ADVANCE REVIEW: Astonishing X-Men 23

REVIEW

ASTONISHING X-MEN 23

Writer: Joss Whedon

Artist: John Cassady

Colorist: Laura Martin

Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos

Company: Marvel

Floating out into the vacuum of space: that really can’t be a good way to die. Oh sure, I can think of worse ways (say, eaten alive by Reavers), but nonetheless I can’t imagine it’s pleasant. And it’s a real shame: someone (writer and Buffy/Angel/Firefly deity Joss Whedon) finally gives Cyclops an actual personality other than “brooding, moping sour puss” – and then shoots him out into nothingness? Damn, Joss – that’s cold.

No, I’m not going to spoil anything in this issue for you, so stop asking (or conversely, stop reading the review with one hand over your face, peeking out between your fingers – you look silly). But I won’t insult your intelligence either, by pretending there isn’t some kind of “twist” here. And the Creative team won’t insult your intelligence either: it’s totally logical and should have been fairly obvious to anyone paying attention so far. And, it comes nice and early in the book – which is always appreciated.

I have a bigger issue with the second “twist” in the book: it’s smart, and I’m surprised something like it hasn’t been used before with a team like this. However, it also involves a series of events that have to go perfectly for the plan to succeed. This “series of necessary coincidences” is probably my only real criticism of Whedon’s writing, going back to the Buffy and Angel days (well, that – and the pattern of having The Big Bad be overwhelmingly powerful in his first appearance, and then get his ass kicked left and right every other time). Of course, I can’t actually give any examples without spoiling the book: but I have faith in you, Good Reader, to find them yourselves after you buy the book.

Joss is obviously having a lot of fun with these characters, though I am sure it’s driving him crazy that he can’t turn Kitty into the most powerful member of the group (not that he didn’t try with that whole “phase a pistol through Agent Brand’s head” thing a couple issues back). But it is a relief to see complex female characters actually talking and acting like real human beings in an “action” comic book.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

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