Wednesday is known in my neck of the woods as “Tacos and Comics Day”. Because all day, I’m very, very, very excited about the new comics being available at the comic store, and about the tacos available about a block down from the comic store. The employees at both these fine institutions all know me by my secular name, because Wednesdays are
a holy day to my people Tacos and Comics Day!
So, I like comics. I like to tell people about comics. I like to watch the glassy look come over people’s eyes as I talk about comics, because the plots are convoluted, the histories are murky, and most people, when you say the ‘c’ word, dismiss them right out of hand as ‘kids’ stuff’.
Which means short lines at the comic store. Yay!
So, this is the cover to Astonishing X-Men #2, which came out in 2004. AXM is a good place to start, because most everyone has at least a little familiarity with the X-Men, thanks to the new movies. AXM has something else going for it, though, it’s written by Joss Whedon.
(If you’re too lazy to follow the links, let me put it this way: if you’ve seen a television show or a movie that was quirky, filled with inappropriate humor and deep themes that the critics slagged, the networks axed, and the fans adored, Joss or one of his minions was involved. But it was probably Joss.)
Joss, like all writers, has a couple of drums he likes to beat. One of them is redemption. Take a look at that cover again, it’s Scott Summers (aka Cyclops) with Emma Frost (aka The White Witch). If you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade or so, Scott Summers is a good guy. Emma Frost? Used to be a bad guy. But nobody really trusts her as a good guy, except Scott, and they’re cohabitating.
This one’s also interesting, it’s issue #12, the last in the first ‘series’. I’m not going to tell you much of the plot, but can’t you just figure it out? (The artist is John Cassaday, who is famous in the comic world for being really good.) Over the years, this kind of plot has been played out repeatedly (parts of it will be rehashed in the new movie this summer), but Joss really twists it into something new, painful, and personal.
The first twelve issues are collected in two trade paperbacks, if you have a cool library, they might have them (or, you know, you could go to Barnes and Noble and read them in the aisles). I really suggest you do, because Whedon and Cassaday just started another 12 issue run on this series. The fun part is, now they have to not only deal with the things they brought up in the first run, but also the fact that Marvel made an executive decision to basically un-mutate all but 198 of the planet’s mutants. In AXM 13, they deal with the students who are still left at the school, while the rest of the student body was sent home ‘normal’.
Of course, Wolverine gives the motivational speech, so it’s, um… unique.