Abe's Reviews > Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 3: Torn

Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 3 by Joss Whedon
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Mar 03, 2009

really liked it

the most emotionally confusing volume of the whedon/cassaday run, in this reader's heart.

the basic concept, as in the second volume, is fascinating (if a bit similar to the concept in the second volume itself): what if someone played fantastic mindgames with the x-men, forcing them to become upsettingly-plausible alternate versions of themselves?

but the engine behind that idea makes no sense. cassandra nova is alive? except she isn't? and she's been living in emma frost? except emma frost isn't emma frost? and then she's gone? and the hellfire club doesn't actually exist, except that it does? cyclops loses his powers, except he doesn't?

and then there's a deus ex machina that's simultaneously a major cop-out and a relief from the byzantine madness into which the plot has descended.

THAT SAID, the dialogue is impeccable on a page-by-page basis. just spotless. i can't stress enough that this is the most thrilling depiction of the x-folks i've read, in terms of pure speech and character interactions. when we see the men and women turned inside out, we see who they really are and what we love about them. and as anyone who's read this storyline can tell you, the inverted wolverine is arguably the most blissfully funny character i've ever read in all my years of comics-reading. hell, reading in any format.

so therein lies the emotional conflict for me, as a reader. i can't stop reading for the characters, but the plot is convoluted enough to almost be repulsive, at a distance.

on to the final act.
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