Astonishingly late X-Men

Posted by under *mixed, Comics |

This was another week without an issue of X-Men: Second Coming, and while that’s disappointing all such feeling was replaced by shock when I saw Astonishing X-Men #34 was on the shelf yesterday. The latest issue of the often delayed series is the penultimate chapter of the current story arc and the title. The book is awesome in so many ways, but my feelings toward its content can’t be removed from the way its publication has been handled.

I couldn’t even remember when issue #33 shipped, so I looked it up. It was December, so long ago I honestly had trouble remembering what was happening in the book. I was able to get back on board quickly, but as much as I enjoy serialized fiction, this is testing my limits. Warren Ellis’ high-concept Summer blockbuster story is amazing and he has a good handle on the characters he’s using. It’s an interesting take to see that Beast has had some dark thoughts with regard to jump starting the mutant race, and they’re coming back to haunt him. Phil Jimenez has created some truly beautiful images and the book is incredibly detailed. He, along with Andy Lanning and Frank D’Armata, are turning out incredible work on the book, I just want to see more of it.

Ellis has put together some great stories in his two arcs since taking over the book. Despite those stories being excellent, the publication scheme has just been a mess. Six months between issues on the current Exogenetic arc takes so much away from its impact. It’s really a shame since it’s similar to the way the previous Ghost Box arc lost something when a two issue mini-series was slipped in between two long delayed issues. I’m certain the collected volumes for these stories make for incredibly satisfying reads.

Astonishing X-Men is a series that has had problems with delays from it’s beginning with Joss Whedon and John Cassaday through Warren Ellis’ issues with Simone Bianchi and now with Phil Jimenez. The book launched in May of 2004 and has only shipped 34 issues in 6 years. That’s about an issue every two months which isn’t all that bad, but six month gaps are just too much. I want to love this book, but I just can’t invest that kind of energy here. All I know for certain is that I’m going to continue holding off reading the Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis series that started two months ago since it’s set after this book. Both stories are written by Warren Ellis, so I’m assuming they fit together in some order and I hope that it’s logical if not chronological.

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