Astonishing X-Men #22 Review

The Revolution can barely remember the last issue of Astonishing X-Men since it has been nearly four months since it came out. The pathetic scheduling of this title has been the only downside to what is otherwise an outstanding read. I’m sure that Whedon will serve up another great read in Astonishing X-Men #22. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Joss Whedon
Artist: John Cassaday

Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Kruun’s second in command informing Kruun how Agent Brand offered him Kruun’s throne and Colossus if he would help them defeat Kruun and destroy the missile moon base.

We cut to Danger standing over the defeated X-Men. Emma mocks Danger and asks why Danger doesn’t kill the X-Men. That it is clear that Danger has won. Emma reveals that Danger can’t kill the X-Men because of her parent programming that has stopped Danger from killing them. That is why Danger enlisted Ord’s help to do what Danger can’t do. Emma then tells Danger that she has an offer for Danger.

We shift Kitty and Colossus after they just finished having some evidently quite enjoyable sex. They are informed by one of Aghanne’s aids that their teammates have been located that and that Kitty and Colossus are to leave at sunrise. Colossus is disturbed about what is to happen next. Kitty tells Colossus to just enjoy the moment together with her.

We hop over to Agent Brand and Beast. Beast tells Brand that they are going to take a ship and go get his teammates. Then they will head to the moon base where Kruun is most certainly waiting for them with plenty of defensive measures.

We slide over to Emma, Scott and Danger meeting up with Lockheed and Brand’s soldiers. We then cut to Kruun being informed that the X-Men and Brand’s soldiers have all rendezvoused together and are now on a transport headed to the moon base.

The then shift to the transport where we see Kitty gleefully greeting Lockheed. Kitty coos over Lockheed like he was a puppy. Brand snaps at Kitty to stop simpering over Lockheed. That Lockheed works for Agent Brand and to stop infantilizing intelligent alien races. That Lockheed can speak more languages than Professor X. That he isn’t some starlet’s Chihuahua. That Lockheed has some homeworld issues that they are helping him with. Lockheed flies off to sit by himself and looks at the X-Men over his shoulder.

The transport arrives at the missile moon base. They are stunned to see the ten mile long missile that the moon base is built around. Suddenly, a bunch of Kruun’s warships appear on the scene. Beast says that they cannot outrun the warships.

Scott says that there is a repair ship in the back of the transport that fits just one person. That Scott will take the repair ship and buy the team some time. That Scott is the only one without powers and wouldn’t be much help in the fight on the moon base. Brand exclaims that Scott is the leader, that he can’t do this. Scott replies that he is the leader and that is why he is acting like one.

Scott instructs Emma that the most important thing is to keep Kruun from finding out about their ace in the hole: Leviathan. That they should lay low until Leviathan shows up. That Emma should contact Aghanne. Scott tells the X-Men to stay away from Kruun and his prison even if Scott is captured. Scott tells Emma that she is now in charge of the X-Men.

Scott takes off in the small repair ship. The warships all chase after Scott. Scott does some pretty ballsy flying and takes out several warships before finally the other warships blast Scott’s small ship. Scott goes flying out of the cockpit and into deep space.

Emma says that “He’s going…I’m so close…”

Scott’s body expands and his eyes get bloodshot. Slowly he drifts off into space. Scott sees a bright white light. In the light we see a young Jean Grey saying how nice it is to meet Scott. Then we see Professor X telling Scott what a future he has ahead of him.

Scott’s eyes close and he floats in deep space. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Damn! Astonishing X-Men #22 was another great read! Whedon gives us a nicely paced and plotted issue. Whedon employs nice quick scene cuts that keep this issue moving briskly. There is an enjoyable blend of action and dialogue heavy scenes. Whedon can sometimes come down with Bendisitis, but he makes sure that this issue isn’t a talky bore.

Whedon’s dialogue is well crafted as always. Whedon continues to amaze me with his incredible feel for the different personalities of the various X-Men. Each character is wonderfully developed and three-dimensional. This enables Whedon to generate plenty of emotional scenes as well as nice chemistry between the various X-Men.

I liked the plot twist that Danger is unable to overcome her parent programming and, therefore, cannot kill the X-Men. Danger is forced to recognize her impotent rage and has to enlist the help of people like Ord in order to have them carry out Danger’s ultimate mission of killing the X-Men.

And leave it to Emma to figure out Danger’s fatal flaw in her programming. Emma is one crafty bitch. And I love that Emma then goes ahead and cuts a deal with Danger. Only Emma would immediately think to try and forge an alliance with a villain who has attempted to kill The X-Men over and over during Whedon’s run on this title. I’m interested to find out what kind of deal Emma made with Danger in order to get Danger to agree to work with the X-Men.

Whedon serves up a rather touching scene between Kitty and Colossus. Amid all the chaos, death and destruction, these two souls manage to make a connection and get a brief taste of happiness. Kitty is right; happiness is a fleeting thing in life. That amid this war, these Kitty and Peter should enjoy the good moments and not worry about tomorrow. Life can end tomorrow and there is no use not enjoying the good moments when they come.

I totally dig the scene with Kitty and Lockheed. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the little dragon. Whedon surprised me by getting me to actually agree with the mega bitch Agent Brand when it comes to Lockheed. Brand’s tongue lashing actually seemed appropriate.

Maybe we have always been discounting Lockheed since he first appeared to Uncanny X-Men #166. Whedon has piqued my curiosity with the situation surrounding Lockheed. I’m can’t wait to find out more about Lockheed’s character, his past as well as the pressing issues that Lockheed has with this homeworld.

