Charles Soule provides witting and hilarious dialogue in this issue of ASTONISHING X-MEN. The plot itself is decent but a bit cliche at times. The artwork from Matteo Buffagni and Giada Marchisio gives this issue an especially fitting dreary tone.
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ASTONISHING X-MEN continues to get weird. Last issue ended with a bit of a cliffhanger as Psylocke and X were literally merged together. In ASTONISHING X-MEN #9, action immediately occurs to rescue these two. Charles Soule continues to utilize each character in his ragtag group of X-Men, and artists Matteo Buffagni and Giada Marchisio make this series a pleasure to view. What chaos does Proteus cause in this issue and how does it shake out? Find out below!

A Deadly Reunion In WEAPON X #15

Trust Issues in ASTONISHING X-MEN #9

As mentioned, the issue hits the ground running. Archangel (now under Warren’s control) and Logan decide to take action to save their comrades. The metal on Archangel’s wings shelters Psylocke while Proteus’ powers are in effect. It’s a touching moment, one where Archangel repeats he will be Psylocke’s shelter. He gives her time and strength to break free of Proteus’ control. But then there’s Logan: he remembers Fantomex’s healing power and decides to stab X, explaining his adamantium will extinguish Proteus’ control. Well, it works, except X then explains that this power did not translate to this body. As Logan says in a hilarious manner: “Oops.”

Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

As the scene above shows, the team doesn’t seem too worried. The idea of this really being Charles Xavier and not a completely — most likely evil — individual hasn’t really settled in. But paranoia grows as Bishop expresses his distress to Psylocke. As they’re flying out of London, Bishop explains an ‘end of the world’ scenario has begun: it deals with a green sun over London, something that occurred last issue. Psylocke is quick to respond and blame Proteus, but Bishop isn’t too sure: he believes it has to do with X.

And Then There are Proteus’ Actual Whereabouts

Of course, while all of this is happening, Proteus is wreaking havoc in Scotland. He winds up at a pub, addresses some folks enjoying their beverages, and somehow convinces them and the entire village of Fetters Hill that he can give them whatever they want. A crowd soon gathers, Proteus produces a cute puppy for a little girl, and boom! Walls appear and the entire town is encased for protection purposes. The scene ends where a townie’s literal desire is granted as Proteus’ ultimate plan is revealed, leading this reader to believe Proteus has much more than good wishes in store for the world.

Who is Pulling the Strings?

What I love about ASTONISHING X-MEN #9 is how the plot moves forward as character development improves. We learn about the distresses of our heroes like Rogue and Bishop; Archangel shows his heroism; and Logan and Mystique produce quality humor. But the plot just seems a bit too cliche. The first arc of ASTONISHING X-MEN was intense and had mindblowers occurring every issue. Here though, in the second arc, Proteus falls into an evil storyline that’s too familiar: he gives people what they want, but giving people what they want isn’t good for the world. Not that Soule can’t borrow storylines and tropes: that’s impossible. But he doesn’t appear to really be giving it a unique spin.

However, this could change depending on the character of X. How much of a role does he have here? And is the Shadow King really gone? While I’m still unsure why the general population agrees to listen to a glowing green man, I’ll certainly be interested to see what Soule has in store with this storyline and all the players that have been involved thus far.

The Artwork of ASTONISHING X-MEN #9

Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

The artwork in this issue is quite fitting for its tone. In scenes with Proteus, it almost feels like we’re in an issue of THE WALKING DEAD. Matteo Buffagni isn’t exactly Charlie Adlard, but his depictions of shock and awe give readers an idea of what these bystanders are thinking. Of course, the way he draws characters like Bishop and Psylocke as they treat X is also revealing. Their simplistic representation makes sense; they have just left a battle dealing with the Astral Plane, leaving them tired and drained. They’re essentially shadows of their true selves.

Then there’s the look of Proteus which is fantastic: he’s so creepy-looking. The green hues Giada Marchisio paints him with are so vile. You can feel the mischievousness all around him because of this coloring. And the coloring of the background in the Blackbird is gloomy, revealing the overall feeling of the X-Men as they leave London in such an utter mess.

What Can We Expect Next?

ASTONISHING X-MEN #9 isn’t the most gripping issue thus far in the series, but it’s entertaining enough. Charles Soule continues to write these X-Men like a legend, and sometimes that’s really all that matters. I’m curious to see how X continues to interact with the other X-Men; I love how they all don’t instantly trust him to be Charles. I’m curious if Fantomex will appear again. Hopefully, these curiosities are met in ASTONISHING X-MEN #10, due out next month.

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