***SPOILERS LIE AHEAD***
Psylocke finds herself under a psychic attack and calls out to a number of X-Men to help. The team assembles and uncovers a sinister plot by The Shadow King. They must enter the astral plane in order to stop him.
Astonishing X-Men #1 is cinematic and fun right out of the gate. The cast is quickly established and reluctantly forced into collaboration.
Soule’s dossier for each member of the team is short and absolute, he shares the focus and showcases his firm grasp on each and every one of them. There are some key relationships of the present and past that are definitely going to warrant future exploration.
With how many books Old Man Logan is in, it’s nice to see Soule actually utilize the fact that he’s an old man. Most titles only note the fact that he’s old by his appearance and nothing else. It was also a nice touch to have Bishop comment on the fact that Logan killed all the X-Men in his dimension.
All of a sudden, the thing I want most is a Gambit & Fantomex heist book. The two are a perfect match that was somehow never explored before. Their chemistry as partners is infectious. Gambit charging Fantomex’s bullets with kinetic energy before loading a clip? Simple comic book brilliance.
One of the most crucial elements of an X-Men title is how the various team members use their powers in collaboration. Soule is completely aware of this and highlights everyone’s abilities in conjunction with each other in stupendous fashion. His creativity with Mutant abilities going forward is likely to be a treat.
The Inception-style Shadow King plot is very promising. Soule masterfully lays everything out and throws everybody into the situation and they find their roles on the fly.
As far as introductory issues go, this was a monumental start. Every beat that X-Men fans need gets hit with tactical precision. It’s one thing to assemble a team of fan favorites. It’s another thing to take those fan favorites to new and exciting places in ways that have not yet been explored.
Astonishing X-Men #1 is a visual triumph as well. Colorful and detailed layouts flesh out a fast paced and dire story. The varied personalities of this team are all up front and tastefully present. All of the Psylocke psychic projections, and monsters, are flawlessly illustrated and colored.