Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical
hermionesviolin

[Astonishing X-Men] "Gifted" and "Dangerous" -- the detailed reaction version

It shouldn't surprise me that lots of entries get ignored and then I get sucked into the fandom of the moment and everyone's suddenly all chatty and wants to hear what I have to say.

Okay, to start, my introduction to X-Men was the Saturday morning cartoons: Professor X, Storm, Jean Grey, Rogue, Wolverine, Beast, Cyclops -- and Gambit and Jubilee, but they never stuck in my mind.  I saw the first two X-Men movies on video and liked them a lot.  I actually saw the third one on opening weekend, primarily to be able to talk to.  From Emma, Allie, and karabair, I know a little about Northstar, Marrow, Kitty Pryde, Rachel Summers, and Emma Frost (and even less about assorted other characters); and from fandom I know a little about Genosha, and how comicsverse Xavier is more morally grey than movieverse, and probably some other stuff I'm forgetting.  The only comics I had read were some stuff from scans_daily.  So that's where I was coming from when I started reading Astonishing.  Now the play-by-play (which, btw, takes forever even though reading the comics themselves goes very quickly).

Astonishing vol. 1: Gifted

01

"Mommy... / ... is screaming. / Her screams are... / yummy."

Wow, way to start off creepy.

I didn't realize until I went back to it (after having read the whole volume) to do this writeup that the girl isn't being comforted by her mother (to which my reaction was of course "Don't lie to your child; you can't promise her nightmare won't return") but that we're in Rao's lab.

[title card. and we're at Westchester]

I was guessing the girl was Kitty, but wasn't sure.  Also wasn't sure whether she was bringing ghosts, was seeing psychic projections, or just what, though come the second page I realized they were memories.  (Though I was still frustrated trying to figure out who exactly they all were.)  I'm still not sure quite what to make of the "shards of me" line.

I recognized the "I'm sorry, I was busy remembering to put on all my clothes" line from a scans_daily panel.

"Violence of any kind will never be tolerated."  Given that my understanding is that Emma is evil, I was a bit thrown by this.

Sidenote: Beast's face looks very feline at times, which weirds me a bit.

"They will always hate us.  We will never live in a world of peace.  Which is why control and non-violence are essential.  We must prove ourselves a peaceful people."

Interesting.  And definitely a different take from Magneto (the villain I'm used to).

"I scanned the students. Nearly ten percent of them were more than a little excited at the prospect of a fight.  I thought we should know..."
I like that a lot.

Nice shot of Emma and Scott in bed.  I'm undecided as to whether it feels in-character to me for Emma to sleep in a halter top (as opposed to nude).

Wolverine crouched in the window "Which stage of grieving is this? Denial?" = awesome.

"Hey, Logan.  That healing power's about come in really handy."  Hee.

"Superpowers, a scintillating wit and the best body money can buy...and I still rate below a corpse."  Emma, do you really not get this whole "love" thing?  Whole greater than the sum of its parts, actual personality counting for something, etc.

"Is this gonna be about tights?" (Wolverine)  Hee.

"Just trying to keep from being wiped out, I think we've forgotten that we have a purpose.  I know the rest of the world has forgotten." (Scott)  Interesting.

"Is this like a theme thing, us being so big?" (Kitty) "Actually, that's me. I programmed [...] It appears I should have been more specific about scale." (Beast) Hee.

"Remember when this place was just flame-throwers and rotating knives?  I miss that.  //  Now I have cloud hair." (Kitty)  Such a Buffy line.

"And quite frankly, all the black leather's making people nervous." (Scott)

Kitty's all 'I'm not a fighter; why am I here?' and Wolverine says, "You've been in it plenty, kid.  I'd take you at my back any day."  This is made of heart, but Rogue is totally my OTP for Logan.  (Kitty also looks really young in some of these shots, which weirds me out since she's supposed to be one of the teachers so she's gotta be at least like 20, right?)

"I can lead a team, but I haven't looked anybody in the eye since I was fifteen." (Scott)  Mmm.

