Marvel Comics Expand the ASTONISHING Line of Comics

Astonishing X-MenFrom the going back to the well department, Marvel Comics announced today that they will be expanding the ASTONISHING line of comics.  First up, they'll be relaunching Astonishing X-Men with a new #1 issue with Warren Ellis still writing and another art change, this time to Kaare Andrews.  They also announced Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine written by one of our favorite writers, Jason Aaron with art by Adam Kubert.

As far as Astonishing X-Men is concerned, that book has been plagued ever since Joss Whedon and John Cassaday.  Warren Ellis took the writing reins and worked with Simone Bianchi, Alan Davis (sorta), and Phil Jimenez to create some pretty forgettable comics.  Sure they were some good ideas but nothing clicked the way Whedon and Cassaday's run did.  My personal hope would be that they would kill the title and let history stand on how special that Whedon/Cassaday run was, but I understand why'd they keep going.  Let's hope that Warren Ellis and Kaare Andrews can make this book worth reading again. From the looks of the first image from Andrews, it's definitely a different direction.  We've got a more punk-like Storm, yet another incarnation of Beast and a very Ultimate X-Men style Cyclops and Wolverine.

Now Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine is interesting.  First because it sure sounds like a new generation on Marvel Team-Up and second because the creative team on it tells a big story.  Jason Aaron has been a rising star for the past few years, but this announcement positions him up even closer to the A-List at Marvel.  I love Spider-Man and I love Wolverine, so I'm sure they'll be telling some great stories.  It's been awhile since we've seen a monthly book from Adam Kubert, so I'll be curious to see how well it stick to schedule, but I can already confirm that I'll be buying this book.

What's also interesting here is the repositioning of the Astonishing line.  It seem as if Marvel now defines the Astonishing line as place that's a "perfect starting point for all readers, new or old."  As always, it's great to give new readers a place to jump on, and titles to hand to people who have never read Marvel comics before.  Unknown if these stories will have any implications to the Marvel Universe continuity, as those details were vague.  But at the end of the day, as long as they're good stories, that's all that matters, right?


  1. Is the best way to greet new readers really a three-month wait between issues?

  2. Has Aaron ever written Spidey before? His Wolverine is excellent, really looking forward to that title.

  3. I don’t know if I mis read, but when are these titles being released

  4. Yeah Aaron/Kubert is an awesome team.  I REALLY want Astonishing X-Men to work but it’s just ridiculous at this point.

  5. @Zedilon – they didn’t specify WHEN these are coming out, but they said to stay tuned this week for more info

  6. @ron thanks for replying to me 😀 I feel like a person now!

  7. I love Storm’s haircut. But I don’t think T’Challa would approve of her going out in that top. Great looking Beast though.

  8. I really enjoy Kaare Andrews’s work, but I just don’t care to continue Astonishing without Whedon and Cassaday.

  9. Seems like this is more like Marvel: Mature. Considering the respective writers.

  10. There’s no reason to restart numbering on Astonishing X-Men when Ellis is continuing.  Dumb.

  11. I get that this isn’t the equivalent of a new Ultimate line, in which a new continuity is being created. It’s supposed to be what everyone praised Whedon’s run for: Being in regular continuity while not being a slave to it. It’s an understandable goal to bring in more readers, though I hope that Marvel can keep this line "new reader friendly" through its duration, since the effects from other books will eventually be felt here, and visa versa. The main Marvel U was affected when Kitty died in the pages of Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men, and Ellis’ Astonishing X-Men was affected by the Utopia crossover. Luckilly, these are elements in which any intelligent reader can follow the lines, so I hope that it’s kept this way. I’ll definitely be getting all these books, as I love the talent connected to all the titles.

    Also, while I think that it would be nice that titles in main continuity be new reader friendly, I dont think that ALL titles should be new reader friendly. Grant Morrison’s run on Batman is a good example of this, as it benefited from being a multi-arc epic.

  12. I was just mentioning this on Twitter, but….

    While I think having a line that’s specifically "new reader friendly" is a noble goal… shouldn’t that be the GOAL OF ALL YOUR BOOKS IN GENERAL?

