Archive for the ‘Cyclops’ Category

X-Statix #26

April 17, 2015

X-Statix 26Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
October 2004
***

A fairly blatant ripoff of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, as the team gets KIA with Mr. S & Tike A. gunned down in a suicide charge. It would’ve worked better if they hadn’t held each other at arm’s length since the retitling. Or if the run’s last two years had been compressed into one. Ah well.

last issue: X-Statix #25
continued in X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #1 of 5

also indexed for Oct. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #4
Daredevil #63
Fantastic Four #517
Secret War #3 of 5

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X-Force #116

March 7, 2015

X-Force 116Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
May 2001
*****

Another excellent premiere issue in Marvel ’00s radical re-envisioning. Since the ’90s, Marvel’s mutants have been ubiquitous & cool; here they’re treated like athletes & celebrities. Allred provides a great ironic-pop style. And the subversive twist: the team gets offed, & viscera everywhere!

last issue: X-Force #115
next issue: X-Force #117

also indexed for May ’01
Avengers #40
Daredevil #16

The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

March 5, 2015

Sentry-X-Men 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Mark Texiera
February 2001
****

Kirby & Lee’s original mutants help this mini’s Superman surrogate fight a loony ’60s-style foe in a pitch-perfect flashback. The art—here M-Tex, painterly yet dynamic—makes or breaks these Sentry one-shots. This one also shows off the protag’s simple, golden heroism better by showing less of him.

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued in The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1

also indexed for Feb. ’01
Avengers #37
The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1

X-Men: Omega #1 of 1

February 18, 2015

X-Men Omega 1 of 1Scott Lobdell & Mark Waid // Roger Cruz
June 1995
****

Magneto sends a time-tossed hero into a cosmic crystal to restore the true X-universe. Waid’s tense, dramatic script masks Cruz’s errors (an unoriginal Ameri-manga artist, he’s the weak link here). Lobdell, the crossover’s mastermind, has done commendable work. Tho’ individual minis may’ve faltered, his cumulative plot & vision makes AoA  the pinnacle of mutant mags between Claremont and Morrison.

continued from The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
continued from The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
continued from Factor X #4 of 4
continued from Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
continued from Generation Next #4 of 4
continued from Weapon X #4 of 4
continued from X-Calibre #4 of 4
continued from X-Man #4 of 4
continued from X-Universe #4 of 4
continued in X-Men Prime #1 of 1

X-Man #4

February 9, 2015

X-Man 04Jeph Loeb // Steve Skroce
June 1995
**

Exposition time: a rebellious Darwinist splices the DNA of this alt-Earth’s Cyclops & Jean Grey to create a weaponized eugenic superman: the protagonist. The concept has a seed of mad-science brilliance, but it’s followed up by a ham-handed declaration of individuality delivered via punching.

continued in X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
last issue: X-Man #3
next issue: X-Man #5

also indexed for Jun. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
Factor X #4 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
Generation Next #4 of 4
Weapon X #4 of 4
X-Calibre #4 of 4
X-Men: Chronicles #2 of 2
X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
X-Universe #2 of 2

X-Man #1

February 6, 2015

X-Man 01Jeph Loeb // Steve Skroce
March 1995
**

Cable’s iteration in this alt-dystopia is a teen mutant messiah unaware of his birthright. Conceptually, X-Man goes further than any other mag in the Age of Apoc metaseries; in execution, it’s one cliché after another. Skroce seesaws btw ugly, Image-like posturing & Quesada’s doe-eyed influence.

continued from X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
next issue: X-Man #2

also indexed for Mar. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
Factor X #1 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
Generation Next #1 of 4
Weapon X #1 of 4
X-Calibre #1 of 4
X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

