One of the best comic series of the past decade or more is, undoubtedly, Astonishing X-Men, by Joss Whedon and penciled by John Cassaday. Together they created one of the most comprehensive, cohesive and controlled pieces of comic literature weâ€™ve seen in a long time. Whedonâ€™s story was breathtaking, and Cassidayâ€™s art was better.
So letâ€™s see how long it takes before it all comes crashing down. Why? Because Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi are now on the book and they arenâ€™t no Whedon and Cassaday.
Astonishing X-Men #25
COVER BY: LEE BERMEJO
WRITER: WARREN ELLIS
PENCILS: SIMONE BIANCHI
INKS: SIMONE BIANCHI
COLORED BY: SIMONE PERUZZI
LETTERED BY: CHRIS ELIOPOULOS
I was actually surprised to see that this series was continuing, seeing as I figured Marvel would let it finish with Whedon and Cassadayâ€™s departure. However, as I looked at the pull list this week, there it was, all new and shiny, and I couldnâ€™t say no. Iâ€™m a big fan of the X-Men when theyâ€™re done well, and so I had to at least give it a shot.
And I find myself pleasantly surprised. I was right to assume that the new pairing werenâ€™t going to live up to the hype of the previous 24 issues (plus one giant sized to finish it off), but they didnâ€™t do horrible. OK, more to the point, Ellis didnâ€™t do horribly. Iâ€™ll deal with the art later.
The story sees our heroes setting up shop in San Francisco (anyone else find themselves singing that song when they see that cities name?). The first note I want to make, is I do not think Scott Summers, no matter how much of a pansy he is, would sleep in a round bed. He gets enough crap from Logan as it is, and Iâ€™m sure he has a modicum of pride.
And Ellisâ€™ fascination with sex and beer continues in this issue, with the entire team apparently having spent the past few weeks on spring break.
However, the new storyline intrigues me. I was a bit annoyed at Stormâ€™s arrival, but I can deal with that in the long run. The teamâ€™s ability to realize that spandex and lycra arenâ€™t the most appealing and comforting outfits was nice, as too was a realization that they arenâ€™t all idiots. This came in the ability that Logan, Scott and Ema had of understanding Hankâ€™s scientific babble. Some people donâ€™t like it, some people do; itâ€™s a matter of taste.
I also liked the banter between Logan and Scott; it wasnâ€™t a no-holds barred pissing match, but rather just the conversation of two men who arenâ€™t the best of friends, but still respect each other. And the opening panel with the Twitter reference was, well, I have to admit it, it was cool!
Bianchiâ€™s artwork isâ€¦ well, it confuses me. Not in that I donâ€™t know what is happening, each panel is clear, and I like the way they are laid out. It isnâ€™t the strict 3×3 layout of some comics, and I can appreciate that. However his characters seemed to have realism in one panel, and then jump entirely to ballistic nonsense the next.
Scott, Hank and Emma were pretty much drawn great throughout the entire book, although Scott apparently has to scream everything at the top of his lungs judging by his facial expressions. Ororo jumps between weird and seriously realistic, and Loganâ€™s hair is justâ€¦ totally out of control! Whereas young Hisako does not for a moment look like a real person.
However, all in all, I didnâ€™t hate this book. I give the story 4 out of 5, and the artwork 4 out of 5.