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Review of Astonishing X-Men 26 (4 stars) August 13, 2008

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

First off, I love the cover. Bianchi’s interpretation of Beast is a thousand times better than many of the recent ones I’ve seen. Almost everyone else makes him look like a walking cat. But while I enjoy the cover, I have to wonder, why does it feature Beast when this issue does not? Mehh, oh well.

The story picks up in Chaparanga, the “spaceship graveyard.” While the entirety of the issue is about the X-Men dealing with the “triploid” they’ve tracked there, it still manages to be a great read, due largely to the characters and the art. Ellis continues his mastery of being able to provide distinctness to each character. As an example of his work, up until last issue, I had only ever heard of Armor, now I already think she is a very interesting character. Likewise, Ellis’ is finally able to relate to us why Cyclops will sometimes resort to killing. I’ve heard that he has ordered a kill or two recently in other X-books, and fans have been complaining that he was acting out of character. Well, if you want an answer, you’ll find it here.

“Team Simone and Simone” continue to do a spectacular job in the art department. Every panel looks like a painting and every character looks great. I’m not sure whose work I enjoy more: Bianchi’s pencils that convey the many actions scene of this issue, as well as make each character individual, or Peruzzi’s colors which give the book a beautiful tone, and create the painted look mentioned earlier. Either way, Astonishing X-Men has to be one of the most beautiful books on the market.

Going back to the plot, as the X-Men find the triploid, he is trying to power up a dead ship. As he begins to do so, the power source looks like some kind of mechanical cube (like a Borg Cube, but much smaller), but perhaps the more odd part, as it powers up, what looks like miniature Roman columns, and even beings that resemble miniature Dr. Manhattans appear around the cube. This confused me more than anything else this issue, and I hope we learn the story behind the columns and “mini-men,” and that they weren’t just an element that looked sci-fi-y and cool. One other mystery introduced is “The Annex.” Just as the X-Men are about to capture the triploid, he remarks that they cannot stop “The Annex” and then commits suicide. While The Annex are likely the creators of the triploids, I wonder what their purpose was in creating them. Also, what do they need in space? This mystery keeps getting better and better, and I’ll definitely stick around to find out what happens next.