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Astonishing X-Men #12

Posted: Monday, September 5, 2005
By: Shawn Hill



ďDanger part crazy!Ē

Writer: Joss Whedon
Artist: John Cassaday

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot: Genosha. Sentinel babies. Battle. Big-screen and high concept denouements. Lots of shots of faces looking distanced. Confused. Troubled. Guilty. Itís Whedon-world. We just get to read it.

Comments: In its final chapter, the Porno Grip Ultron arc regains some of the charge and promise it had at the beginning. Then the room was manipulating children and killing them. Now itís making children of its own. And like all children, this one is more than mommy bargained for.

I donít think Whedonís going to learn that cool lines arenít enough if theyíre stitching together an idiot plot. The solution this issue is to pile on the cool lines, at least one per page. Which almost works, especially with an artist with Cassadayís cinematic gifts. Whedon has captured all of his characters perfectly (especially Kitty and Peter, his Buffy and Angel star couple Version.X), and heís even picked up on the threads left by the Morrison run that everyone else has mangled or ignored.

But the battle of the mutants against their former room has been extremely decompressed and just doesnít have much conflict in it (despite all the fireworks), as the only one sheís really pissed at is Charles. I thought this arc was going to be about the students at the school and some sort of mentoring responsibility; in this issue we find itís about Charles playing racial favoritism for one kind of student over another. While I always like to see arrogant Charles played as a bad guy, wow, thatís just wicked uncool big daddy!

Secrets revealed: Despite Cassadayís gloriously eerie depiction of a metal-ribbed winged harpy, letís just forget about Danger, shall we? Everyone else will. My feeling is that Whedon would have wrapped her up much sooner and moved on to the real meat of this story, if he hadnít decided to draw things out and save some stuff for the second year heís now happily signed on for. Iíve
even no-prized my way to where Dangerís baby came from, as I guess there must have been more than one of those multi-faced giant sentinel hybrids destroying Genosha. Right? Quitely, help me out here!

Real meat: If the last page reveal is true, Whedon is mucking about with Morrisonís work to a greater extent than anticipated. And if he can make it work, more power to him. I have no idea where itís all going, but Iíve been waiting to see this group revitalized for some time, and this teaser will put us squarely back in the territory of Whedonís strengths for the next arc: compelling and articulate antagonists and protagonists confusing even us about who
SHOULD win as they fight.



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