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Review: Astonishing X-Men #34

A startling summer blockbuster starring the X-Men.

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The X-Men's outer-space descent ratchets up in intensity as Beast and Cyclops have a power struggle and Sauron joins the army of reanimated, Brood-cloned villains attacking the ship.

The Good

The amount of detail that Jimenez and Lanning manage to render in the scenery is nothing short of jaw-dropping. The ship, the underground cloning base, even the giant, reanimated Sauron... they all looked startling real, and the splash pages showcasing them looked like over-sized frames from an Imax movie. This is very much a "widescreen comic." I also found this whole plot about the X-Men's old foes getting reanimated and combined with Brood DNA to produce monstrous giants to be a really fascinating concept (and a twisted riff on what's going with Second Coming, right now.) Actually, the this whole thing felt like some kind of daring summer blockbuster that just happened to star the X-Men - - and I say it that way because the characterizations were actually very accurate for everybody... Beast, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Storm and even Armor.

The Bad

There are a few times when the character's expressions don't quite match the tone of their dialogue. I'm particularly thinking of panel where Cyclops gasps in a moment of Baroque shock in the middle of a understated argument he's having with Beast. Also, despite my compliments about the characterizations, there were numerous points where the characters spouted off some pithy one-liners that didn't seem in character.

The Verdict - 4/5

This is very well-produced book and an accessible title for readers who don't even need to be that familiar with X-Men's history, or even long term-readers who don't want to get embedded in the current crossovers. There were some odd moments of off characterization in the art and script, but those were only select "trouble spots."