Saturday, September 03, 2005
Astonishing X-Men: Dangerous *Spoilers*
Joss Whedon and John Cassaday have concluded their first run on the flagship X-title, Astonishing X-Men, with the amazing Laura Martin on colors (there will be a brief hiatus before they return to the book). The storyline "Dangerous" began really strong with the suicide of a mutant in the danger room and a wounded sentinel crawling to the X-mansion to inflict some damage, whereupon the students were trapped in the danger room with Kitty Pryde. Great start, right? Unfortunately, the build-up to this storyline was better than the payoff. It's a cool concept, having the danger room a mutant itself. It's one of those "why didn't I think of that?" moments. The first battle with the sentient machine was really great too, although that is where the story starts its downhill trek. From there, the plot brings Xavier into it, creating an interesting rift between the students and their mentor that I can't wait to see expanded on. Then the sentinel that killed Genosha is brought into the fray, during which Kitty has to shield the entire team with her power to overcome a disintegrating blast. Like Patrick said, cool moment, cool line. After that, the issue loses its focus a bit and goes off into several different directions. The Beast defeats Danger rather easily, relying on what had failed earlier, instinct. It is primal instinct alone that can beat Danger, as no one can outthink or outmanuever a machine that has been programmed to outhink and outmaneuver them. The Beast, when told by Xavier that the machine is dead, looks back ferociously and bellows "Mine!" Totally creepy. I imagine that since the Beast relied on complete bestial instinct, he kind of degressed into what his namesake implies - a beast, devoid of his humanity and clear thought. This is definitely a subplot I hope to see more of, as the Beast's further evolution into cat-form could certainly be taken for degression into an animal state. But besides introducing new plot threads, this issue has a fairly crappy ending. While Kitty is the hero with her reasoning skills, it's pretty anti-climactic to see the ferocious sentinel flying away to be alone, because he feels bad that he killed millions of people. But, you know what? Going back and rehashing all that stuff kind of brings me to feel that this storyline was pretty cool after all. Sure, it had its flaws and whatnot, but there are some great concepts introduced. Whedon just needs to bring a cool villain into the book next time...speaking of which...yes, that was the Hellfire Club in the last panel. Kitty mentioned in the first issue of the series that Emma represented evil to her because she attacked the X-Men upon their first meeting. And Emma was, of course, at that time, the White Queen of the Hellfire Club, a story that led in to the infamous Dark Phoenix Saga. Now, Joss Whedon's great because Kitty's always been my favorite superhero, and is his. The Hellfire Club, particularly the White Queen, have always stood as my favorite villains, and here he brings them into play. He is just the man. But, enough gushing. I have to agree with Jog's thoughts on Cassaday's art being rather stiff toward the end of the run, particularly the panel where Kitty was thrown at the sentinel. That was just glaringly bad. But, I don't agree with the overall judgment of the series that he gave. Bringing costumes back to the flagship book, restoring formerly dead characters, reintroducing the Hellfire Club...these are all really cool things. And I think Whedon is great at writing A-grade superhero comics. No, it's not as inventive and groundbreaking as Grant Morrison's New X-Men run, but I wouldn't want to see something like that all the time. There's nothing wrong with writing a competent superhero book, especially given that it is easily the best X-title running presently, and previous to Grant Morrison's run, would have been held up as a godsend.