Friday, May 16, 2014

Astonishing X-Men (2004 - 2013)

Astonishing X-Men was an ongoing X-Men title launched in 2004 and ended in 2013. It was positioned as the title suitable for new readers who do not want to be bogged down by continuity. 

Joss Whedon's Run

[Appearance: Astonishing X-Men #1 (2004) - Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 (2008)]

Astonishing X-Men was launched in 2004 with Joss Whedon as the writer and John Cassaday as the penciller. Whedon wrote 4 arcs: Gifted, Danger, Torn and Unstoppable, from Astonishing X-Men #1 to Astonishing X-Men #24, ending with Giant Size Astonishing X-Men #1 in 2008.

Astonishing X-Men #1 - Astonishing X-Men #6: Gifted
Cyclops' team learned of scientist Kavita Rao's claim to have created a cure for mutants, which was made possible by the extraterrestrial Ord, a Breakworld native who came to Earth to prevent a prophecy that an Earth mutant would destroy his planet. Ord originally wanted to declare war but made diplomatic arrangements with SWORD (Sentient Worlds Observation and Response Department), an intelligence agency charged with handling extraterrestrial matters. Ord stole Colossus' body, resurrecting him and experimenting on him. He discovered the cure for the Legacy Virus within Colossus's body and his findings resulted in Rao's cure. The X-Men investigated and found Colossus alive, defeating Ord, who was taken into custody by SWORD.

Astonishing X-Men #7 - Astonishing X-Men #12: Danger
The team fought Danger, the sentient Danger Room consciousness that Xavier ignored years before. Danger manipulated the X-Men into freeing it from the mansion's confines, leaving to kill Xavier. The X-Men managed to stop Danger from killing Xavier but were horrified to learn that Xavier had held Danger captive for years. This caused a rift between Xavier and the team.

Astonishing X-Men #13 - Astonishing X-Men #18: Torn
Shortly after the Marauders situation, Emma Frost turned on the team, creating life-like images of former Hellfire Club associate Sebastian Shaw; a younger version of her, Perfection; deceased former student Negasonic Teenage Warhead; and evil psychic Cassandra Nova, to attack her teammates. It turned out that Cassandra Nova made Emma a sleeper agent just before sending in Sentinels to destroy the mutant island Genosha. The team managed to deal with the threat and liberate Emma before being taken by SWORD to outer space, joined by student Armor.

Astonishing X-Men #19 - Astonishing X-Men #24,
Giant-Sized Astonishing X-Men #1: Unstoppable
SWORD and the X-Men made their way to Breakworld in an attempt to stop Breakworld from destroying Earth. In the process, they learnt that Breakworld's doomsday prophecy was part of an elaborate scheme by Aghanne, an insane leader of a reformation cult seeking Breakworld's destruction. The team prevented Earth's destruction when Kitty Pryde bonded herself to a ten-mile bullet aimed at Earth by phasing it harmlessly through the planet. However, Earth's scientists and heroes were unable to free her.

Cyclops, Emma Frost, Wolverine, Beast, Kitty Pryde, Lockheed

Late Additions
 Armor [AXM #20], Colossus [AXM #5]

Warren Ellis' Run

[Astonishing X-Men #25 (2008) - Astonishing X-Men #30 (2009)]
[Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Box #1 - #2 (2009)]

Following the end of Whedon and Cassaday's run, the new creative team of Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi took over from Astonishing X-Men #25, starting with the Ghost Box arc. A 2-issue Ghost Box miniseries was also published. 

The team encountered the Ghost Box, a interdimensional portal and fought rogue former X-Man Forge who created a breed of mutants. The battle ended with Forge's seeming death. 

[Astonishing X-Men #31 (2009) - Astonishing X-Men #35 (2010)]
Phil Jimenez took over as penciller in #31 to begin the eXogenetic arc.

The team combated a new breed of Sentinels created by geneticist Kaga, using the DNA and bodies of deceased mutants, Krakoa and Brood.

[Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #1 - #5 (2010)]
With creative delays over the series, a 5-issue limited series titled Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis was released with Kaare Andrews as the penciller. The X-Men traveled to Africa to investigate strange mutations caused by energies of another dimension, fighting a group of superhero-slaying simulacrum Fury. 

Cyclops, Emma Frost, Wolverine, Beast, Storm, Armor

Daniel Way and Christos Gage

[Astonishing X-Men #36, 37, 39, 41 (2011)]
Daniel Way takes over as writer with Jason Pearson and Nick Bradshaw providing pencilling duties starting in February's Astonishing X-Men #36 and for issues #37, #39 and #41. When Armor discovered the deaths of her mother and brother, Cyclops, Emma and Wolverine accompanied her back to Japan to attend their funeral. When Mentallo controlled monsters to cause trouble in Japan, the X-Men traveled to Monster Island, off Japan, to end Mentallo's control of these monsters. 

