Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon & John Cassaday


X-Men! I’ve loved them since the movies, and I have very brief, vague memories of the animated show from when I was a kid. I remember Jubilee… but I should really try to watch the show again. I’m pretty sure I just liked her because her power was sparkly.

I’ve been wanting to read some of the X-Men comics for a loooooong while now – my main hesitation was just not knowing where to start, because it’s been around FOR.EV.ER. and it seemed impossible to start at the beginning. A while back I Googled where to start with the X-Men comics. Basically, everyone’s advice seems to be the same – find the beginning of an arc or storyline and jump in. Astonishing X-Men was on a list of good places to start, and when I saw that Joss Whedon was the author, I had had had to get my hands on it.

I’m not sure what I can say, other than Joss Whedon’s run of Astonishing X-Men is a blast and I’m so happy I read it. The storyline, in hindsight, seems kind of convoluted. There were a lot of things happening at once in the first twelve issues – the “Cure” storyline, a problem with the danger room, an alien named Ord working out a nefarious plan to destroy the X-Men and humanity, etc. Mostly everything came together in the end, though I believe that Astonishing X-Men itself still continues on with other authors after Whedon’s end at issue #24. I’m not sure if there’s much connection there, but I’m interested enough to seek out the other author’s runs eventually.

I thought I took notes while I read the first collected volume, but now I can’t find them, so let’s see what I can remember:

  • Art, art, art. It’s pretty freaking fantastic, with the exception of Beast. Dude looks too much like a cat. And I think that’s on purpose, something about his mutation, but it bugged me the whole time. Over all though, kudos to Cassaday.


  • Familiar and new-to-me characters. This run consists mainly of Kitty, Wolverine, Emma Frost, Cyclops, Beast, and Colossus. A couple of characters I wasn’t familiar with were introduced, such as Agent Abigail Brand. Her and the agency she works for, S.W.O.R.D., were apparently new to the X-Men when Whedon wrote it. I find this interesting only because I just started the Age of Ultron comics and Agent Brand makes an appearance in the very beginning. Also, the Fantastic Four showed up a couple of times. I kind of love the character cameos like that.
  • Wolverine. Because this is the first of the X-Men comics I’ve ever read, I always kind of wondered why he was such a big deal. I get it now, he’s pretty funny.
  • Kitty and Colossus. I had seen the image below before, and was excited when I actually came across it in reading. So much pretty and romance.


  • Professor X wasn’t really around much in this. He’s away, and Cyclops is in charge. While it was certainly an interesting dynamic and I think it allowed other characters to get more time in the spotlight, I’m eager to read other storylines with him in it.

And that’s all I really have to go on about, I guess. This run was a lot of fun, and I feel like I learned so much but also have so much more to learn. This is the joy of getting into a comic series that’s about 50 years. I can’t say with authority that this is a great place to start with the X-Men, since I have no others to compare it with yet, but it worked out pretty well for me. I think  hopped on my phone once or twice to look something up, but for the most part it was easy to just go along and enjoy the ride.


Sarah Says: 5 stars


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