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 fourth review on the series.
After being beamed onto a S.W.O.R.D., the X-Men head to Breakworld to prevent the Earth's destruction.
This was a phenomenal story, and although it still doesn't quite beat Gifted, it is the next best story from Joss Whedon's run on this series. Whedon did a tremendous job at brining his time on the X-Men to an end, and although the set-up to this story hurt Torn, the story itself didn't disappoint. It was a very interesting, and dramatic story, with plenty of suspense, and emotion, as well as some mystery. It also had some fantastic action, as well as great character development. The story also had tons of depth, and tone, which really helped make the story that much more gritty, and dynamic. I also loved how Whedon toned down the comedy, whilst still adding the odd humorous line, making the story feel as serious as it should. The dialogue during this story was also expertly handled, with every interaction, and discussion feeling very natural, and realist, and it's a shame Whedon didn't spend longer on this series.
The art from John Cassaday was once again spectacular, and Cassaday kept up his high standered of quality right to the end. The way Cassaday drew every character was amazing, with all of them looking outstanding, as usual. I also loved how Cassaday drew the additional characters in the Giant-Size issue, especially how he drew Spider-Man, who looked as dynamic as ever, making me want to see him work on a Spidey title. The detail was also brilliant, with most of the art being near flawless, with only minor imperfections during the Giant-Size issue, as with everything that was going on, the odd side character looked slightly weird, but overall most of Cassaday's art was amazing. The action sequences were also handled perfectly, being very explosive, and exciting, making this finale even more dramatic. The emotion was also perfectly shown, and I'm overall ecstatic that Cassaday was on this run alongside Whedon.
The main focus of this story would be the X-Men going with Abigail Brand to the Breakworld in an attempt to save the Earth. I've enjoyed seeing the Breakworld in other stories, but this has to be the best, as although the first appearance of anything's usually regarded highly, the art, and tone of the place was just amazing. I also loved the different type of people who lived on the planet, and how they lived in general. It was also nice to see Ord return, even if he didn't have a huge role, and the other Breakworlders like Kruun, and Aghanne were also interesting, as well as very different, adding more depth to their world.
The last story, Torn would reveal Colossus to be the X-Man who'll destory the Breakworld, but this story would shed more light on the prophesy. I won't go into any details as to avoid spoilers, but I will say what I thought of the development. When it was revealed I found it to be very interesting, and appropriate, as due to Colossus being brought back to life at the start of Whedon, and Cassaday's run, it's appropriate that he's heavily involved in this concluding story, especially considering Ord of the Breakworld brought him back to life. I also loved how Colossus reacted to this knowledge, and how although certain other X-Men seemed to know the stakes, that Colossus was conflicted about what to do, making things really interesting.
Torn would also see Cyclops loose his powers, and that would continue into this story. Now I didn't want to talk about this during my review of Torn, to avoid spoilers, but seems it continued into this story I felt that I would mention it, as well as what I thought of it, and how it affected this story. The fact that Cyclops didn't have his powers was a very interesting development in my opinion, as although it's cool to see him use his optic-blast, this allowed him to show his true ability as a leader, as well as a good man (as after more recent events it's nice to be reminded of what Cyclops was). I also loved how the other X-Men reacted to Cyclops in this state, and overall it added more drama, also adding a surprise at one point.
The final part of this story would be a Giant-Size issue, which would also see the heroes on Earth. Once again I won't go into any plot details as to avoid spoilers, but I will say what I thought of this addition. I loved seeing all these additional characters, and especially with it starting with Spider-Man interacting with X-Men members Storm, Iceman, and Nightcrawler, who previously hadn't featured in this series. I also enjoyed seeing the Fantastic Four again, as well as certain Avengers members, and other X-Men members who didn't feature in this series prior. I also loved how Whedon intergrated them in a way that best helped the story, and he certainly went all out to end his run on a very high note.
This was an astonishing conclusion to one of the bes X-Men runs in the last decade, and I'm glad that I finally got to experience it. The story itself had everything you would want from a comic book story, being suspenseful, dramatic, emotional, exciting, as well as having some mystery to it as well. It's extremely easy to recommend this story, and I'd also highly recommend the rest of Whedon, and Cassadays's run, as it's simply outstanding, and any comic book fan, whether a X-Men fan or not will love it.