This will have spoilers throughout. If you haven’t read up to the latest release of the Astonishing X-Men (issue 5) then you’ll want to hold off. New edition comes out this week, if you didn’t already know.
You already know this cast includes Gambit, Old Man Logan, Psylocke, Rogue, Fantomex, Bishop and Angel. Plus Mystique and Professor X, with Shadow King (Farouk) being the lead villain again.
Up to this point, we’ve seen Logan and Gambit turn into mindless cronies for Farouk in the real world, forcing Angel to unleash the blue beast within. Another Shadowking attempt to take over the world.
I wouldn’t say this is a “must-read” series. Only one I’ve come across that IS in Marvel right now is Spirits of Vengeance (something I’ll discuss another time). But it’s decent. I’d give it a B-/C+.
The artwork’s been awesome throughout, and fairly consistent despite the different pencilers — Jim Cheung, Mike Deodato, Ed McGuinness, Carlos Pacheco and Ramon Rosanas. Obviously there are some differences, but no dramatic difference where it feels like you’re reading a different storyline (which has annoyed me a bit with the Hellblazer Rebirth).
We’ve seen some of the characters be tempted by Farouk’s illusions, especially Gambit, who was hoping he’d finally found his chance to share the embrace with Rogue he’d waited for. But it’s not like we’ve seen significant development of the characters on the Astral Plane. They’re on a mission and that’s it.
Angel, on the other hand, has just unleashed the Archangel in order to stop the possessed Gambit, Bishop and Logan, along with Farouk’s other mindless cronies. That could create another problem entirely, just a small day in the life of Psylocke, who’s dealt with more insanity than anyone else (other than maybe Xavier) in these five issues.
Which is exactly why she’s been the best character in the series. No personal bias here either, even though I do appreciate the fact that she’s a psychic who can actually throw a punch, too. But All the while she’s been handling the outside world with Angel and Bishop, where we see here calling the shots, directing them both, she’s still locked in on keeping her other teammates on the Astral Plane. At least the ones who aren’t under the Shadow King’s control yet. I’d like to think we’ll get to see her in some action sequences soon, given her and Farouk aren’t exactly the best of friends. But I don’t know if that’s the case.
It’s a reasonably quick read with some good action sequences. And it seems like things are about to get very interesting on the outside world with Angel letting loose at the end of the fifth issue, of course adding more to Pyslocke’s minor list of concerns.