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Astonishing X-Men #18

Posted: Monday, November 20, 2006
By: Shawn Hill



“Torn, Part 6”

Writer: Joss Whedon
Artist: John Cassaday

Publisher: Marvel Comics


Plot: Emma confronts a few too many selves (long-running characters try on as many costumes as Madonna, don’t’ they?), while Scott goes on a shooting spree.

Comments: Ahhhhhhh. Finally. The big payoff. Each page is filled with new revelations and explanations, peppered throughout with Whedon’s patented clever dialogue; clever in the good way, that is. It’s not like he thinks of smart things to say. It’s like smart people are actually talking to each other.

And they do have different speech patterns. Compare Blindfold’s personal version of language with Hank’s erudition, Logan’s blunt force trauma discussions, or the surprisingly dry humor of Whedon’s only real Mary Sue thus far, Danger.

For all the attenuated developments that tried my patience with this arc, this issue answers those nagging questions, and creates a new one in acceptable "next-cliffhanger-is-even-worse" style. So it’s not that all is forgiven, but it is that I will now feel free to savor the highs of: “Torn,” the shock of seeing the Hellfire Club again, “yeabuhwha?,” Peter and Kitty making love, Wolverine’s charming regression and the attack of the beer can, and Kitty’s dystopic nightmare of a bad future to top even "Days of Future Past."

This month, Emma gets reduced to a true low. Nearing death in an airless cave, she delusionally envisions an angelic savior and rejects him in true self-hating fashion. How very Emma. Joss knows these characters (even though he may not know all the ins and outs of Morrison’s story arc for Cassandra, as he seems to have missed the point of Ernst).

Seeing Scott shooting things up (with a real gun?) is funny, and is a unique way to convey his leadership and experience. However, I never imagined him played by Whedon favorite Nathan Fillion before, and this issue I did. Getting over childhood trauma seems to have freed up the wicked imp in Scott.

The best thing about the issue, next to Ord and Danger’s Laurel and Hardy shtick, is the simple fact that Whedon got it right. Emma’s not evil. Cassandra isn’t actually quite back. And this whole goofy Ord thing is finally going to be resolved. He’s been the weakest part of Whedon’s run to me, rather than Danger (who at least had the benefit of inspiring some of Cassaday’s darkest techno dreams). So now that Emma is staying in the white, maybe this Ord thing will finally make sense, too.

Brilliant issue, raises the arc from "average" back to "great."



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