SfSW Comics #3: Astonishing X-Men 1-4

Astonishing X-Men Issues 1-4, book, graphic novel, comics, X-Men, Joss Whedon, Astonishing X-Men

I picked up this book at my local comic shop for several reasons. One, I’ve been meaning to read this series for some time now. Joss Whedon wrote it, and John Cassaday did the art. I saw it, I had to have it, I spent the moniez on it. I didn’t know much about the storyline when I picked it up, but I was really excited to see Emma Frost and Kitty Pryde on the cover. Add in Beast, Wolverine, and Cyclops, and I figured there’d be tension enough to go around.

MINION SPOILER WARNING: BEE-DOH BEE-DOH BEE-DOH BEE-DOH BEE-DOH BEE-DOH BEE-DOH BEE-DOH BEE-DOH BEE-DOH BEE-DOH BEE-DOH BEE-DOH BEE-DOH BEE-DOH BEE-DOH BEE-DOH BEE-DOH BEE-DOH BEE-DOH BEE-DOH BEE-DOH

The story picks up with Kitty Pryde hurrying to get to the school.  She arrives…late.

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Pwahahaha. Emma. You and your…words.

After Kitty’s appearance, they meet up with Logan, Hank, and Scott to discuss the school year. Mutants are on the outs with the world again, and the X-Men agree they have to be something more. Of course, no meeting of Logan and Scott is complete without some testosterone poisoning and a fight over Jean. This was a moment I really liked, not because of the fight between Logan and Scott, but because it humanizes Emma, who’s in a relationship with Scott. Jean’s dead. She has been for a while. And it doesn’t feel good to see your lover fighting for a dead woman when you’re the one sharing his bed each night.

Once they get the dudebros back into normal mutant mode, it’s chat time with the team.

They head over to the Danger Room, where Hank can’t seem to quite get the settings right…so they have to sit on Hawaii. He was aiming for calm…something tells me “calm” is overshooting with this bunch.

Astonishing X-Men, X-Men, mutants, Logan, Wolverine, Emma Frost, Kitty Pryde, Shadowcat, Hank, Scott Summers, Beast, Cyclops, Joss Whedon, Scott Cassaday

It’s a good thing they get a distraction — and fast.

Turns out there’s a cure for the mutant gene. Designed by Dr. Kavita Rao of Benetech, mutants are lining up to get a copy of this cure. And to top it all off, they’ve got a hostage situation. And Scott things they need to be saving people. So off they go!

The hostage situation turns out to be orchestrated by an alien called Ord. If it weren’t for the timely appearance of this guy, they’d probably be toast:

Astonishing X-Men, X-Men, mutants, Kitty Pryde, Ord, Joss Whedon, John Cassaday, Lockheed

I’d say taking dragonfire to the face is a bit demoralizing.

The X-Men free the hostages, and Ord vanishes without so much as a muahaha.

Beast has other plans, though. He sneaks into Benetech to find out about the cure, and Dr. Rao gives him a sample of it.

This is a part of Beast that I’ve always found so touching. While I love him blue and fuzzy just as he is, I understand how he would be less than inclined to stay that way forever. Especially because of how he got that way. I almost liken this to weight issues, to not feeling at home in your own body, to looking in the mirror and seeing a stranger. There’s so much depth to Beast’s struggle, not least of which his more feral nature that he’s constantly fighting to keep beneath the surface. I get where he’s coming from.

But Logan sure doesn’t like it. In the second dudebro fightmatch of the story, Logan and Hank duke it out over Hank’s right to choose.

Astonishing X-Men, X-Men, Logan, Wolverine, Hank McCoy, Beast, Gifted, Joss Whedon, mutants, John Cassaday

This fight kind of bothered me, mostly because it felt a little gratuitous. Joss can do a good fight scene — he can! — but he excels with character, and this fight shunted character to the side and just made me a little annoyed with Logan. Hothead or no, it didn’t quite make sense for me.

And after the fight, it’s back to the Danger Room, which now looks like a child’s playroom. Appropriate, considering the boyos were acting like children.

The X-Men decide to go into Benetech and try to get the cure. I noticed, reading this (very belatedly) that this book provided the bulk of the plotline for X-Men 3: The Last Stand. While they had the whole Phoenix saga overlaid, if you swap “Benetech” with “Worthington Labs,” you get the gist of the movie.

With the bulk of the group in the lab itself, Kitty goes downward through a strange metal. At the bottom, she’s confronted with guards — and Colossus.

Who was assumed dead.

Who WAS dead — she’d scattered his ashes.

This scene was the coolest panel.

Astonishing X-Men, X-Men, Kitty Pryde, Colossus, Benetech, Gifted, Joss Whedon, John Cassaday

Pretty soon, S.H.I.E.L.D arrives to let them know that Ord is, in fact, a diplomat from the Breakworld and thus has diplomatic immunity. He’s trying to wipe out the X-Men before one of them can destroy his world in the next three years.

I didn’t go wrong with this purchase. This run lived up to what I’d hoped for it, from dynamic character relationships (specifically Kitty and Colossus — wowzers) to some really fun, Whedon-y things like the team sitting ON Hawaii.

I’m really looking forward to the next book.

Have you read Astonishing X-Men?