X-Tales to Astonish
A lot of comic book readers probably know by now that Astonishing X-Men is the X-title that delivers consistent plot twists, drama and memorably good dialogue. Well, it is. Joss Whedon, TV god and comics savior, whips up a simple but absorbing tale replete with ominous prophecies, triumphant resurrections, new and returning big bads, and good old mutant mayhem.
There are two issues to go before Whedon and artist John Cassaday bid the series adieu. The Astonishing X-Men team--Cyclops, Emma Frost, Beast, Wolverine, Kitty Pryde, Colossus and Armor--travel to the Breakworld planet to avert a prophesied disaster in the current “Unstoppable” arc.
In the course of the series, Emma, Kitty, and Cyclops have been developed tremendously, each of them figuring in powerful moments that add to the characters’ already rich histories. And while it’s not as clever or concept-rich as the series it succeeded (Grant Morrison’s New X-Men), Astonishing’s creators approach it with their own indelible style, and are no less effective with their storytelling and ideas.
Each issue of Astonishing is a quick read; the sleekly drawn, uncluttered but still nicely laid out panels project a spacious, cinematic feel. Too bad the artist isn’t a fast one; the gaps between issues have been torture. And those reading the latest installment might have difficulty recalling events from the previous issue. Times have changed, this particular three-year run has yielded only 23 issues to date, but it’s still one of the better Marvel titles out there. It’s very tightly written and told.
Those opting to get the run in trade paperbacks will not be disappointed. Those who have the monthly issues already know how layered and involving the X-Men are again. It really is an astonishing era.
(image above from silverbulletcomics)
Friday, I went to the new office of my erstwhile Beer Guy pal Mark, who’s now occasionally my boss, to pick up stuff. We talked briefly about work, and also about Astonishing X-Men. I lent him the first 21 issues of the Whedon-Cassaday run last summer. It was a nice surprise that he got the last two issues himself because he liked it a lot.
Saturday, I just wrote and drew. Finished episodes of Kyle XY, whose lead actor sometimes reminds me of Jason Doplito (it’s like his Caucasian version, I think!). I also played old, long-untouched music CDs.
We went to Fully Booked’s Neil Gaiman event at the Fort last Sunday. And by “we,” I mean that as two people--as in Dicky and me--and not “we” the way Queen Elizabeth I might have used it, which meant that she was actually referring only to herself.
Anyway, Dicky joked as we approached the place, “There’s gonna be a lot of nerds.”
I responded, “We’re nerds!”
“But we’re hot nerds,” he deadpanned. Hee.
Fellow Gaiman fans and geeks of every persuasion and permutation were there. We waited a bit at the shaded lawn-courtyard for Mr. Gaiman’s appearance. New Avengers artist Leinil Yu called me from behind and said hello, which was cool, because it’s been years since we last saw each other and talked. He still recognizes me. I told him I like his new penciling style (a rougher but purer look that, in my opinion, is a distinct evolution). He was starting the “Secret Invasion” pages, so I just had to ask: “So, sino ang Skrulls?” He just smiled and said, “Hindi ko pa alam.” Cool guy, that Nil.
Soon, Ner Pedrina, Azrael Colladilla, and the Arres (Arnold and Cyn) were in the area, as well. Dean Alfar also said hello. Wanted to greet Vinnie Simbulan, but he was busy talking to someone, and soon vanished. My old, dear friend Amy Mosura was there too. It’s been a while since we saw each other, so I was kinda embarrassed that I mistook her for a high school batchmate at first. She lost weight and her new hairstyle looks great.
Neil Gaiman later shared some truly inspiring words, so attending the event was really worth it.
Let’s see… I also ran into Oliver Ortega, and others whose names I can’t remember. And oh, yeah, it’s good to discover that Andrew Fornier, friend of the Brookers, was a finalist in the prose category. Gerald of the Komikeros, I think, won in the comics category. I don’t recognize the other names, but the top prize (2nd, no 1st place this year) went to Andrew Drilon. Yup, it’s the guy’s year. Congrats to the winners!
Dicky and I ate and hung out a bit after the announcement of winners. I was tired when I got home, but I still had enough energy to research and finish an article for the paper. I rummaged through a box full of old magazines, but I was able to find those that I needed quickly. You see, back in the ‘90s, I’d buy magazines like Entertainment Weekly, Premiere, Rolling Stone, Empire and lesser-known ones, but only if they were ultra-cheap. I went through a sci-fi mag, got distracted for a bit, pulled out a
Hmm. I’d better get organized; I’ve things lined up for the next few days. But I feel inspired. I keep thinking of all those fans at the Gaiman event, those people touched and moved differently by the author’s various works. It was like a religious meet, attended by the creative, imaginative and escapist. And, quite surprisingly, some of them were hot nerds.