July 26, 2010

Marvel Reviews: Astonishing X-Men #34

Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Phil Jimenez & Andy Lanning
Cover: Phil Jimenez

“Exogenetic pt 4”: The last time this title came out there was snow on the ground and Christmas carols were being sung. Now it’s one hundred and hell degrees outside and we’re only on part four of this story seven months later? The only thing Ellis contributed to Astonishing X-Men in that time frame is the questionable Xenogenesis mini-series, which has yet to wrap up and in my opinion “impress” as well, so I guess it’s release date issues all over.

The issue picks up after it’s revealed that the new enemy the team is facing is attacking them with information stolen from Beast when he was researching how to reverse the effects of M-Day. Cyclops is a bit ticked off when he finds out, and attempts to reprimand Beast for his actions, but he’s quickly put in place by his furry friend. So after the two finish playing “who’s got the bigger stones,” the team is attacked by a genetic mash up of their longtime enemy Sauron and a Brood. However, this monstrosity is the size of a building and tearing through the ship they’re in to kill them. With some pretty decent teamwork the Sauron/Brood monster is dealt with, but the ship is still flying back to its owner, so the X-Men end up at some top secret base in Japan flying through what Wolverine describes as an “assassin’s toolbox.” Someone has been stockpiling a ton of weapons specifically from the X-Men’s past and is determined to wipe them all out.

Now, despite the HUGE amount of time it took for this issue to come out, the story is still an interesting one, and Ellis gives us some pretty good dialog throughout the story. The argument between Beast and Cyclops was nice, as it’s always refreshing to see Cyclops on the receiving end of a lecture nowadays. Even the comment Beast makes at the end is one that can only come from someone who has such a long history and friendship with Cyclops. There was a line about the Prof that would have seemed more of an Emma type comment that came from Storm, but it didn’t throw things off too much in terms of her character. I was a bit confused as to why Ellis had Emma asking Storm and Armor about the X-Men’s history with Sauron, rather than just scanning their minds and getting the info that way.

In this issue Phil Jimenez is credited with doing the breakdowns while Andy Lanning did the finishes, and I’ll say that there wasn’t a bad looking page in the book. Though I’m not too fond of the feline Beast, Jimenez makes him look good, and the sequence of Emma probing the Sauron/Brood monster to find a mental trigger was a nice piece of eye candy. Though it was probably Frank D’armata’s colors that gave that sequence the extra pop it needed.

It may seem like I find an issue with the power application in these books quite often, but it’s a minor glitch in an otherwise good story. A definite step up from Ghost Boxes and Xenogenesis for Ellis, and I’m hoping that he wraps it up on a high note as well. Keep your fingers crossed that barring any scheduling issues we won’t have to wait another six to seven months to get part 5 of this story, because that really throws the pacing off. I’d actually be okay if Ellis just dropped Xenogenesis and pumped this story out instead, but that’s just my opinion.

Infinite Speech



  1. Billy

    I’m glad I didn’t buy Ghost or Xeno. I haven’t heard a great review from anybody about them. This issue doesn’t sound half bad though.

  2. Ghost Boxes was a bit dull to me but I know people who found it entertaining. Xenogenesis just frustrates me on a couple of levels due to certain elements in the story so far and the artwork is something out of MAD magazine.

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