The X-Men investigate a recent attack on them by members of the Marauders and the trail leads them to a Natchi Tech, Inc. weapons production facility. This is also the issue where Northstar proposes to his longtime boyfriend, Kyle.
Marjorie Liu puts in a decent effort with these characters, although it seems like she hasn’t gotten the hang of some of these characters voices. One should not advocate the heavy use of accents for characters with other cultural backgrounds, but we’ve come to expect a certain degree of “Chere” and “Mon Ami” from Gambit. None of that was present here, save for the last cliffhanger panel.
I know there aren’t many fans of Northstar, but I hold a special place in my heart for the guy. Not only is he the first openly homosexual superhero in comics (it happened in Alpha Flight #106, published 20 years ago), but Jean-Paul Beaubier is also a French Canadian superhero, the latter of which also happens to be yours truly’s cultural background. It makes this reviewer that much more critical anytime the Mutant Speedster from the Great White North gets interpreted on panel. Much like with Gambit, there was no hint of Northstar’s cultural background in the dialog. Writers should never feel they have to “lay it on thick”, but the right amount of flavor can go a long way in keeping readers who identify with these characters happy.
Mike Perkins is a respected artist who gained critical acclaim for his work on Marvel’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand. With that said, he is totally the wrong choice for a superhero comic like Astonishing X-Men. Iceman just looks weird and over all, the panels lack a certain dynamic. He probably would have been a good fit for the X-Factor title, about 4 years ago.
Aside from the marriage proposal, the rest of the issue is pretty uneventful and serves only as set up for the third act of this story. –SG
Cover: 6/10 Writing: 6/10 Art: 5/10 Relevance: 4/10
The Disir, a group of cursed shield maidens, are out for blood in search of some ancient scrolls that Loki gave to Sigurd. These scrolls have also turned Asgardians into normal humans with no recollection of who they actually are, including Loki.
Gillen and D&A have crafted a fun story that primarily spins out of Journey Into Mystery, but has included the New Mutants gang in this mini crossover event. The New Mutants angle is a natural fit when taking into account their recent adventure in Hel (and Hell) during Fear Itself. The dialog and character interactions all flow very nicely and move the story along at a fast pace. After all, we are nearing the conclusion with only one issue to go.
Di Giandomenico’s pencils are slightly unconventional, but what really makes it all work is SotoColor’s colors. They are absolutely beautiful. Every panel pops and is a treat to the eyes. Readers should also appreciate the consistency of having the same creative team work on every issue involved in the Exiled story arc.
If you’re a fan of all things Asgard, you shouldn’t miss out on this story arc. The dialog, the characters and the fantastical nature of the story being told will make you feel right at home. –SG
Cover: 5/10 Writing: 7/10 Art: 8/10 Relevance: 5/10
Secret Avengers #27: It’s hard to tell how this fits into the events of Bendis’ Avengers title, but the story is intriguing with the supposed return of Captain Mar-Vell. Hope it sticks this time. Renato Guedes’ art continues to ruin this story. He’s just not a good fit for Marvel superhero books. 6/10 –JJ
Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
SpidermanGeek: Journey Into Mystery. A story like Exiled isn’t my cup of mead, but I can appreciate the appeal and it’s been well put together.
Jeff: Not much to choose from this week. Guess I’ll go with Secret Avengers #27.