Graphic Novel

Astonishing X-Men: Dangerous

Distributed By: Marvel Comics

Reviewed by Justine Manzano

     It is no secret that I am a big fan of the X-Men comic series.  It’s all very good, but every now and then, Marvel Comics turns out an X-Men moment that demands recognition.  The Astonishing X-Men series, created by Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly television series creator and Fray comic series creator Joss Whedon, as an entire series, has been remarkable.  However, my recent purchase of the Astonishing X-Men graphic novel, Dangerous, felt like it deserved special mention. 

     Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last EVER, here’s a little background on the X-Men.  They are a group of mutants who were brought together by Professor Charles Xavier in order to learn to control their powers and become superheroes, protecting the world from dangers, usually from mutants with a power trip, who don’t want to play like good kids.  Xavier trains his X-Men using The Danger Room, a training simulation program. 

     In Joss' X-Men Universe, Scott "Cyclops" Summers, who shoots damaging beams from his eyes, has assembled some of the X-Men to help him teach a new year of students and defend them against any troubles that might be encountered. He has pulled together Logan, a.k.a. Wolverine who has an advanced healing factor and adamantium steel claws, Emma "White Queen" Frost, who has incredible telepathic powers and a penchant for betrayal, Hank "Beast" McCoy, who has heightened agility and physical prowess, and Kitty Pride, who has the ability to faze through solid matter.  None of them originally got along, but they fused together through the initial crisis they faced in which they weathered the mutant cure. 

     Danger begins after a traumatized recipient of the mutant cure, Wing, depressed by the fact that he is no longer able to fly, jumps off a simulated cliff in the Danger Room and dies.  The Danger Room, which we discover was Artificial Intelligence, was programmed to attempt to kill, but death must never occur within its walls.  When Wing dies, The Danger Room has seen death—all of its protocol’s are destroyed and it is freed to do whatever it wants.  And what it wants—what it has always wanted since the beginning of its existence—is the death of the X-Men.  This results in a battle between the X-Men and Danger, who knows all of their moves, and the uncovering of a secret about Xavier that could illicit his downfall as leader of the X-Men.

     Joss Whedon has always been the master of attacking real issues through metaphor and he has succeeded yet again with his brazen portrayal of Danger, the “child” who has never known anything but violence.  As always, Joss infuses his characters with amazing wittiness and biting sarcasm.  John Cassaday is equally to blame for the creation of such wonderful pieces of art that bring the emotion home.

     Astonishing X-Men: Dangerous is exactly what a graphic novel should be.  It has a story that arouses the mind and Joss Whedon, having been a fan of the X-Men as a child, seems to know exactly what the fans want to see.  Cassaday is the perfect other half to Whedon, providing page after page of art I’d be happy to hang in my living room.  If you’re a fan of the X-Men or you’re just popping in for a visit, this is as good a place as any.  It will have you on edge from the saddening beginning to the explosive conclusion. 

 

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