Cyclops, Emma Frost, Wolverine, Armor

[Astonishing X-Men #38, 40, 42 (2011)]
Writer Christo Gage and artist Juan Bobillo introduced a parallel story to Daniel Way's arc. The X-Men including Storm, Beast, Colossus and Kitty Pryde traveled into space to rescue Abigail Brand from a Brood attack. They were able to negotiate a Brood withdrawal from Earth and recover a benign young Brood.

Beast, Colossus, Kitty Pryde, Lockheed, Storm

[Astonishing X-Men #43 (2011)]
James Asmus wrote a single issue, #43. Danger asked Emma Frost for help in rescuing an A.I. However, it turned out that the A.I. was manipulating her. 

Greg Pak's Run

[Astonishing X-Men #44 - #47 (2011-2012)]
Greg Pak and Mike McKone take over the title from issue #44 - #47. Cyclops was captured into an alternate dimension in which Charles Xavier won a war against Magneto and his terrorist mutants. However, the war ravaged Earth. The brilliant minds built a machine which could convert the powers of mutants into raw energy to save the planet at the cost of their lives. The structural integrity of the planet requires constant maintenance and Xavier turned to capturing mutants from alternate dimensions. Cyclops and his fellow prisoners from other dimensions escaped and put a stop to Xavier's plans. Cyclops was sent back to his own dimension via a Ghost Box by his temporary teammates.

The story continues in X-Treme X-Men.

[Astonishing X-Men #48 - #68 (2012-2013)]
Majorie Liu wrote Astonishing X-Men with #48.

The title was under Team Wolverine during Regenesis. Under Marvel Now, the title continues to follow the cast in Wolverine's X-Men.

Astonishing X-Men #48 (2012) - Astonishing X-Men #56 (2012)
Art by Mike Perkins

The team defeated Marauders and discovered that they are mind-controlled. Further investigations revealed the involvement of Hatchi Tech, Inc. Meanwhile, Northstar proposed to his long-time boyfriend Kyle Jinadu. While Northstar first failed, he later succeeded in convincing Kyle. Kyle was baited into a trap and Northstar had to defeat the X-Men, mind-controlled by member Karma, to rescue him. Karma disappeared while the X-Men organized the wedding of Northstar and Kyle Jinadu. On the wedding night, Karma was revealed to be under the control of Susan Hatchi's nano-worms. Wolverine stumbled upon them but Hatchi activated a device which detonated the bomb inside his body. The X-Men were able to link Susan Hatchi's involvement with Karma and the Marauders. Beast got a location from the nano-worms and the X-Men rescue Karma but were unable to help the victims used in experiments in the facility in the ensuing explosion. Susan Hatchi appeared and revealed herself as Karma's half-sister. Using her nano-worms, she controlled the X-Men and ordered them to conquer Madripoor. They confront the country's current leader Tyger Tiger but she was not willing to give up control so easily. Northstar seemingly killed Iceman during an argument, which allowed Iceman to reconstitute himself to get help. The X-Men were arrested but before they reached the prison, they encountered Karma's father, long thought dead just as Susan fired a missile at them. In the rubble, Susan confronted Karma, who was in turn confronted by their father. Meanwhile, Susan's plan to kill everyone in New York City with her nano-worms as retribution for the X-Men's failure failed as Iceman managed to get the X-Men in the School to turn off the nano-worms. Karma used her powers to bond with Susan but Susan was killed by her father. Karma inherited Hatchi Tech as the only living relative of Susan, becoming a millionaire.

In 2012 June's "Astonishing X-Men" #51 by writer Marjorie Liu and artist Mike Perkins, Northstar marries Kyle and becomes the first gay married man in mainstream super hero comics. 

CBR News spoke with Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, Perkins, and Liu about the history making wedding. more here..

Astonishing X-Men Annual #1
Written by Christos Gage and Art by David Baldeon

The X-Men broke in on Northstar and Kyle's honeymoon in Paris, seeking the former's help in stopping the Friends of Humanity, which has been targeting family of the X-Men and students. The X-Men took turns talking to Kyle about being married to one in the X-Men family. Northstar returned to lead the X-Men to a warehouse in Moscow to stop a Russian mafia boss bankrolling Friends of Humanity. Karma remained behind to protect Kyle. However, FoH attacked Kyle. Northstar returned in time to save Kyle and FoH was defeated.

