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Astonishing X Men

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ISBN 0-7851-3801-3

Superhero comics

Astonishing X-Men Amazoncom Astonishing XMen Vol 2 Dangerous 9780785116776

(vol. 1–2)Limited series(vol. 3)Ongoing series

Publication date
(vol. 1)1995(vol. 2)1999(vol. 3)2004–2013

Number of issues
(vol. 1)4(vol. 2)3(vol. 3)68 (1 Annual & 1 Giant-Size)

(vol. 3)Joss Whedon (issues 1–24 & Giant-Size #1)Warren Ellis (issues 25–35)

(vol. 3)John Cassaday (issues 1–24 & Giant-Size #1)Simone Bianchi (issues 25–30)Phil Jimenez (issues 31–35)

GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comic Book

Main characters
Wolverine, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Beast, Armor

Uncanny X‑Men, New X‑Men, X‑Men, X‑Men: Legacy, X‑Factor

Astonishing x men back issues

Astonishing X-Men is the name of three X-Men comic book series from Marvel Comics, the first two of which were limited series. The ongoing series began in 2004, with its first run written by Joss Whedon and art by John Cassaday. It was then written by Warren Ellis with art by Phil Jimenez. Daniel Way and Christos Gage then took over the title writing alternating stories. They were followed by James Asmus who wrote one issue, then Greg Pak, who took over for four issues in November 2011. Marjorie Liu wrote the final 21 issues of the series until its end at issue #68 (October 2013).


Astonishing X-Men Unstoppable Story Arc Comic Vine

Ultimate graphic novel collection astonishing x men gifted

1995 series

Astonishing X-Men Astonishing XMen by Joss Whedon amp John Cassaday Hardcover XMen

The original Astonishing X-Men was a four-issue limited series that replaced Uncanny X-Men during the 1995 alternate universe storyline Age of Apocalypse, in which all X-titles were given new names and issue numbers. In this storyline, Professor X was murdered 20 years in the past by his own son, Legion. Magneto, witnessing his friend's death, committed himself to Xavier's dream and created his own team of X-Men. However, he was unable to prevent the rise of the despotic Apocalypse and hence the series primarily dealt with the X-Men's battle against him.

Astonishing X-Men httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenthumba

Astonishing X-Men, written by Scott Lobdell and illustrated by Joe Madureira, featured a team of X-Men led by Rogue and consisted of Sunfire, Blink, Morph, Sabretooth and Wildchild.

1999 series

Astonishing X-Men Marvel Knights Animation Bringing Joss Whedon39s ASTONISHING XMEN

The second limited series to bear the title Astonishing X-Men was published in 1999 and occurred after The Shattering storyline. In the three-issue series, most of the regular X-Men left the team over a conflict with Professor X. The three-issue series, written by Howard Mackie and illustrated by Brandon Peterson, featured an interim team consisting of Cyclops, Phoenix, Wolverine, Archangel, Cable, and Nate Grey.

This team protected the Mannites (a group of super powered, genetically engineered children) from Death, a horseman of Apocalypse. Wolverine was apparently murdered by Death in the final pages of the series but it was later revealed that "Death" was actually a mind controlled Wolverine, and that the "Wolverine" who was killed was an imposter, a shapeshifting Skrull.

Ongoing series (2004–2013)

Astonishing X-Men Astonishing XMen Gifted Review Moar Powah

In 2004, Marvel used the title Astonishing X-Men for an ongoing X-Men series written by Joss Whedon and illustrated by John Cassaday. It is a continuation of Grant Morrison's New X-Men title and features a similar line-up of characters, including Cyclops and Emma Frost (as co-team leaders), Beast, Kitty Pryde, Colossus, Lockheed, and Wolverine. This team became the usual focus for most X-Men limited series published during Whedon's run as well.

Whedon/Cassaday's Astonishing X-Men run introduced a number of original characters into the Marvel Universe including Kavita Rao, Special Agent Brand, S.W.O.R.D., Hisako Ichiki, Ord of the Breakworld and Blindfold. Whedon's run on the series was a critical and commercial success. The roster of the book was also the focus of various limited series at the time, such as X-Men: Phoenix—Endsong, X-Men: Phoenix—Warsong and World War Hulk: X-Men.

