"Gifted" Part Six
Writer: Joss Whedon
Artists: John Cassaday, Laura Martin(c)
Previously on Astonishing X-Men....
"Oh, god. Oh, no. My powers...Oh God...I'm cured."
"Peter Rasputin died and I know this because I carried his ashes to Russia and scattered them myself!"
"You did? Thank you."
"I can feel your hand. And I become certain...I am no ghost."
"Okay. So rescue..."
"Sorry...You ain't gonna win this day."
SHIELD has been until recently given the shaft. Other authors unable to accept the notion of an UNCLE type organization interested in only safeguarding the world tended to bring CIA styled skunkery to their fictional association.
The CIA's past certainly has manifested something for innocent people to fear and about which to be suspicious, but the reality of the CIA shouldn't necessarily factor into for instance Alias where Sydney Bristow works for a much kinder, capable CIA than the real one. Certainly be wary of the real life spies, but there's no reason why fiction should play by the same rules of reality. There's no reason why you should fear James Bond.
Joss Whedon emphasizes the D for Defense in SHIELD. Nick Fury does not jump the gun and attempt to simply battle the X-Men in a mindless slugfest. He attempts to reason with them. Defuse the situation before it escalates and acts as a diplomat. Whedon also introduces a new organization called SWORD, its presence in the Marvel Universe, makes a shockingly good amount of sense, and again there's no mindless violence here between heroes or operatives working for the common good.
X-Men fans need not worry however, Whedon brings in plenty of team action to his tale as well as X-Men styled philosophy. With Peter Rasputin back into the fold, Mr. Whedon brings back a classic move that would have brought down the house had this story been shown in theaters or on television.
John Cassaday continues to impress with photorealism, but in this issue, he noticeably relishes the humorous script that Whedon puts together. The meeting between Wolverine and Ord is at once funny, dangerous and cool, and although without a doubt created by Whedon, the scene would suffer without Cassaday at the art helm.
Laura Martin also cannot be replaced. Her colors add to the cinematic beauty of the book. The green of SWORD Agent Abigail "Hydra Hair" Brand, the natural flesh tones, the mix of colors reflected from Hank's eyes as he sees a reflection of himself in a desperate mutant's pleas, the out of place pink in a violent world and the flaming reds contrasting a happy go lucky mood all help to make this book stand out.
Astonishing X-Men certainly lives up to its name. At first you were just happy to find a readable X-Men book, but now Whedon is making the title his own.
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