Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday

I’ve struggled with how to integrate comics into my fifty books almost since day one. I love reading comics and have for years, at least since I was in college. I mostly read superhero stuff, and, although I do pick up the occasional graphic novel or creator owned book, I find the range of stories within the superhero genre to be pretty amazing.

X-Men, however, I’ve never really been able to crack, because, as you know if you read monthlies, superheroes have loads of continuity and X-Men, with its constantly rotating cast, has lots and lots and lots of continuity. At any given time, there are probably 10-15 X-books on the market, all interlocking in some way. For a completist like me, that’s a big roadblock.

Fortunately, Joss Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men is self-contained for the most part, and reads just wonderfully. I’m a big Joss fan as well--I think I’ve seen everything he’s done except Firefly--and I was excited to read some of his comics. I wasn’t disappointed. Astonishing X-Men reads exactly like a season of a Whedon TV show, with all the witty banter, surprising plot twists, and rich character development that entails.

The plot of Whedon’s arc, which spans 25 issues and around 600 pages, is too sprawling to really go into here, but, at its center, a small group of heroes, including Kitty Pryde, Cyclops, Emma Frost, and some others, must come together in spite of their differences to defeat a foe too powerful for any of them to handle alone. In short, it’s about people, as nearly all the best comic books are.

I think, like most niche things, comics are either something you enjoy or you don’t, and I don’t know if anyone else here reads them. But, if you do, read this. If you don’t like comics, but you do like Whedon, read this. And if you don’t like either, well... maybe Lukacs is more your speed?


Brittany said...

Ooooh! I will definitely put that on my list. I am a huge fan of Webcomics I think for the reason you list - I need the complete story, and it's so much easier (and cheaper) to just open a new browser tab on my phone and click through when I have time. (Questionable Content is my favorite with Girls with Slingshots and Gunnerkrigg Court being close seconds).

I really enjoyed Ultimate Spiderman, but feel like I need to wait until I have the time (and money!) to really settle in with the series.

Also, you really need to get on Firefly. It's soooo good!

Brent Waggoner said...

I actually read this on Marvel's comic app--so I guess we're on the same page.

Ultimate Spider-Man is great! I've read about the 1st 50 issues so far.

And OF COURSE I need to see Firefly. It's ridiculous that I haven't.