Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Astonishing X-Men #15

Contains spoilers! The first perfect issue of a comic book this year. Joss Whedon...okay, I've said this before, but he is just a master storyteller. It's The Hellfire Club vs. The X-Men in this issue, with some of the best fights, moments and dialogue of the series thus far. The opening scene was four panels of Emma Frost with the same expression on her face, and it conveyed a different emotion with each panel, and I felt each of them in turn. I mean, that's just genius. Then it's Cassandra Nova vs. The Beast and Wolverine, with Wolverine acting like a little girl, scared of the "moose." It was hilarious. I love what Cassandra Nova says about the situation later: "My two were simplicity itself. A beast who thought he was a man...and a frightened little boy who fancied himself a beast." The scene with Hisako and Blindfold was just as exciting as the ones with the X-Men battling the villains. Whedon has already made me care a lot for the secondary character Hisako. It was great to see her in action here in another mind-blowing scene. Then there's a moment between the villains from the first two arcs of Astonishing X-Men, Ord and Dangerous (who I never thought I'd see after the last arc, but she made for a chilling encounter here). I personally believe Emma Frost knew how things would go down here and prepared the team by bringing Kitty Pryde on in the very first issue of the series, words recalled by Kitty toward the end of the issue: "I wanted someone on the team that I hadn't really fought alongside. Someone who would be inclined to watch me, if I..." Then there's a scene when Emma's feigning ignorance as she brings the X-Men to her bedroom and Scott...she says "I just found him - He was fine when we went to bed..." Then Kitty notices that the bed was still made...I think this was a total nudge to Kitty that something was wrong, something that Emma thought Kitty would be able to pick up on. Then of course there's that moment at the end...Kitty rematerializes and stands up in a stream in an homage to the panel that defined Wolverine's character at the end of Uncanny X-Men #132 during The Dark Phoenix Saga. She even throws out the same words: "Now it's my turn." But it's more than Joss Whedon's storytelling prowess that makes this comic work. I'm gushing like I have a crush...John Cassaday's art has never looked better. Seriously, this is the single best-looking comic of the series so far. The scene between Beast and Hisako and Wolverine...Colossus vs. Sebastian Shaw...Kitty phasing through the Earth, unable to stop herself...it was all just impeccable. This is one of those comics that I just slow down to read and take in because it's so beautiful and I don't want it to end. Ah, anyways...perfection. Utter perfection.

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