Astonishing X-Men #31 Review: Six Minutes to Impact

Hey, everyone, jrpbsp here… My store did not get X-Men vs Agents of Atlas so only one review this week. Without further adieu, here’s ‘Astonishing X-Men’.  Hope you enjoy it.

Astonishing X-Men #31 cover

Astonishing X-Men #31 (preview | thread)
Writer: Warren Ellis
Penciler: Phil Jimenez
Inker: Andy Lanning

SPOILERS BELOW…

RECAP: The issue opens with Agent Brand and a S.W.O.R.D. team infiltrating one of the Brood’s living ships. Unfortunately, they were expected and the aliens had already destroyed their lab and immediately attack the invaders. The S.W.O.R.D. agents are forced to make a retreat back to their ships. Brand is the last one to leave and her vehicle gets blasted as she flies away.

Brand attempts to repair the damage but cannot get the ship to slow down and eventually has to eject. The escape pod is still going extremely fast as it hits the atmosphere. U.S. Space Command attempts to shoot it down but cannot get a lock due to the speed and erratic flight pattern. They are forced to call the X-Men since the projected landing is in San Francisco.

Cyclops takes the message and pulls the team together including Beast, Wolverine, Storm and Armor. They take a brand-new rescue plane that is untested. They do not have time to put a plan together but Emma is able to reach Abby and see that she is unhurt. Once they are close enough, Storm hops out and does what she can to slow and straighten the pod but the thin air limits her.

Beast mans a grapple gun and manages to snag the vehicle on the second try. Wolverine jumps out but gets thrown by a broken piece of the pod. Armor catches him and tosses him back and this time he successfully opens the cockpit and grabs Brand. Beast detaches the line and reels them in with Armor, Logan and Abby matching a human chain.

Storm is then able to redirect the crashing vehicle to a safe landing site. On the ground Emma spots one of the dead students from Xavier’s, Laurie. But when she goes to confront the girl, ‘Laurie’ turns into a huge, organic Sentinel.

MY TAKE: This was a good and fast-paced issue with some strong action and tense situations. There is little enough plot but that is to be expected considering the compressed time frame for the story. While Agent Brand is not a personal favorite, she is strong here with some good dialogue and smart characterization. Unfortunately, it was also filled with some very convenient happenings and several very unlikely or impossible scenarios.

I think this is a strong beginning to the next arc with the dual enemies of the Brood and some sort of bio-Sentinel. Although ironically we have seen both of these recently, it is a nice blending of different science fiction genres. I do hope we get some explanation about how the new Sentinel is formed though.

I also enjoyed the general tension of the issue. Giving such a small time to react makes actually conveys a sense of urgency to the reader. I know I was flipping pages quickly, something only helped by the generally fast-paced dialogue. But pretty much every character still gets a moment to shine and a line of very witty dialogue. Wolverine’s comment to Brand was one of the best.

I am glad this is taking place prior to Utopia and is not being set on the island. It is unlikely that in the current settings that the U.S. Government would ever be willing to work with the mutant team. Of course that brings up an interesting point about how the new status quo actually limits stories, which is supposed to be against Marvel’s direction, but no need to go into that.

However, there are a number of other problems with the issue as well. The odds of a random object falling to the West Coast of America has to be a million to one and to hit San Francisco? That is so coincidental as to boggle the mind. There has to be a better way to bring Agent Brand into the issue. Not to mention the arrival of a vehicle that can save her just a couple of days prior. A jet that we have not seen before.

The rescue itself is more or less impossible. At the speeds they are supposedly traveling you can not simply open a door on a jet and step outside. The wind would be like hitting a brick wall at a hundred miles an hour. Storm and Armor might be able to protect themselves but Wolverine would be blown away. He would not be able to hold himself in place let alone grab Abby. Not to mention the suction when the cabin was breached in the first place.

There is also no way you can get six people from different locations into a jet and take off  securely in six minutes and still have time to in act a rescue operation. It took a full minute to make the initial phone call after all. It would have made more sense to say sixteen but even that would be pushing it. I understand and even applaud the use for short time for tension but it should be done realistically.

In the end this was an entertaining and fast-paced set up for the next story arc. It looks to be fun and action-packed run. I just hope a little more effort is put into making it believable. If you have to invent or shoe horn the situation for a story then the plot should be changed or at least reworked a bit. Still the next issue looks to be good and I hope that Wallflower might actually return in some form.

Thanks for reading my review for Wolverine Files. I will be keeping to this format for the most part but please keep the comments coming and I will see everyone again next time.

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