Sunday, March 31, 2013

Astonishing X-Men: Monstrous TPB

I’m not sure what I expect from Daniel Way these days, but I’m pleasantly surprised by this trade. Any story that features Fin Fang Foom, Marvel’s Monster Island, and Mentallo has got to be at least “Fair!” Factor in some artwork from fantastic pencillers like Jason Pearson and Nick Bradshaw? That makes this thing a can’t miss. No matter what the story is, you know it will be pretty.

The story ends up being pretty simple. Escorting Armor to a family funeral, the X-Men get roped into aiding Roxxon Oil as they fend off a horde of monsters. Mentallo takes over Monster Island and uses his brute force-based telepathy to control the simple beasts that live there. This gives Wolverine some nice moments to stick up for the savage beasts. The set-up also allows Cyclops and Wolverine to show their different approaches in mentoring new X-Men like Armor. Other than that, this is a simple story that lets the art shine. Any team of X-Men could have starred in this story and it would have read just as well.

So the story is average, but we came for the art!

Jason Pearson. Man, why is this guy not doing more books? His ladies may be top-heavy, but the acting on the faces is great. His Wolverine is short and squat and built like a tank. Mentallo looks on-model but modern, and the monsters are exciting. For a story this full of rubble, there is a fair amount of backgrounds in the panels too.

Nick Bradshaw has become one of my favorites. I don’t know if this is his first Marvel work, but it is wonderful. There is even more detail in Bradshaw’s pages than in Pearson’s. Bradshaw really is a fusion of Jack Kirby and Arthur Adams, and that comes through strongly in these pages.


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