Friday, June 10, 2005


Friday Comic Book blogging (Marvel Version)

For those people who have noted my DC bias (not exactly hidden by yours truly), I should give some props to something that the House of Ideas (as it once was known) is doing. Here's a great compilation of the first six issues of ASTONISHING X-MEN:

I gave up on just about all the X-titles in the '90s when it became nearly impossible to follow characters, books and storylines. One almost began to hope for a miniseries entitled "Crisis On Infinite X-titles" where some villain worked to crush all the books into a cohesive whole.

No such luck, of course -- there are more than ever. (I mean, it's a little hard to take seriously the "whole world hates mutants" conceit that informs the X-men titles, because there are so many of them, one wonders why mutants aren't a majority of the population on Earth-Marvel.)

But, this title -- created especially for Buffy The Vampire Slayer author Joss Whedon's first foray into mainstream comics -- is an Old School fanboy's dream. These are the X-men of the Claremont-Byrne classic days (minus Jean Grey, who's dead -- again. She's replaced -- both in telekinetic ability and in Cyclops' bed -- by the once(?) villainous Emma Frost). Anyway, it's a great return to form with Wolverine and Cyclops fighting as ever. The Beast/Hank McCoy, who seems to be mutating yet again, is an even more sympathetic character than in the past. The walking-through-walls Kitty Pryde returns, as does another beloved old "New" X-man. Long-time Marvel readers will love the role of SHIELD here -- acting like any real spy agency, i.e. not in a completely trustworthy manner.

Yeah, there are references to such major Marvel-Universe incidents as the genocide on Genosha and some other Magneto atrocity. But, returning fans can just ignore these -- or track the back story online in one of the million other "X" trade paperbacks. Whedon's writing is so good one wonders why he hasn't done written for comics before.* Fans of the Wildstorm/DC title "Planetary" will love the crisp John Cassady artwork.

In any event, the trade was so good, Astonishing X-men is now one of the few Marvels that I read monthly.

Feel free to jump on board.

UPDATE/CORRECTION: *As Belinda helpfully notes in the Comments, Whedon has written comics before -- for Dark Horse's Buffy-based titles. I should have been clearer on that point.

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