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Astonishing X-Men #2

Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2004
By: Ray Tate



"Gifted": Part Two

Writer: Joss Whedon
Artists: John Cassaday, Laura Martin(c)
Publisher: Marvel

"The first time I ever met the X-Men. The first day...They were ambushed. Captured. And Caged...By you."--Kitty Pryde to Emma Frost.

I want you to consider this dialogue. Just read it and relish it. You see, this tiny passage of Astonishing X-Men does so much more than entire stories written by lesser, but highly acclaimed authors.

First, from this passage, we can see that Kitty knows Emma Frost not as a team member but as an enemy. A reader unfamiliar with X-Men continuity--even the continuity that most know--learns in an instant that Emma Frost isn't just a haughty, British bitch. She was a villain. She was an enemy of the X-Men.

The passage leads to more wonderfully written dialogue that gives strength to Kitty Pryde and makes Emma Frost more vulnerable. Emma cannot deny her history, and she cannot act holier than holy when reminded of that history.

The passage reverses Kitty's and Emma's perceived roles. Emma is perceived as something of a taskmaster and somewhat kinky. Kitty is perceived as somewhat straight-laced and warm. Kitty ruthlessly dresses down Emma. The perversion that Emma once thrived upon is used as a weapon against her.

Apart from this wonderful passage that makes you stop in the same way you stopped when you saw Buffy kill Angel and when you saw Buffy sacrifice her life to close the gateway, throughout the book Mr. Whedon exhibits his typical flexibilities with dramatic storytelling. All drama must have a balance of comedy, and his comedic sensibilities display the same fine-tuning that led to one Slaying being the result of Buffy's smooshing the beast under her shoe.

The comic sense of timing again does more than simply unveil the punchline to a joke. It draws a hilarious comment from the seriously ticked off Logan and again establishes relationships for any viewer who happened to come in late. Joss Whedon just does so much with a brevity of actions and defines graceful writing.

John Cassaday provides the actors for Mr. Whedon and with Laura Martin the cinematography necessary for Joss Whedon's direction. Without Cassaday and the subdued colors, the realism in Mr. Whedon's writing would not be so perfectly conveyed.



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