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Astonishing X-Men #15

Posted: Tuesday, June 27, 2006
By: Shawn Hill



Writer: Joss Whedon
Artist: John Cassaday

Publisher: Marvel Comics


Plot: Emma cries. Scott cries. Colossus rages. Wolverine Ö cuts paper dollies?

Comments: This comic is trying my patience. Iím tired of waiting for things. I want to know if Emma is bad or good. I want to know if the Hellfire Club is real or just a dream. I want to know who Perfection is. Iím tired of this much ambiguity in my bi-monthly comic book. All we know thus far is that Kitty and Colossus are enjoying their newfound reconnection. Yay. Iím happy for them.

But extremely decompressed issues like this one allow for precious little in the way of development for other characters. If any of this is really happening, then Cassandra is still playing games of domination with Wolverine and the Beast. Emma is still manipulating Scott mercilessly. Nagasonic Teenage Warhead is still mighty pissed at being dead. If she is dead. She looks dead.

The only new stuff in this issue is that Emma really seems not to be enjoying leading the individual attacks, from within the mansion, on the teammates. Agent Brand, up on the SWORD ship, does seem to realize that the X-Men are experiencing some sort of extreme psychic attack (which Iíll link to Perfection, whomever might that be). Notice where all eyes (save for Emmaís) are looking on the cover. That alone could indicate a level of autonomy for the White Queen, as does a realization by Kitty, under great duress.

Cassaday seems to be taking all his cues from Whedon these days, whoís nothing if not a writer gifted with visualization skills from his other job as a director. I think itís Whedon we must thank for the final panel homage to a classic moment from the comic he so loves, now re-imagined with a lithe girl hero saying the actionable words.

On one level, this is an issue very much like this weekís Shadowpact. Both books spend their pages isolating their characters and trapping them one by one, in classic cliffhanger format. Will they or wonít they escape and fight back next issue?

Juryís out on Shadowpact, which is actually telling us stuff that happened one year ago, with characters who arenít too major to avoid fatal blood spillage.

I get the feeling the X-Men will recover from this. Well, maybe. Unless Perfection is really bad news. Until then, most of the fun this issue comes from Wolverine playing around with the students, who have some surprising responses of their own. As always, Whedonís sympathies clearly lie with the kids more than the corrupted adults.



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