Astonishing X-Men #3 Review

Reviewer: Jesse Baker
Story Title: NA

Written by: Joss Whedon
Penciled by: John Cassaday
Inked by: NA
Colored by: Laura Martin
Lettered by: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Mike Marts
Publisher: Marvel Comics

“We’re getting nowhere Emma”
“Patience darling you’re doing fine. Of course Kitty thinks I’m mentally controlling everything you say…:”
“But you’re not right?”
“You will never see me naked again…”

Welcome to third issue of Astonishing X-Men or as I like to call it, Astonishing X-Men 8:20PM-8:30PM, since so far the first three issues feel less like an actual comic issue and more like ten minute installments of an episode of one of Joss’s shows. Which some, IE me, find to be a bit of a rip-off given how the book only comes out once a month, that Joss and John should be giving us more bang for the buck with the series.

The first storyline continues as the X-Men are looking into the new “cure” that has been announced that can remove a mutant’s powers for good. Needless to say the entire school is in an uproar over it and students left and right are leaving the school so that they can get in line for removal of their powers. Complicating things even more so is Beast’s sudden announcement that he’s leaving the X-Men so that he can work on and receive the “cure”, which leads to a fight between him and Wolverine over the damage Beast will do to the school if he loses his powers. And speaking of “the cure”, apparently hostage taking bad boy Ord is connected to the company and the doctor who’s created it. Oh and Ord thinks Lockhead is a mutant too though everyone’s favorite space dragon’s alien origins are quickly pointed out to Ord as he plots revenge against the X-Men for publicly defeating him.

This is my overall problem with the issue and of Whedon’s run as of this issue: for all of the snappy dialogue and one-liners, they don’t cover up the fact that this story so far has been extremely weak. For starters, take the confrontation between Beast and Wolverine over Beast’s decision to take the “cure”.

Whedon has, via his work on Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, shown a great talent towards writing character interaction that gives you a glimpse into the mind of angst-filled characters who are at their wits end with their plight. Yet in an issue that requires a tour-de-force example of this type of writing we get nothing. The entire exchange between Beast and Wolverine is so devoid of depth and emotion that it’s pathetic.

Beast is a character whose life has been one never-ending yo-yo with the way that his body has mutated over the years. From human to furry, blue caveman to human back to furry, blue caveman to lion-esque Beast, Beast has been on a never ending transformation whirlwind that has cost him the woman he loved. Instead of a brilliantly written scene that sums up Beast’s angst and why he would risk damaging the credibility of the X-Men and the school, we get warmed over leftovers. His comment about “de-evolving” and Basing Beast’s motivation on a throwaway line of dialogue from the Morrison X-Men run. That’s it. Whedon totally drops the ball on this scene as he fails to give Beast a heart-felt motive to undergo a risky and ultimately permanent method to remove his mutant powers.

Meanwhile there is the ending of the issue, which teases the return of Jean Grey. Given how Marvel utterly and completely dropped the ball on the return of Magneto, I fear that Jean’s return is also going to be screwed up by bringing her back too soon and ending the Emma/Scott relationship prematurely as part of the return of the status quo.