By Matthew Rosenberg, Greg Land, Jay Leisten and Frank D’Armata
Astonishing X-Men #14 is Matthew Rosenberg’s second issue with the title. This is important because he insisted on continuing the number count of the book and not just re-launching it with a brand new #1. Kudos to Mr. Rosenberg for doing that. Now, as we enter the second issue of his run, we begin to see the team start to form and Alex Summers, AKA Havoc, take more of a leadership role as he attempts to repair his reputation.
One thing should be apparent as you read through this issue; Matthew Rosenberg is a fan of the X-Men. You can feel the care he has for these characters as you thumb through the pages. Even though this is the ‘gather the team’ issue, there is still enough here to make fans giddy. One trend among all of the characters present is that they all seem to want to get back into the good graces of their teammates or the public. Colossus has been drinking since he got dumped, Banshee is recovering from being brought back by Apocalypse, Dazzler is dealing with fading fame and looking for a purpose. All of these mutants work together because they all want the same thing. These unofficial X-Men all make it their priority to help those in need. There’s a feeling of camaraderie amongst former teammates; Beast and Alex play really well off of each other, and Rosenberg uses this to inject humor into the issue. This was a very entertaining issue, and maybe it’s the X-book we need right now. It’s fun and it doesn’t try to take itself too seriously.
Pencils this issue are handled by Greg Land, with inks by Jay Leisten and colors by Frank D’Armata. Land has been very good on this series, and characterizes each team member well. Banshee looks old and disgruntled, which he should since he died not too long ago. Land has a great panel where Alex asks Pete if he’s had enough to drink. The look on Havok’s face is classic and is very life like. The inks by Jay Leisten help Land’s pencils shine. The colors by Frank D’Armata very exceptional here too. A full page of Dazzler as she unloads her mutant power grabs your attention with the cool blue and the hot yellow oozing off the page. The action scenes, whether it’s Banshee flying toward a Reaver in his green and Yellow costume, or Alex doing a long distance attack with a light blue energy signature all look great with D’Armata’s color work.
Astonishing X-Men #14 continues to be a promising start for this new team. Matthew Rosenberg has let his inner fan boy out onto the pages of the book and it’s a really wild read. The art has been exciting and glamorous thanks to the hard work put in by all involved. Astonishing X-Men is the most fun you’ll have with mutants this week.