By Leroy Douresseaux
November 29, 2008 - 21:30
|Astonishign X-Men #15 cover|
The X-Men’s insidious rivals, the Hellfire Club, have returned. Featuring a rejuvenated lineup of Sebastian Shaw, Cassandra Nova, Perfection, Nagasonic Teenage Warhead, and Emma Frost, the Hellfire Club seeks to finally fulfill its destiny to destroy the X-Men. Cyclops/Scott Summers lies in a coma, while Cassandra Nova launches mental attacks on The Beast and Wolverine, reducing them to their weakest mental states. What’s Kitty Pryde, the least of the X-Men, to do?
THE LOWDOWN: Damn that Joss Whedon! He would make a much easier target for comic book fanboy ire if he were simply just another Hollywood type slumming in comics, but he’s good… damn good at writing comic books. I walked into Astonishing X-Men #15 (August 2006) having not read this storyline’s previous issues, but still found myself engaged with this story and script. That’s the reality of Joss’ comic book work; a reader can walk right into the middle of a Whedon story and find himself, more likely than not, in an exciting scene.
It’s clear that the template for Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men is writer/co-plotter Chris Claremont and penciller/co-plotter John Byrne’s classic run on X-Men from the late 1970s and early 1980s. In fact, this storyline is a something of a re-imagination of X-Men 129-134 – the “Hellfire Club” storyline, with this particular issue remaking the incidents of X-Men #132 (“And Hellfire is their Name!”). Whedon’s partner, artist John Cassaday re-envisions this classic story in his own “widescreen” style, but he recaptures the sense of fun, sharp action, and edge-of-your-seat suspense.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: As a trade paperback or as a back issue, Astonishing X-Men should be an evergreen title for fans of the X-Men.