    I’m a little ranty on this because I’ve been slowly watching this happen all over again. In the 90’s, many of Marvel’s comics had become so mired in continuity that there were completely unreadable. One of the cool things about the Jemas/Quesada era was that they cleaned that up and tried to say "hey let’s worry less about continuity and just make things accessible and consistent."

    But in recent years, as events have returned, continuity has become increasingly "important" to the readers and the publishers.

    And now they’ve got to have a separate LINE just to be new reader friendly? 

    I’m sorry, but for me, that just points a big ol’ finger at something being WRONG with the rest of the books.

    The goal should be to make ALL your long-running comics accessible.

  13. @comicBOOKchris – but there are still ways to have a multipart epic without alienating newcomers. I think the goal for any MONTHLY serialized book should be to try to allow for new readers. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for a constantly diminishing audience.

  14. Not interested.

  15. That has got to be the silliest looking Emma Frost I’ve ever seen.

  16. Also, since when did Emma Frost pack that much junk in her trunk?

  17. I really want to see this Jason Aaron/Adam Kubert book.  I think this is a neat idea and would be awesome if they took the one step closer and made them OGNs, but hey that’s me.

  18. Misgivings about the philosophy of the line aside, very excited about a new Aaron series. He truly deserves top tier status. 

  19. Very excited for Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine. Boy, Kubert’s exclusive time with DC sure flew by. Good thing they got a nice 7 1/2 issues of Action Comics from him.

  20. Was interested until I realized that a new line of comics means $4 price points. Sad because this looks too awesome.

  21. Holy hell, I can’t BELIEVE how horrendous the X-Men preview art is. What the devil is going on with Emma’s ass?

  22. @ everyone-I’m looking forward to both titles. I love Adam Kubert’s work on Wolverine in the 90’s (I miss those days). Has anyone read Kaare Andrew’s Spiderman Reigns?

  23. I agree with Paul.  

    I’ll interject my theory on the Astonishing line anyway.  I think the Astonishing moniker should be reserved for those outside of comics.  Much like the Bill Hader and Seth Myers penned Spider-Man issue or Whedon’s epic run.  I am interested in the Spider-Man and Wolverine book, but giving Ellis yet another shot to make Astonishing a top-tier book?  I don’t care for it.  He has made the book almost unapproachable and incomprehensible. S

    I also agree with @daccampo.  Getting yourself mired in continuity isn’t a way to attract new audiences.  I think Amazing Spier-Man is balancing the fine line quite nicely, but I think that’s a credit to the writers’ and editors’ vision (except for the clone saga return misstep).  End Rant now.  

  24. @jmstump – I’m with you on the OGN thought. I think the OGN route could be a really good idea, especially considering the timeliness issue some of these creators have had in the past.

  25. I didn’t even know Jason Aaron was writing Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine title. He is scheduled to visit my comic book shop  on the 20th of this month. Can’t wait for that!!!!

  26. I stupidly desided I should give all these new #1 in may a shot

    God that X-men image is hideous!

  27. I dislike everything about that Kaare Andrews piece except for Armor, which looks really fun. I have no faith in the prospects of Astonishing X-Men moving forward.

    Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine should be solid. I really liked the Spidey/Wolvie story Jason Aaron and Adam Kubert did last year, so I want to read their upcoming team-up. I just hope that it’s priced appropriately…

  28. @Cooper – Aaron wrote a Spidey/Wolvey one-shot – or was it two 1/2 shots? – with Kubert on art last year, right before it went Dark Wolverine. I could jump onboard that train.

  29. Yeah, not to be too curmudgeonly: I think, in general, these series sound fun. I just had to get that rant off my chest. I think the Whedon/Cassaday formula is a wonderful one to emulate. Whedon did a great job of using continuity without being mired in it. I feel like i could hand Whedon’s run to anyone, and they’d understand there was a history, but it’s just something that can be FELT without needing to know all the details.

