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Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 1: Gifted Paperback – May 10, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The X-men franchise has remained popular for nearly 30 years by constantly refreshing its story line yet keeping its core group of characters in a variety of unresolved long-running situations. This current incarnation features Whedon (creator of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise) and Cassaday (Planetary) at the top of their game, as they create a highly entertaining action soap opera. The plot involves elements that will be familiar to both old fans and movie viewers—antimutant sentiment; tension between team leader Cyclops and lone wolf Wolverine—but Whedon's dialogue is fresh and to the point, while Cassaday's detailed and intense art gives all the goings-on a sense of importance. The main story involves a possible cure for the mutant gene that is at the center of a struggle between the X-men and Ord, a murderous alien who has a mysterious personal grudge against the team. Complications include the cat-monkey–like Beast pondering whether to attempt to take the cure, possibly vindicating the antimutant forces' belief that mutations are a disease. For those who may not be up to speed on the minutiae of X-history, Whedon brings in returning member Kitty Pryde as a convenient viewpoint character. While a few nods to formula feel forced, this story demonstrates once again why the X-men are the top team in superhero comics. (Jan.)
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* Marvel Comics scored a coup by signing Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Whedon to write one of its popular X-Men comics. This collection of the first six issues of Astonishing X-Men shows Marvel's maneuver paying off artistically as well as commercially. The strengths that made Buffy a long-running cult hit are also in play here: a group of good-looking young outcasts who use their special abilities to protect mankind; vivid characterizations conveyed through deft dialogue that veers from the inspirational to the smartass; and a perfect balancing of action, soap opera, and humor. In fact, the cast of Buffy can be viewed as analogues of individual X-Men, from Giles = Professor X through Dawn = Kitty Pryde. Few scripters from outside the industry have demonstrated the mastery of the medium that Whedon displays in this early effort, which Cassaday enhances with graceful yet dynamic artwork. In the wake of writer Grant Morrison's noble effort to desuperheroify the X-Men by replacing their garish costumes with black leather outfits, Whedon's decision to revert to their four-color roots may raise some eyebrows. But given Whedon's impressive results, it's hard to find fault with how effectively he has carried out his retro approach. Gordon Flagg
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Product Details

  • Series: Astonishing X-Men (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel; First Edition edition (May 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785115315
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785115311
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By James B. Lynch on June 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
Growing up, I was the biggest X-Men fan. In the early nineties, I collected X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, Excaliber, and occassional issues of X-Force, X-Factor, Generation X, Wolverine, and the various other character specific series and minis. But above all, my favorite title was "X-Men Classic" ("Classic X-Men" in its early days). That title reprinted issues that started a few years before I was born, starting with Giant-Sized X-Men #1, and followed through the Claremont Byrne years. Those were just the best. There was a small, well defined team having great adventures and plenty of character interaction/drama. The newer issues were great, but there were too many conflicting titles, too many X-Men running around, and too many creative team switches. The stories couldn't maintain any direction because whichever writer happened to be plotting a given issue would have their own ideas of where the books should go, and would likely be off the title in under 4 months. Add to thise conflicts with the editor, and you get one sloppy read. So, eventually, I lost interest. Then Grant Morrison and company began their run, and I was appauled. I realize many liked his take on the team, but to me, they weren't the X-Men. That was the whole point, really. To come up with something that was completely new and different, in Morrison's "love it or hate it" style. It was that, but to this old time reader, it wasn't the X-Men. Through the black leather, secondary mutations, and lord only knows what else, I vowed never to pick up another X-book.

Then Marvel did the smartest thing they ever could have. They hired Joss Whedon to write his own X-Men book.
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57 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Astonishing X-Men: Gifted" brings together the first half of the twelve issue mini-series scripted by Joss Whedon, creator of "Buffy the Vampire," "Angel," and "Firefly." I have been reading this series because Whedon wrote it and except for the "Ultimate X-Men" this is my first time reading one of the titles about Marvel's Merry Mutants in many years (when we got to the "New Mutants" the whole proliferation became too much for me). So when Kitty Pryde returns to Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters and walks through a wall to find Emma Frost addressing the student body, I knew that I was going to have a bit of trouble catching up with what had happened to that old gang of mutants. However, Whedon's storyline is grounded what has been the backbone of the "X-Men" storyline since the beginning: that humans will always hate mutants. Professor Xavier's approach has been to exercise control and non-violence to prove that mutants are a peaceful people.

But the interpersonal problems of the X-Men (Scott and Logan are still coming to blows over Jean) quickly take a back seat when the renowned geneticist Dr. Kavita Rao tells the world that mutants are neither angels nor devils, they just people...with a disease. Therefore, mutants are not the next step in evolution or the end of humankind, they are simply the victims of a corruption of healthy cellular activity and Dr. Rao announces that she has found a cure.

What made the X-Men the most interesting of Marvel's super groups for me, more than the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, or any of the other groups created over the years, was that they were considered outcasts because they were mutants. As such, the X-Men were the counter-part to Spider-Man, as superheroes who were more commonly treated as villains by the public at large.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By N. Durham HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
The highlight of Marvel's X-Men: Reload event is the launch of Astonishing X-Men, drawn by superstar artist John Cassaday (Planetary, Captain America) and written by famed Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel creator Joss Whedon. This first storyarc finds Xavier School co-headmasters Scott "Cyclops" Summers and Emma Frost re-opening the school and reformating the team. Ditching the practical black leather outfits featured in Grant Morrison's brilliant New X-Men run and replacing them with new variations of their classic costumes, the X-Men are presenting themselves once again as a super hero team, and thanks to Whedon's vast writing talent, Astonishing X-Men is truly something special. Cyclops, Emma, Wolverine, Shadowcat, and Beast find themselves among chaos when it is announced that a cure for the mutant gene has been found. However, it is somehow connected to a mysterious creature named Ord, who himself has plenty of secrets, including one of the biggest jaw droppers to be seen in comics in the past decade. The return of a dead X-Men member stirred much fanfare when it was first seen in these pages (and if you don't know I'm not going to spoil it), and it is one of the absolute greatest moments in X-Men history. Whedon's odes and nods to the classic X-Men stories he grew up with that inspired him to create Buffy are pleasent joys to behold, and Cassaday's art is just plain awe-inspiring. All in all, please ignore John Q's review below, and if you've ever considered yourself an X-Men fan pick this up, you won't regret it.
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