Overview

Giant Size Astonishing X-Men #1

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Giant Size Astonishing X-Men #1

Credits

  • Words: Joss Whedon
  • Art: John Cassaday
  • Inks: John Cassaday
  • Colors: Laura Martin
  • Story Title: Gone
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $4.99
  • Release Date: May 28, 2008

It all comes down to this… Can the X-Men save the Earth, save Kitty, and save the Breakworld from itself?

More than a little late and with the ending partially spoiled months ago in another X-Men comic (although with full permission from author Joss Whedon) the oversize finale to Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men run finally arrives. Was it worth the wait? Yes… and maybe a little bit no.

With Colossus in the Breakworld’s power core and seemingly destined to destroy it, the whole truth is finally revealed. Will he do what Aghanne wants or not? Meanwhile, the Breakworld’s ultimate weapon has been fired at the Earth with Kitty Pryde trapped inside. Many of Earth’s heroes gather to try to stop it but in the end the X-Men may have to stand or fall on their own.

After more than four years the saga finally comes to a close with bangs, and whimpers and tears. Mysteries are explained, heroes go heroic, sacrifices are made, there is death and emotion by the shovelful and, in the end, Whedon puts almost all the toys back in the toy box for the next guy to play with. Some of the toys may have a few scratches on them but, for the most part, they are all still intact. Overall, though, the wait for the final issue was worth it. Whedon does the thing that he does best – craft believable dialogue and scenes of strength and poignancy with just the right amounts of humor thrown in for good measure. Whedon has also given the Marvel Universe several terrific new characters – most notably Agent Brand and the young X-Man Armor – hopefully future writers will continue to use these characters to their full potential.

The story, however, is not without its flaws. The slow pace has led to some plot holes in the story and while I was carried away by the story on the first reading, on the second reading I found myself wondering how certain characters had learned things that I do not recall being in evidence in the story. Also, it is not really made clear exactly how the Earth-based Marvel heroes were taken out. And then there is the fact that the revelation of which X-Man would not be returning from the mission had already been revealed. While the details of her fate are revealed here it still robs a little of the impact going in.

Artist John Cassaday finishes off the story though by pulling out all the stops. His comic book realism art does an amazing job at depicting the mind-bending climax. He also handles most of the figures and facial expressions beautifully – although his Reed Richards looks a bit odd in a couple of panels. There really is not much that can be said about Cassaday’s artwork that has not been said before. He is a master at his craft and renders figures that are human and believable while at the same time rendering some of the most unbelievable technology and alien landscapes.

With an ending that was slightly robbed and some odd little plot holes that perhaps only the anal retentive reviewer may nitpick about, overall this saga has been a wild ride and an emotional rollercoaster. No matter what else, Whedon has gotten to the heart of the X-Men. He knows and understands what makes them tick and, as he proved with his writing for television and movies, he understands the vagaries of human life and the consequences that come from living. Would any of us have it any other way?

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