Astonishing X-Men #50 Review

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Fifty issues.  It seemed like just yesterday that Joss Whedon and John Cassaday started this series as a continuity light series that would focus on the X-Men doing what they do best: saving the world.  Although the series has been around for eight years, and most series would have hit the fifty issue mark quite some time ago, the series has been a staple of consistent quality.  Astonishing X-Men #50 is a classic example of what the series is about; a great story focusing on a few characters.

Many have been making a fuss about one particular plot point in this issue.  I’m not going to go to much into it, but if you want to read what I think about the subject, click here.

Marjorie Liu’s arc on Astonishing has been character heavy.  All of Liu’s comic work has been filled with great characters and nuanced character development.  The same holds here.  Even when the characters are decked out in spandex and fighting other people in spandex, they seem real.  Every reader can hear their friends or loved ones saying lines like these.  For most of this arc, I found myself ignoring the plot and wanting to see more of these small character moments.  Comic books have enough people fighting each other in tights, so having a book that is all about characters is a real treat.  We need more books like this every week. The build up to the highly publicized scene is written beautifully.  And it doesn’t come out of nowhere.  Northstar’s conversation with Bobby and Gambit was touching, sweet, hysterical, and set up the proposal scene great.

One of the small faults of this arc have been that the overall plot hasn’t been touched upon much.  This issue brings the arc full circle, going back to the opening scene in #48.  The way Liu got there is somewhat clunky.  It reads as if the character moments were the main focus of Liu’s script and the Marauder’s side of the story just came up to fill the gaps.  This isn’t a bad, with the character moments being so great to read.  This is fine for a writer to do, but they need to have the character moments hit hard, so even when the thinly veiled plot points come up, we don’t care since we just want to see more of these awesome characters.  And that’s what Liu does.  Her run on Astonishing has been great so far, and let’s hope that she can stick around on the title for some time.

Mike Perkins’ art improves from last month.  With this issue focusing on the characters much more than the action, this gives his excellent face work a chance to shine.  The proposal scene makes or breaks the issue.  If Perkins had botched any slight facial movement, then the reader has lost their investment in this scene and it’s just another scene.  But my god, does every panel look great.  Much like Liu’s script, the scene looks and feels real. Perkins nails the smaller touches as well, with some of the bystanders in the background looking at these two having a very intimate moment in a very public place.

Astonishing X-Men #50 is a great story, and continues Marjorie Liu’s great writing.  Thanks to Greg Pak and Liu, Astonishing hasn’t been at this high creatively since Joss started the book.

Astonishing X-Men #50 gets 4/5.

 

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