Overview

Astonishing X-Men #22

Review

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Astonishing X-Men #22

Credits

  • Words: Joss Whedon
  • Art: John Cassaday
  • Inks: John Cassaday
  • Colors: Laura Martin
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Aug 22, 2007

Two planets are at stake along with the life and future of one X-Man. The team is surrounded by enemies and making deals with the devil. Just another day at the office.

As writer Joss Whedon begins wrapping up his run on this title he continues to prove that he has a fascinating way of using battle and tactics to illustrate character. Nowhere is that more apparent than with this issue as he brings the X-Men team back together to face an enormous threat.

Many battles are fought on many levels as Emma faces down Danger and proves that the White Queen always knows her enemies better than they do themselves. Beast continues his verbal sparring with Agent Brand and, as always, winds up on top, while Kitty and Colossus actually manage a quiet interlude. All of this winds up in bringing the team back together to face the ultimate challenge – the missile pointed at the heart of Earth with Powerlord Kruun’s finger on the trigger. The X-Men are used to hard battles and sacrifices but the price of this one may be steeper than they expected.

Astonishing X-Men is certainly one of the most balanced superhero comic books on the stands today. Action is perfectly matched with character with neither outweighing the other. This title is, however, starting to bog down a bit regrettably. With a bi-monthly schedule that became erratic in the past the story arc seems to draw out interminably long. As much as all the wonderful little character pieces are to read they are starting to feel like they are slowing down the ultimate resolution to the tale. While the journey is still fun this reviewer is tempted to borrow an immortal cartoon phrase… "Are we there yet, Papa Smurf?"

Artist John Cassaday also gets to continue his lush, detailed drawing work. As fine as Cassady’s work is, however, cheers must continue to be given to colorist Laura Martin. With each scene, Martin lights it with different shades and conveys more symbolism than any artist would have thought possible. She does this with such striking subtlety, however, never overdoing things with ham-fisted red washes or too much dark coloring. No, each character is perfectly shaded against a perfectly chosen color background to highlight every nuance.

In the end, it would seem that Astonishing X-Men will be one of those stories that is going to read better in trade… or at least when it is finished. Being able to sit down and digest the whole thing in one sitting will probably improve the flow of the story and also lessen feelings that it is bogging down. With only a few more issues to go readers can be assured of the Papa Smurf answer… "Not far now."

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