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Shifting Gears

May 7, 2009

     Ever since he began his run on Astonishing X-Men, Warren Ellis has been trying to find the voices of these characters while living up to Joss Whedon’s run and telling a good, original story.  Thus far, he’s had a lot of trouble.  His characterization of most of the X-Men was oddly under-par, and the plot was odd and muddled.  Then, there’s also the fact that he’s hampered by Simone Bianchi, whose art is often some of the worst in mainstream comics.  This issue, however, he finally gets to the point of this arc.  The point is that the birth of Hope Summers created hundreds of new parallel universes with their own mutants.  One of those universes is trying to invade this one, and the only person who knew about it before now was Forge.  Forge, who has gone crazy AGAIN, has created his own artificial mutants to try and combat this threat.  Kind of confusing, huh?  But it’s still less confusing than the mess we had before.

     With the plot finally explained, a few other things fell into place.  For one, all of the X-Men stopped trying to be funny and started talking like they actually should.  Warren Ellis shouldn’t try to mimic Whedon’s dialogue; he should come up with his own material.  And he finally realized that now.  Also, Simone Bianchi’s faces suddenly became a lot better-looking.  The cover is actually quite good, and it’s an indicator of the quality of the work inside.  I’m still not a fan of Bianchi, and I’m certainly not a fan of his costume for Storm.  But he’s doing better.  We also get treated to the obligatory walk down Forge-related memory lane, and Ellis uses this to distinguish Armor from the rest of the younger X-Men by showing her as this student of X-history.  It’s a nice touch.  All-in-all, I’m glad we finally got to the good stuff.  I wish it had come a lot earlier, as now, the whole story may still be beyond anybody’s help.  But we did get one really good issue.

Plot: 8.8      Art: 8.0      Dialogue: 8.5      Overall: 8.7

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