Posts Tagged ‘Astonishing X-Men’

Astonishing X-Men #68And Astonishing X-Men leave us, not with a bang, not with a futile attempt at over-existentializing, but with grace and dignity.

I mean, a lot of comics and tv shows, when they end, try to do things up with big, massive, world-ending stuff that’s wrapped up in a few panels. Others try to get a bit too deep, like the characters inside are actually ‘dying’. Then some just leave us on some WTF cliff-hanger.

Astonishing takes the inspired way out and simply doesn’t end. Not in the ‘wait, what the heck happens next’ kind of way Gambit ended, but in the ‘these characters are going about their lives, I’ve simply stopped being the one telling the story’.

It is kinda annoying we don’t know the legal state of Jean-Paul and Kyle, but in the way that’s kinda better because otherwise the whole issue could have devolved into legal mumbo and socio-political boxing. Which wouldn’t have been bad if it wasn’t the final issue. I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ve heard of this situation, though I’m not sure of the how/where for now.

So, yeah, the biggest lesson from this finale is that life goes on. It may seem difficult and lost at times… but it always finds its place.

Damn, I’m gonna miss this title.

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Astonishing X-Men #67That moment when the comic book writer uses fan fiction to get the comic back to its roots of being an analogue for the human struggle…

Seriously, when I first started reading the panels I was thinking “am I reading a fan fiction?” and it turns out, I was. It was a self-insert fan fiction of real celebrities, well, real seeing as it’s from the perspective of a character in the same universe. Liu has always had a way of looking at the reality of the situation, and she does it again by pointing out that in a world full of mutants and superheroes, there are going to be bloggers, tumblrs, and all sorts of individuals expressing a desire to be part of that world.

And that’s exactly what happens. The girl who feels all alone dreams of being swept up into something amazing, and it actually happens. Not only that, but she saves the day because she has such trust and belief that the aliens are ‘oh, okay, these guys are cool, our bad’. So yeah, it’s a comic about a girl’s fan fiction coming true.

But the big message here is about ‘not being alone’. It’s telling the reader that they are an ‘x-man’ just as Wendy is, and they are never alone because, well, they aren’t. They’ll always have the X-Men or whatever character they relate to the most with them. With is made all the more poignant by this title ending next issue.

Damn I’m going to miss this title so much…

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Astonishing X-Men #66Is there a ship name for Gambit and Cecilia Reyes? Cause as much as Romy is my OTP, I can totally ship these two when Romy isn’t an option.

Beyond that, we’re seeing the aftermath of what happened with Bobby’s ‘big freeze’. The ice is melting and  people are trying to get back to normal, instead of, you know, things suddenly being normal without any thought to the consequences of such an environmental catastrophe. Cecilia, as a doctor, has been doing her best to help people who had been caught up in the tragedy. And it seems the storm shook something loose and the X-men are going to have to deal with it.

First though they need to deal with themselves, they kinda forgot what that meant in the chaos that has been the last year of Marvel doing their best to just jack everything up. I think a lot of healing is needed, and we aren’t seeing enough of that in the other titles.

Overall, I’m really going to miss this title when it goes.

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Astonishing X-Men #65Everyone wants to be the bad guy because it takes effort to be the good guy.

I knew there was something to Bobby’s therapist, apparently it was all in his head. Would have preferred him getting actual professional help, but Liu did write this in a rather stunning way. There was no easy answer, no easy out. Bobby, for all his joking, is extremely low on the self-esteem and probably clinically depressed too. Combine that with unimaginable power?

Speaking of, Bobby is capable of doing everything he just did without the need of the Death Seed. Being basically an Elemental creature now makes him very powerful if he just puts his mind to it. I doubt though that we’ll see much come of this though. Astonishing is being cancelled and it never quite fit in with the rest of the universe as to what events were going on (except where kittens are concerned apparently).

Still, it’s a nice introspective study on what a lot of people go through, not feeling like they are ever quite as good as they should be, regardless of what they do in their life.

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Astonishing X-Men #64Did… did Bobby do what I think he did?

Seriously, did that just happen? Fully and completely… no ‘he recovered’? Because if so… then Bobby Drake just murdered his own father.

Granted, Bobby is possessed by the Death Seed, but then that’s the thing, isn’t it. Scott had the Phoenix in him when he killed his ‘father figure’ Xavier. Both powers, the Death Seed and Phoenix, seemed to have corrupted the core of the person, warping what was there into something dark.

So… will Bobby get forgiveness once this is all over, much like Wanda after her mental breakdown? Or will he be ostracized like Scott? Only time will tell… and with Astonishing X-Men ending… it could all be swept under the rug for the main storyline.

As for Mystique, have I ever mentioned how awesome she is?

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Astonishing X-Men #68 cover artAnd yet another of my favorite titles gets axed. Here is the October solicitation for Astonishing X-Men #68 courtesy of Newsarama:

Cover by PHIL NOTO
• Through thick and thin, from marriage to apocalypse, the X-Men have always stood together as a family.
• Is there anything in this world – or any other – that could break them up?
• It all ends here as Marjorie Liu bids a fond farewell to the Astonishing team!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

The thing is, Astonishing hasn’t been doing that bad in sales. Sure, it’s been skirting above the 20k milestone (23k in June) but it’s still up there unlike other titles which are floundering, like Morbius with only 14k. So why cancel Astonishing if it’s steady? I’m sure there is probably a reason, and that might do with how it’s 3.99 vs 2.99, perhaps they could give it a price cut? Or maybe they simply felt it ran its course?