The series is noted for its independence from crossovers and large scale events in the Marvel Universe such as House of M, Decimation, Civil War, Messiah Complex, Avengers Vs. X-Men, and Battle of the Atom. This was previously due to the long delays between issues and Whedon's own stated desire to remain away from big crossovers, which he personally disliked, and what he saw as hectic and unfollowable X-Men continuity, but have persisted almost to the end of the series, with the sole exception being the "X-Termination" event in 2013.

Joss Whedon run

"Gifted" (Issues #1–6)

The first story arc focused on the introduction of several key characters and their involvement on the team. Whedon introduced a "mutant cure" designed by Indian Benetech scientist Dr. Kavita Rao, who was secretly sponsored by warrior alien Ord. The prospect of "real" humanity arouses the interest of a heavily mutated Beast, who visits Rao only to discover that the drug is the product of illegal human experimentation on an unknown victim. The X-Men raid Benetech and reunite with Colossus. With Colossus's help, the team takes down Ord, but not before it's revealed that a mutant (most likely an X-Man) would destroy Ord's home planet, the Breakworld, within the next three years.

With this 2005 arc, Whedon brought back Colossus four years after his comic book death in 2001. The "mutant cure" plot was also the basis of the X-Men: The Last Stand movie plot. The arc was critically lauded and won the 2006 Will Eisner Award for "Best Continuing Series." IGN called the arc "best X-Men run in a decade" and lauded Whedon for flawless character dynamics.

"Dangerous" (Issues #7–12)

This Whedon arc features a Sentinel attack with a mystery mastermind. The culprit is the Danger Room, which is becoming sentient and appears as a robot called "Danger." Whedon establishes that Professor X imprisoned Danger and made it an unwilling host of the Danger Room, leaving the X-Men disgusted. Whedon also revealed that Emma Frost is aligned with the newly formed Hellfire Club.

"Torn" (Issues #13–18)

The X-Men are manipulated by a new Hellfire Club, consisting of Cassandra Nova, Emma Frost, the enigmatic Perfection, Negasonic Teenage Warhead, and Sebastian Shaw. It is revealed that when Cassandra Nova's mind was imprisoned by Emma into a biological "slug", Cassandra placed a subtle suggestion into Emma's mind to cause Emma to believe she had to help Cassandra destroy the X-Men and free Cassandra, and that Cyclops' inability to control his optic blasts is result of a childhood trauma. Nova initially defeats the X-Men by manipulating their greatest fears. In the end, Cassandra's plot is revealed to Emma by Cyclops, but it is unknown whether Emma returned the remaining consciousness of Cassandra to the slug or otherwise. Moments later Ord and Danger burst into the room, where they are all forcibly teleported away by S.W.O.R.D. to a spaceship headed for the Breakworld.

The final panel of issue 15, in which Shadowcat crouches in a sewer clenching her fists, was an homage to the final panel of Uncanny X-Men #132, in which Wolverine did this gesture.

"Unstoppable" (Issues #19–24 & Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1)

In the following Unstoppable arc, Whedon wrote an adventure taking place on the alien Breakworld. The X-Men square off against the Breakworld leaders, who are intending to destroy Earth by firing a giant bullet. The Danger subplot is also resolved, and Whedon established that Danger is hard-coded not to kill. In the end, Shadowcat phases inside the Breakworld bullet, and when it reaches Earth, makes it intangible, so that the bullet passes through Earth. However she is unable to remove herself from the bullet and vanishes with it into space.

Warren Ellis run

Marvel announced at San Diego Comicon 2007 that following completion of the Whedon/Cassaday run on Astonishing X-Men, the series would continue with the new creative team of Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi. This run was expected to debut in early 2008, but was pushed back to July 2008. Ellis and Bianchi's first issue, Astonishing X-Men #25, featured the team relocated to San Francisco, with a base in the Marin headlands. The only addition to the team was Storm. An Astonishing X-Men sketchbook was released and showed costume redesigns by Bianchi for the upcoming "Astonishing X-Men: Second Stage." The characters showcased were Dazzler, Beast, Nightcrawler, Archangel, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Colossus, Storm, and Wolverine.

"Ghost Box" (Issues #25–30)

Based in San Francisco, Ellis established the X-Men as protectors of the city. The new team consisted of Cyclops, Emma Frost, Beast, Wolverine and Armor, and later, Storm arrived. The X-Men uncovered a plot of mutant synthesis from an unusual murder. The killer (designated 'X') was located, fixing and restarting the eponymous "ghost box" in a spaceship. X was defeated but killed himself rather than surrender information about his intentions and "the Annex."