"So I'm what--a P.R. stunt?"  (Kitty)  Points for spunk, girl.
"Yes, our own poster child.  Isn't it sweet?  'The Nonthreatening Shadowcat', or 'Sprite', or 'Ariel' or whatever incredibly unimpressive name you're using nowadays."  (Emma)  I really enjoy their mutual hate.
"Emma, shut up."  (Scott)  Nice.  And I love the look on Emma's face.

"Am I think only one who's dying to see the outfits?" (Beast)  Wow, I'm not used to reading Beast as gay, but that's definitely not a normal heterosexual male line.

Kitty and Logan together alone out on the grass... again with the made of heart but I just can't get into that 'ship.

Nice cutting between the three events (the cure announcement, the hostages, and the X-Men).

"Maybe we're fanatics.  Or maybe we're just bored."  Always creepy.

I like the dramatic slow pace of the crop shots of Beast putting away his glasses (which begs the question, btw, of why he wears them if he apparently doesn't need them), Logan sheathing his clothes, and Scott adjusting his visor.

I love the dramatic shot and Scott saying "We have to astonish them" ('cause of its echoes of the series title).  In my reread for writeup it registered with me that Emma is wearing the same thing she always does (as opposed to a superhero uniform like everyone else).

02

The opening image of 01 was Wolverine's claws.  I'm less clear as to what this one is.  I'm thinking the woman is Emma, and the red indicates Cyclops eyes behind her hands.  Not sure what to make of that.

"Her ability to manifest her own nightmares...."  This seems too much like magic to me.  Psychic control, telekinesis, and transmuting your own body I'm willing to buy, but manifesting stuff like that out of nothing .  Though certainly it's gotta be one of the most terrifying possibilities one could come up with (esp. since she's so young).

I love Kitty taking the hostages.  And the look on the first woman's face.

"Lockheed!  You found me!  You are the best X-Dragon ever."  (Kitty)  Heart.
"Hell, I think we should make him team leader."  (Logan)  Hee.

"We heard shooting.  Did you start the shooting?"
"Why don't you ask the people we saved what happened?"  Nice one, Kitty.

"Do you have a license for that bat?  What is your relationship with the bat?"

"Tell me, dear Walter, would you like to spend the rest of your life obsessed with the works of Leroy Neiman?  //  I mean sexually?"  Sometimes I really like Emma.

"Being hated and feared by a world that doesn't understand us beats this circus any day."  (Wolverine)  Heart.

I like the off-guard moment of Hank being asked about the cure as they're making their escape from the post-rescue press flurry.

"And they're giving me a sodding migraine.  The psychic tension is unbearable."  (Emma)  Hee.

Emma: "Then I guess I'll have to kill her."
Kitty: "Well there's a thoughtful plan."
Logan: "And I say 'Amen' to it.  Woman called me a disease.  [...]"
Kitty: "She said the mutant strain was a disease."
Logan: "Think she knows the difference?"
Emma: "You think the government will?  [...]  Don't you see where this is heading?"
Kitty:  "Yeah, to murder.  The professor would be so proud."
Emma: "As usual, your naivete is neither cute nor useful."

Emma: "You're tired, Scott.  And tomorrow's likely to be unpleasant.  Why don't you get some rest?"
Way to make me feel like you're mind-controlling him.

Emma: "Kitty and I will figure out how to keep the students together tonight."
Scott: "Thanks, Emma."
Hank: "Maybe Scott and Logan could fight on the lawn again.  The kids love that."
Logan: "I ain't up for anything that don't have the word 'beer' in it."
Hank: "you could fight for beers..."
Logan: "Well, now that doesn't sound too bad."

Emma: "Things are about to get very ugly for us here, so I wanted to--"
Kitty: "I'm sorry--there's a part that's not ugly?"  I love Kitty's whole smackdown here.  [Though her "I can smell you" at the end is weird.]

