Astonishing X-Men #53 CoverAfter Northstar’s wedding, Wolverine was blown in half by former X-Man Karma.  He’s still recovering this issue, tended to by The Beast and Cecelia Reyes.  Wolverine insists on following up on their lead, Hatchi Industries, so Gambit, Iceman and Northstar confront the company’s owner Susan Hatchi, who… SPOILERS… cops to masterminding the entire string of events of the past several issues, just to prove she could do it.  But since they are in public, they can’t do anything and she walks away.

Beast discovers a microscopic worm-like nanomite, hundreds of which were inside of Wolverine, but when he starts probing, it explodes and he narrowly survives  thanks to Cecelia’s force field.

Northstar and Kyle talk in bed and Jean-Paul doesn’t want to leave Kyle, but they both know he must.  He departs and joins his allies and they follow the last signal the nanomite broadcast to the nation of Georgia.  They infiltrate a facility and find several weak, injured civilians.  Cecelia insists on helping them, while the other X-Men seek clues or, preferably, Karma.  They find one of those things, but things get explosive after that.

This is probably the Little X-Book That Could.  It’s a wacky lineup; Gambit, Iceman, Cecelia Reyes, Northstar and Warbird, with Karma, Logan and Beast in supporting roles.  No Cyclops.  No Storm.  No huge names… well, except Wolverine, but he takes a backseat.  It’s also, thankfully, in no way connected to ‘Avengers versus X-Men’ which has turned into the Neverending Crossover.

The real strength is the character interaction and dialogue.  There’s a real sense of comradery and relaxed friendship.  This doesn’t come at the expense of story or action.  There’s plenty of both, but neither stands out the way the characterization does.

The art is very good.  The storytelling is incredibly solid as are the body language and facial expressions.  It’s very moody and may look a little too sketchy to some.  I wouldn’t say it’s the most commercial-looking art, but it’s good and does most everything well.

It’s a more down-to-Earth X-Men story, that doesn’t follow established storylines or even embody the same tone as most other X-Books.  It’s not my favorite book of the week, but it’s good.

 

ASTONISHING X-MEN #53
Written by Marjorie Liu
Art by Mike Perkins
Cover by Dustin Weaver and Rachelle Rosenberg