The countdown clock has been ticking and with this last issue, we bid farewell to the ‘Astonishing X-Men’ title. It’s one of the few mainstream Marvel titles that didn’t really get moved over to the NOW lineup and as such, was one whose time was coming. With most of the team already in other issues, you might wonder if they were able to pull out a finale that really felt like it was a closure.
While I didn’t think it was a closing on the X-Men in general (they have about 5 ongoing titles right now), I do have to say it felt like they brought a great closure to this particular chapter of the X-Men franchise.
The story was told through the eyes of Warbird and I have to say, it really shows how she has started to develop as a character through the series. In fact, the way they end things with her has made me want to see more of her in future X-Titles for the first time. Usually members of the Shi’ar are pretty boring (which says a lot for how much I used to love it when the X-men ended up in space) or if not boring, they were often flat and emotionless. For the first time we’ve really been given a look under the mask of one of these warriors and it has to leave you wondering if it’s what most of them truly go through or if she really is an exception, or a mutant, to her kind.
This issue is the first one in a few for the ‘Astonishing X-Men‘ that Marjorie Liu’s work has truly shined. In fact it can almost make you forget how unnecessary the last story arc was and how removed from the mainstream Marvel universe the one prior appeared to be. This focus on one single character is why I’d love to see Liu get a title like ‘Spider-Man’ in the future. A focus on one character whose got real emotion behind them. It’s what she’s truly good at and when it’s on, like in this issue of ‘Astonishing’. her light truly shines through.
The story itself is a blend of memories being painted by her as well as the current events that show that this group will be drifting apart. It shows us how Warbird has evolved from a pure warrior to someone with heart, emotions, and a love of art that is forbidden by her people. At this turning point in her life, I really hope the door isn’t shut on her story. I hope she becomes more of a featured character in either ‘Wolverine and the X-Men’ or, more fitting, in the current ‘X-Men’ title with it’s all female cast.
The point of the story, though, really isn’t that one team is ending – it’s that family is forever. It’s a story how Warbird has come to accept the X-Men as her family and even though they won’t always be together, they will always be there for each other. For a series that had it’s highs and lows the sendoff was spectacularly written and illustrated.
‘ASTONISHING X-MEN’ #68
Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta