Sep 19, 2011

Classic Material- Astonishing X-Men: Gifted

10:56 AM

Usually reserve this ongoing column for the old school books that shook me as a youth but as most of you know already, Whedon & Cassaday's Astonishing X-Men books became an instant, timeless classic.  The two titles (not that you perv) that truly pulled me back into returning to Wednesday comics-life again -- Jeph Loeb/Jim Lee's Batman: Hush arc and this tasty morsel of page devouring perfection -- Astonishing X-Men: Gifted.

And if you have yet to flip the script we got you covered yo.

First lets start with the core of the not so merry Mutants which starts out as Cyclops, Wolvie, Beast, Kitty Pryde and my personal fave of the bunch- Emma Frost, the White Queen.   From the beginning the team is thrown into their endless conflict with Mutant survival as the public opinion is that the mutant genome is a disease, that can be cured.

To protect and educate mutants they serve as teachers/instructors at Xaxiers School of the Gifted.  With White Queen as one of the headmasters you can guess that her style of pedagogy is hardcore-- like using the Danger Room to simulate an attack by a Sentinel during a seminar.  Easy mama.  The team struggles being they each have highly polarized approaches in teaching and dealing with groups that are looking to bring down their peoples and cause.
Whedon masterfully baits you in at the peak of tense moments to make you smile and laugh like when Logan points out his concern of Scott introducing yet another new costume for the team.

Immediately you realize the extent of bad blood between Emma and Kitty which is what you can expect being that both were introduced to us in the
same book and one another on
opposing sides between the Hellfire Club and X-Men in the 80s.  Nice drop on X-history!

Beast gives into his need to be accepted by humanity (more so than before with his recent evolution of being more feline in nature) by reaching out for the supposed mutant cure and Wolvie helps to show him how very wrong he is to think this way- in a claw fight of course.

Despite the difficulty the X-Men have in keeping their school and unity intact-- like an old married couple they find a way to remedy things and take on other issues like Ord from Breakworld, Emma's jealousy over deceased Jean Grey... low and behold the return of a fallen comrade, Colossus!  Not everyones cup o' tea but here is Astonishing X-Men: Gifted in motion-comic stylee...

Whedon and Cassaday serve us a well-balanced feasting of action, drama, love, laughter and a serious homage to the history of X-lore before it.  In the process their work of genius in Astonishing makes me have to re-think the greatest X-stories ever told.  If you are not into motion is another great way to read

this fab work. Real touching to see Kitty reunited with her life-long love Peter and again one of the more hilarious scenes ever written in comics history between them and Wolvie to follow. Throw in appearances by Nick Fury, SHIELD, the introduction of Agent Brand of SWORD, new mutant Armor and you got all the elements that helped Whedon/Cassaday's mad-talented chemistry place the X-Men back on the top of the comics world.

This post was written by:
big O
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