Friday, January 27, 2006

Dangerously Gifted

Ever want to read butterscotch pudding? Well, I've found a way to get as close to that synathesiatic (sp?) experience without ever reaching for a spoon -- just go out and read all twelve issues of "Astonishing X-Men" that Joss Whedon has written, two discreet story arcs called "Gifted" and "Dangerous." Like a breath of fresh 1978 air, Whedon and art collaborator John Cassaday manage to distill what made the X-Men so great during the initial heady days of Christopher Claremont (don't act like you don't know who he is) and put their own distinct spit-polish on the X-Men for 2005 (er... 2006).

Whedon's well-known for his gift of gab, and a hugely-cast book like X-Men has always thrived when being plied with a talking-head style. Each character has an authoritative voice, so even if the panel was blurred and all you saw was the balloons, there'd be no mystery who had the conch shell. Paired with the voice, of course, is a "studied easiness" in dealing with each character -- they read more like "them" then they've ever have in years. Maybe even decades.

It's not nostaglia -- it's solid craftsmanship, respectful of the best years of Marvel's life (Claremont-Cockrum/Byrne) while doing something all-new, all-different.