Astonishing X-Men #4 Review

Reviewer: James Hatton
Story Title: n/a

Written by: Joss Whedon
Art by: John Cassaday
Colored by: laura Martin
Lettered by: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Mike Marts
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Let us, you and I, before we begin this review, understand that within it there are no spoilers. Even though you aren’t reading this review to find out if you want to buy something, but to find out what the Internet, or at least the Nexus folk thought of it. You probably know exactly what happens. My readers are smart like that.

I am going to tell you right now that it is very hard to tell you what happened and review it without giving away that spoilerific piece of information, so I am going to meet you halfway. Here is the half-spoiler, but the other half shall remain dead to you until you pick this book up.

Near the end of the book, we see a character we originally concieved of as dead.

My caveat is that anytime I need to reference this person, I will use another dead person as to not ruin it for you.

STORY!

Up until this moment in time, Ord has wanted to destroy the X-men, and his full gameplan hasn’t been laid out yet, but this issue gives you another snippet into his life with the first splash page. We immediately shoot over to our X-team who are heading out to Benetech. It seems that someone they know, or at least knew, is in that building. They must officially, go whup some ass and go save JEAN GREY!

It is well written that, in all honesty, each character thinks they are going to save Jean. Emma is extra snarky. Cyc is extra broody. Wolvie looks grumpier than usual. Apparently, when Jean Grey becomes involved, every person ‘X’ must in some way go ‘Good cripes, not again!’. I think ‘I’ brought Phoenix from the dead once or twice. So, with the knowledge that they are going off to save Phoenix.. it makes it so much better when all they find is BUCKY.

Back in the empty X-Mansion a couple of kids are hanging out. Talkin’ bout boys, and how nice Kitty’s ass is, and telepaths. Ord has some of the best dialogue yet, and I have faith that he is coming into his own as a fully developed Whedon-style villain. Sadly, you will skip over it to make sure you see when ILYANA shows back up.

The story is great, but let me speak on the death scene. It is extra good. I know that you have already cast your opinion on them bringing back BARRY WHITE, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad story. I’m still tossed on the idea, as the death of JASON TODD was one of the most powerful comics of that year (in my humble opinion), and bringing them back just seems unnecessary. The story and dramatics of the last few pages are exceptional. Just let Joss explain to us why… I’m sure we’ll come to love it.

ART!

I have a crush on Cassaday’s Emma Frost. I’ve dated my share of girls to know that the way Cassaday draws her shows me: 1) She has Daddy issues. 2) She is a wild woman between the sheets. 3) She is probably cold. Then again, she’s a drawn character, and I’m coming across as creepy. Let’s get back to the book, eh?

Cassaday’s style is exceptional for what happens in this book. As we get closer and closer to the return of JULIA CHILD, the drama gets stronger and stronger. This drama isn’t even in Whedon’s writing. It’s all in Cassaday’s long panels that convey time and uncomfortable spaces. If you were to remove all text (and there isn’t much) of the last four pages of this book – Cassaday would have been fine. The text adds something, but it would have been useless if drawn by someone of a lesser calibur.

OVERALL!

So, why is MORPHEUS back? Didn’t we watch GWEN STACY die? What in the hell is JESUS OF NAZARETH doing in the subbasement of a medical company? I don’t know. I do know that Joss Whedon is an amazing writer, and whether you have a problem with his story twist or not – he still is an amazing writer. Everything in this book is picture perfect, and the emotion drives you on until you just look on our old friend’s returned face… and you don’t care that they shouldn’t be back. You just wnat to know why.