"Dangerous, Part 1"
Writer: Joss Whedon
Artist: John Cassaday
Publisher: Marvel Comics
In a bid to raise their public profile, we see Cyclops has the team embark on a mission to stop a giant monster who is tearing a path of destruction through the centre of Manhattan. However, given the mission involves a giant monster in Manhattan, the Fantastic Four make their expected arrival, and the two teams work together to drive the monster back below the ground. Meanwhile back at the school, a distraught student comes to a decision that is sure to make life difficult for the X-Men.
One of the biggest complaints that I've always had with the X-Men is that with the exception of Wolverine the X-Men rarely venture out of the confines of the X-titles, and this has made them into a rather insular collection of characters who always feel a bit like outsiders within the Marvel Universe. Now I realize that regular interaction with the other heroes of the Marvel Universe would make it more difficult for writers to sell the idea that the X-Men were hated and feared, but since Grant Morrison's run pretty much dismantled this element of the book, I have to say it's issues like this one that leave me hopeful that the X-Men are going to be joining the party. Plus, this issue also does an effective job of selling the idea that just because the X-Men have been pushed on to centre stage, hasn't exactly stopped the barrage of tomatoes and rotten eggs that Joe and Jane Public like to throw at mutants. However Joss Whedon puts a little more effort into the whole concept of unreasoned hatred, as there's a nice little scene where Johnny questions the wisdom of hanging with the X-Men, and Cyclops offers up a surprisingly jaded opinion regarding the news coverage that their heroic efforts received. However the reason why this issue earns itself a recommendation in my books is due largely to the simple fact that it offers the X-Men teaming up with the Fantastic Four to do battle against a giant rampaging monster, as how can one not love the Whack-a-Mole scene, or the equally entertaining exchange between Wolverine and the Thing that deftly skirts the idea of a mutant cure.
John Cassaday may not be the fastest artist, and the erratic schedule that is starting to surface likely means that the lead time this title had has been pretty much eaten up, and we can expect future issues are going to have increasing trouble meeting their shipping dates. However, John Cassaday fits into the same category that I place Bryan Hitch, in that why the lengthy waits are annoying it's next to impossible to be overly annoyed when one gets a look at the work they've brought to the table. I mean there's several wonderful images in this issue from the opening page spread of Colossus on top of the Blackbird, to the battle that follows which has the X-Men working alongside the Fantastic Four against giant rampaging monster, with the one page shot of the two teams working together to topple the creature being the highlight image. The art also does a wonderful job conveying the full impact of the final page, as we pull back to see why this scene is so important to the story.
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