Astonishing X-Men #14


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Astonishing X-Men #14


  • Words: Joss Whedon
  • Art: John Cassaday
  • Inks: John Cassaday
  • Colors: Laura Martin
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Apr 26, 2006

Emma finds something in Scott no one else could. Peter and Kitty take their relationship to new places and Logan eats a bowl of cereal—and it’s all exciting!

On the surface, issue #14 is a story about an innocuous night at the X-Mansion. But, as is always the case in great literature, looks can be deceiving. The dark side of the White Queen emerges when she leads Cyclops to his "Bug Room" and a shocking revelation. While this relationship is falling apart, Kitty and Peter’s is growing to some comedic, if not heartwarming, ends. And while the other X-Men are off indulging in their personal relationships, Beast gets an unexpected visitor and Agent Brand and Breakworld are making some startling discoveries. And notice the lack of Wolverine?

Author Orson Scott Card once referred to Whedon as something of a modern day Shakespeare. With his ability to balance both high and low comedy with serious drama and intrigue, Card apparently believes Whedon is one of the greats of literature. And I have to admit, reading Astonishing X-Men makes me want to agree.

From Emma’s complex range of emotions regarding her beau to Scott’s hidden weaknesses and this issue’s revelatory nature regarding the X-Men’s leader, we see the X-Men in a new light. Though there is a weak point regarding Scott’s ability to hide something from some of the most powerful telepaths in the world, I’m sure, based on past issues, Whedon will clear it all up before the story is said and done. Beyond the characterization however, the story is fascinating. We learn one of Scott’s darkest secrets and gasp at the knowledge. We see Kitty have a phasing accident and laugh out loud. The tension builds as the characters go through their night, oblivious, making us feel sorrow, worry, and excitement leading to what can only be described as a cliffhanger ending. And that is precisely the type of ending a good comic book writer will give his or her readers.

Where Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men is in a class alone, it wouldn’t be if not for Cassaday. Because, remember folks, in comics a good story isn’t everything. The art must match the words. And Cassaday’s art does just that. His work is simple and stunning. He steers clear of any unnecessary lines, shading, or crosshatching but instead focuses on the whole image of the panels creating an almost real world, cinematic feel. And though he does focus on the page as a whole, each character has a distinct look. It is clear who is who, something that is not always the case, even when considering some comic book greats. Put succinctly, as is Cassaday’s art, there is no flaw.

Whedon and Cassaday are making the highest quality product. A comic book like this helps strengthen the respect the industry receives and oftentimes deserves. The drama and the suspense are building and when it hits its fever pitch, it will explode in a fiery ball of classic comic book goodness that will long be remembered by any who picks it up.

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