The team returned to San Francisco with Suspect X's "mysterious box" (actually a "Ghost Box") in tow and gave it to Hank along with a syringe filled with Suspect X's blood. After analyzing the box and blood, Hank told Scott that after having gone over Suspect X's file there appears to be talk about a secret war between Suspect X's people and the murdered mutant from the beginning of the story arc. There is also talk about a mysterious place called Tian which is in China and that piques the interest of Wolverine. After analyzing Suspect X's blood, Hank finds out that Suspect X is just a normal mutant but with his X-gene on a different chromosome. Just like the murder victim, Hank believes that Suspect X is a manufactured mutant. Hank wants to bring Abigail Brand from S.W.O.R.D. in to help investigate this matter, but Scott is against that. In the end, against Scott's wishes, Agent Brand is brought in who lets the X-Men know that the Ghost Box is a dimensional portal between different realities. Hank then concludes that Suspect X is not a manufactured mutant after all; in Suspect X's reality the x-gene is normally located on a different chromosome. Brand wants to turn this case into a S.W.O.R.D.-only case but Scott counters it. Brand gives Scott and the X-Men time to investigate before she brings in S.W.O.R.D. With the help of Wolverine, the X-Men locate Tian, which is an uncharted area of China that no surveillance or satellite system can get through, not even the Chinese government. The X-Men are able to sneak into Tian and discover the headquarters of a secret group of mutants informally referred to by Hank as the "Chinese X-men." Sadly, they seem to have died because of M-Day's associated effects.

As Storm and Emma investigate the grounded temple, Emma notices they are not alone and that she will have to switch to her diamond form, leaving her without her telepathy. She relays the info to Cyclops who is with Beast, Armor and Wolverine. As Armor and Logan go off to search the temple for anyone else, Scott and Beast discuss Forge, M-Day and its effects on the multiverse. Armor and Wolverine come across a man who can fire lasers from his fingers, Storm and Emma lose their powers in the presence of the mutant hiding from them and Cyclops and Beast take on a mutant with a strange chameleon mutation. After the X-Men take down their foes, they reveal to the X-Men they have a mutual friend, Forge. Emma continues to interrogate the X-Men's captives and the team discovers that Forge created the manufactured mutants (including the victim in the beginning of the arc). He created these "mutants" for a counter-strike against the Annexation using a Ghost Box that he acquired.

The team head towards where Forge is located and are apprehensive about the upcoming meeting. After some discussion with Forge, Cyclops and Storm try to reason with him but he is strongly determined to see his plan through. Forge's insistence seems to stem from years of being ignored and neglected and he desires to leave behind a legacy and save the world. Beast has Abigail Brand to send an immensely powerful laser beam into the Ghost Box's portal. Storm urges Forge to escape but he would rather face death than humiliation and the team escapes as the beam destroys both the Ghost Box and the world whence the invaders came.

"Exogenetic" (Issues #31–35)

Agent Brand's investigation of an orbiting laboratory in space ends with it self-destructing, damaging her escape ship. As the craft falls toward Earth, she radios the help of the X-Men, who save her before the craft can crash into San Francisco. In the crowd, Emma notices deceased former student Wallflower and follows after her. Laurie immediately transforms into a bio-sentinel and the team destroy it. Brand reveals that an individual called Kaga hacked into the X-Men's files, using Beast's work on deriving a live x-gene from dead mutants to recover dead mutants to recreate some of the X-Men's greatest foes, such as the Brood and bio-sentinels masquerading in cloned bodies of their former allies.

Brand's explanation is interrupted when a Brood-Krakoa hybrid attacks, attempting to destroy any physical evidence of the bio-sentinel. The X-Men destroy it and locate the hidden ship that dropped the Brood-Krakoa hybrid, boarding it. They find another dead mutant, Paradigm, whom Kaga used to hack into the X-Men's files. Away from the team, Cyclops destroys the remnants of Paradigm, killing him, while the X-Men fight off and destroy a Brood-Sauron hybrid. The X-Men fly the ship into Kaga's base, finding an army of genetically engineered monstrosities meant to attack them. They destroy all the experimental creatures, and confront Kaga.

Kaga is revealed to be a deformed elderly man with numerous genetic abnormalities and disorders, a true mutant born from a mother who survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. He reveals that he hates the X-Men for their perfect bodies and incredible superhuman abilities despite being labeled "mutants," whereas he is deformed, trapped in a deteriorating body. In retaliation, Cyclops decides that he will not kill Kaga, but will ensure that "Mutantes Sans Frontières" gives Kaga the care and medical attention he needs for the rest of his natural life.

