1.23.08 Reviews

Astonishing X-Men #24 (Marvel): It's a bit disconcerting to see a typo right on the first page in the "previously in..." section with "Agent's Brand's S.W.O.R.D. forces" and a few other odd choices, such as "massing" instead of "amassing." That aside, the dialogue is really spot on. It flows naturally and is dramatic, memorable, and even cool, without sounding overly staged. Scott in particular has many great lines that show him as a real leader, not the whiny figurehead that he often comes off as. My favorite line? "You're my biggest brain and my oldest friend. Moment comes you have to take action, I'll never question it." Agent Brand and Beast also have a really nice dynamic that goes back and forth. The Kitty/Piotr moments are priceless. Whedon really can't help himself when it comes to focusing on Kitty Pryde, the adolescent latent female power fantasy is just in his Slayer-infused blood, but since she's my favorite of the X-cast, I don't mind one bit, and was happy to see her smiling on another (variant) cover. True, there are some convoluted bits with the various Breakworld factions, the duplicity of Emma, the question of lateness, and necessity of extending a 24 issue run into a final Giant Size offering, but that really all gets trumped by quality. This remains the most coherent and beautifully depicted contemporary rendition of Marvel's X-Men; it's destined to become a classic run. Grade A.

Dan Dare #3 (Virgin): There's an odd artistic sequence early on where Dan and Digby appear to switch sides repeatedly as they chat atop a mountain, it was just... odd. Moving on, Erskine has a nice page of retro art that accurately (though quite funny) depicts the spirit of the art of the time. I've really been warming to this mixture of sci-fi tropes and political drama (a twinge reminiscent of the recent Battlestar Galactica themes - in a good way), but this issue feels marred by a lot of exposition around the Treen/Mekon history, using the flimsy and all too common framing device of a child that needs explanation (conveniently at the same time the audience does) and characters yammering on about their motivations, and who they are, and what makes them tick, all in a way that real people off the printed page just don't do. I'm still interested, but a little more hesitant than before. Grade B.

I also picked up;

The Flying Friar (Markosia): I was happy to see this full color reprint/collection of the Speakeasy series from CBR Columnist Rich Johnston. It boasts a really attractive cover that strikes me as a hybrid of Ryan Sook and JH Williams III. I haven't read it all yet, but the early scenes balance some rough jump cuts with an interesting science vs. religion debate.


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