Friday, June 26, 2009

Astonishing X-men #30 Review

Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Simone Bianchi
To start off, the first thing I noticed about this issue was the change in the positions of Emma and Storm on the cover which was a REALLY smart move. Before Storm looked sort of confusing and Emma was crunched into the background, and it was just Humberto Ramos positioning. What is Humberto Ramos positioning you may ask?

It's cramping people together and not using your space wisely. Some characters are barely seen (X-23 is right by Colossus' arm, blink and you'll miss her) and then some characters take up too much room (Colossus). Many readers seem to think he's a "wonderful" artist, but fucking A, he positions characters like I did when I was 12! This man is paid to deliver, so why not criticize an inability to make wise use of the space. That's Drawing 101 shit! I know, I just took it last semester.
Anyway, props to whoever was in charge of the cover change. Now to the story!

The X-Men are confronting Forge, he's very obviously out of his mind and they talk about the whole "new mutants" thing. We know Forge is crazy, and he apparently displays it openly.

In a metal thong. Good f$%^ing heavens.
The X-Men continue discussing how Forge did not "make" new mutants like he thinks he did and the unthinkable happens.

Forge insults Emma, and she says nothing! I'm sorry, she is not above kicking a man when he's down and she should've went on about how no one cares for Forge. Later on in the issue it was made clear it was an insecurity of his, so it would've been an effective shot.

So Forge, being the boring person that he is, tries to make a case for his sanity all the while threatening to sic his Cenobites on the X-Men should they tick him off. It's really mundane and predictable.
Something to note though is the poor quality of the art. The sharpness of previous issues is really absent and everything has a flawed watercolor feel to it. That and Emma looks like a cross between the Little Mermaid and a bad anime character.

In the middle of redundant plots moves, something even more unfortunate occurs.

Ellis tries to be trendy. It fails miserably.
Still here, Hisako? That's a shame.
The phone call is from Abby Brand and she's got a big honkin' laser pointed at Forge's location since she knows there's a ghost box in there. For the first time, I genuinely have love for Miss Brand because in this case the X-Men are playing it like stupid motherfuckers. After seeing his freak creations who have power dampeners, who's very existence demonstrates mental instability within him, they charge and note that they're losing their powers. Even if they succeeded in beating Forge, the fact is they took a huge risk and very unprepared.

Wolverine cuts off Forge's leg, apparently the source of the power inhibitor. And heaven and hell open up before us:

First, jesus Ellis, did you not pay attention to Whedon's writing? Hisako is meant to be generally levelheaded and refreshingly human. Not a fucking dits! Even if you wrote her right, Hisako, WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?!

Second, I have to say it always excites me to no end when I see a telepath reach for their head. Go Miss Frost! Liquify Forge's synapses!

In desperation, Forge opens the Ghost Box and sends his new mutants to keep the X-Men there.
But the X-Men do something I love every time I see it:

They flash their powers in a group shot and oh the nostalgia because this is the scene that plays in my head every time I see something like this.

Meanwhile, Storm tries to appeal to Forge to get out of there. And then this gem shows up:

Group shot and homoerotic undertones!
But seriously boys, keep the spanking in the bedroom.
Problem going on here is the team is strapped for time since Beast said for Brand to lock on the phone's position and shoot the laser there soon. Storm gives up on Forge and blasts a path for them with her weather powers. In a scene I feel is so reminiscent of the animated series, I just wish she would've shouted out one of her weather haikus. "Thunder, destroy the freaks my ex-lover has created!" For real, I would've cried tears of joy to see that.

The team leaves, the laser is shot, and Forge is "dead" until he's needed again. From there, he will have some insane explanation for his surviving a massive laser. Anyway, the ghost box teleports the laser beam, frying those who would hope to invade earth and the mission is done. Things wrap up in conversation, finishing the Ororo/Scott conflict built up earlier and other things. The end for now.

Overall, the art has suffered a lot this issue. Plus, yet again Astonishing is hindered by a slow artist, not that I don't think he's phenomenally talented, but he's slow. And yet again, we had the problems of delays that make people think that Astonishing is now a subpar book that most have dropped. Ellis writes more plot-based than character-based in my opinion and it shows in his inability to write Emma or Hisako. Unfortunately, he chose a plot going over M-Day AGAIN, which was overdone when it started, but now it's ridiculously mundane. Still, as subpar as the arc is, Astonishing is still better and will always continue to be better than Fraction's Uncanny or anyone in recent year's Uncanny. I'd honestly choose Astonishing over a lot of the other X-Books, delays and all because it's closest to giving the A-Game that Morrison was all about when he was doing New X-Men.

Speaking of New X-Men, seems Bianchi is thankfully leaving and PHIL JIMENEZ is taking over as artist. He had a stint on New X-Men way back when and it was HEAVEN. And he probably won't be a delay-y kind of guy since I believe this was during the bi-weekly period. Seriously, I'm ridiculously excited for him to come aboard and restore Astonishing to its former glory.

Not to ruin the positive mood, but am I the only one bothered by Ororo's mutating head ornament thing? It's a living thing that is growing and now resembles a tick! Possibly the subject of Ellis' upcoming arcs? Here's hoping!

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