   Astonishing X-Men #57 (2013) - Astonishing X-Men #59 (2013)
Art by Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Warbird learnt of the existence of an artifact believed to be a doomsday device and journeyed to Cairo to retrieve it. She fought with the sole survivor of the Fianden, an alien race of artists wiped out by the Shi'ar eons ago, who turned out to be a machine. Eventually, despite repeated SHIELD intervention, the Fianden machine managed to merge with the device, creating a museum for the Fianden in the Egypt desert. The encounter prompted Warbird to fully embrace her artistic inclinations, something forbidden by the Shi'ar, which led to the Fiandens' destruction in the first place.    

Gambit, Iceman, Karma, Northstar, Cecilia Reyes, Warbird, Wolverine

Astonishing X-Men #60 - Astonishing X-Men #61 (2013)
The title became part of the X-Termination crossover. For more, check here..

Astonishing X-Men #62 - Astonishing X-Men #65 (2013)
Art by Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Iceman was corrupted by the Apocalypse Death Seed during the events of X-Termination. He blanketed the world with a new ice age before he was stopped by the X-Men.   

Gambit, Iceman, Karma, Kitty Pryde, Warbird, Wolverine

Astonishing X-Men #66 - #68 (2013)
Art by Amilcar Pinna for #67 - #68 and Ganriel Hernandez Walta for #68

The X-Men encountered a young lost alien who was using his powers to possess people. When Karma and Cecilia Reyes tried to connect to the alien, he escaped. Wolverine and Gambit went on a road trip to locate the alien. With the help of a young girl named Wendy, they reunited the alien with its parents. 

In the last issue, the X-Men captured the Dark Beast. Warbird contemplated her new life. Gambit and Cecilia Reyes went on a date. Northstar and Kyle fought in court for the right to stay in America. 

Gambit, Jubilee, Karma, Kitty Pryde, Northstar, Cecilia Reyes, Storm, Warbird, Wolverine

TitleMaterial CollectedPublication DateISBN

Astonishing X-Men Vol. 1: GiftedAstonishing X-Men #1-6May 10, 20060785115315
Astonishing X-Men Vol. 2: DangerousAstonishing X-Men #7-12June 27, 2007078511677X
Astonishing X-Men Vol. 3: TornAstonishing X-Men #13-18February 14, 20070785117598
Astonishing X-Men Vol. 4: UnstoppableAstonishing X-Men #19-24 & Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1July 2, 20080785122540
Astonishing X-Men Vol. 5: Ghost BoxAstonishing X-Men, Vol. 3 #25–30 & Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Boxes #1–2December 20090-7851-2788-7
Astonishing X-Men Vol. 6: ExogeneticAstonishing X-Men, Vol. 3 #31–35September 20100-7851-3149-3
Astonishing X-Men: XenogenesisAstonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #1–5October 5, 20110-7851-4491-9
Astonishing X-Men Vol. 7: MonstrousAstonishing X-Men Vol. 3 #36-37, 39, & 41December, 20110-7851-5114-1
Astonishing X-Men By Joss Whedon & John Cassaday Ultimate Collection Book 1Astonishing X-Men, vol. 3 #1–12[13]February 01, 20120-7851-6194-3
Astonishing X-Men Vol. 8: Children of the BroodAstonishing X-Men Vol. 3 #38, 40, 42-43, Uncanny X-Men #162February 20120-7851-5787-5
Astonishing X-Men By Joss Whedon & John Cassaday Ultimate Collection Book 2Astonishing X-Men, vol. 3 #13–24 and Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1[14]March 07, 20120-7851-6195-0
Astonishing X-Men Vol. 9: ExaltedAstonishing X-Men Vol. 3 #44-47 & material from Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Boxes #1May 20120-7851-6177-5
Astonishing X-Men Vol. 10: NorthstarAstonishing X-Men #48-51 & material from Nation X #2September 20120-7851-6179-1
Astonishing X-Men Vol. 11: WeaponizedAstonishing X-Men Vol. 3 #52-56 and Astonishing X-Men: Annual #1April 20130-7851-6415-4
X-Men: X-TerminationAge of Apocalypse #13-14, X-Treme X-Men Vol. 2 #12-13, X-Termination #1-2, Astonishing X-Men Vol. 3 #60-61August 20130-7851-8443-0
Astonishing X-Men Vol. 12: UnmaskedAstonishing X-Men Vol. 3 #57-59, 66November 20130-7851-6180-5
Astonishing X-Men Vol. 13: FrozenAstonishing X-Men Vol. 3 #62-65, 67-68December 20130-7851-6641-6
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