Astonishing X-Men #3 Review: Solid Read, Disappointing Art

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Cover to Astonishing X-Men #3 by Ed McGuinness
Astonishing X-Men #3

Logan is hot on the trail of the Shadow King, and he's resisting everything the psychic demon throws at him. He's on his own, though, as the rest of his teammates are lost in the machinations of the Astral Plane. What happens when Logan finds his old friend Charles Xavier first, if it really is Charles Xavier?

Meanwhile, the situation in the outside world is heating up, as the British government is getting ready to engage the X-Men. Bishop is ready to fight back, but Angel has more peaceful plans. Will they work, though?

This issue nails why rotating artists on a title like this is a terrible idea.

Make no mistake: Ed McGuinness is a talented artist, and I would otherwise be happy to see him take an X-Men title. Hell, I might not even have a problem with his art here had he been the artist on this comic since the beginning. However, bringing him in now, after Jim Cheung and Mike Deodato worked the first two issues, feels so very off.

Interior art to Astonishing X-Men #3 by Ed McGuinness
Astonishing X-Men #3 art by Ed McGuinness

McGuinness has a very distinct style that highlights the musculature, cartoonish, and over-the-top qualities of a comic book. Cheung and Deodato have a more grounded art style which lends itself more to a darker narrative. This darker narrative already having been established, McGuinness being brought in to give his trademark style results in a dissonant book.

There's nothing inherently wrong with the art, in a vacuum. The writing is still solid. Charles Soule has proven himself an adept X-Men writer. But the comic is not in a vacuum; it's continuing the story of the Astonishing X-Men. Consequently, it feels weaker because it's not supporting the tone of the comic thus far.

Beyond this, the comic does work fine. It's cool seeing Logan do his thing and lone wolf his way through the challenges of the Shadow King. We get some insight into where Archangel's headspace is at right now and how he's going to perform on this Astonishing X-Men team. The mystery of this Charles Xavier deepens as he does things that we would not expect Professor X to do.

It's just a shame that a talented artist like McGuinness is wasted here on a comic and story not crafted for his aesthetic style. Unfortunately, Jason Keith's colors do little to remedy this, as the coloring is far more bright and saturated than seems appropriate for a psyche-driven story of this nature.

I can still recommend this comic. It is a good read, and, on the surface, Ed McGuinness's artwork does look good. This is still the best X-Men book on the stands at the moment, and I suggest you pick it up.

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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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