Weapon X #1 of 4

January 29, 2015

Weapon X 1 of 4Larry Hama // Adam Kubert
March 1995
***

In a mutant-run dystopia, Wolvie & Jean Grey provide cover for a human airlift rescue. Hama actually builds an arc into one issue, & also leverages the lame Logan/Cyclops/Jean triangle into a backstory that cost Logan a hand & Cyke an eye. *** despite confusing layouts, due to comically wild hair.

continued from X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
next issue: Weapon X #2 of 4

also indexed for Mar. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
Factor X #1 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
Generation Next #1 of 4
X-Calibre #1 of 4
X-Man #1
X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

Factor X #4 of 4

January 28, 2015

Factor X 4 of 4John Francis Moore // Steve Epting & Terry Dodson
June 1995
***

Factor X lucks into significance, due mainly to a focus on Cyclops. His arc of redemption, facilitated by Jean Grey, ends w/ him leading a mutant prison to freedom! But the mini’s also had finer ideas than most of the second-tier AoA, like a Mengele “dark” Beast & the happy-go-lucky Bedlam Brothers.

continued in X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
last issue: Factor X #3 of 4

also indexed for Jun. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
Generation Next #4 of 4
Weapon X #4 of 4
X-Calibre #4 of 4
X-Man #4
X-Men: Chronicles #2 of 2
X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
X-Universe #2 of 2

Factor X #3 of 4

January 27, 2015

Factor X 3 of 4John Francis Moore // Steve Epting & Terry Dodson
May 1995
**

Jean Grey arrives from Weapon X to help Cyclops w/ his redemption. The elaborate interlacing of this Days of Future Past homage is its best part, tho’ even Factor X can feel like a set of plot points. Plus the ’90s focus on Scott S & Jean G means cornball dreck about their romantic destiny.

last issue: Factor X #2 of 4
next issue: Factor X #4 of 4

also indexed for May ’95
The Amazing X-Men #3 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #3 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #3 of 4
Generation Next #3 of 4
Weapon X #3 of 4
X-Calibre #3 of 4
X-Man #3
X-Universe #1 of 2

Factor X #2 of 4

January 26, 2015

Factor X 2 of 4John Francis Moore // Steve Epting
April 1995
***

While rival Havok scowls, Cyclops plays the antihero, smuggling a mad Polaris from NYC’s mutant dungeons. Epting, who marries Mazzucchelli’s grit to ’90s over-lineated posing, may be a strong Marvel artist of the Image Era, but oy! his dystopic redesign of Cyke: long, ‘badass’ hair & a motorcycle!

last issue: Factor X #1 of 4
next issue: Factor X #3 of 4

also indexed for Apr. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #2 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #2 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #2 of 4
Generation Next #2 of 4
Weapon X #2 of 4
X-Calibre #2 of 4
X-Man #2

Factor X #1 of 4

January 25, 2015

Factor X 1 of 4John Francis Moore // Steve Epting
March 1995
***

Given the weakness of X-Factor, this revision is one of the happier surprises of the AoA metaseries. The mag reverts to the original X-team, mutant aristos in this dystopic alt-NYC & acolytes of Mr. Sinister, whose eugenic intrigues provide the catalyst for change among mutant siblings & rivals.

continued from X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
next issue: Factor X #2 of 4

also indexed for Mar. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
Generation Next #1 of 4
Weapon X #1 of 4
X-Calibre #1 of 4
X-Man #1
X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1

January 12, 2015

X-Men Alpha 1 of 1Scott Lobdell & Mark Waid // Roger Cruz & Steve Epting
February 1995
****

Think What If… Magneto formed the X-Men? The dystopian alt timeline is fun, & the era’s portentous prose & posturing panels lend themselves well to the sturm und drang (even if the project labors in Claremont’s shadow). Magneto, a glowering man of action, looks unhappy to be stuck into the Rogue/Gambit soap opera; Cyclops is a mutant princeling who awakens to the genocide & misery under Apocalypse.

