medal for service to freedom of speech, the EAGLE AWARDS Roll Of Honour for lifetime achievement in the field of comics & graphic novels, the Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire 2010, the Sidewise Award for Alternate History and the International Horror Guild Award for illustrated narrative.

Warren Ellis lives outside London, on the south-east coast of England, in case he needs to make a quick getaway.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm not sure if it's because Joss Whedon and John Cassaday's run was so damn good or if it's that Warren Ellis was having an off day, but this Ghost Box arc leaves me with a reaction of "meh." I guess if you're the oncoming crew you may feel the need to switch things up, try to make the venue your own. Ergo, the X-Men's relocating to San Francisco. Ergo, the new costumes (again).

But some things stay the same. Disappointingly, there are still those shipping delays. Creatively, the character dynamics remain mostly intact. Colossus and Shadowcat are gone, but everyone else is here. Scott and Emma Frost are still together, and we learn that Ms. Frost isn't really a morning person. The Beast and S.W.O.R.D. Special Agent Abigail Brand are also an item, and Brand figures in this story arc a little bit. Logan is Logan and, honestly, it's a bit hard to introduce sweeping changes in Wolverine when the guy is in every friggin' comic book! Hisako, the newest teenaged X-Man, is still learning the ropes and also hating on her codename "Armor." Early in issue #25 Storm asks to join the team, citing occasional hohumness in her marriage and craving some away time from being Queen of Wakanda.

The X-Men have set up shop in the Marin Headlands, and their headquarters looks dang impressive, and yet I miss the stately Xavier mansion. Surprisingly, the San Francisco police force considers the X-Men a viable asset to crime solving and doesn't hesitate to call them in on weird cases (which makes the X-Men the Marvel version of Sara Pezzini). One such summons has the team confounded by a floating burning corpse, and the question surfaces as to whether this body is that of a mutant or something else.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Joss Whedon and John Cassaday left some pretty big shoes to fill when they departed the Astonishing X-Men title, a title they started. It would take a pretty big talent to pick up the torch, but by tapping Warren Ellis (Authority, Planetary) and illustrator Simone Bianchi (Wolverine: Evolution) Marvel put the flagship title in good hands.

The initial Ellis/Bianchi run is called Ghost Box, and finds our favorite mutants relocated to San Francisco, where a call from SFPD puts the X-Men on the trail of a murderous new type of mutated individual. The trail leads to a UFO junkyard in Indonesia, and a threat from an extra-dimensional world as well as a dangerously unbalanced former ally. This collection includes Astonishing X-Men #25-30 and Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Boxes #1-2. The latter series served as a "What If" style look at what might have happened if the Ghost Box story had played out differently, and the results are more than a little haunting.

I tend of expect the best from Warren Ellis, and I'm rarely disappointed. Even if I didn't end up caring much about these "New Mutants" or the extra-dimensional threat, I had a huge grin on my face reading Ellis's razor-sharp dialogue and seeing how he treated and developed these iconic characters. I loved Whedon's Astonishing X-Men arc, but Ellis comes closer to the "voice" of the classic Grant Morrison X-Men run.

The painted artwork from Simone Bianchi was another major treat. His use of framing and white space is almost as impressive as his fully rendered (and oh so real) characters and intricate scenery. These are some truly beautiful pages, though they could benefit at times from some more vibrant color. I suppose the "gray" feel adds to the darker story.
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Format: Hardcover
Absolutely excrutiating to read, an obviously unmotivated Ellis seemed to have phoned this one in. One of the worst attempts at "witty ensemble banter" I've ever seen, where the most mundane comments are milked for five mind-numbing panels at a stretch, void of humor and without moving the story or developing the characters in any way. As the characters are presented, they are entirely unlikeable, even loathsome. (Keep in mind I am a big Ellis fan, and an X-men fan)
As for the artist, Bianchi seems better suited for cover work than story-telling. Many of these ultra-realistic pictures and pop-art layouts pages would make beautiful posters, but do not carry the story along at all. The characters are rendered as emotionless fashion models or manikins. (actually come to think of it, maybe the art does fit the writing). More unforgiving are the kind of crude, muddy, almost amatuerish fill-in panels in between the fully rendered "posters".

Avoid this book! If you have a hankerin' for some great semi-recent X-men, go get the Joss Whedon and John Cassaday run, or the Grant Morrison run. For some fantastic Warren Ellis work, see his more "independent" stuff like Stormwatch/Authority, and Planetary, where he was really "feelin' it".
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Format: Hardcover
This is sorta a big change from the Whedon-Cassaday AXM, but that's alright in my book because it's Warren Ellis (never mind Bianchi, more on that later).

The storyline revolves around a dead mutant, and Science-head Beast quickly establishes the mutant isn't a "normal Marvel mutie". Joined by Storm (who married Black Panther in a silly move on Marvel's part circa Civil War), everyone's favorite mutants one-line one another and fight opponents to discover alternate realities are pretty much invading this one. The main villain behind the arc is another long term X-hero who becomes quasi-evil, sorta like that Bishop guy in Messiah CompleX, but it seems to be logical to me considering how Joe Q had Storm marry someone that didn't make a whole lotta sense, anyway. It's Ellis doing sciencey stuff, and while this isn't Planetary (but what is, really?), it's still entertaining. I didn't see any jokes dragging on for 4 or 5 panels like one reviewer mentioned, but there was lotsa Armor vs. Wolvie one-liners, but Joss sorta started that in his run anyway.

Bianchi's art is a drastic change from Cassaday. B does great cover art, great poster art, but his interiors always feel way too busy for me, stiff, and the humongous X plastered on each costume is highly distracting to me, not to mention when he bleeds white panels into silhouettes (making a character or clothing become all white with possible minor detailing), having foreground panels that cover background panels suddenly become pure white (most artists would draw the foreground limbs in, but this guy just whites out the foreground stuff for some reason, and it really bugged me when White Queen armors up and her clothing becomes crystal, because I don't recall this happening in any other title either.
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