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Review of Astonishing X-Men 25 (4 stars) July 18, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
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Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Having not read any of Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men run, and having only read Uncanny from Messiah Complex forward, I jumped onto this issue as a fairly new X-reader. I’ll be the first to admit, this one issue was better than the entire recent “hippie” arc of Uncanny. Given, not a lot happens, but we get a great deal of characterization. I’ve never been a huge mutant fan; I’ll take a good old-fashioned scientific-accident-spawned superhero any day. But if this series doesn’t finally make me an admirer of our evolutionary replacements, I don’t know what will.

Most of the issue is composed of “hi, I’m this character,” but Ellis does this in a way that is so intriguing, that it is hard to explain what makes it so good. He also establishes the new status quo by introducing several of the new San Francisco elements, such as a new HQ, a new X-Jet, and the X-Men’s working relationship with the SFPD (along with some cool “civilian uniforms” in the process). Of course, sealing the deal is the introduction of a new sci-fi murder mystery. Essentially, someone has been trying to artificially induce mutations after the events of M-Day by giving people a third set of chromosomes (humans and mutants only have two sets) which contain the X-gene. Now, one of these “artificial mutants” has murdered another and is attempting to leave the planet.

Throw in the beautiful artwork by Simone and Simone (Bianchi and Peruzzi that is) and this becomes a thoroughly entertaining issue. Bianchi’s pencils not only maintain a lifelike look, but his characters exude emotion. Most good comic book artists can convey a lot of emotion in the character’s faces, but Bianchi uses the whole body for this task. Further pleasing the eye, Peruzzi’s colors maintain an almost painted portrait look; fellow artists such as Marko Djurdjevic and Esad Ribic come to mind when looking at Peruzzi’s work. The only real complaint I have is about the various X-vehicles, as they all look a bit too alien. (Heck, if I saw one of those flying around, I’d think we been invaded by extraterrestrials from a bad sci-fi movie.) Still, this is something I’m willing to put up with in lieu of their other high-quality work.

This is an all-around perfect jumping point. Anyone who needs an excuse to start reading an X-title: this is it.

-LOTRKing

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