Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Astonishing X-Men: Gifted Review

Writer: Joss Whedon
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. This however is the first modern one I have reached since I made this decision, and I plan on reading/reviewing more from this series.


The announcement of a mutant cure rocks the mutant population with some wanting it, and some like the X-Men against it. In their attempt to find out how this cure came about the X-Men face an alien from the Breakworld named Ord who really hates mutants, and especially the X-Men.


This was a outstanding story, and although I loved it the first time round, I loved it even more after re-reading it. Joss Whedon shows throughout this story why he's such a great storyteller, as the story was perfectly structured, and the characters perfectly depicted throughout. The suspense, and drama that Whedon added to the story was also amazing, with there also being a hint of mysteriousness as well. The way Whedon handled the action throughout this story was also brilliant, and I loved how he even managed to add some fun to this story as well, making it very diverse, and interesting. Besides this Whedon also added great emotion, with the split in opinions adding to the atmosphere, and tone of the story. I also loved the dialogue, which was very fresh, and unique, adding great tone, and atmosphere to the story, as well as yet more drama, and overall Whedon did a great job with this story.

The art in this story was simply phenomenal, and although I've seen John Cassaday produce some amazing art over the years, I feel that this is the best work that he has ever done. The detail was simply astonishing, with everything looking wonderful. The way he drew the characters was also brilliantly, with everyone looking amazing. I did however find his drawings of Colossuslooked a bit weird near the end of the story, as he looked a little awkward, and unrealistic. This however was a small problem, and Cassaday made up for it time, and time again, with great character emotion, in which you could easily tell their feelings, lots of depth, and outstanding action, which was exciting, and explosive. I also have to give credit to colourist Laura Martin, who's colours were simply beautiful, adding so much tone, and texture to Cassaday's pencils, and the story in general.

I thought that I'd next go onto talk about the team, as with the start of each new X-Men series there is usually an introduction to it's roster, and this story was no different. The roster in this story would be Cyclops leading, with Emma Frost, Wolverine, Beast, Kitty Pryde, Lockheed, and eventually Colossus. The way the team was introduced was very subtle, with everyone getting development time, allowing for a natural tone. It was also nice to see Cyclops, and Wolverine getting along, as although they fight at one point, they seemed to get along better overall, with this being one of few times prior to Regenesis. It was also brilliant that Emma had a doubter in Kitty, as given her background, especially with Kitty it's natural, also adding a possible development route later in the series. The teamwork in the story was also great, and Whedon handled that aspect of the story perfectly, as he did with everything else.

The main story centred around the announcement of a mutant cure, with Dr. Kavita Raodescribing mutation as a disease. I loved the concept behind this, and loved the tension that it added to the story. I also enjoyed the division that it would give in the mutant population, with even one of the X-Men not sure of whether it's a good or bad thing, which was natural, and realistic, as there'd bound to be some mutants that'd want rid of what they'd consider a curse. I also felt that this direction, although risky adds great atmosphere, and tone to the series, which paid off, as Whedon handled everything about it perfectly, making every thing exciting, and interesting, as well as dynamic.

The villain in this story would be an alien from the Breakworld named Ord. Now I've seen the Breakworld in other stories, but this would be their first introduction. I found Ord to be a very interesting character, and although he won't rank as one of the best X-Men villains ever, he added a lot of excitement, and suspense to the story, and the fight he'd have with the X-Men was outstanding. I also found the reasoning behind his attack on the mutants, and X-Men to be very interesting, and exciting, with his connection to the cure having the same affect.

This story would also see the return of beloved X-Man Colossus, following his death in The Uncanny X-Men #390 where he sacrificed himself to stop the Legacy Virus. Although I didn't read this story when it was originally out I have to thank it for bringing one of my favourite X-Man back from the dead, as although I feel that comic book deaths aren't always as meaningful as they should be, he was brought back in a very interesting way, and we've had some great stories with him since. Besides this I really enjoyed Colossus' appearance in this story, and although it won't go down as one of his best occasions, with the artwork being awkward at times, what do you expect considering he's just returned.

This story would also see the government involved, with both S.H.I.E.L.D., and then new organisation, S.W.O.R.D. making appearances. Now I won't go into any detail over their appearance in this story, as although some of them are easy to guess I want to avoid spoilers. I've liked S.W.O.R.D. ever since I started collecting comics, and although they aren't one of my favourite groups, it's always nice to see them, especially in an X-Men story. I did however feel their appearance in this story to be a little different from what I've read before, and although they did act like government employees, being similar to S.H.I.E.L.D., they still seemed slightly different than usual. I do however assume this is due to this being their first appearance, along with the fact that they know none of the characters personally. Overall however their appearance was a nice addition to the story, adding more mystery, and suspense.

Final Verdict

This was a brilliant, and amazing story, and Joss Whedon started his X-Men run perfectly. The story contains some interesting, and unique concepts, which add tone, and depth to it. The story also has some amazing action, as well as being fun, and entertaining. Due to all this I'd easily recommend this story to anyone, as it's one of the best modern X-Men stories and well worth reading.

Rating: 10/10