  30. Jason Aaron writing spidey!! holy F! yes, please. don’t care much about the x-men knews but that team up book sounds baller

  31. The ASTONISHING SPIDER-MAN/WOLVERINE is probably going to make a very nice trade. I wouldn’t mind reading it that way. Maybe Marvel could wait until they have about five or six issues worth of material and publish it in trade. That would probably be the best way to really make it new reader accessible, especially if there are delays.

    By the way, is Marvel trying to get new readers in the sense of ‘comics readers who don’t normally read about these characters’ or new readers in the sense of ‘brand-new to comics’ readers? By doing issues, I’m assuming they’re going for the former.

  32. Really looking forward to both of these, more so the Spidey/Wolverine book. I really like Ellis as a writer (for the most part) but I’ve found his previous/current Astonishing X-Men arcs to be pretty bad. The art hasn’t helped, but still..I think this book will be well-served by a re-start, I’m just leary that they have another artist who’s style I just don’t like. I hope Ellis can do better this time around.

  33. @daccampo:  I couldn’t agree more.  I think where some writers get a little wonky is when they use continuity to tell stories instead of how a character’s history has affected them.

  34. ooh, A jason aaron spiderman/wolverine book sounds pretty cool

  35. I’ll check it out but I’m not exactly excited.

  36. What happened to the uniforms?  I thought the Astonishing X-Men formed to "Astonish!" I thought they wore uniforms to prove they were superheroes. I’m sure that was in the first issue.

  37. Oops! Sorry, guys. Based on response in this thread, Marvel already canceled both these books.

    (Not really.)


  38. I’m interested enough to give both of these a try.

  39. Nice. Really started to like Jason Aaron’s work after reading Scalped and Weapon X.

  40. @dshramek  i thought that same thing and yes you are correct. first issue scott says they need to remind people that they’re super heroes and wolverine moans about the spandex coming back

  41. Astonishing X-Men has gotten so bad that they’re rebooting it with the writer who made it that way?  That’s like trying to not get sick by letting someone sneeze on you.

  42. Between this and Siege #2, Marvel wins the month.  BOOM!

  43. @kickass So all it takes is one good book and an announcment that seems cool to win the month. who won last month or the one before that? i don’t even know why i bother. you make me, who has read marvel since i was old enough to read, want to switch to DC exclusively just to spite you.

  44. Awesome! A new series starring Spider-Man and Wolverine! I was really starting to miss those two. So much unexplored potential.

    Sigh. At least with Kubert on board it’ll only be on the stands twice a year.

    That X-Men image is nearly vomit-inducing. Nice to see ‘Ro rockin the mohawk again. Not so nice to see Emma as an albino dwarf with an ass like a bean bag chair.

  45. @Wheelhands  I didn’t even notice how short Emma was. In Astonishing she was only a couple of inches shorter than Scott and now she comes up to his chest. If Logan looks taller than you, you got problems.

  46. I started buying monthly comics because there was so much of a time gap between issues of Whedon’/Cassaday’s ‘Astonishing’ that I decided I needed something else to read.  However, as a large-scale strategy, that sounds unlikely. 

    Seriously, the X-Men announcement seems like non-news — they’re renumbering and getting a new artist but keeping the same writer.  The Spidey/Wolverine announcement is good news for people who like Jason Aaron’s Marvel work, though hasn’t Kubert had lateness issues in the past, too?  Maybe not an auspicious start unless they WANT the brand to mean ‘comes out whenever we feel like it.’

  47. @ohcaroline I’m hoping they give him enough lead time to do at least 6 issues in a row with no delays. after that everything else is icing on the cake, or webbing maybe

  48. Am I wrong to think that "getting new readers" is a fruitless endeavor for the floppy form? What new readers? Certainly not kids, who already have their own lines devoted to them, which they are not buying in droves. Teens? I don’t know. Seems like this is more a "motivate some comic buyers to buy more" strategy by turning Astonishing into a mini imprint. Not that that’s a bad thing. 

