Thursday, November 04, 2010

Book Reviews Three: Astonishing X-Men & G.W. Frog

Astonishing X-Men Volumes 1 & 2, by Joss Whedon & John Cassaday

The X-Men were what got me into comic books. As a kid I'd watch the animated series and read whatever X-Men comics I could get my hands on. Wolverine. Iceman. Gambit. All the heroes I could ask for. As I grew, I still loved the Marvel staple, but I somehow got disconnected from the comics. I loosely followed what was happening, but not enough. 

Years passed, and a lot happened in the Marvel Universe. I read the titular Civil War trade paperback, but none of House of M. Apparently the X-Men had so many convoluted arcs going that the series needed a hardcore reboot. The one to take the helm was none other than Joss Whedon, a man fully capable of telling the tale. 

So I picked up the first edition of the new Astonishing X-Men, Gifted. Emma Frost and Scott Summers have decided to reform the team, intending on astonishing the world. Along with Wolverine, Beast, and Kitty Pryde, the X-Men set out to do just that. And as soon as they do, a remarkable cure for the mutant gene is found, ripping the world (and the team) apart. 

Joss Whedon's plot was smooth and fluid, as his always are. Each character was well written, given enough individuality to make them stand out. The dialogue was also fun.  Joss Whedon crafts great characters, and it is the team's characterization that is the most enjoyable for me to read. I like the dynamics between the heroes, especially Emma Frost and Kitty's dislike for each other. 

In the art department, John Cassaday does an amazing job. This could be the slickest art for any X-Men comic I've ever read. The colors were rich and vivid. The drawings were exactly what I want in a comic, especially one with superheroes in it.
One of my favorite characters was Beast. His design is awesome, and I think the Cassaday did an excellent job with him. Also, his personality is deep, and Whedon pegged him dead on. Plus, he's actually pretty cool now, acting "beastly" even. Quite a bit different than how I remember him from the old stuff. 

Volume Two of Astonishing X-Men, Dangerous, wasn't as good as the first, but still enjoyable enough. The story continues what was started in Gifted, but only loosely connects back to the events that happened. Instead, the X-Men face a new foe, one that knows all their moves and formations and is extremely powerful.

This collection revealed a bit more about the world outside the mansion. We learn about Genosha and the Professor's whereabouts and some of his past. We get a little more insight to S.W.O.R.D. and S.H.I.E.L.D. This worldbuilding was nice to have with the team, though minimal.

The Astonishing X-Men let me re-live the sweetness of the X-Men again, and I thoroughly enjoyed the first volume. The next arc, Torn, is being requested for purchase (by me) at the library, and I hope they get it. For any fans of the X-Men, I easily recommend Whedon and Cassaday's Astonishing X-Men.

G.W. Frog and the Circus Lion, by George W. Everett

G.W. Frog and the Circus Lion is a sweet and fun story about an elderly lion that is concerned about losing his teeth. When he confesses this to his friends, they decide to remedy the situation.

I really enjoyed G.W. Frog and the Circus Lion more than I thought I was going to. At first glance, it looked like a lot of text and some of the illustrations didn't look finished, so I was unsure how my young brother-in-law was going to like it. I waited for him to come over to my house, and for bedtime, I lay in bed and read him the story. He liked it plenty (I even questioned him the next morning and he said).

The only slight problem I had was how a few pages were formatted. It confused me a bit while reading aloud. I guess some pages are meant to be callouts from something on the opposite page, but I'm unsure. I feel this may could cause kids to stumble when reading themselves, but not very much. 

G.W. Frog and the Circus Lion is a great kids book that teaches wonderful lessons, offers a fun story, and serves the purposes of entertaining & educating kids. It fits perfectly on the shelf with the rest of the kids books, which I’ll be using for my own come next year.

I received G.W. Frog and the Circus Lion from the author in exchange for an honest review, which I have provided here.  The obligatory pumpkin pie offering that I requested was not included.


jake said...

hello bro! I lost my email password and was bored and started googling people that i knew and found you here, pretty cool. well hopefully i will get my email up soon so i can write you a long email. i think i will follow you on rememorandom i like the way you write and i need some ideas of what to read next. well i am going to try to get my email working so i will write you later. IGDMT
love ya

Keisha said...

i want to know what this obligatory pumpkin pie thing is...and i think you shouldn't complain as there will be an abundance of pumpkin pie at our house this weekend

logankstewart said...

Hey Brother! It's good to hear from you, even if it is like this. Hopefully you find your email password. I've got some books packed to mail you, so maybe I can get them out today or tomorrow. IUTBF. Love you, too.

@Keisha: Uhm? A joke. :)