Astonishing X-Men #1
By Charles Soule, Jim Cheung, Mark Morales, Guillermo Ortego, Walden Wong, Richard Isanove, and Rain Beredo
Astonishing X-Men #1 is a bold new beginning for the X-Men, written by prolific Marvel writer Charles Soule. This comic kicks off a brand-new epic for the X-Men, featuring the team-up of some fascinating characters as well as laying the early groundwork for what could well be one of the best X-Men storylines in a while. The team-up of Rogue, Bishop, Gambit, Psylocke, Old Man Logan, Fantomex, and Beast are all really exciting as Soule nails the character’s interactions and their personalities, and the new dynamic created between them here will be really interesting to read over the issues to come.
In a string of underwhelming X-Men relaunches, Astonishing X-Men #1 feels like a breath of fresh air. It gets off to a fantastic start that feels really newcomer-friendly, but also caters to old X-Men fans in a big way. The potential too, teased by the final cliffhanger, opens up a whole new direction for the series and if Soule can live up to the billing of this very promising first issue, then we could be in for one of the best Marvel books in a while. There’s so much good stuff here it’s hard not to like Astonishing X-Men, with Soule’s narration establishing who the characters are, what the stakes are, and the action from the get go, putting them into several scenarios that really will have readers looking forward to the next issue.
The line work by Jim Cheung is as fantastic as ever. He adds an explosive touch to this issue with a chaotic approach to the action sequences that really help lend to the epic feel of the book, but the smaller moments presented here work just as well as the larger ones. Mark Morales, Guillermo Ortego, and Walden Wong lend their hands to the inks, working well with the talented color art of Richard Isanove and Rain Bered to create a fantastic atmosphere for the book that feels like a typical X-Men story. Despite the large cast, every character is given their own distinctive look and feel, which really pays off, as nothing feels cluttered at all.
One of the best X-Men runs that we’ve had remains Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s epic Astonishing X-Men run and it’s something that happens to share the same title as this new series; as a result, there may be a few fans who are comparing the quality of this run to Whedon’s run. If this first issue is anything to go by, then it is one of Soule’s best new series in a while and given how many books he’s written over the past few years, that’s certainly saying a lot. It’s too early to call whether it will live up to the billing of Whedon’s run, but early signs are certainly very positive indeed. This issue serves as an introduction to what may well be the most essential X-Men book currently on shelves, so if you are an X-Men fan looking for an excellent book with a fantastic command of the atmosphere, characters and plot, look no further than Astonishing X-Men #1. It’s absolutely unmissable.