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Comic Book / Astonishing X-Men (2017)

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Astonishing X-Men is a comic launched in 2017, initially written by Charles Soule, with a rotating line-up of artists.

After winning their war against The Inhumans, the X-Men have led mutantkind to its healthiest status in quite some time. Though Professor Charles Xavier is still dead, they're no longer in danger of extinction. But they aren't safe, either.

When an ancient evil attacks the world's telepaths and psychics, a group of X-Men past, present, and future —Old Man Logan, Psylocke, Rogue, Gambit, Bishop, Fantomex, Archangel, and Mystique— band together to stop it before it can bring the apocalypse.

But little do they know, a familiar face is using them as pawns in a high-stakes game that will have substantial ramifications for the X-Men moving forward...

Soule's Astonishing is notable for featuring Rogue's return to the X-Men, following a years-long run in Uncanny Avengers, as well as the return of Charles Xavier to the land of the living.

After the conclusion of Soule's run, Astonishing continues with a new creative team (writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Greg Land) starting with issue #13. This iteration of the title features Dazzler (also making her return to the X-Men after brief stints with S.H.I.E.L.D. and A-Force), Havok, Beast, Colossus, and Warpath. The Reavers have returned with a new weapon, and it's up to this new team to stop them.

Rosenberg's run serves as a sort of lead-in to Uncanny X-Men (2018)

"Tropes of X":

  • Art Shift: A result of the series' rotating art team.
  • The Atoner: Alex feels very guilty for the crimes he committed and tries to redeem himself by immediately jumping right back into superheroics.
  • Back from the Dead: The final page of issue #1 apparently features a revived Xavier, albeit one trapped in the Shadow King's astral plane. He later inhabits Fantomex's body after beating the Shadow King.
  • Came Back Wrong: There's clearly something wrong with Banshee. If he's not fighting he just stands in place like a statue, completely unresponsive.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The Shadow King is defeated in "Life of X".
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Psylocke knows the only way to defeat the Shadow King is to attack them from inside their mind.
  • Foil: Beast to Havok. Both X-Men have done terrible things and have lost the trust and respect of everyone they cared about as a result. However Alex was Brainwashed and Crazy while Hank was in his right mind. Also, Alex wants to make amends by being a superhero again while Hank just wants to get away from it all.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: Havok isn't trusted by the superhero community, which is somewhat justified considering he was a villain the last time any of them saw him. Though, it becomes more grating as they keep treating him like shit.
  • From Bad to Worse: After defeating the Shadow King and stopping his plans, Bishop reveals it's the same day Proteus went on a massacre as the mutant himself reconstitutes.
  • Grand Theft Me: Wanting to be remembered for something other than simply being an X-Men, Fantomex allowed Professor X to return in his body.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Havok was one of the many heroes whose personalities were inverted during AXIS, making him evil as well as one of the few who remained in that state. In X-Men: Blue, Emma Frost, with help from Polaris, was able to telepathically restore Alex's original, heroic personality.
  • Hypocrite: Tony Stark judges Havok for his actions, conveniently forgetting that he himself was inverted and had committed various atrocities as well. In fact, Havok only remained inverted due to the actions of Inverted!Tony.
  • Jerkass: Tony goes out of his way to spite Havok by bending the truth on national television, making Alex sound like a dim-witted coward. His only saving grace is not using Alex's name specifically.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Tony may be a self-righteous dick-head, but he was right about Alex jeopardizing a sensitive diplomatic mission by rashly attacking the kaiju the Avengers were transporting for Mole Man.
  • He's Back!: The Shadow King returns after a very long hiatus.
  • Intimate Lotion Application: While stuck in the Astral Plane, one of the romantic interactions Mystique and Fantomex have there is a scene where Fantomex is romantically applying lotion on her back while they're at a secluded beach.
  • The Kirk: Rosenberg described Havok as being this.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The second issue has an extended riff against those who want a regular status quo comic masquerading as the characters watching a movie.
  • Only in It for the Money: Fantomex makes a proud declaration that he'd never abandon his friend Gambit! Well... until Gambit pays him. He may or may not be lying.
  • The Spock: Rosenberg described Beast as being this.
  • Those Two Guys: Fantomex and Gambit, who've been rivals to one another since Civil War II.
  • Reality Is Out to Lunch: Once freed Proteus plans to make the physical world like the Astral Plane, meaning people can reshape the landscape purely through thought. Unfortunately, making reality truly subjective goes about as well as you expect when people are involved. The first thing seen being done is a man killing his wife because he wants to be with another woman.
  • Ridiculously Alive Undead: The best way to describe Banshee - he's in full possession of his faculties and is capable of strategy and teamwork. However, he is still technically a well preserved corpse.
  • Tragic Monster: Proteus tries to dissuade the heroes from attacking him, citing that their previous encounters were with him as a child, a child who'd spent his entire life up to that point imprisoned by his own mother, and that he'd just shrugged off being used yet again by villainous people and just wants to live in peace. Unfortunately he plans to make sweeping changes to reality that makes him impossible to ignore.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • Though she appears on the cover of issue #1, Mystique's presence on the team is played as a twist in the second issue, when it's revealed she was masquerading as Beast until that point.
    • Solicitations for later issues also revealed that Shadow King is the big bad of the first arc.
    • Completely averted by Xavier, whose presence in the plot was avoided entirely by the marketing.
  • Walking Spoiler: It's hard to talk about the plot of this series without mentioning that the Shadow King and Xavier are crucial to the plot.
  • Wham Shot: The first issue ends with Shadow King talking to Xavier.
  • Working with the Ex: A few cases, funnily enough:
    • Rogue and Gambit are working with each other again after a long time apart. The two broke up a long while ago, but seem to be on okay terms.
      • In fact, they get on so well that in X-Men: Gold #30, after Kitty Pryde dumps Colossus at the altar, Gambit proposes to Rogue and they marry there and then.
    • Fantomex and Psylocke, on the other hand, hate each other. They only dated for six months, but they don't even try to hide the contempt they have for each other.
    • Wolverine and Mystique dated each other in the 1800s and have never stopped hating each other.