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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.
I am going to miss Whedon and Cassaday's run with 'Astonishing X-Men.' During the 1980s and 90s X-men stories got so convoluted it was difficult to follow all the characters, much less explore the complex relationships between them. But Astonishing X-Men, from the very start, solved those problems by focusing on only a few team members: Cyclops, Emma Frost, Kitty Pryde, Colossus, and of course Wolverine. The interactions of these characters, particularly Frost and Pryde are at the heart of the new series, which also features Agent Brand of Sword and a new X-Man, Hisako, aka Armor.
This final story arc from Whedon cannot be read independently of the first three. 'Gifted,' 'Dangerous,' and especially 'Torn' are required pre-reads before tackling this volume. Without revealing any spoilers, the plot involves the X-Men on the Breakworld, the world Colossus, it is prophesied, will destroy. One plot twist follows another every couple of pages, but even careful readers will be surprised at the ending. Both the Breakworld and Earth are saved, but by who and how this review will not say. Suffice to add, Blindfold's vision, at the end of 'Torn' is fulfilled and one of the X-Men will not return. Saddened as I am by the loss, I hope Marvel will not allow another unbelievable "back from the beyond" scenario. Even the greatest (and most sympathetic) of heroes need to rest in peace.
'Astonishing X-Men,' perhaps more than any other series, has captured the essence of the original comic: heroes who, for all their power, are all too human. Marvel, of couse, has made considerable money with 'Astonishing X-Men' from readers like myself who have returned to comics long after I thought I was "over" that phase.Read more ›
"Unstoppable" completes Joss Whedon's memorable stint as Astonishing X-Men's author in suitably epic fashion. In "Gifted" and "Dangerous" we were introduced to a classic X-Men line-up consisting of Cyclops, Wolverine, Emma Frost, Kitty Pryde, Beast, and Colossus. They were out to improve public relations, run the school in Professor Xavier's absence, and maybe save some folk along the way. Then along came Ord, an alien sent to assassinate the prophesied destroyer of his home planet, Breakworld, who just happened to be a member of the X-Men. There was fighting. At this point the Danger Room became self-aware and decided it's new mission was to murder each and every X-man and woman who had enslaved it all these years so she built herself a mechanical body and havoc was wreaked. Then came the Torn arc, which focused on the former White Queen and her reasons for inviting Kitty onto the team in spite of their mutual dislike; all that taking place with an apparent attack by the Hellfire Club as the backdrop. A SHIELD operative, Agent Brand, wound up launching the team into space just as the united villain front of Ord and Danger burst in on the scene and that brings us up to speed. Next stop: Breakworld.
Now, waiting several months in between issues for this story became exhausting and my initial read-through found me tired of this arc. However, re-reading it as a solid narrative proved immensely satisfying.Read more ›
Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men finally comes to an explosive close with Unstoppable, as Cyclops, Wolverine, Emma Frost, Beast, Kitty Pryde, Colossus, the vengeful Ord, and the murderous Danger all find themselves on an intergalactic trip to the Breakworld: a land that Colossus is prophecised to destroy. Stunning revelations are abound, and everything comes together as the TPB races to a stunner conclusion that unites all of the X-Men with nearly every Marvel hero on the planet in an effort to save the world. Marred by shipping delays, these last issues of Whedon and John Cassaday's run on Astonishing X-Men features an ending that will come to no surprise to anyone who has been keeping up with the other X-books (someone doesn't make it back) but this matters little just based on the fact that Whedon's Astonishing X-Men, along with Grant Morrison's prolific run with New X-Men, are the absolute best X-Men stories in a decade plus. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Serenity creator provides more snappy and smart dialogue, and Planetary artist John Cassaday provides more spectacular artwork. All in all, X-Men stories rarely get any better than what you'll find here, and here's hoping that maybe one day Whedon and Cassaday will make a return to this title that both of them managed to revitalize.
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I both LOVE this book and at the same time, I really don't. Yes, I know, quite schizophrenic, but then again, so is the writing.
I will say some wonderful, wonderful things in this review, because this book deserves it, but before I say anything else, here this: Lower your expectations as regards to a decent ending. Lower them completely. And now enjoy.
The artist won 3 eisner awards for best artist in a row, so it figures that the artwork is absolutely stunning. But to read this book you HAVE to have read the others, so you already know what you're getting into as regards to art. The art is definitely not the problem here, as it never was.
The writing is also very solid for the most part. Cyclops has been around since the very beginning of the X-Men and yet, it is in this very book that he gets his best moment of the character's entire history. This is where you see how it is he who is commanding the x-men, and why he definitely has outdone his teacher. If anyone is a Cyclops fan, this is a must buy. And if anyone thinks that he is a worthless character, you will see that this is not so much the case now.
There are some great moments here. Cyclops' time to shine is my very favourite, but there are some great scenes from all the characters. And the humour is top notch. I adore the camaraderie between Wolverine and the new recruit Hisako (called Armour, actually the part where she discusses her code name is one of the best humorous parts).
But then there's the end. Sure, it's just one issue, but it's the very last one culminating one of the greatest runs of all time in comics. And it fails to impress. Firstly, not all threads are tied, we still have no clue what came of Cassandra Nova's consciousness, for example.Read more ›