The explosive end to Whedon’s run on X-Men!

Writer: Joss Whedon
Artists: John Cassady and Laura Martin
Collects Astonishing X-Men vol.3 #19-24 and Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1
Publisher: Marvel
Publication date: 2008

X-Men and S.W.O.R.D.’s Agent’s Brand’s troops are on their way to the alien Breakworld in order to either save the world or kill it. Brand is advocating destroying Breakworld while the X-Men, not surprisingly, aren’t. After their space ship is destroyed, they land on the Breakworld in several teams. The soldiers (and Lockheed) are supposed to get captured, and do so while Brand and the X-Men set about to learn more about the prophecy, according to which Colossus is going to destroy Breakworld and all its people, and find a way not to destroy Breakworld. Along the way, we get to know a bit more about the aliens and their brutal warrior culture. Oh, and Agent Brand turns out to have a quite a few secrets.

I would have wanted to know more about Breakworld. Perhaps an entire issue devoted to them would have fleshed out them and their factions. Now, they’re left a bit shallow. Powerlord Kruun seems to be the absolute ruler of his species and yet he treats them brutally. Compassion is seen not only as weak but as almost sinful and he organizes fights to the death between his own warriors. (I guess they don’t have any significant outside threats?) Aghanne leads a rival underground faction. They have people who can predict the future and have made the prophecy about Colossus. Which is literally carved into stone.

There are a few plots withing plots and some of them turn out to be ruses, which makes the characters, well, less like idiots, which is a good thing.

Despite the subject matter, prophecy and the possibility of mass murder, there are witty exchanges between characters which lighten the mood quite a lot. I especially enjoyed the banter between Wolverine and the new member Armor.

The lack of repercussions did bug me. Emma, for one. An unknown telepath declares that Nova has left Emma’s head and all is forgiven? Really? No repercussions? Same with Brand. She advocates murder and kidnaps people and all is sunshine and puppies?

I was also a bit dubious about how quickly Kitty and Peter got together again. After all, they face danger and death on pretty much regular basis. So, first Kitty says that she needs time and after one fight she’s back with Peter? Of course, logically thinking that had to happen because of the ending.

Otherwise, this was a good ride. Sci-fi action! Colossus has to ponder his morals. Cyclops gets to shine as a leader even without his powers. We got Star Wars cameo and I really enjoyed the parody of how Earth’s heroes thought they had averted yet another end of the Earth but that was just a magical defense. Heh.

I’m also confident that the one X-Man who has to sacrifice a lot, comes back, sooner or later.