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

3.3 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: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,470,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By H. Bala TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 29, 2009
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
this compiles astonishing xmen #25- #30, and "ghost boxes" #1 and #2.

i can agree with some of the criticisms of other reviewers here. ellis is not at his very best writing dialogue for the x men. it does seem forced as another reviewer wrote. ellis is british, but the xmen are not, and shouldn't be using british phrasing to try to sound clever. which it doesn't, because it's too forced. but in the the majority, it is very well plotted, and most of the characterization was good and interesting.

the art, though, i cannot comprehend how anyone would criticize. this stuff is new, different and very interesting and beautiful. the panels are a fascinating puzzle of wildly varying shapes and transitions, often using negative space, and changing positive space into negative space for effect. the ink washes are sometimes fantastically illustrative, and other times also convincingly realistic with smooth, subtle, deep shading and coloring, and with many very carefully observed and clearly rendered details. reflections in people's eyes, shadows cast from eyelashes, precise and accurate foreshortening....etc. the contour linear illustrations that the art is built on reminds me of the classic favorite gil kane a bit. onto the foundation of contour line drawings is another layer of ink washes by bianchi and then silvestri. then of course there's a layer of computer coloring. while i don't prefer digital coloring, i disagree with complaints in other reviews here that the colors are "muddy". i find the color palette sophisticated instead of the usual comic book primary colors, that's all.

one of my few complaints is that i thought the italian artist (simone bianchi) was a chick. he's a dude.
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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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