continued from X-Men #41
continued from Cable #20
continued in The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
continued in The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
continued in Factor X #1 of 4
continued in Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
continued in Generation Next #1 of 4
continued in Weapon X #1 of 4
continued in X-Calibre #1 of 4
continued in X-Man #1 of 4
continued in X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

also indexed for Feb. ’95
Cable #20
The Uncanny X-Men #321
X-Men #41

Cable #20

January 11, 2015

Cable 020Jeph Loeb // Ian Churchill
February 1995
**

The coda to an X-Men crossover adventure that ended in mission failure & resulted in the end of the universe! Cable‘s remit is to provide an elegiac sense of closure, but it’s all ’90s mutant whinging. Churchill, tho’ an Image-style hack, surprises by giving his char’s faces some personality!

see also The Uncanny X-Men #321
last issue: Cable #19
next issue: Cable #20

also indexed for Feb. ’95
The Uncanny X-Men #321
X-Men #41
X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1

X-Men #41

January 10, 2015

X-Men 041Fabian Nicieza // Andy Kubert & Ron Garney
February 1995
***

Finale to an X-over that kills off a young Professor X to create an alternate future. Writer Lobdell & editor Harras deserve a story credit for #41, & so does Chris Claremont, who created (a) the Prof-Magneto friendship, (b) Xavier’s son Legion, & (c) the cosmic crystal that threatens the multiverse.

continued from The Uncanny X-Men #321
continued in X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
see also Cable #20
last issue: X-Men #40
next issue: X-Men #42

also indexed for Feb. ’95
Cable #20
The Uncanny X-Men #321
X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1

The Uncanny X-Men #321

January 9, 2015

Uncanny X-Men 321Scott Lobdell & Mark Waid // Ron Garney
February 1995
***

The illegit son of Professor X seduces his mother while psychically disguised as his father! It’s a provocative moment in a routine Terminator-type ’90s X-comic. Lobdell contrasts the arc’s Oedipal theme w/ his beloved Cyclops/Jean Grey/Cable triangle—his namby-pamby notion of a proper X-family.

continued from X-Men #40
continued in X-Men #41
last issue: The Uncanny X-Men #320
next issue: The Uncanny X-Men #322

also indexed for Feb. ’95
Cable #20
X-Men #41
X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1

X-Men #40

January 8, 2015

X-Men 040Fabian Nicieza // Andy Kubert
January 1995
**

Time-traveling amnesiac X-Men putz around post-war Israel as their modern comrades learn that mission failure means universal collapse. Nicieza artificially inflates the stakes via a chorus of Watchers, while the better Kubert son does mainline ’90s X-art (his Legion is unrecognizably off-model).

continued from The Uncanny X-Men #320
continued in The Uncanny X-Men #321
last issue: X-Men #39
next issue: X-Men #41

also indexed for Jan. ’95
The Uncanny X-Men #320

Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #5 of 5

May 12, 2014

Realm of Kings - Imperial Guard 5 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Kev Walker
May 2010
***

DnA accomplish two clever goals in unshowy fashion. They make Realm of Kings‘ Lovecraft beasts into a fearful threat, & they establish the rich potential of the Imperial Guard as a team. Sadly, as Marvel scales back their Cosmic branch, the small satisfaction of a good mini must be its own reward.

last issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #4 of 5
continued in The Thanos Imperative: Ignition #1 of 1

also indexed for May ’10
The Fantastic Four #577
Guardians of the Galaxy #24
Nova #35
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #5 of 5

Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #4 of 5

May 11, 2014

Realm of Kings - Imperial Guard 4 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Kev Walker
April 2010
***

The Realm of Kings maxiseries pays off, pitting the superteam of space voyageurs (clearly analogs for the Legion of Super-Heroes) against the pestiferous anti-universe’s X-Men as the Darkhawk conspiracy resurfaces. Kev Walker’s style, a mod sort of 2000AD look, gets a boost from colorist Fairbairn.

last issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #3 of 5
next issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #5 of 5

also indexed for Apr. ’10
The Fantastic Four #576
Guardians of the Galaxy #23
Nova #34
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #4 of 5

The Fantastic Four #605.1

December 23, 2013

Fantastic Four 605.1Jonathan Hickman // Mike Choi
July 2012
****

The “bonus” ish is less a jump-in point than another JH done-in-one w/ set-up for a later payoff. It flashes back to sketch a member of the Council of Reeds, who destroyed his alt-‘verse where the FF were Nazis! Choi’s work is better than his covers suggest, w/ lovely colors from C. Peter.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #605
next issue: The Fantastic Four #606

also indexed for Jul. ’12
The Fantastic Four #606
FF #18

The Fantastic Four #588

November 29, 2013

Fantastic Four 588A-story: Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
B-story: Jonathan Hickman // Mark Brooks
April 2011
A-story: ***** // B-story: ****

Hick finally gets a partner who matches his calibre: Dragotta, who apes Kirby’s dynamic grunts but draws a Sturm-like indie line. Silence signifies mourning as Johnny Storm’s family & friends grieve. It sells the moment w/o sentiment—unlike the B-plot, where Spidey helps Franklin mourn his uncle.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #587
continued in FF #1

The Fantastic Four #584

November 25, 2013

Fantastic Four 584Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
December 2010
****

For over a year, Hickman has been writing one- & two-issue arcs, which makes this multi-plot storyline all the more portentous. Reed parleys w/ Galactus while Sue escorts Namor to Old Atlantis. But the soul is Ben, who swigs his cure & clobbers the gentrified Yancy Gang, now hedge-fund financiers!

last issue: The Fantastic Four #583
next issue: The Fantastic Four #585

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9

November 5, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 9Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
May 2011
****

A:TCC‘s strongest issue, prob’ly cuz it plays to Heinb’s strengths: character & dialog, and his core team of Young Avs. Some closure as Iron Lad, by killing Vision 2.0, accepts his destiny as Kang the Conqueror. The catastrophe gets treated w/ emotional weight, as the team drifts apart over months.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9

also indexed for May ’11
The Fantastic Four #604
FF #16

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9

November 4, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 8Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
March 2012
****

There’s no good way to retcon a bad story, so A:TCC provides multiple ones for Wanda M’s haywire episodes, incl. the possibility that Doom was behind it all. Now he’s got cosmic powers, unluckily for Cassie Lang. The storytellers play fairly, trading her life for her father’s resurrection.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9

also indexed for Mar. ’12
The Fantastic Four #601
FF #13

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9

November 3, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 7Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
November 2011
***

With 4 superteams in this ish, it’s no surprise that characters get lost in the melée. The mag’s real point is a retcon of Av Disassembled & reversal of House of M. Offpage, the Scarlet Witch had allied with Dr. Doom to tap into a “life-force” that gave her reality-altering powers.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9

also indexed for Nov. ’11
FF #9

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6 of 9

November 2, 2013

Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
Avengers Children's Crusade 6August 2011
****

The Scarlet Witch confirms that, yes, she is Wiccan’s mother, metaphysically at least. It’s earnest comic sturm und drang that makes A:TCC the best “essential” Marvel U. tale of the terrible Bendis Era. To underscore this mini’s central status, X-teams (incl. David’s X-Fac) make strong cameos.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9

also indexed for Aug. ’11
FF #5

Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 of 1

January 4, 2013

Astonishing X-Men Giant SizeJoss Whedon // John Cassaday
July 2008
***
A double-sized ish caps the space adventure, but the extra pages merely add scope, not clarity. While a guest cast of Marvelites gets mind-zapped, Kitty Pryde sacrifices her life by somehow bonding herself to a space bullet fired at the Earth. With that, Joss & Cass wrap their X-run, a solid set of comics. But in this arc as in the previous ones, poor pacing drags on the snazzy art & peppy script.
[continued from Astonishing X-Men #24]
[continued in Astonishing X-Men #25]