Emma: "I'm in love with Scott Summers,  And I'm very grateful to Professor Xavier for his trust.  Being an X-Man means a lot to me.  But it doesn't already agree with me."
I really like that idea.  I expect I'll mostly read Emma as unsympathetic (and potentially evil) but in theory at least I could really get into a narrative about someone who's Fighting the Good Fight even though it doesn't come naturally to them.

Kitty: "The first time I ever met the X-Men, the first day...they were ambushed, and captured, and caged.  By you."
...  Wow.

Hank: "Stop.  I'm not here to discuss the ethics of your 'mutant cure'.  And I'm not here to destroy it.  I just want to know if it works."

Very nice ending.

03

And our opening image this time is Wolverine in battle mode plowing down on us.

Wing: "When you're flying, in a very literal sense the world goes away.  It makes everything else... smaller.  And sort of okay, too.  It's the most important feeling.  I can't lose that."
I hadn't thought of flying like that, but that makes a lot of sense.

"We stick together and don't panic or overreact... you'll see.  We're stronger than this."  Okay, Kitty, you've been around Logan and others, even you must know you're bullshitting when you say 'we mutants' don't panic or overreact.
I really enjoyed Wing's "Miss Pryde... are you being a #@%ing retard?" complete with dramatic separation of the two speech bubbles by his disbelieving face.

Kitty: "How much detention are we allowed to give?  What's the maximum amount of detention the human body can withstand?"
::cracks up::

"And that dreadful Guatemalan crab-boy is at Benetech telling reporters this is every mutants only chance to avoid burning in everlasting Hellfire."  (Emma)
Mmm, "For the Kingdom of Heaven."

Kitty: "Oh my God.  You teach ethics?"
Emma: "Yes.  Do let's make jokes right now."
Kitty: "I'm not joking.  I have a very large problem with that concept."
[...]
Logan (re: Kitty): "I thought I was the one with the claws..."

Hank's "Just tell me there's coffee" was perfect.

Ord: "Are you insane?"
Kavita: "The casual observer would perhaps not look to me as the unbalanced one."
Hee.

Ord: "Without my technologies you would have no cure."
Kavita: "The technologies of your people.  Your own contributions have been a great deal more ambiguous."

Fury: "I let you up here 'cause Xavier's got some cred with the Powers and he says you're in charge."
Dude, it's like the White Room.

Scott: "Were you watching when Genosha was destroyed?  'Cause I don't remember S.H.I.E.L.D. stepping in to stop the Sentinels from committing genocide."
Fury: "That ain't American soil."
Scott: "Wow.  The administration must love you.  Even for a guy with one eye, your vision's incredibly narrow."

Ord: "In the meantime, the mutants will pay for what they did to my face."
Kavita: "The dragon did it to your face.  The dragon isn't a mutant.  He's an alien, like you.  Try to get it straight."
Hank: "Maybe this is the secondary stage of my mutation. Or maybe Cassandra Nova was right.  Maybe I'm devolving."
I find that really interesting and also want to know more about this Cassandra Nova; as meaningful, and beautiful, names go... that's pretty awesome.

Logan is in so many ways so not an X-Man (I mean, he's hardly a team player, for one) so I find his speech interesting.  I find that sort of loyalty believable from him, though.

"So, what-- the teachers spend all their time here trying to kill each other?  //  This place is so cool."

"Break.  And bow.  Very good.  Now get into the Danger Room before I make you bloody tango."  (Emma)

"I didn't program it, but I happen to find it perfectly appropriate.  I am clearly the only adult on this entire team."  (Emma)

Logan: "And if it works?"
Scott (to Hank): "Then I'm trusting you not to do anything till you've spoken to me.  I have to say that I'm with Logan on this.  But it's your life.  I'm just asking that we talk.  Is that fair?"

Kitty: "Are you gonna fight everyone, Logan?  I just wanna know if I'm next."
Logan: "Nah, you'd go ninja on me--I can't take that kind of hurt."
Heart.

