Thursday, July 1, 2010

Astonishing X-Men #34 Review + News

Astonishing X-Men #34
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Phil Jimenez
Before I begin I just have to say that it's a weird feeling to throw a bookmark in Xenogenesis to return to Exogenetic, an arc I've mostly forgotten about at this point. It's also difficult to state both arcs' names without fucking it up; like seriously Ellis your next arc's title should stay away from the word "Gene" and anything that uses "x", "e", and "o".

This issue opens with Cyclops getting pissy with Beast over keeping notes on what experiments he's tried to restore mutantkind to its former glory because the enemy's managed to get a hold of them. It's pretty weak considering anyone who's just taken Bio in high school knows that scientists fucking LOVE their notes. It's difficult to believe that Cyclops would expect anything other than meticulous note-taking when it comes to Beast's experiments. You'll notice while this is going on that the divide between the team members is shown with Moral McCoy having other currently moral characters behind him and Cyclops having the amoral ones behind him [see it here]. Anyway, from here the fight evolves to Beast fucking giving it to Scott ab
out his current attitude:

And that's the first time I've liked Beast in years. Beast's little rant reminds me of [this post] I made on X-Factor: Nation X about how it seemed like David was just using his characters as his mouthpieces to vent his criticisms on Utopia. Well, it seems like this is another example with Ellis using Beast to criticize how Cyclops is way too much of an asshole these days. Which I support because Cyclops really has been a mega-douche as of late.

Anyway, after this Cyclops and Beast share a smile and what seems like an understanding with Beast proceeding to tell him that he's not a killer and the way he's been acting just isn't him. Which is much better executed than Fraction's Beast who is just constantly drama queening out at Cyclops without ever seeming to try for a real sit-down discussion about what's going on.

Following this there's another monster-from-the-past attack as a genetic mix between Sauron and Brood attacks the team minus Beast and Cyclops who a
re continuing their heart-to-heart elsewhere. While this is going on Emma asks about Sauron and his abilities with Hisako and Storm letting her know that it's him and that he transforms. From there Emma does the telepath thing that I love so much:

And brings the Sauron/Brood hybrid back to human-ish mode. From there Cyclops and Beast catch up to the team and Cyclops instructs everyone to get off the ship they're currently in to the X-Plane and that him and Emma will be there in a second. That second being used to quickly share a kiss with Emma and then blast out the head of the mutant being used for whatever evil purposes that we saw last issue (he apologizes to it first at least).

Next we have the X-Men in the X-Jet trying to figure out where they are, and it's Storm who tells them they're in a remote part of Japan. She knows this because her being attuned to weather systems makes it so that she recognizes individual differences (and she's been to Japan before so she'd know what it feels like). Definitely an interesting aspect of her powers that I'd never heard before, but it makes sense.

The X-Men then wait in their ship as they watch the enemy's ship go into a mountain headquarters which they follow it into. Inside is a massive zombie workshop and watching the X-Plane enter on a screen is a bald-headed guy in a wheelchair. Yeah, so probably look forward to Xavier clone fight scene next issue?

Conclusion: Despite being a severely late issue to an arc that's almost been forgotten, it was still a great issue of Astonishing joy that beats out the lame crap being served out in most of the other areas of the X-Verse. The art is enjoyable as ever because Jimenez on art for anything is a genius move. Also, Ellis seems to have a great handle on the characters these days, particularly Emma who he spotlighted quite a bit this issue, and I ju
st wish more people would tune into his take on the X-Men because it's way more believable than what's going on in Fraction's universe these days. And now for the news:

X-Men: Curse of the Mutants Saga #1
This isn't technically a review since saga's are just a compilation of previews, info, and interviews. Basically, it's all news. Except for my first comments which is concerning the cover [click here for a bigger version] and Namor on it. Um. If that neckline dropped any further we'd be seeing his sperm whale. Which is not a complaint, it's more like a suggestion. Namor's only asset to the X-Men is his constant state of skimpy dress, and I'm here to say I demand more of it for the rest of '10.