Astonishing X-Men #24

January 3, 2013

Astonishing X-Men 24Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
March 2008
***
As one strike team infiltrates the alien planet’s power core, the other attempts to defuse the moon-sized bullet aimed at Earth. #24 is a cinematic work of action SF w/ plenty of old-fashioned world-wrecking. But as well-made as the issue is, it’s a shuffle to put pieces into place for the climax.
[continued in Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 of 1]
[last issue: Astonishing X-Men #23]
[next issue: Astonishing X-Men #25]

Astonishing X-Men #23

January 2, 2013

Astonishing X-Men 23Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
January 2008
****
A great issue for Scott Summers. Last issue left him dead in space; here he’s resurrected & repowered (by the same tech that revived Colossus—nicely plotted, Joss), leading the team from a torture chamber! A flashback to #22 repeats a page to show his orders via Emma’s ESP beneath the spoken dialog.
[last issue: Astonishing X-Men #22]
[next issue: Astonishing X-Men #24]

Astonishing X-Men #22

January 1, 2013

Astonishing X-Men 22Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
October 2007
****
Despite a long delay btw issues, AXM‘s finale arc, a super-SF adventure, continues to thrill. The plot reunites the team to storm an alien gun the size of a moon & aimed at Earth! Cassaday’s locales give the tale a strong context, while Whedon focuses on M/F duos, esp. Scott & Emma, Kitty & Piotr.
[last issue: Astonishing X-Men #21]
[next issue: Astonishing X-Men #23]

Astonishing X-Men #21

December 31, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 21Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
May 2007
****
This space adventure has a cinematic pace & scope that’s much stronger than Whedon’s previous 2 arcs. Half a dozen thrilling subplots simmer on an alien world where Social Darwinists view compassion as a mutation. The weakest link, sadly, is a convo btw Scott & Emma meant to redefine their romance.
[last issue: Astonishing X-Men #20]
[next issue: Astonishing X-Men #22]

Astonishing X-Men #20

December 30, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 20Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
January 2007
****
Exploding starships, plummeting planetfalls, alien temples: this arc delivers old-school scifi pleasures! Cassaday seems inspired by the shift spaceward, imagining alien environments with Mobius-level detail. Whedon, incidentally, has turned X-student Armor into Logan’s latest protegé.
[last issue: Astonishing X-Men#19]
[next issue: Astonishing X-Men #21]

Astonishing X-Men #19

December 29, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 19Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
January 2007
****
Colossus has been prophesied to destroy a bellicose species on a hellscape planet. So the superheroes head into space to prevent it! The sense of adventure energizes AXM, returning it to its first arc’s form. It also lets SWORD Agent Brand exposit, a nice breather after the last arc’s confusion.
[last issue: Astonishing X-Men #18]
[next issue: Astonishing X-Men #20]

Astonishing X-Men #18

December 28, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 18Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
December 2006
****
The psychic cuckoo gets revealed: Cassandra Nova, hijacking Emma to escape her alien body-prison. But editorial should’ve told Whedon (2+ years ago!) that she’d been rehabilitated as a “special” student! This arc, like the last, should’ve been tighter, but a sudden leap into space opera augers well.
[last issue: Astonishing X-Men #17]
[next issue: Astonishing X-Men #19]

Astonishing X-Men #17

December 27, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 17Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
November 2006
***
Whedon delivers a stunning misdirection—SWORD’s mole is Lockheed—and indulges in a favorite maneuver: revealing action is a dream (or in this case, a psychic drama). Kitty P thinks she’s lived 3 years & had a kid w/ Colossus. But it’s actually the slug that holds Cassandra Nova’s consciousness!
[last issue: Astonishing X-Men #16]
[next issue: Astonishing X-Men #18]

Astonishing X-Men #15

December 24, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 15Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
August 2006
****