"Xenogenesis" (Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #1–5)

A miniseries that takes the X-Men to Africa to deal with a mysterious mutagen that is causing mutations amongst newborn children.

Storm leaves her homeland of Wakanda to visit the X-Men. They reunite and go off to Africa, to investigate a series of mutant births, which excite the hopes of the X-Men of replenishing their species.

Once they arrive, they find that the area that was set up for Mutantes Sans Frontieres has been overtaken by soldiers. The X-Men quickly take out any of the oppressing troops, and Emma Frost kisses the staff in order to let them download the native language for 48 hours so they may be able to communicate with the locals.

After Beast witnesses the mutations and studies the babies, he discovers they are not mutants and are simply affected by a type of radiation that has spread over the area. Before they can investigate, a cyborg with his own troops that is in charge of the area takes everyone hostage at gun point. Cyclops distracts him while Emma Frost controls all of his troops, and they discover that they must work together in order to find out the cause of the radiation.

In the woods, they find a man running for his life. Wolverine, Beast, and two of the cyborg's best men track him into the jungle. A ghost box opens, and troops known as Furies emerge with guns in order to kill the running man. Wolverine and Beast easily take them down, but the Ghost Box unleashes larger Furies that can morph their arms into weapons and regenerate. Beast is shot down, the cyborg's men are eviscerated, and Wolverine is almost killed when Cyclops and the others rescue them.

Emma scans the running man and discovers he is a multiverse teleporter. He escaped from his world, which was overrun by the Furies who had killed every super-powered individual. The Furies were sent after him with the Ghost Box, and now Emma tells Cyclops that during their fight, they must keep one Fury alive or else everyone will die.

A single Fury is left for Emma, who narrowly kills her. She takes control of its mind and performs a "psychic surgery", which alters its programming. Emma changes its orders to say it completed the mission and returned because it had no other commands. Without any reason to pursue further, the outside forces would leave Earth alone.

Emma also reveals to Cyclops that the man they have gives off a giant burst of radiation when he teleports between universes, which is the cause for the babies to mutate. The cyborg kills the teleporter, saying he cannot have a volatile human dirty bomb walking around able to hurt everyone in the area. He says he doesn't like doing these kinds of things, but he has to since it is his job.

"Monstrous", "Meanwhile", and "Exalted" (Issues #36-47)

Issues #36 to #42 have two alternating storylines, "Monstrous" and "Meanwhile", written by Daniel Way and Christos Gage, respectively.

In the "Exalted" storyline beginning issue #44, written by Greg Pak, the focus lies mostly on Scott Summers as a lead character. Through the use of a Ghost Box, a device which allows characters to enter into a parallel universe, an alternate reality in the X-Men continuity is explored. In the timeline featured here, the X-Men have waged war on Magneto to free the subjugated human race. In his dying breath, Magneto cracks the planet causing certain doom. Xavier, recast as Savior in this timeline, and other Marvel super-geniuses create a device to save their planet by harnessing the powers of mutants.

Savior scours the multiverse with a Ghost Box collecting various incarnations of X-Men, favoring Cyclops, and using them until they burn out. That is until his Storm finds "our" Cyclops. Scott wakes to find himself imprisoned in the device along with alternate versions of mutant teammates James Howlett, Emmeline Frost, Shadow(cat), and a young Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler). They escape, learn the truth about Savior and his plans, and make the hard humanity-at-stake decisions of heroes.

Along the way it becomes apparent that a single Cyclops can provide immense power for the device, and that many of them have chosen to self-sacrifice to preserve Savior's world. When Scott refuses and destroys the device telling Savior to "Find another way!", Savior reveals that he indeed has a permanent solution that requires the sacrifice of an entire universe, and claiming that this Scott's aberrant behavior proves he is from a flawed universe that he will not feel guilty about consuming with the help of a modified Ghost Box.

This combined with Savior's willingness to sacrifice some of the humans from his own reality is enough for Storm to side with the former captives. Together (and with Scott's Storm and Emma brought in by young Kurt) this makeshift team of X-Men defeat Savior. As his Emma and Storm depart through a failing Ghost Box portal, Scott tells them that his decisions doomed that Earth and he should stay to help fix it. Howlett pushes him through saying he had been worried momentarily about Scott's non-self-sacrifice, but now was reassured, and that Scott wouldn't be the last person they save today.