Now let’s get to what made Astonishing X-Men #22 such a fantastic read: the ending. Whedon serves up one incredibly balls to the wall ending. Absolutely incredible! That is how you deliver an ending with a real impact on the reader that makes them eager for the next issue.

I have been impressed with how Whedon has handled Scott during his run on Astonishing X-Men. I have never found Cyclops to be an interesting character. I have always found Cyclops to be dull and boring. A boy scout with a rather vanilla personality. If Cyclops was a color then it would be beige. Not anymore. Whedon has taken Scott’s character and shown us what a ballsy leader Scott is. That Scott is to the X-Men what Captain America is to the Avengers.

Scott comes across as a total stud in the ending of this issue. Scott exemplifies what a true leader he is. Scott shows hoe he never cracks under pressure and always has a battle plan in mind for his team. I love the way Scott barks out all the different orders for his team and then goes and makes the ultimate sacrifice for his team without any hesitation.

That was a fantastic death scene. Rarely am I impressed with a death scene. I believe that most comic book deaths are cheap literary tools used by writers who need to artificially create some drama. Not this death scene.

I loved the use of the bright light and Scott’s remembrance of the first time he met the two people dearest to him: Jean Grey and Professor X. This death scene is incredibly dramatic and noble and certainly had an impact on the reader. This is a death scene that makes Scott even cooler than he ever was before and cements his position as arguably the greatest X-Man ever.

Unfortunately, as much as I loved this death scene, we all know that Scott isn’t really dead. This is the X-Men where nobody ever really dies. You know that Whedon isn’t really going to kill off Cyclops. It appears that Emma pulled off some sort of trick at the end of this issue to save Scott.

Cassaday provides the reader with plenty more of his excellent artwork. Astonishing X-Men is certainly one of the better looking books currently on the market.

The Bad: The shipping schedule for this title is a complete joke. There was a three month delay between issues #20 and #21. Then we got almost a four month delay between issues #21 and #22. That means Marvel only managed to publish three issues in a seven month span. That is ridiculous.

The terrible shipping schedule is really breaking up the momentum of Whedon’s story. I think that Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men will make a much better trade than it has a “monthly” title.

Overall: Astonishing X-Men #22 was another excellent read. Despite the pathetic shipping schedule I still love this title. Whedon consistently delivers quality reads each and every issue. Whedon is serving up some of the best X-Men stories since Chris Claremont’s original run on Uncanny X-Men.

6 Comments

  1. Due to the shipping schedule, I really didn’t care about the “death” of Scott since we already know he is going to play a big part of Messiah Complex. But if it had been several months ago, I think the ending would have had a much more significant impact.

  2. Astonishing X-Men was the series that got me into reading monthly comics (I’d previously picked up one or two Alan Moore graphic novels, but I wasn’t making a habit of it), but, with this issue, I realized that I just don’t care anymore. The pacing is glacial; even if this was a monthly, it would be too slow. For Christ’s sake, we get basically the same cliffhanger we got last time, and I don’t believe for a second that Cyclops is dead; he’s integral to the future plans for the entire X-line (which you’d never know existed if you read only this book). It’s a tragedy because, in terms of craft, the art and dialogue are great.

  3. Loved you review, spot on. Cyke rocks. Anyway I wanted to point out the I’m close may have been a sex scene simply because it has a white background. Formula being white background memory then cyclops and repeat. Also I think the memorys may have been from counting down to his best. Doing it with Emma, meeting his first/true love and his best meeting the professor who gave him a purpopse and destiny.
    And yeah he is def not dead even though it was lovely. He is the X-Men. Either a secondary mutation, Emma protection or some ship picks him up.

  4. A couple of issue’s with Emma’s logic. She impaled kitty and Peter on a big hunk of metal. That seems like a pretty good way to kill someone. The only reason they survived is because of Elixir. I’m also not sure what the point of Emma letting herself get knocked out was. So she’s knew danger’s secret and what, she let Danger get a pity shot in?

    I did like the twist on Lockheed. Various writers have given him different degrees of intelligence over the years, and I’m glad to having something finally in cannon. It would make sense that he might have some issues to work though. Still, it seems like the professor would have been able to figure all that out.

    I have a feeling Danger is going to be the one to stop things. She can control technology after all, so it seems like a robot moon is right up her alley. If that’s not what happens, it should, because it make sense and I like being right.

    I agree that the death scene with Scott was well done. My only complaint is the artwork. Usually, I love Cassaday’s artwork, but the way he drew Scott in space didn’t work for me. I know he was supposed to be exploding, but it looks like a just got really fat. A Cyclopes with a double chin, I don’t need to see.

  5. I have to give Whedon points for building on the origin Scott Lobdell set up for Lockheed in Excalibur #40 over a decade ago, where we found out he was intelligent member of a hi-tech, spacefaring species, and that he joined up with the X-Men to get out of marriage (or something like that, it’s been a while since I read it). Here’s a brief rundown on the issue:

    http://www.comics.org/details.lasso?id=85422

    Oh, yeah, Emma’s dialogue was absolutely priceless: “You’re so unpleasant even I’m impressed. Do you visit orphanages to explain there’s no Santa?” LOL! 🙂

    I’ll probably pick this story arc up once it comes out as a TPB.

  6. Amazing how many people still fall for Kitty screwing a dead guy. Great, Joss. Take your ego and crawl back under a rock already. It was sickening two years ago; it’s still sickening now. And the snarky “contemporary” dialogue hasn’t changed one bit. Ick.

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