Before he took on Earth’s Mightiest Film Franchise, Whedon wrote a love letter to classic X-Men comics over the course of 25 issues of Atonishing X-Men, in which he was paired with superb artist John Cassaday. They presented no bold new interpretation of the X-Men. Rather, they told solid X-Men stories focusing on several popular characters, and they did so with exceptional skill, polish, and humor.
Every issue features Whedon’s snappy dialogue and Cassaday’s detailed, cinematic art. But #14 also features great insight into Cyclops’s character. The Avengers have Captain America. The Fantastic Four have Mr. Fantastic. And the X-Men have…Cyclops? What makes him so special?
The issue plays to Whedon’s strengths…namely, one couple having a substantial conversation while another couple…well, they’re not conversing much, but they provide the comedy to balance out the Cyclops storyline.
And Cassaday isn’t just a great artist — he also excels at staging the action via his page layouts, like a good director. The book’s funniest moment lands because of Cassaday’s “direction” … and also because Whedon knows when to step aside and let the pictures tell the story.
It’s the X-Men done right.
Writer: Joss Whedon
Artist: John Cassaday
Publisher: Marvel Comics
How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Astonishing X-Men vol. 3: Torn (TPB)
Appropriate For: ages 15 and up