Emma & her gang of villains defeat the X-Men easily—mostly via psychic control, tho’ Sebastian Shaw kayos Colossus. Once again, AXM suffers from slow pacing. Each arc is a TV episode, each ish a segment btw commercials. And like the last arc, it pits the team against an enemy w/in at the mansion.

last issue: Astonishing X-Men #14
next issue: Astonishing X-Men #16

also indexed for Aug. ’06
Civil War #2 of 7
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #6
Young Avengers #12

Astonishing X-Men #14

December 23, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 14Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
June 2006
****
While Kitty & Piotr consummate their romance, Emma destroys hers. It’s a strong piece of super-soap: Emma, in her psi-therapist persona, bullies Scott brutally. Sadly, it’s not to strengthen their relationship but to subvert him & help an enemy. Too bad, as they had such interesting chemistry!
[last issue: Astonishing X-Men #13]
[next issue: Astonishing X-Men #15]

Astonishing X-Men #13

December 22, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 13Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
April 2006
***
After 8 months on hiatus, AXM resumes its run. Emma Frost, it turns out, is in league w/ arch-psychic Cassandra Nova, Prof X’s evil twin. How disappointing: her rehab was one of ’90s X-comics rare good ideas & so’s her love for Cyclops. But ‘shippers can enjoy Kitty & Colossus reigniting their affair.
[last issue: Astonishing X-Men #12]
[next issue: Astonishing X-Men #14]

Astonishing X-Men #12

December 21, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 12Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
August 2005
***

There’s still a lot to enjoy (like a remorseful Sentinel), but AXM has lost its momentum. If this arc had 3 issues & not 6, its reveal—that Prof X had known for years that the Danger Room was sentient—would’ve been stronger. As it is, the outcome simply exiles him from a mag he’s not in anyhow.

last issue: Astonishing X-Men #11
next issue: Astonishing X-Men #13

also indexed for Aug. ’05
Young Avengers #5

Astonishing X-Men #11

December 20, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 11Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
July 2005
****

Cassaday takes the baton in #11, penciling a few layouts atop computer-generated backgrounds to depict the astral interview btw Prof X & the sentient Danger Room. The approach underscores how JC’s style is slightly abstracted, a throwback to Romita in a way. His robot design is wonderfully rococo.

last issue: Astonishing X-Men #10
next issue: Astonishing X-Men #12

also indexed for Jul. ’05
The Pulse #9
Young Avengers #4

Astonishing X-Men #10

December 19, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 10Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
May 2005
***

Oops, the mag missed a month! A fight issue: staged well, a few surprises even, but still just a fight. The Danger Room monologues as she cleans the team’s clock. #10 also nudges the mag’s subplots along (Ord/SWORD, Emma’s secret), but clearly its arc could be half the length at no loss of content.

last issue: Astonishing X-Men #9
next issue: Astonishing X-Men #11

also indexed for May ’05
The Pulse #8
Secret War #4 of 5
Young Avengers #2

Astonishing X-Men #9

December 18, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 09Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
March 2005
****

Due to a paradox in its programming, the Danger Room has become self-aware. A fine idea, but I’m surprised no one’s done it before. What gives it juice is how its “birth” (it turns robotic at the finale) is a sacred event, in the dramatic sense. Whedon & Cass make AXM a pleasure to read.

last issue: Astonishing X-Men #8
next issue: Astonishing X-Men #10

also indexed for Mar. ’05
Iron Man #3
The Pulse #7

Astonishing X-Men #8

December 17, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 08Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
February 2005
****

Somehow a suicide acts as a blood sacrifice, demon-like, freeing the Danger Room AI from its protocols. And a half-scrap Sentinel worships it as a mother goddess! An okay ish made v.g. by Cassaday. His art epitomizes the era—highly realistic, cinematic—but its colorful clarity trumps the convention.

