ASTONISHING X-MEN #11 BY CHARLES SOULE, RON GARNEY, AND MATT MILLA
Plot
Characterization
Artwork
Summary
ASTONISHING X-MEN #11 is a fast-paced comic book. Charles Soule wastes no time delivering hard-hitting dialogue. While his plot and characterization stumble at times, the story is well worth reading. The artwork from Ron Garney and Matt Milla continues the psychedelic feel of this series.
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Charles Soule’s ASTONISHING X-MEN has been quite the rollercoaster since it debuted last year. In ASTONISHING X-MEN #11, we’re just one issue away from this ride’s conclusion. What does X have in store to stop Proteus? Who can stop Proteus? His plan to give everyone their deepest desires has dangerous undertones, but perhaps he’s not as bad as X is having us believe.

Read on to see how this issue holds up with the rest of the series!

Reality and Fantasy

ASTONISHING X-MEN #11
Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

The majority of ASTONISHING X-MEN #11 involves taking on Proteus. While Proteus’ “seeds” are strewn across the globe to create new gardens, the focus is in Scotland where he’s physically located. X and Psylocke combine their psychic abilities in an attempt to thwart Proteus’ plan, while the rest of the X-Men continuously try to attack.

This really is all there is to ASTONISHING X-MEN #11 until the final reveal at the end. Warren and Logan show their strength by using their metal to weaken Proteus; and Mystique even displays herself as Moira MacTaggert (his mother) to try and confuse Proteus. But this I found a bit weak: the guy manipulates reality, and while he knew it was Mystique, it still distorts him. He reveals his scarred childhood memories; he can’t get over being locked up like a monster. Yet still, he embraces her after just a few panels. This feels just too convenient; it’s not as if Mystique has pheromones that would alter his mood.

This Week in Unsung Marvel Moments — May 2nd, 2018

Psylocke and X

While most of the action in ASTONISHING X-MEN #11 occurs with the more physical X-Men, the real meat of this issue is the interaction between Psylocke and X. It’s become so painstakingly obvious that X is not who he claims to be. He’s simply not Charles Xavier. And this isn’t even a spoiler. Look at the black speech bubbles, the subtly sinister responses he has with Psylocke: “Yes Psylocke, of course…That’s the plan.”

Xavier wants to be alone with Pyslocke and put her in a situation to make the psychic connection between them. He wants to link up the remaining psychics in the world to make a network. Why? Well, you’ll have to read ASTONISHING X-MEN #11 to find out. Here’s a hint: it links all the way back to the events in issue #1.

The Artwork of ASTONISHING X-MEN #11

ASTONISHING X-MEN #11
Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

The majority of ASTONISHING X-MEN #11 is like an acid trip. Similar to the previous issue, Ron Garney and Matt Milla really allow this issue to be wacky. From floating fish to gooey liquid, there’s a lot of perturbing imagery here. Ultimately, though, while the hues are nice, the backgrounds appear scattered. It’s always unclear where exactly characters are located. X-Men come and go when taking on Proteus, and the only clarity occurs when the pages focus on X and Psylocke. This artwork is neat but it leaves a lot to be desired, forcing the reader to gloss over action scenes.

What we can Expect With the Final Reveal

While the big ending of ASTONISHING X-MEN #11 isn’t the most surprising, it’s still a bit of an eyebrow raiser. I like how Soule has kept his audience on their toes, and I really can’t wait to read ASTONISHING X-MEN #12. The way Soule has written this series has focused more on big reveals rather than huge character and story development. So do I actually want to read more of this series? Or do I just want the surprise twists that seem to occur after every final page? It will be interesting to read this series again with the lights on. It’ll be even more interesting to see how this connects to the Marvel and X-Men Universe as a whole. It’s unclear when this is all actually taking place.

The Black Order: Who Are They and What Can They Do?

Who knows how Soule will wrap everything up so quickly with one issue remaining. It’s a shame Fantomex hasn’t been touched upon since setting up shop in the Astral Plane. Will he come back next issue for more than a few pages? While I was a bit disappointed by this issue, I definitely like what Charles Soule is doing with the X-Men. This has been a great team and it’s nice Psylocke is getting the recognition she deserves as a powerful psychic. Too often that title belongs to Jean Grey or Emma Frost.

Here’s hoping Charles Soule can allow for a strong impact and a well-paced final issue.

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