By Charles Soule and Phil Noto
Astonishing X-Men #6 dropped a nice bombshell on readers last month, Professor X was back, in a round about way. This month, with issue 7, we get to see a little more of this character, who goes simply by X, and the reaction and consequences of him being alive again.
You can admit it, Professor X in Fantomex’s body is kind of weird. Professor X as a twenty-something young man is also kind of weird, but it’s also very interesting. Charles Soule was tasked with bringing Xavier back, and he did it in a new and interesting way. Think of it like this, Professor X is often the old guy who bosses around the X-Men. He’s usually in a wheelchair, not always, but usually, and now Charles Soule has completely smashed everything we thought we knew about the character. This issue has some good moments, but it also had some odd ones. One of the great moments of the issue involves Betsy going in the Astral Plane to visit Fantomex. It’s always nice to see these two interact because their relationship is complicated. Soule does a good job of making us second guess if Fantomex actually agreed to allow Xavier to use his body or not.
With Xavier, you never know if you’re choosing to do what you’re doing or not, and that’s always an interesting point in X-Men stories. One of the disappointing parts of this issue, and series so far, is the neglect of Bishop. Once again he’s kind of a minor character with nothing to really do, he’s just wallpaper. Another disappointing portion of the issue involves Gambit and Old Man Logan’s characterization. While these two were possessed by the Shadow King, they got whooped by Archangel. This issue, they are not possessed and longer, but they come off as scared, especially Gambit. The first issue in A man called X had it’s pros and cons. It’s not a bad first issue by any means, but last arc was really good and that’s a lot to live up to.
All of the art duties, pencils, inks and colors, are handled by Phil Noto. Some people love Noto’s style while others don’t, but his work here is solid. Pencil wise, his work is good, but there are some panels where faces are off and noses look odd. The two pages of Fantomex and Betsy in the garden are very nice looking though. Noto has a nice old Victorian house in the background and roses everywhere. One of the aspects of Noto’s work that really stands out this issue are the colors he used. It’s a very light palette, everything from the sky to the blue on Archangel are vibrant and draw your attention. There is a lime green that Noto uses for the sky after an explosion of sorts that just looks great on the page too. The art this issue was fine and complimented the style of story Soule told.
This was a little bit of a slower issue for Astonishing X-Men, but it was still a good read. Charles Soule has been putting out the best X-book every month since this title debuted. The rotating artists hasn’t affected the book in any way and Noto fills in nicely. Astonishing X-Men should still be the first X-book you read this week.