This saga starts with interviews and previews showing us who the major players of this arc are. Remember those "We are the X-Men" promos? Apparently those character are the major players. They're sort of a random, mismatched bunch; the worst being this guy--->

Apparently this marks X-Man joining the X-Men. Yeah, his "meh" face about it pretty much reflects mine. I really don't see his appeal, and now with his robe-like coat and his white streak and his older-looking face I just get a gross Hugh Hefner vibe.

The end of this saga is pages of major players in the X-Universe with biographies written by creators like Carey, David, and Yost. The players covered are Cyclops, Rogue, Gambit, Magneto, Multiple Man, Wolverine, Daken, Emma Frost, and...Karma. Yeah, her inclusion in this confuses me.

I have to say that Emma's page frustrated the fuck out of me [Here!] Done by the writer who did that awful Origins one-shot on Emma and art done by Brooks who I consider on Dodson's level of being too cartoon-y and cutesy to be taken seriously. What's worse is on the other side is Madrox done by Peter David with Pablo Raimondi's art which is as goddamned gorgeous as ever. The worst part is this attempt at redeeming Emma's days teaching the Hellions:

Yeah, she was a real softie when it came to the Hellions:

For heaven's sake, it's ok for her to have been an evil bitch.
It's ok if she's one now. Trying to redeem her further won't make the boards like her or make them stop bitching about her being a homewrecking whore. Just let her be herself, stop trying to make her Jean.
  • In other Emma-related news, she's been definitely cast now in X-Men First Class with Alice Eve taking the role. A Google search on her has shown that I definitely could believe her playing a nasty ice queen with drag queen flair. [Source]
  • Concerning the absence of this month's Gotham City Sirens, um, really? They made a last minute change from an Ivy arc with Dini to a Catwoman arc with Bedard for a reason that I'm not aware of, and this arc is completely bland. Bedard's stuff is generally bland really, and I'm just excited to see this arc wrap up as soon as possible.
  • Remember when I was an ass about the week delay we're having for the next Second Coming chapter? Apparently the delay is due to Mike Choi's grandmother passing, so my bad, apologies to those who were offended by my bitching, I didn't realize.
  • Be sure to check in next week, there's three books of massive importance coming: X-Force #27, the before last chapter of Second Coming; X-Men #1, the start of vampirepolooza; and most importantly the return of the Young Avengers with Childrens' Crusade.


Mtti said...

yeah whats up with the "Emma is a bitch with a heart of gold"

The Emma I know (Grant Morrison) either is a bitch or tolerates you, unless you proved youself by either piecing her shattered body back together or sticking her 5000 feet underground.

Research being the sponser of this post, try redeem her now instead of rewriting a characters history might as well have an Emma Frost: First Class series. It seems to be the in thing to rewrite or "flesh out" characters history these days.

hasoon said...

Ugh ugh ugh

Taking Frost's fangs doesn't make her MORE likable, it makes her LESS so.


Wonder Man said...

Yeah, I feel like they screwed up Emma's origin. She was a nice person at all

Luis Alberto said...

I liked Astonishing X-men, so far it's one of the best X-books right now and should be promoted as the main series, since Uncanny X-men is still the worse in years.
I was surprised since as I know Emma had a little encounter with Sauron before, so it's weird that she doesn't remember that... But I didn't played too much attention to that because she had a wonderfull moment using her powers, that proves to the readers that she can fight and it's not the pretty doll of the X-men.
There's nothing wrong in have a dark past, especially if that past make her so special and complex, so I don't know why they are trying to sell the idea that she was a puppet for the hellfire club. I love Emma for being a bitch yes, but besides of that, she's by far more intelligent than, at least, a half of the current mutant population with some unorthodox methods that makes her even more interesting.
I like that now she has a soft side, but not at the point that now they want to put her as the pure and white soul of the xmen or something like that, because that's not Emma Frost.
Anyway, great review as always!

X-23 said...

Luis Alberto, I totally agree - Emma kicked Sauron's ass in the past, yeah, it WAS a pathetic attempt of a comic book with horrible art and awful teenager-like Emma, but still. Ellis, take a look around you, man... I love him, but jeez.

It's an amazing review, by the way, I am looking forward for the reviews of the books to be released soon.