This was a short arc of just two issues Astonishing X-Men # 57 & 58. The story focuses on Warbird as the new member of the Astonishing X-Men. If you remember back in Wolverine and the X-Men # 13 (which was as aptly named as the Holy Roman Empire) she was left here on Earth by her people. Now she’s trying to cope and find her place. We also know she has an artistic soul which is not just frowned upon but destroyed by her culture. So what happens to an alien that’s artistic when its no longer forbidden. What does it take to let go of your home world and embrace the new one? Maybe meeting a dying race?
Let’s switch it up a bit and do the legalese first. Eh? Living on the edge here aren’t I? So here goes – All images are the property of their owners I reproduce them here under the Fair Use Doctrine of the copyright law for commentary and critique. No more than three pages total from any one issue is reproduced.
Now to give credit where credit is due. Marjorie Liu, Writer – Gabriel Hernandez Walta & Felix Ruiz, Artists Issue 57 – Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Artist Issue 58 – Cris Peter w/ Dan Brown, Color Artists – VC’s Joe Caramanga, Letterer – Phil Noto, Covers – Jennifer M. Smith, Assistant Editor – Jeanine Schaefer, Editor – Nick Lowe, Group Editor – Axel Alonso, Editor In Chief – Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer – Dan Buckley, Publisher – Alan Fine, Executive Producer.
If you know my comic book preferences you know I HATE absolutely HATE aliens, magic, time travel in my X-Men. No I think there’s enough to explore about humans/mutants without getting into that. It’s not that I don’t like sci-fi and fantasy in comic books. I do but just not here, kinda like just because I like peanut butter and ribeye doesn’t meant I want to slather my ribeye with peanut butter. Any way the way I get around it is create my own little personal Earth-616-ML (for those who aren’t comic geeks the main Marvel universe is called Earth-616) universe where I sing LA-LA-LA in my head and make all aliens just more mutants.
Given that I took this to be a story about a mutant from a family that discourages artistic endeavors. She meets up with another mutant that is dying but awakens such things in others. Well, that given they fight because that’s what comic book heroes do when they are made to feel uncomfortable. He dies leaving money for an interactive museum dedicated to awakening the artistic endeavors of everyone. As a result she embraces that part of her nature and becomes a whole person. That’s the Earth-616-ML verison. In the real one – he’s the survivor of genocide by her people against his and the story progresses from there.
What I liked about the story is how the team worked together. Yes they were concerned about her but they didn’t charge in and fight this battle for her nor did they lecture her to be something she was uncomfortable with. Also they didn’t fall into the trope of fighting her because she’s gone rogue. Instead they gave her room to work it out while doing their best to protect her and the survivor. THAT is what true teammates do.
I also enjoyed getting glimpses into the life of other X-Men during the holidays. (Yes I’m that far behind on Comic Comments that this arc started at Christmas time!). We see the newlywed couple dealing with what will be the subject of the next arc – illegal Canadians! Gambit reveals what he’s done on his holiday break. He’s such a flirt with all the ladies watch out Dr. Reyes. Karma has Warbird join her family for the holiday dinner. Seems they are coping well with the events of the previous arc. I always enjoy the glimpses of heroes being people.
As for the art I can’t say I enjoyed it – I found it good but not great. The morgue scene in Issue 57 was better but it’s Ruiz’s work where most of the arc is Walta. I don’t dislike Walta’s effort here some panels I found myself enjoying but many others irked me by being either too boxy in the depiction of characters or too cartoony with expressions. It’s a fine line to get an action comic right – not too much in any direction. I know I’m picky. Yet I know what I like, what I find irksome, and what I dislike. Walta is good and I felt it ranged from serviceable to great. Then again that’s my taste. Who am I to criticize when I can’t draw a lick?
Overall I put this down as one of the better arc that highlights a team member. I liked the pacing and story even if the alien thing reared it’s ugly head I just ignored that bit. I like how the team worked together to deal with yet another member’s personal issues (last one was Karma’s family yeah her sister made my Wolvie into a BOMB!) and next one is focusing on Northstar’s immigration issues. Gosh knows we need to get those illegal superpowered Canadians deported! Wait, no – my Wolvie!
Here’s the spacing to warn those who are further behind in their comic reading than me of possible SPOILERS BELOW.
Yep down here are interior scans that may reveal too much for the SPOILER phobic.
If you feel that might be yo don’t keep scrolling down.
Really I can’t be responsible if you get spoiled. I posted warnings and ample space…
I just liked this scene. Gave me the warm fuzzys.
Warbird tries to explain why this sole survivor is a threat to her. Instead she inspires Logan to read. This is the art I liked better of the two styles in this issue. Considering the whole arc is about such things I’d thought I point it out so you can make your own judgement.
Her artistic abilities and desires fully unleashed she wants them suppressed again. The survivor (who really isn’t but is) points out that once you have the desire to create it can’t be undone. I think any one with the desire to write, paint, dance, photograph, act, sing etc. knows what he’s talking about.
Warbird knows one of the most dangerous things of war is getting to know your enemy as an equal. This survivor can’t create but can inspire others to do so. He desires to create but can only copy. What a sad frustrating existence. Warbird has the talent and ability to create but denies it.