The biggest fall from grace. It's disappointing...
The slow production of Astonishing X-Men has been a major concern regarding the series since the beginning, but the past few months have basically been ridiculous. With Whedon and Cassaday's run, at least the story was coherent. Somehow, it just flowed easier and it was a bit more straight forward, so it was easier to remember what happened in the previous issues. Ellis' run sadly hasn't been as memorable, which is disappointing because Ellis is a fantastic writer, and I'm so glad he brought Storm into the series, but releasing the series is taking too long, and I know it takes time and both have other projects but it's just out of hand now, that some of the stuff in the issue felt extremely rushed.
One of the main negative points I have regarding the issue was the dialogue: to sum it up, it was awful. Beast's especially; it was so stale and his quirky suggestion to Brand just felt a bit wrong, but I think that was me. Brand herself was also portrayed a bit sloppily dialogue-wise, and just felt very whiney towards the end of the issue, which I think's outta character for her. In addition to this, Emma's little weird monologue during one of the two brief moments she actually appeared in the issue included a stupid, dragged out sarcastic remark that wasn't funny and seemed below her. Talking of brief appearances, Storm basically appeared for a panel stating the obvious. It would've been nice to see an expansion regarding her role, as she doesn't seem to be doing much in any X-Title at the moment.
Most of the panels in the issue just felt like fillers, used to pad out the issue big time so Ellis could drag out the story for the number of issues he has planned. As I mentioned above, there didn't feel like there was much effort put into the dialogue, and not the art either. At places it was cool, at others, not so much.
Positively I suppose I am rather enjoying the story line, even if I did have to read the previous issue again before this one to know what was going on. It's been suggested in the Xenogenetic mini series that Ellis has some sort of overarching plot planned for this run in the series, and I'm intrigued as to where that's going.
Unless you've started this arc, or are either a really big Astonishing X-Men or Ellis fan, I really wouldn't recommend this issue. Personally, I would tell you to wait until Ellis is finished with his run and start afresh with the next writer.