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- Ben Grimm: "Didn't they come up with a cure for your kind?" - Wolverine: "You got a problem with mutants?" - Ben Grimm: "I meant Canadians."
Joss Whedon's staggeringly awesome X-Men run has ended, but that doesn't stop me from going back and re-reading his stuff a bunch of times. And with the ASTONISHING X-MEN OMNIBUS finally out and published, I can finally just keep all those individual issues bagged safe and sound in my plastic nuclear holocaust-proof Mylars.
I confess that I've stopped trying to keep up with Marvel's eighty-seven thousand different X-titles sometime back in the '90s, having gotten fed up with the sheer volume and super-convoluted continuity of the thing. I also had this sense, back in the '90s, that the prevailing storytelling for all those X-titles leaned more towards a "quantity over quality" attitude. But I bow down to Joss Whedon, and so had to pick up ASTONISHING X-MEN, fully anticipating greatness. Which is exactly what Joss proceeded to give us. A hell of a ride.
Whedon brings to ASTONISHING X-MEN all the tools that made BUFFY and FIREFLY and, hell, even DR. HORRIBLE'S SING-ALONG BLOG such a memorable experience: There's his ear for sharp, spot-on dialogue and his witty forays into pop culture references. There's his ability to write emotionally hard-hitting scenes and his deft juggling of character dynamics and seamless interweaving of plot elements. Joss Whedon is the nerd god of nerds, and his minions are legion or at least can fill up the San Diego Comic Con.
Who out there currently has a better handle on the X-Men? I'd never been that partial to Scott Summers before Whedon got his mitts on him, and now... well, I'm partial. Nowadays I actually look at Cyclops and don't instantly associate him with Jean Grey.Read more ›
Joss Whedon's run on "Astonishing X-Men" was nothing short of brilliance - period. Whedon took the convoluted, tired, and continuously rehashed X-Men brand and well, re-branded -if not rejuvenating it from the brink of lifelessness- it. Given my generous ladling of praise onto Whedon thus far, it comes to no surprise that the selling point of "Astonishing" is the narrative. Whedon's storytelling is superb and deeply engaging. Story lines move with spot-on pacing and the rich, witty, humorous, and at times ridiculous (in a good way) dialogue allow for a smooth flow with few hindrances to upset the journey.
Characters also enjoy the fruits of Whedon's stellar pen. Whedon sticks to a pared down cast akin to that used by Grant Morrison during his legendary run on "New X-Men." This downsized cast allows ample room for character development and Whedon reaps a bounty in the creative expanse. Relationships are explored, conflicts (internal and external) are flushed out of the cloisters, and emotional baggage is laid out. Two personal favorites stick out for me: 1) is the developed relationship between Emma Frost and Scott Summers; and 2) the expulsion of Wolverine to the outskirts of the series. An aside, Emma Frost is probably the best thing to happen to the X-Men series bar-none. I suggest that her character (when placed in the right hands) is shouldering a significant weight of the X-Men series.
I could lavish countless more praise on Whedon's amazing work but I want to keep things short. Not since Grant Morrison's "New X-Men" has a X-Men series succeeded in fully engaging and drawing readers back into the wonder, startling reality, and simple joy that was X-Men.
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Collecting the entirety of Joss Whedon's inaugural run on Astonishing X-Men, the Astonishing X-Men Omnibus is, in a word, astonishing...both through the quality of its content and through the glossy production values of the volume. The story features the re-formation of the team from Grant Morrison's run on New X-Men (Cyclops, Emma Frost, Beast, and Wolverine) with the addition of classic X-favorites Kitty Pryde and Colossus; in general, Whedon's issues seem quite indebted to, and respectful of, Morrison's run on the X-books (which, like it or hate it, certainly changed a lot of things forever).
Kitty Pryde arrives at Xavier's School for the Gifted as a neophyte teacher, joining her former classmates (and former enemy, in the case of Emma Frost; the friction between the two is delightful, and delightfully written). But when a cure for the mutant gene is discovered - at the same time that a violent, aggressive alien starts terrorizing people - matters rapidly become a little less academic. A new wrinkle appears when a counterpart to S.H.I.E.L.D., the extraterrestrially-oriented military organization S.W.O.R.D., becomes involved, and Abigail Brand (head of S.W.O.R.D.) rapidly finds herself becoming more involved with the X-Men than perhaps originally planned. The introduction of a sentient computer, the possibility of a treacherous Emma Frost, and a prophecy that recently-revived X-Man Colossus will destroy an alien world complicate things further, and the story quickly moves from Earth to the distant Breakworld, where a final showdown threatens the Earth itself. Perhaps not even the X-Men can all make it out of this one alive...Read more ›
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Joseph Hill "Joss" Whedon (born June 23, 1964), is an American screenwriter, executive producer, director, occasional composer and actor, and founder of Mutant Enemy Productions. He is best known as the creator and showrunner of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), Angel (1999-2004), and Firefly (2002), which have also seen popular comic book adaptations, published by Dark Horse Comics and IDW.