Astonishing X-Men #14 Review: Emotionally and Visually Disconnected

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Beast has somehow revived Banshee, and the returned Sean Cassady saves Havok and Beast from the Reaver attack. Warpath also arrives to lend aid, as Kitty Pryde sent him to keep an eye on Alex Summers. After dispatching the Reavers, Alex decides to build upon this makeshift team. Hank leads him to Colossus, who is in a very sorry state after the failed wedding with Kitty. From there, they go to protect the next person on the Reavers hitlist: Allison Blair, aka Dazzler.

Astonishing X-Men #14 cover by Greg Land and Frank D'Armata
Astonishing X-Men #14 cover by Greg Land and Frank D'Armata

I very badly want to like the Astonishing X-Men. Both Charles Soule and Matthew Rosenberg have put up X-Men lineups full of characters I personally adore, and Havok, Beast, Colossus, Banshee, Warpath, and Dazzler is a team that almost feels personally built for me. The only thing it's missing is Psylocke and Bishop, really (couldn't they have stayed in this book?). Also, Laura and Gabby.

But the bile-filled snark and genuine disdain every character has for one another turns me off to the book pretty hard. Most of these characters have been through the ringer lately, and, more than anything, you want to see them take comfort in one another. Maybe that's where this is headed, but the constant sniping and bad jokes make this book hard to enjoy.

Astonishing X-Men #14 art by Greg Land, Jay Leisten, and Frank D'Armata
Astonishing X-Men #14 art by Greg Land, Jay Leisten, and Frank D'Armata

The Greg Land art doesn't help either. It adds to this overall sense of artifice and insincerity when this book really needs something to make the world feel real and these characters feel like actual people. The washed-out and light-saturated color work Frank D'Armata contributes worsens things.

Astonishing X-Men #14 is another disappointment from Rosenberg's new direction on the title. I love the lineup, and Rosenberg has put out a few comics I genuinely adore in his time with Marvel, Tales of Suspense and Punisher being among his better works. This doesn't gel for me though. I can't recommend it reading it.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
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