ASTONISHING X-MEN #31
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So this is it, people. This arc of Astonishing X-Men will either make or break my interest in this title, as I’ve really had enough. And it’s not even fully because of the lateness, though that is indeed a factor. The creators involved with this title haven’t really been fully commited to delivering the high calibre issues that we have seen early in this title’s life. This goes back to Joss Whedon’s extremely lackluster conclusion to his run, which should have been so much more. Then we get Warren Ellis on the title, who even though he introduced interesting ideas to his first arc, he was heavily slacking on displaying the team dynamic, which is very important to an X-Man book. Additionally, Simone Bianchi’s art made the story even more impenitrable, as it was overly hazy and murky. But now we have a new arc, and the amazing Phil Jiminez on penciling this time around. So how does this first issue fare?
Luckily, the art has been massivly improved, as Team Jiminez hits it out of the park here. The bright and clear pencils are reminicint of John Cassidy’s art, and the really bizarre elements featured here (including the Brood and the suprise twist at the end) are interestingly portrayed. The inker made the characters a bit shadowy and dark, but it isn’t too overbearing. Very solid art, will definitely be looking forward to this aspect each month.
I was also plesently suprised by the script. There wasn’t much to to the story, as most of it was devoted to the X-Men using their new hyper-jet to rescue Agent Brand from a high speed atmosphere re-entry. This simple story, however, allowed Ellis to explore the team dynamic better than he had before in his last arc, when he just jumped headfirst into the crazy sci-fi ideas. This simple team story serves as a nice intro to the bigger story, and it seems that Ellis finally has writing the X-Men down. The main villain of this story is looking to be The Brood, who normally I can’t stand. They’re not featured much in this story, so I can’t make too much judgement on them this time around. Though I have much faith in Ellis to pull them off as good characters.
Now that Ellis seems to have the basic fundamentals of writing the X-Men down, his scripts and Jiminez’s great art can make this book into the mega-blockbuster epic title that Astonishing X-Men should be. I’m highly optomistic for the next issue, bring it on!
Art: 5 - Excellent