Astonishing X-Men #13


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Astonishing X-Men #13


  • Words: Joss Whedon
  • Art: John Cassaday
  • Inks: John Cassaday
  • Colors: Laura Martin
  • Story Title: Torn
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Feb 22, 2006

Day of M has taken its toll on Xavier’s School but this small group of X-Men has bigger things to worry about. They just don’t know it yet.

Joss Whedon returns to this title after his hiatus and a lot has happened in the Marvel Universe since he’s been gone. In this issue, he picks up his plot threads and adds a few new ones to once again weave his tale.

After the battle with Danger, and the events of House of M, Scott Summers, Emma Frost, Kitty Pryde, Peter Rasputin, Hank McCoy, and Logan have already begun the process of adjusting and adapting to their new situations. Likewise, Agent Brand of S.W.O.R.D. is renewing the commitment to her mission. After all, there are still mutants left in the world...It looks to be the calm before the storm, however, as the White Queen owes a debt and now the new Hellfire Club has come to collect. The club’s new leader, the mysterious Perfection, is starting to put their plan into motion and the result will not be good for the X-Men.

This issue picks up so seamlessly from where Joss Whedon left off, readers would think that only a month, or at most two, had passed between issues #12 and #13. In fact, the tone and pacing of this story is a textbook example of a rest period between the end of one climactic story arc and the beginning of another. What readers find with "Torn" is Whedon adjusting his two-year story arc to the recent Marvel Universe changes. He compliments this with a series of quiet character moments as well. Kitty and Peter’s story sees significant development in a direction that fans of the two characters will likely cheer while Emma’s story moves along more sinister lines.

This issue is note-for-note a perfect resting story but that is its one small problem for me. Despite the fact that Whedon has chosen to continue the numbering on this series, there has been a significant gap of months between issues #12 and #13. Because of this, a resting issue was not as necessary as it is on a monthly comic. With the time gap, I had a bit of expectation that Whedon would hit the ground running and throw the readers headlong into the next new adventure. Instead he gives us quiet moments and no big fight scenes. Thankfully, to counter this, Whedon does infuse the story with a high degree of both psychological and emotional tension.

In addition to Joss Whedon, artist John Cassaday makes his triumphant return to the title. Cassaday’s artwork is as flawless as usual and he handles the big, bold statements with as much care as he does the small, personal ones.

It would also be fair to mention Laura Martin’s wonderful color work. She has been consistently perfect throughout this run and continues to use her palette to set the moods for every scene.

Astonishing X-Men #13 might not be the most perfect jumping-on point for new readers but the previous twelve issues are available in pricier hardcover editions and more affordable trade paperbacks. As it stands, however, fans new and old can rest assured that Whedon and Cassaday’s sabbatical from this title has done nothing to dull their talent. Prepare to be astonished all over again.

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