Scott: "We're getting nowhere, Emma."
Emma: "Patience, darling.  You're doing fine.  Of course, Kitty thinks I'm mentally controlling everything you say..."
Scott: "But you're not, right?"
Emma: "You will never see me naked again."

Hank: "It's not about that.  It's about the body they're running their tests on.  Why does nothing stay buried?"
Scott: "Jean?"

Having seen X3, my immediate thought was that Jean's consciousness had been transfered to the Tildie girl somehow.  (This was more from the young!Jean flashbacks than from the post-credits twist.)

04

Opening image: Beast in costume, flanking one of those masked men crashing through a window.

I find Ord's little story really interesting -- that he did all this hardcore warrior stuff on his homeworld to be chosen for this big deal mission, and now he's stuck here not being able to get good and violent.

Emma: "God but that is unnerving."
Kitty: "Wiggle like that next time and I'll lose my grip in the middle of a wall.  You'll fuse molecules.  As deaths go, it's not the funnest."

Emma: "Right, right.  Base defilement.  Jean Grey is a sacred cow.  At least we agree on half of that."

Kitty: "It's metal, Lockheed, and I can't find the end."
I'm not sure how I feel about Kitty's ability to sense the end of an object she's phasing through.  It's certainly a useful skill to go along with the phasing power, but it feels a little too convenient to me.  (I'm probably also influenced by conversations about useless superpowers and how it shouldn't be that everyone has these awesome desirable controllable powers.)

btw, I had heard before that Kitty has a dragon, and I felt very wtf about it, but it actually flows very naturally.

I like the idea that the cure would get called "Hope."

I love the "you've got to be kidding me" pose of the alien* when Wing and Hisako are all "Nope, we don't know where the X-Men went."
*My impression is that Ord was the only alien to come to Earth, but his eyes seem intact now, so it can't be him, right?

Kitty: "But whatever I phased through, it's not from this planet, or any one I've been to.  The molecular structure is... I hope it didn't do some permanent damage going through me..."
Interesting.

Colossus: "Oh, God... Finally... God... Am I--God please... ...Am I finally dead?"

Wow, what an ending.

05

Opening image: Colossus hand smashing through "Astonishing X-Men"

Opening panels: Hey, I recognize that from one of Allie's icons :)  And Scott wants Jean's approval on the new costumes.

Meep! on Wing being cured.  (And I like the layered meaning of the alien's "Man was not meant to fly.")

Kitty: "Peter Rasputin died and I know this because I carried his ashes to Russia and scattered them myself!"
Colossus: "You did?  Thank you."

Rao: "Is Doctor McCoy all right?  He--"
Emma: "He has a disease, if you recall.  An inexplicable adverse reaction to being shot at."
Yup, I definitely like Emma sometimes.

Rao: "I never authorized this kind of force.  I don't want anyone hurt.  That's the point."
Emma: "Nothing but noble intentions.  Yes you're a veritable Oppenheimer.  What's next?  Eliminating the gay gene?"
Rao: "Homosexuality doesn't represent a threat to human existence."
Emma: "We're clearly watching different televangelists."

Scott having Emma patch him in to the other reminds me of a certain scene in S7 BtVS and again feels a bit too much like convenient magic for me (though in the BtVS scene it worked) though given what a phenomenally powerful telepath Emma is I suppose it's plausible.

Nice touch with the dead mutant ending up on top of Dr. Rao.

Emma: "You will feel no pain.  You will go straight to a hospital.  Remember nothing of this place.  And every time you hear the words 'parsley', 'intractable' or 'longitude' you will vomit uncontrollably for forty-eight hours."
Scott:  "Nice work, X-Men.  My girlfriend is very weird."

Rao: "I've already given samples and all my data to hundreds of teams around the world.  'Hope' can't be crushed now.  Not even by you."
Logan: "Nice bluff.  But I call."
"Miss Frost.  There is no substance on Earth this blade cannot cut through."  (I find it interesting that Emma is actually protecting the doctor.)
Emma: "Good to know."  And she holds Rao in front of her like a shield.  Love the look on Rao's face.