  49. @patio – I suspect the endgame would be the bookstore market, as that’s where everyone seems to be focused these days. Thus, a Spider-man/Wolverine graphic novel is easily accessible to anyone who has seen the Wolverine or Spider-man film or seen the cartoons, etc. Since you’re not jumping into the middle of an established volume, it’s much easier to market.

    That said, it can also help the direct market. People do still find their way into comics shops. I see it all the time. My retailer constantly gets people coming in, looking for gifts, etc. So this could be helpful in the direct market — though that’s admittedly just one shop and a handful of potential new customers.

  50. @patio I think by new readers they mean it in a general sweeping term. as in people who have never read super hero books and folks who have never read comics before. I bet a good number of the vertigo crowd at my shop who only know Aaron through Scalped will at least pick up the first few issues of the spidey/wolverine book just to see how he does in this world. that team up has a much more universal appeal than the other work for marvel he’s done

  51. So basically the strategy for Astonishing X-Men is to charge $3.99 instead of $2.99 for Warren Ellis to  tell more crappy stories.  Wow.  That’s a business model I can get behind.

  52. Wow, I didn’t think anyone could make Emma Frost look completely unappealing. Is she actually only four feet tall now? And it seems like Storm should be wearing some underwear.

     Otherwise: meh.

  53. What the hell is going on with Storms shirt?

  54. I just noticed how long storm and emma’s hair is

  55. Hmmm…

    Kaare Andrews, +
    Warren Ellis on a superhero book, probably –
    Armor, +
    Jason Aaron, +
    Pointless re-numbering and use of the title adjective, "Astonishing", –
    (Seriously, "Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine" just sounds retarded out loud)

  56. Love me some, mohawk-ed Storm though, love it. 

  57. So happy about this, cause now I can stop buying fucking Astonishing x-men when they relaunch it. Ellis was destroying Whedon’s run.

  58. @rockingeek How?  Was he going into homes and burning copies of Whedon’s run?  Buying up all the copies at stores?

  59. @gobo: He was. I had to beat him back with a shovel.

    (Never read past the first issue of Ellis’ run. My Whedon/Cassaday books remain intact and awesome.)

  60. It’s crazy. I read that first issue of Ellis’ run, didn’t like, stopped reading the series, and have managed to feel cheerful on many of the days, weeks, and months that followed. 

  61. @gobo — he asked me to send in all my covers from Whedon’s run for a Deadpool variant cover of ‘No Hero.’ Bastard!

  62. No, by sitting on them.

  63. @rockingeek Well that’s not so bad, it’s not like he’s Kevin Smith (oooh topical!)

  64. Astonishing X-Men is so bland and boring now, I don’t even care if they are doing a new #1. I feel bad saying that because I love Warren Ellis; but it’s obvious he isn’t the right man to write X-Men stories. Not even a rotating cast of artists (both decent to great) can make his run any better.

    Astonishing Wolverine/Spider-Man sounds fun……in trade. Jason Aaron and Adam Kubert sounds like a fantastic team up and again Aaron could make this a lot of fun to read. But for some reason this just doesn’t sound like an ongoing read for me. Reading it all at once sounds better then in issues. That’s a first for me…

  65. It feels like the whole Marvel U is being rebooted.

  66. I pretty much will read anything that Aaron writes at this point so i’m in on the Astonishing Spider/Wolverine run. Ellis, on the other hand, has done such a bad job following up Whedon’s classic run on Astonishing I haven’t like it since Whedon left, but yet I’m still buying. I’m thinking they really should have renumbered Astonshing after Whedon left, allowing Ellis to start fresh.


  67. I’m not likely to buy either of these, honestly.


  68. I think it’s funny that people think the Astonishing brand is tarnished by anything following Whedon and Cassaday’s run.  There were two other series titled, "Astonishing X-Men" prior to Whedon and Cassaday.  None of these titles actually mean anything.

  69. I will check out the Aaron book, but I am concerned that there will be serious delays.

  70. Cool, looking forward to these. I’ve been keeping up with Astonishing (which isn’t hard to do with the delays). And this recent arc with Jiminez is really good. And it’s Jason Aaron doing another Wolverine, that’s all win and more win. I was looking to drop some books in the next few months, but Marvel keeps announcing more and more and pulling me in more and more.