last issue: Astonishing X-Men #7
next issue: Astonishing X-Men #9

also indexed for Feb. ’05
Iron Man #2

Astonishing X-Men #7

December 16, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 07Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
January 2005
*****

Back to superhero adventure for another strong issue. As the X-Men help the FF fend off a mole monster in midtown NYC, their internal monologues add a touch of wit. Darker plots perk tho’: SWORD Agent Brand visits a shadow council, while a de-powered student commits suicide in the Danger Room.

last issue: Astonishing X-Men #6
next issue: Astonishing X-Men #8

also indexed for Jan. ’05
Iron Man #1
The Pulse #6

Astonishing X-Men #6

December 15, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 06Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
December 2004
*****
Whedon intros Marvel Earth’s ET counterpart to SHIELD: SWORD (duh), a truly clever addition. Its agent exposits a dose of space opera, predicting the X-Men will wreck a world! But #6’s heart is its chars, & esp. Beast, still unsteady yet reliable. But Emma, unfortch for ‘shippers, may turn heel…
[last issue: Astonishing X-Men #5]
[next issue: Astonishing X-Men #7]

Astonishing X-Men #5

December 14, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 05Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
November 2004
****
Despite the first issue’s claim to be plain superheroics, under Whedon the mag is more of a return to the “world that hates & fears” theme. A raid on the corp that’s funded a mutant cure solves nothing (except the rescue of Colossus), while the cure itself raises troubling issues for the subspecies.
[last issue: Astonishing X-Men #4]
[next issue: Astonishing X-Men #6]

Astonishing X-Men #4

December 13, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 04Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
October 2004
****
You could cavil at the bait/switch of a resurrected Colossus after #3 implied Jean. Or w/ the slow pacing undercutting suspense, tho’ tension does come w/ the new alien heavy zapping students w/ that mutant cure. And the clever use of superpowers & teamwork is the best homage to Claremont.
[last issue: Astonishing X-Men #3]
[next issue: Astonishing X-Men #5]

Astonishing X-Men #3

December 12, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 03Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
September 2004
*****
Light on action & more so on momentum, but the drama, dialogue, & staging more than compensates. One example: Beast feels ambivalent about his feline mutation, which sets Wolverine off. The catalyst: a cure to “correct” mutant DNA. How the treatment connects to an alien villain, only Nick Fury knows!
[last issue: Astonishing X-Men #2]
[next issue: Astonishing X-Men #4]

Astonishing X-Men #2

December 11, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 02Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
August 2004
*****
Good action but better convos, as when Emma F, a true anti-hero, requests Kitty P keep her ethically in line. Cassaday adroitly handles the fashionable ’00s mode of decompression, laying out smooth cinematic sequences. Fittingly for Whedon’s retro aims, his turbo clarity recalls Paul Smith’s X-art.
[last issue: Astonishing X-Men #1]
[next issue: Astonishing X-Men #3]

Astonishing X-Men #1

December 10, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 01Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
July 2004
*****

Effectively taking over for G. Morrison, & in opposition to his radical creativity, Joss Whedon writes a Claremont homage; thus he replaces Jean Grey w/ Kitty Pryde. More strongly, he tackles social allegory, as a pharma announces a medical “cure” for mutant DNA—an echo of anti-gay “science”.

next issue: Astonishing X-Men #2

also indexed for Jul. ’04
Daredevil #60
Fantastic Four #513
Fantastic Four #514
The Pulse #3
Secret War #2 of 5
Thanos #10

New X-Men #154

December 9, 2012

New X-Men 154Grant Morrison // Marc Silvestri
June 2004
****
Despite dodgy panels from Silvestri, Morrison sticks his finale with acrobatic beauty. The enemy of his entire run is finally unmasked: Sublime, a 3B-year-old viral consciousness that subverts evolution to survive! Jean G. ascends to godhead & defeats the villain w/ love by blessing Scott & Emma.
[last issue: New X-Men #153]
[next issue: New X-Men #155]