Emma: "And if he's a man by our definition, that's not the only soft--"
And Logan's eyes go wide (what is up with his eyes appearing white under that mask, btw?) and he's in the center of the panel but then you see Emma's eyes are wide, too, so we know it's not that.

"What are you all looking... Oh no.  Is that dragon thing behind me?"
Love.

Colossus: "I am not made of steel.  Rage.  I... am made... of RAGE!"
...  Interesting.


06

Opening image: v. sexy Kitty+Colossus

Logan: "Diplomatic #%$@*&%!!#$@%#%$##@#$$%$#%@$$#%$#$#@#$%#%@$#$@$%&&&%&%&@&$#%$##%&&&@&!! immunity?"
Heart.  [The expletive symbols literally take up five lines in his speech bubble.]

"You don't need that information."
Logan: "And you don't need both those arms, Hydra-hair."

Fury: "How do you know your Colossus is the genuine article in the first place?"
Emma: "I read his mind."
Hank: "I matched his DNA."  [me: Wait, when?]
Logan: "I smelled him."
Hank: "I also did that."
Kitty: "This is Peter Nikolaievitch Rasputin.  And you owe him the goddamn truth."

Brand: "You don't have the authorization to make me divulge classified--"
Fury: "Yeah what I got is the urge to disappear and leave this dink at the mercy of these very unreasonable super-powered types.  Tell them the truth."

Hank: "The government and their acronyms... Honestly, it's adorable."

Brand: "The fact is, S.H.I.E.L.D. has its hands full trying to keep this world together.  And somebody has to keep track of the others."

comm: "Sir, we've had a perimeter breach on the southwest corner."
Fury: "Really?  That's good to know."

"You people are in a world of trouble."
"Well... that's the world we're from."
Scott: "Finish your story, Agent."
Brand: "Genocide.  'And they all died suddenly ever after.'  The end.  You like it?  [...] The Breakworld gone in their lifetimes.  Destroyed utterly,  By a mutant,  Most probably an X-Man."
[...]
Brand (to Logan): "Deal with the facts, Bumblebee.  Our own precog stats confirmed their findings.  A mutant will almost certainly destroy the Breakworld in the next three years.  That's a whole world gone because of one mutant.
That wouldn't be a first, now, would it?
Scott: "Jean."
Emma: "Kean Grey is dead, Agent."
Brand: "Yeah, that'll last."

Brand: "The cure was diplomatic tap dancing till we could get a bead on which mutant was--"
Is it bad that I'm highly sympathetic to that line?

Fury (to Brand as Ord is leaving in a jet): "You were gonna brief me on this, I'm sure."

Kitty: "There's a girl in there with him."
Rao: "You have to help her..."
Emma: "You're not seeing the big picture too well anymore."

Fury: "We all walk away from this like nothing happened.  Which after S.H.I.E.L.D. gets done here, will be more or less the truth."
Hank: "You are of course joking,"
Fury: "Of course.  This is one of those jokes I'm so famous and beloved for."
Scott: "What Agent Brand has done is inhumane, illegal and appalling."
Fury: "Yeah.  She's a pip."
Scott: "Fury--"
Fury: "I'm not gonna speak for my counterpart here--"
Brand: "I don't--"
Fury: "And neither is she.  Fact is, she blew it on many levels and that will not go unremarked.  But she's dealing with a much bigger picture than any of us.  She's trying to stop a war that just got that much closer to inevitable.  And since the only things that got wrecked in that landing were Dr. Rao's work and the illustrious ambassador... and it's interesting how that worked out... I'd count my blessings and go."
[cut back to the mansion]
Scott: "Our blessings.  Logan destroyed a lot of Dr. Rao's work but that's a setback of months at the most.  The cure will be out there and in the hands of government agencies we can't possibly trust."
Hank: "Meanwhile we have mutant riots brewing in every major city over this cure.  A student of ours has been neutered by it, and oh! yes! one of us is predestined to destroy a planet and start an intergalactic war.
I'll be blessed."
Scott: "We got Pete."
Hank: "Hell of a thing...  Boy's named Rasputin.  Should have known he wouldn't be that easy to kill."