It often feels like Astonishing doesn’t ‘fit’ with the whole Marvel NOW! thing, staying out of the AvX stuff and whatnot, but that’s been good for Astonishing. It’s allowed it to be its own title.

The worst part about this is while most of the main characters in Astonishing have homes in other titles, since Gambit’s solo was cancelled, this leaves the Cajun without a home unless one of the other titles picks him up. I haven’t heard any news of such a move, though it might be something that will crop up in the November solicits. Crossing my fingers he does get picked up, just not by Remender in Uncanny Avengers… though since apparently someone will die in #13 according to the October solicitations… there will be an opening.

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Astonishing X-Men #63Bobby’s kinda lost it… and it’s epic.

It’s good to see that finally everyone has noticed the weather is unnatural and that it could be Bobby’s fault, and that women have started to go missing. Bobby’s ice-clones seem to think they are helping his ex-girlfriends, probably taking them someplace safe for when all ice-hell breaks lose. The thing is, if he has Lorna and Mystique already, then they can do some damage and protect themselves. I wouldn’t underestimate Annie either, ER nurses are a tough lot. But it’s most curious that the clones seemed to have been acting on their own, like they know something is up with Bobby, or the clones just analogues of the part of Bobby that knows what’s happening isn’t right.

Also, Kitty’s conversation with Opal is quite good, especially after Opal’s conversation with Bobby. In only a few short panels Liu manages to really cut to the heart of the jokester Bobby Drake. He’s never been able to keep a girlfriend because he’s always thought he was never good enough for them. His jokes cover a deep depression made worse by being a super-hero.

Then there is the ending, one of the few times that the ‘giant steps on person’ trope actually is funny because it comes out of nowhere and it’s freaking Wolverine he steps on.

But yeah, Bobby has grown immensely with the power of the Death Seed and is now acting out. My local comic book seller had the balls to say “why is this title still going, no one reads it?”… I told him to read the latest arc and that’s exactly why people are reading it. Because Liu is freaking awesome and really knows how to deal with these characters on a more personal basis rather than just as fodder for some grand event.

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Astonishing X-Men #62Gambit has kittens!

Okay, so that wasn’t everything I took away from this issue but it was a really great moment. I heart Mystique some days, I really do.

Let’s start with the fact that Bobby is seeing a therapist of some sort, how awesome is that. Mutants in general have always been seen as analogues for groups of people who have difficulty fitting in so seeing that Bobby is accepting that he has issues and is doing something about it is great. Really, I think a lot of the crap that has gone down in the Marvel ‘verse could have easily been avoided if therapy was standard for super heroes. I just hope the fact that they didn’t show us the therapist was just artistic license and not a hint that they will turn out to be, dunno, Mr Sinister or something.

Of course, Bobby is having a time of it. During the X-Termination incident, Alt-Beast put that Death Seed into him and I don’t think it’s been taken out. His personality has gone haywire, he’s been talking to all his ex’s, and he’s causing massive cold snaps everywhere… and he realizes none of this.

Then he gets set off by over-hearing Kitty admitting that she still feels something for Peter. Bobby is basically at his lowest now, emotionally, due to the fact he just can’t seem to hold on to any girlfriend for every long. I’m actually feeling sympathy for the guy for once.

Liu’s always been a very good writer but she really knocked it out of the park on this issue, especially with the side stuff, like the kittens and the small Avengers scene. I can’t wait to see how things are going to go down and how the team is going to deal with this very vulnerable yet super-powered Iceman.

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X-Termination #2X-Termination #2, or Conclusion, caps out the end of two short run titles: X-Treme X-Men and Age of Apocalypse. It is also sucks.

Seriously, the only characters who escape ‘unscathed’ are the Astonishing X-Men crew which was the only title that didn’t get cancelled. Everyone else, because their titles were cancelled, seemed to be free game for the slaughter. Pretty much everyone from AoA is killed off and half the X-Treme team was already killed off as well.

Even the budding romance between Blaire and Alt-Cyclops is also ignored and dropped, which is annoying to no end. I thought they made a good couple, or at least one with lots of potential…

The only thing good that can be said about this cross-over is that it does live up to its name ‘X-Termination’ because pretty much everything is terminated, permanently.

Big fail of an ending there, Marvel, you basically just crap on all the people who actually did spend money on these titles. I know we weren’t many, but seriously? I shake my head at you…

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Astonishing X-Men #61X-Termination: Part Five

Mostly a lot of talking in this issue, just getting us from Point A to Point B… telling us that there is only one way to stop the invaders and that is by sacrificing the Age of Apocalypse world.

Really? After all that time and effort put into the Age of Apocalypse title, which did have some measure of fan base, and all you’re going to do is destroy it completely?

What a crock.

If I had been a fan of the title then I would have totally yelled foul. In fact, I’m not a fan and I’m going to yell foul anyway.

Can’t really blame Liu for that though because she is writing inside of a pre-defined story structure… of which whoever came up with it is an idiot.

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