Current Reviews


Astonishing X-Men #8

Posted: Tuesday, March 1, 2005
By: Jason Cornwell

"Dangerous, Part Two"

Writer: Joss Whedon
Artists: John Cassaday, Laura Martin (colors)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot: As the X-Academy comes under attack from an unseen enemy, the school's telepaths are taken out, and all lines of communication with the outside world are severed. However, when the school is attacked by a damaged Sentinel, the students are evacuated to the Danger Room, but the X-Men soon discover that this was exactly what their unseen enemy was hoping for, as the training room is under the control of a decidedly hostile presence.

Comments: A very entertaining issue, and the cliff-hanger really grabbed my attention until I remembered that the children trapped inside the Danger Room with Kitty all possess their own mutant abilities. However, if one had to pick a location for an exciting battle for survival, the Danger Room is about as perfect a local as one could hope for, and having the Danger Room under the control of an insane student makes for an extremely promising launching pad to carry us into the next issue. This issue offers up a genuinely thrilling battle between the X-Men and a damaged Sentinel, as Joss Whedon offers up yet another moment where he reminds readers how utterly cool the X-Men's powers can be. I mean I've seen Cyclops unleash his optic blasts before, but his big attack in this issue acts as an ever so impressive reminder of just how powerful Scott can be. The issue also manages to get things off to a very quick start, as all the telepaths in the school are taken down by an unseen attack, and the school is quickly cut off from all communication with the outside world, which in turn creates the sense of an impending attack. There's also a number of cool little moments, like the bit where Lockheed reveals the presence of the Sentinel, or the scene where the robotic attacker unleashes one of its blasts into the school. The scene where the dead student rises off the floor was also quite unsettling, as was the ensuing exchange outside the Danger Room as the team comes to realize the true extent of the threat.

John Cassaday is an amazing artist, and his work on this issue acts as further proof that this title has one of the best creative teams in the industry. From the opening sequence, the art manages to deliver the action at three separate locals, with no text to explain the shifts between the locations. It is very impressive as it's far more difficult to accomplish than one would think. The art also sells the idea that even a severely damaged Sentinel can pose a very real danger, and there's some lovely big impact moments, from the scene where it emerges from the barn, to the scene where one of its energy blasts rips into the school. There's also a great aftermath visual that presents the damage that Scott's blasts did to the landscape. The image of the dead student rising off the floor is a very disturbing moment thanks largely to the art. The shot of Wolverine on the cover looks truly frightening.

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