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Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon - "Astonishing X-Men" Comic Book - Issue 03 - Silverbulletcomicbooks.com Review

Ray Tate

Monday 2 August 2004, by cally

Astonishing X-Men #3 - "Gifted": Part Three - Writer: Joss Whedon - Artists: John Cassaday, Laura Martin(c) - Publisher: Marvel

Essentially this issue of Astonishing X-Men equivocates to the quality of an average Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode. That’s still high praise given that most shows can’t reach an eighth of the quality of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The book opens with Kitty Pryde having a heart-to-heart talk with one of the students. Whedon has a habit of pulling the rug out from under the feet of his viewers and or readers, and this scene is no different. It plays as a more meaningful Afterschool Special but then flies off in an unexpected direction. Kitty dazed by the blow wanders into the X-Men’s teacher’s lounge, and here she learns of something more disturbing, which plays as an amusing running joke.

All is not warm feeling and superbly timed humor. Each of the X-Men have a problem with the Beast acquiring a sample of the "mutant cure" from his colleague, and his colleague has a problem with the actions of a mystery man whose origins prove to be other than mutant.

Cyclops meanwhile takes a trip to visit a Marvel continuity staple for reasons that will become apparent. Now, I don’t recall ever seeing this character in any X-Men book: from the eras of Jack Kirby to John Byrne, and these two characters act like strangers. His appearance is surprising but warranted and instills a lot of tension.

Another surprise comes from the actions of the Beast and Wolverine. Apart from the Grant Morrison and a brief cameo in Chris Claremont’s and John Byrne’s era of X-Men, I don’t remember these two ever really being very close nor very nasty to each other. Thus, the actions are borne strictly from a difference in philosophy, which makes the conflict stronger in terms of comic book writing.

Cassaday’s artwork especially in these scenes is—well, astonishing. He imbues so much realism to Hank McCoy’s condition and Wolverine’s comparatively normal physique that the scenes still appear to be photographed then traced. It doesn’t matter if the Beast is blue and furry. He still looks real.

In summary, lovely, funny and fun.