Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Astonishing X-Men #14
writer: Joss Whedon
artist: John Cassaday
published by Marvel Comics

The X-Men are in trouble. We, the readers, know that a new incarnation of the Hellfire Club is gunning for them, bolstered by their catspaw, the White Queen. For those of us who read Grant Morrison's run on New X-Men and Whedon's previous season on Astonishing X-Men know that Emma Frost is one formidable superbitch.
Emma finally turns it on in this issue, taking her lover Scott Summers apart piece by piece. Not in a violent way -- even though she could if she wanted to. No, Emma Frost is too subtle for that. She takes him apart from the inside, undermining his confidence and ability to lead...and then finally forcing him to confront his deepest, darkest fear.
What's left isn't worth a fart in the wind.
There's some great character moments in the book, including a humorous interlude where Shadowcat loses control of her powers during an encounter with Colossus. We're also soon to get an answer about just what Ord from the Breakworld was talking about when he said an X-Man was destined to destroy his world (maybe). But Whedon and Cassaday keep the focus on the pairing of Emma Frost and Scott Summers...and how she's using her own love for the leader of the X-Men to destroy him.
So far, Whedon's run has been...well, astonishing. Now he's kicked it up a notch. The rich characterization and dialogue in this issue has equalled anything that Morrison offered, building on his material as well.
If you're not buying Astonishing X-Men, get your ass out there and get the collections of the first two storylines. Catch up with your favorite mutants and the best writer to handle them in a long time.

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