The alternate universe Howlett, Kurt and others would later return in a new X-Treme X-Men series, also written by Pak.

Marjorie Liu run (Issues #48-68)

Writer Marjorie Liu and artist Mike Perkins are the new Astonishing X-Men creative team as of issue 48 in March 2012.

Contrary to the book's previous format of being divided into individual story arcs, Liu and Perkins are on Astonishing X-Men for an open-ended run. The series focuses on Wolverine's side of the X-Men in both the Regenesis and the post-Avengers vs. X-Men era, and star Wolverine, Gambit, Warbird, Northstar, Cecila Reyes, Iceman, and Karma.

In March 2013, Astonishing X-Men was a part of its first and only crossover event, "X-Termination", with the X-Treme X-Men and Age of Apocalypse ongoing titles. The storyline focused on the Age of Apocalypse Nightcrawler's attempt to return home. #60 was Part 2 and #61 was Part 5 of the crossover. Following the event, Astonishing X-Men would be the sole title of the three to continue publication. During the crossover, AoA Nightcrawler's trip home resulted in the release of three evil beings that destroy anyone they touch. Several casualties resulted, including the AoA's Sabretooth, Horror Show, and Fiend, as well as the X-Treme X-Men's Xavier, Kid Nightcrawler, and Hercules.

The next arc in the series (issue 62 to 65) featured Iceman, who was corrupted by the Apocalypse seed during X-Termination and sent the world into an ice age.

Astonishing X-Men ended with issue #68 in October 2013. Its status as a team book featuring Wolverine and his X-Men team was replaced by a new series by Jason Aaron titled Amazing X-Men in November 2013.

What If

The 2009 series of What If?? includes a special one-shot comic exploring two alternatives to events which have occurred in the Astonishing X-Men series. The first examines what would have happened if Ord had resurrected Jean Grey—who was thought a logical candidate for the character rumored to be returning from the dead—instead of Colossus. The second considers the ensuing consequences if the android Ultron had learned of the existence of the sentient Danger during his then-battle with the Runaways, leading him to become determined to make her his bride.


Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men was subjected to criticism regarding the delays between the issues. Whedon's initial contract with Marvel Comics was for twelve issues for one year but the final issues were four months late. After a break of several months, the title resumed in February 2006 with the new story arc "Torn." With issue 13, the comic temporarily went from monthly to bimonthly to allow more time for Whedon and Cassaday to finish each issue and avoid further late releases. The book resumed a monthly schedule in September 2006 with issues 16 and 17, but was delayed once again for issue 18. Delays persisted for a variety of reasons, including Cassaday's last-minute assignment to pencil the fifth issue of Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America.

Whedon said that while he knew "many people have done cure scenarios before me," he was not familiar with any of those earlier stories at the time he started working on "Gifted."

In Wizard #173, Whedon admitted to making mistakes in the second story arc, saying he was so fascinated with the idea of the "new intelligence" that he neglected the action and thus prevented the story from flowing well.

The third volume of the Astonishing X-Men comic book series has generally been well received with comic sales normally being very high. Whedon's run was nominated for several Eisner Awards. In 2006, the series won the best continuing series award and in 2005 and 2006, John Cassaday won Best Artist/Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team (tied with Frank Quitely for 2005). Also, in 2004, Astonishing X-Men, vol. 3's first storyline, "Gifted," was given the accolade of Wizard's book of the year.

Collected editions

The series have been collected into a number of trade paperbacks:

Motion comics

Marvel later produced motion comics based on Astonishing X-Men, releasing them on Hulu, iTunes, the PlayStation Store, and other video services. These animated episodes were then released on DVD through Shout! Factory. It has been announced that Marvel Knights Animation will continue animating Whedon and Cassady's run, starting with the second storyline of the series X-Men: Dangerous.

The titles in the series include:

  1. Astonishing X-Men: Gifted (2009)
  2. Astonishing X-Men: Dangerous (April 2012)
  3. Astonishing X-Men: Torn (August 2012)
  4. Astonishing X-Men: Unstoppable (November 2012)

Prose Novel

Marvel released a prose adaption of Astonishing X-Men: Gifted in September 2012, written and adapted by comics writer Peter David. The story is a fairly straight adaption and features Wolverine, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Beast, Kitty Pryde, Lockheed and Colossus as prominent characters.


Astonishing X-Men Wikipedia

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