  71. I remember Ellis once said something like "creators shouldn’t spend more than a year on characters they don’t own." I wish he’d take his advice. I wish he’d spend more on his creator owned work.

  72. @ABirdseysView – Except, the whole premise of the press release and initiative by Marvel is based on the fact that the title DOES mean something at this point. If Marvel’s gonna say it stands for something, then it’s a valid criticism.

    (Note: Although the criticism is valid, I don’t agree with the posters. I think Ellis is adequately following up on what Whedon set out — a self-sufficient series that is in continuity but accessible, while not directly in the line of fire of every massive event that passes by.)

    @Win — hasn’t his creator-owned stuff come out fairly regularly? Gravel, Black Summer, Ignition City, No Hero, etc. Haven’t these been coming out?

  73. I’m having the same reaction to this Storm that Ron had to lion faced beast…

  74. I won’t buy this, but it IS nice to see Beast look like Beast for a change. 

  75. @daccampo: Yeah, they have. I just don’t think they’ve been up to snuff as his previous creator-owned stuff. I don’t think they’re bad. It seems about five/six years ago when he was pretty much only working on his own characters his creator-owned work was much better. I just want something as awesome as Desolation Jones, Planetary, Transmet, Global Frequency or Red again.  

  76. @Win — well, I agree with you there. 😉

  77. I just realized something…..How awful do those costumes look for Storm and Emma? Like prostitutes on the deep end of Las Vegas. You know…..I’ve heard about.

    As much as Jason Aaron writing Spider-Man does sound interesting, let me ask you this. Who still wants a Joss Whedon ‘Astonishing Spider-Man’ comic?

    *raises hand*

  78. I feel like a wolverine/spidey team up book is Marvels way of saying "please buy this book"

  79. Titles do mean something and I’ve got the four words to prove it:

    "Jeph Loeb presents Sandman"

  80.  Spidey/Canuckle Head sounds cooler than Aaron’s lack luster Wolverine series. No, let’s call a spade a fricken spade. JASON AARON’S WOLVERINE WEAPON X SUX A GARDEN HOSE DRIBBLING EGG SMELLING WATER. Dropped it. I’m a read issue one at the stands and hold judgement, but I’m raising my eyebrows and shiftimg my eyes back and forth in advance. Prove me wrong Aaron. Lovin Scalped.


  81. Hahaha! Didn’t expect the artist to draw Emma in a Psylocke Pose. Also I’d like to mention that That Beast is beast! Now why can’t 616 Beast be like that? 
    My overall opinion on this whole attempt to recapture the magic that was Whedon’s run is that the term "Astonishing X-men" needs to just go away and have this title be a brand new adjective X-men title.

    Maybe… Astonishing @ssholes! I’d buy that.

    But seriously just go thesaurus amazing or incredible and you’ll find many suitable unused syllables that’ll work just as fine and they won’t have to keep trying to capitalize on a title that’ll probably be never as good as it was originally.

  82. Just wanted to comment that I know people who started reading X-Men with Whedon’s ‘Astonishing’ title, have kept it up through Ellis, and it’s still the only X-title they read (and still enjoy).  It follows essentially the same principle of sticking to a core group of characters on self-contained adventures, and the only thing my friends have expressed confusion about was the move to San Francisco, which probably wasn’t explained as well as it could have been, between Whedon’s last issue and Ellis’s first.  But for the most part they regard it as a continuous story that focuses on the same core group of characters month-in and month-out; there aren’t really any other X-Men books that do that now (except maybe X-Factor, though that’s so separate as to be almost its own thing).  So, basically, I can see the principle behind separating this line out from other books, and doing something similar across the board.  I think branding it specifically as ‘new-reader-friendly’ (with the resulting implication that other books aren’t) may not be the best way to go, but I can see what they’re getting at.  Now, if they could just avoid the delays. . .