Comics Review: Astonishing X-Men, X-Men, Schism, FF, Iron Age

Not Feelin’ It
Astonishing X-Men # 36 – Monstrous, Part 1
The only story arc in Astonishing I haven’t read yet is Exogenic. I am really not liking this one. I know this is the first issue, but I’ve also read the third one due to when I got into Astonishing. I really, really hate this art style. It just looks weird and almost like a super deformed (in the manga sense) version of the X-Men and I don’t think it fits with the previous art style or tone of the book.

I’d have liked a little more info on what happened to Armor’s family, the reason they go to Japan. Meanwhile, Mentallo (who either sounds like a Magician – as they say in the issue – or a candy) is on Monster Island stirring up trouble. So far I don’t like this story arc any better for having seen the beginning, but maybe the second issue will bring me around.

Still Not Done?
X-Men # 14 – First To Last Part 4
I was sure this would be the last issue in this arc. This is a nice, long arc and I’m glad they’re taking their time to develop it. I’m guessing the next book would have to end it. I almost wish they’d just focus on “then” because the fight in “now” is getting a little old, but I guess it maintains a sense of urgency. I’m very curious to see what happens. It’d be very interesting if THIS is what sets in motion Schism rather than something in Uncanny X-Men. After all, the Evolutionaries are here to kill all humans.

They start it off right!
X-Men: Schism # 1 – Schism Part One
Everything is great about this issue and I’m not just saying that because it’s the start to an exciting new arc that I’ve been waiting for since I started seeing ads for it when I started reading X-Books a few months ago. It starts off nice and slowly. As you’ve seen in numerous previews, Scott and Logan are off to speak at a conference about arms control. In the speech Sentinels take the place of what would usually be said about nuclear weapons.

Some plot points will seem unfamiliar to you if you haven’t been reading X-Men for a while. There’s one thing in the spoiler, the other thing you should do is go back and read Generation Hope. Most of the main characters that aren’t the X-Men you know from forever are from Generation Hope. And the Schism reading list shows GH #10 and #11 as being part of Schism. The first five are already in trade paperback and the next four should be easy to find at any comic shop.

Specifically, the bad guy is the punk that’s one of the three or four main bad guys during Morrison’s New X-Men run.

The art is great and works perfectly well. The writing is spot-on. Between Prelude to Scism, which apparently takes place part-way into Schism and this book, it looks like the Wolvie/Scott split (at least everyone assumes Scott leads the other team) will be a massive and heart-breaking event if done well. As in the Prelude books, in this issue you see Wolvie and Scott closer than they’ve ever been.

The ultimate bad guy is a huge surprise. Maybe I don’t know enough about the organization he works for, but it seems strange to me that they did what they did. I assume all will be explained over the next few months.

I’m also excited for the creative teams they list for post-Schism. Bachalo did some great work in New X-Men and Pacheco is also great.

Definitely buy if you’re into X-Men.

First FF issue to feel Meh
FF # 6 – Two Kings
I know Hickman is setting up and expanding upon a huge canon of Fantastic Four/Future Foundation with this issue, but that didn’t keep me from being a bit bored. I’ve said it about other issues of other comics before: this issue will be great as part of the trade paperback. But as a standalone comic in which we have to wait until next month (and maybe the month after that) to find out what’s going on with FF and the Reed Council is annoying. Also, Hickman has said that this arc will finish by issue 9. If 7 also involves the Inhuman backstory – then what happens? Also, what was the point of getting the Doom Council together? They haven’t done anything. Perhaps that’s the point. Even the greatest minds can’t defeat Richards when they work together? Or maybe now they know each other and will cause trouble in the next arc. I don’t know. I just found it so hard to care about this issue and I think if you’re just following the story and aren’t completeist, you can probably skip this issue.

Marvel’s Most Under-rated Mini-Series
Iron Age # 2 – On 42nd Street
Unlike Schism or Spider-Island I have seen NO ads for Iron Age. Yet this series is well written enough that I was able to jump in at issue 2 and not only understand what’s going on, but care about it and the characters. I bought it for the fact that Johnny Storm is on the front cover. I will get the next one because of the X-Men Crossover.

It’s fun to see Tony going through time. He ends up in the scummy Pre-Disney 42nd Street in NYC. And apparently he went on a drunk rampage here recently. (I wasn’t a huge Iron Man guy, but I know that part of him) The second story has to do with Johnny Storm. It’s crazy to see him alive and emotional to Tony trying to figure out whether to change time and save him. Overall you should pick this up if you’re reading the FF series. Not because it ties in directly, but because you probably have a HT hole in your heart right now. Also, maybe this ends up affecting things.