Artist: John Cassaday
I have recently decided to read, and re-read certain X-Men stories, having a mixture of both classic, and modern stories, with most of them being critically acclaimed. I decided to go through some of the Astonishing X-Men series, with this being my second review on the series.
After the X-Men team-up with the Fantastic Four to take out a giant monster they are attacked by a foe closer to home... the Danger Room.
This was an amazing story, and a terrific follow-up to Gifted, as although it wasn't quite as good as Gifted, it wasn't far behind, excelling over Gifted in certain areas, whilst not quite being as good in others. Joss Whedon did however continue to give great creativity to the series with this story, as he went from a story that had some action coming out of a development, to a story with a lot of action fuelled by a development. The story had plenty of tone, and drama, also having tons of action, suspense, and mystery, which Whedon managed to balance perfectly. Whedon also managed to add subtle humour, and excitement when necessary, whilst overall making the story very deep, and interesting. I also loved the emotion that Whedon put into this story, yet again coming up with a unique concept that so genius, yet at the same time very simple, showing just how good a writer he is.
John Cassaday's art blew me away, with his artwork being just as phenomenal as it was on Gifted, if not that little bit better. The attention to detail in Cassaday's art is simply outstanding, and it's easy to understand why he doesn't usually work long stints on ongoing series. Cassaday also once again did an excellent job with the characterisations, with every character looking perfect, as well as dynamic, and interesting, with even Colossus looking amazing this time. Besides that the other brilliant thing about Cassaday's art was his action sequences, which were simply amazing, being very explosive, and exciting. The emotion was also handled perfectly, as although it was more of a fast, action paced story, Cassaday showed the characters emotions brilliantly. Colourist Laura Martin also once again did a spectacular job of adding more tone, and depth to Cassaday's art, with her vibrant style.
During Gifted a young mutant named Wing lost his powers due to the mutant cure. The start of this story would see how Wing would cope with the change, now being just an ordinary human. I felt that this sequence was very interesting, with a lot of emotion to it, showing how although there'd be mutants wanting the cure, that if forced onto mutants that don't then it could have a huge mental affect on them. I also enjoyed the continued interaction between Wing, and Armor, and how this change has affected that relationship as well, making for some awkward moments between the two, which added a lot of drama, and realism to the story.
The early part of this story would also see the X-Men team-up with the Fantastic Four to take down a giant monster in Manhattan. Now I loved this as although I'm not the biggest Fantastic Four fan in the world, I do like them, so to see them team-up with one of my favourite comic book teams was nice, especially considering the differences in how the media sees both teams, with the Fantastic Four being branded heroes, and the X-Men menaces. The interaction between the two teams was also amazing, and brilliantly handled by Whedon, who really made this a fun, and entertaining meeting. I also found the battle against the monster to be very exciting, and entertaining, with the dialogue adding yet more fun to the overall sequence.
The villain in this story would be a home grown problem, as unlike their normal foes, this time the X-Men were against their own Danger Room, which would manifest itself into the character we now know as Danger. I found this to be an extremely interesting development, and Whedon continued to make drastic changes with this. I did however feel that it was pulled off perfectly, and that it didn't just make this story great, but would introduce the character Danger into the Marvel Universe. The concept behind this development was also very interesting, and although I won't go into details as to avoid spoilers, I will say that it added a lot of drama, suspense, and mystery to the story, as well as depth, and tone. The action against Danger was also amazing, and overall this was a great story development.
This story would also see an appearance of Professor X, and although I won't go into any details as why he's involved, as to avoid spoilers, I will say what I though about his appearance. I'll start by saying that due to not following comics at this time I'm not entirely sure why Professor X was away from the group, as although I have ideas as to why he was missing, I'm not entirely sure. Anyway his appearance in this story was brilliant, adding more suspense, and drama, as well as more atmosphere, and mystery. I also loved seeing the interaction he'd have with certain characters, as well as the shocking way that his role was developed.
Although not quite as good as Gifted, this was still a phenomenal story, and a brilliant continuation to Whedon's X-Men run. It had tons of action, and excitement, as well as some emotional points as well. It also had some mystery, and suspense, and overall was simply astonishing. Due to all this I'd recommend this story time and time again, and although you can easily read this without reading Gifted I'd also recommend reading that as well, as not only is that another great story, but they have much more impact together.