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A Story on the Fringe

January 20, 2010

     With their mysterious adversary attacking them almost constantly, the Astonishing X-Men have to stay on their toes.  Brand explains how the enemy, who is a geneticist, gained access to enough of Beast’s work that he figured out the rest himself and created biological weapons out of dead mutants and Brood DNA.  As they are talking about the Brood, a massive Krakoa-Brood creature arrives at their location.  Rather than waste time with a prolongued fight, Cyclops shaves the thing in half with a single, full-out blast.  Expecting the ship that dropped the creature to return, Cyclops has the X-Men prepare to greet it.  The ship is massive, but upon breaching its hull, the team realizes that there is nothing actually alive inside of it.  The design is extremely bizarre, and it is controlled by a dead technopathic, Phalanx-infected mutant named Paradigm whose mind is being used as a computer.  Cyclops is absolutely pissed, and he directs the entirety of his wrath upon finding and taking out this villainous genecist.

     Joss Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men was really good partially because it did not try to fit in with the continuity of the other X-Men series.  Rather, other series fit around it.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case with Warren Ellis’ run.  The main X-Men stories have absolutely no links to this story, so it’s hard to really care about its outcome.  After all, it’s not like anyone is going to pay it any attention once this arc is over.  Ellis may have gotten down the voices of all the characters at last (minus Armor, who has been reduced to nothing more than a shadow of Pixie, Shadowcat, and all the “young girl” X-Men), but this arc just isn’t great enough on its own merits, nor will it have any lasting impact.  The fact that we have yet to even learn anything about the enemy of the arc minus part of his name just is indicative of its poor pacing.  Phil Jimenez’s art is fine, but partially due to Frank D’Armata’s colors, it looks rather odd at times.  And in one panel, he makes Storm look like an Amazon rather than… Storm.  Which was odd.  So, even if Ellis manages to turn this story around at the end (like his last arc), I’m just not excited for Astonishing X-Men anymore.  At least Uncanny X-Men has more stuff happen, even if it can be bad at times.

Plot: 7.2      Art: 8.6      Dialogue: 8.5      Overall: 7.3

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