Current Reviews


Astonishing X-Men #9

Posted: Thursday, April 7, 2005
By: Jason Cornwell

Writer: Joss Whedon
Artist: John Cassaday

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot: As the X-Men gathered outside the Danger Room try and come up with a means of deactivating the malfunctioning device, inside the Danger Room Kitty is busy discovering that this is far more than a bad bit of programing, as it would appear that the guiding program has gained sentience. However, she is too late to stop this entity from getting exactly what it wants, as thanks to their efforts to disable the Danger Room, the X-Men remove the one thing that would've afforded them some control over the entity.

Comments: This issue marks the first time that Joss Whedon's work on this series didn't really leave me all that impressed, as the central idea of the Danger Room gaining sentience is hardly new ground. I'm pretty sure I could list off at least a dozen sci-fi titles that offered up a similar plot of a machine overcoming its programing. Joss Whedon is moving down a pretty well travelled path, and the big cliff-hanger is a bit of a disappointment in that it took the story in the direction that I had been expecting it to go right from page one. However, there are some fun little moments in this issue, as Colossus gets a nice little moment where he reminds readers of his strong guy status, and it's nice to see Kitty get a moment to show that she does have some leadership abilities as she works to keep the trapped students safe. Some of the villainous ranting that the Danger Room entity engages in was also quite interesting, as its god complex is deftly spelled out, and Kitty does a pretty nice job of countering its claims. There's also a nice little bit of action as the Danger Room makes contact with the Blackbird, and it proceeds to blast its way through the X-Mansion. In the end though the simple fact of the matter is that Joss Whedon isn't really breaking any new ground on this arc, as it's basically the X-Men in the middle of a pretty common sci-fi story that has them discovering that the Danger Room has gained sentience, and like all cybernetic entities who overcome their programming naturally its intentions are decidedly hostile. Still he does have three more chapters to take this arc in a direction that would show me he has something more to bring to the table than this tired old sci-fi device.

John Cassaday turns in another fine effort, as his highly detailed, photo-realistic art makes it quite easy to accept the delayed release. The double page spread that gives readers our first look at what's going on inside the Danger Room gets the issue off to an amazing start. The visual appearance of the entity for most of the issue is also quite unsettling, as how can one not love the twisted appearance of the body that the creature is making use of? There's also some lovely big impact visuals, from the sequence where Colossus decides to take a look around the insides of the Danger Room, to the sequence where the Blackbird tears its way through the inside of the X-Mansion. The visual design of the Danger Room entity on the final page is also worth a mention, as it has a wonderfully inhuman appearance, and one can't help but get the sense that the X-Men are going to find themselves up against an very formidable opponent, as this final page projects a wonderful sense of impending danger.

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