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03 May 2013 @ 08:30 am
Recent Reads: Astonishing X-Men (Warren Ellis run)  

ASTONISHING X-MEN: GHOST BOX, EXOGENETIC, XENOGENESIS: Sometime back Warren Ellis said he was never going to write for Marvel again. After reading this trilogy of story arcs, I really wish he’d stuck with that. I gather the X-universe storylines have taken a turn for the bleak recently, but I liked GHOST BOX less than anything else of Ellis’s I’ve ever read, and less than any X-story I’ve ever read, including what I considered to be the god-awful Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely run that culminated with Cassandra Nova.

The art in GHOST BOX was pretty painted stuff by Simone Bianchi, but I didn’t think the pages were well laid out or easy to follow, and this comes from somebody who really follows comic stories through the text, not images. The Ghost Boxes opened doors to multiuniverses, and the last issue of the GHOST BOX storyline was a glimpse at three or four multiverses. They were very well done, all of them, in both story and art, except *Jesus*, depressing.

EXOGENETIC was an up-tick in both story and art; Phil Jimenez remembers that Cyclops’s nickname is Slim, which no one has remembered for most of the past twenty-five years, and draws him accordingly. I liked the art very much. I’ve read reviews that didn’t care for the story at all, and I see their point, but I still preferred it considerably to GHOST BOX.

All that can be said about XENOGENESIS was I didn’t dislike it as *much* as I disliked GHOST BOX in terms of story, but I thought Kaare Andrews’ art was appalling. I mean, actually embarrassing to look at. While there are individual panels where I absolutely freaking love the style he’s coming in with, in the vast majority I find the women horrific (See the third panel here for an example that isn’t even as egregious as many of them are). I’d rather look at Frank Quitely’s art, and I don’t like Quietly’s art at all.

So yeah. Basically, that was awful. I’m going to read AvX next (well, for some value of next, WRT whenever I get around to reading another GN) and then step on board with Marjorie Liu’s ASTONISHING, which I have considerable hope for.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

irishkateirishkate on May 3rd, 2013 09:08 am (UTC)
God! Kaare Andrews’ art is terrible. I wouldn't have bought the GN for his depictions of women for a start..
kitmizkit on May 3rd, 2013 03:47 pm (UTC)
It was sealed, so all I had to go on was the cover, which is outrageous but, well. Comic book.
irishkateirishkate on May 3rd, 2013 05:02 pm (UTC)
Bummer! Well - I'd remember and anything he puts his name to is worth avoiding.
Kari Sperringla_marquise_de_ on May 3rd, 2013 09:53 am (UTC)
My superhero team is The Avengers (since long before the film), though I dip in and out a lot. And lately what I've noticed there is that in the hands of some artists -- and especially Alessandro Vitti and Matteo Buffagni, most women have a significant scoliosis of the spine. Even when walking/running/fighting, they *have* to adopt a curved pose with their buttocks sticking out quite noticeably. Since this applies to non-heroes too, I can only assume it's some kind of plague effecting Marvel 616 and perhaps will soon be resolved in a major crossover.
Those illustrations you link to are quite something. While I've always found Emma Frost's costume deplorable, in that version... I can only assumer she's cold and has added flesh coloured cushions as padding in several places, because female bodies don't behave like that normally.
kitmizkit on May 3rd, 2013 04:01 pm (UTC)
There are aspects of the art I like, some of the straight lines and outrageous flares. I mean: comic book figures, superheroes in particular, do not adhere to reality, and I don't mind that. But I dislike the sense of, mm, making fun of, the character/figure. Emma's a wretched character with a lot of baggage and yes, an god-awful costume, but...I find the art disrespectful. Or something.
Kate Kirbykirbyk on May 3rd, 2013 11:59 am (UTC)
I agree, Ghost Box did nothing for me. I actually dropped the title in the middle.

As for recent X-Men:
- Avoid Prelude to Schism like the plague. Most nothing-happens miniseries I've ever read.
- Keiron Gillen's Uncanny X-Men run was very good, try some.
- Liu's Astonishing is good, but her X-23 run was better. It featured a lot of well written Gambit!
- Peter David's X-Factor is always consistently good and underrated.
- There's some good Rogue stories in X-Men Legacy over the last few years. There was a brief period where she was the focus of the book.
- I'm really enjoying Bendis's current All New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men runs.
- I'm alone in not liking Rick Remender's Uncanny X-Force. I think it's insanely too violent and mean-spirited, but the comics world loved it.
- AvX is good solid superhero fun, but don't expect it to be much more. The companion book, Vs., is just pure Avengers vs. X-Men fighting, and has different authors for each part, and is all over the place in quality.
- I actually found AvX: Consequences (the followup miniseries) to be better than AvX.

I'm the best there is at what I do, and what I do is read X-Men comics.
kitmizkit on May 3rd, 2013 03:54 pm (UTC)
I'll use this is as a guideline, thanks. :)
pgwfolcpgwfolc on May 3rd, 2013 03:14 pm (UTC)
I gave up on 616 X-Men years ago, after the whole Onslaught thing. I never looked back... with one exception. Whedon's founding run on Astonishing was, well... astonishingly good. But when I saw he was leaving and Ellis (whom I've also stopped reading) was taking over, I dropped it, and I'm perfectly happy with that decision.
kitmizkit on May 3rd, 2013 03:51 pm (UTC)
I actually didn't much care for Whedon's run on Astonishing, as I felt Kitty was playing the part of Buffy, Emma was Spike, and everybody else was a hash of the rest of the characters. And--while presumably Marvel told him to--I was pretty pissed off at resurrecting Colossus, whose death was one of the few really good things that came out of the 90s X-Men. I re-read it later after I was less pissed about Colossus, and still had the characterization issues, but it's a pretty good story, I'll grant you that. :)
pgwfolcpgwfolc on May 3rd, 2013 04:01 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not sure what the deal was with Colossus. Whether that was his idea or Marvel's. But at least he brought him back with style. That wordless Fastball Special splash page is one of my all-time favorite pages of X-men.

The story had its faults. And it did feel very much like a Joss story. But it's still the best X-men story I've read this millennium. ;)
LurkerWithoutlurkerwithout on May 3rd, 2013 03:16 pm (UTC)
Glad to see I'm not alone in disliking the Morrison run. I liked some of the characters (Beak and the Cuckoos were cool for example) but flipping thru it the thing as a whole was a turn-off...
kitmizkit on May 3rd, 2013 03:53 pm (UTC)
I liked the Cuckoos quite a lot, yeah. I mean, any writer brings some good stuff in. I just--well, for one, I really do loathe Quitely's art, and if you ever see a picture of him you realize he's drawing his own face on everybody, but beyond that I generally just don't like Morrison as a storyteller. So no, you're not alone. :)