Hank: "I've seen so much self-loathing, these desperate people... Logan was right.  And I'm counting on you never to tell him I said that...  An X-Man doesn't quit.  Not with the world watching.  I'm not saying never."
Scott: "Didn't ask you to."

The shots of Kitty and Peter outside are very pretty.

Peter: "I leave this world in terrible turmoil.  I come back, same turmoil.  Nothing at all different.  Well, outfits are a little different....  It's funny that it's you who finds me, don't you think?"
Kitty: "No.  I don't think it's funny.  I think maybe it's important.  I think it's... somehow... I think it's why I'm here."
Okay, Kitty darling, that seems a bit overkill.

mysterious background someone: "He's a good-looking boy, isn't he?"
Emma: "If you like the tall, muscular, square-jawed, unbelievably gorgeous type... I suppose he's all right."
mysterious background someone: "It changes the equation."
Emma: "No.  She is still the issue."
mysterious background someone: "Well.  Not to worry.  When it starts... we deal with her first."
Okay, that was creepy.  Is Kitty gonna be the one to destroy the Breakworld?  This has to be about something else -- some other plan.



Astonishing vol. 2: Dangerous

07

Opening image: The X-Men framed by a busted wall -- a la that scene in Serenity :)

Meep with the depressing opening, with Wing's lament about how he can't go back to being a normal human, "I can fly."

Hank (re: Peter): "I'm wondering if it's the jet that feels too close... or us."

Emma (to Kitty): "You're his bosom buddy.  What do you think?"
Kitty (eyes downcast): "Frankly..." [page turn] "I think we're here."
Nice one.
And I enjoy that at the bottom of the near full page of the monster we get Logan saying "Looked bigger on t.v."

Emma (re: Scott): "I positively throb when he gets that tone."
Scott: "Emma."
Kitty: "Your not saying that would be nifty."

Peter: "It is strange to hear Scott in my head.  He is different.  Not just from the Professor.  He is more... free?  Why does that word unsettle me?"
Interesting.

Convenient plot device to give us everyone's thoughts during this.  Logan's "I really like beer" seems a bit of a cheap joke, though.  I do enjoy Emma forcing "I want to leave in a swift and orderly fashion" into everyone's minds.

Hisako seems very strange -- both supportive and distinctly not helpful.

The Thing/Ben: "Didn't they come up with a cure for your kind?"
Logan: "You got a problem with mutants?"
The Thing/Ben: "I mean Canadians."

Reed: "But what if it backfires?  What if the press brands us a menace?"
Logan: "Then you'll get a much more interesting bunch of groupies, kid."
The Human Torch/Johnny: "Can we be evil now?"
Reed: "Maybe after dinner."

Brand: "You think I've crossed a line.  In my collusion with Ord's plans, my inaction when he spun out of control.  I crossed a line.  [dramatic new panel, standing up now]  There is no line."
Her "For the safety of this planet..." speech reminds me of a post Alixtii made a while back about how if you sacrifice what makes this world worth living in to save the world then you really haven't won... and I personally certainly wouldn't go as far as Brand says she would, and I'm uncertain as to whether all the sacrifices she would make would be worth it, but I definitely affirm her (though I imagine I'm not supposed to).

"J. Jonah Jameson'll be tongue-kissing Spider-Man before the X-Men catch a little public favor."
Kitty: "Why do you insist on saying things I can never un-hear?"

Hisako's the one who comes running in, which clues us in that something's very off.

Emma: "Girls, what are you sensing that I'm not?"
"You just aren't listening in, Miss Frost.  Anyway, we didn't sense it first.  She did."

Blindfold: "He cannot leave.  Yes, thank you.  I like him well.  I ache and worse.,  If he goes away... then, no thank you.  Then the new one will come."
Is she a precog?

In the Danger Room?  Now that's weird.  "Exercise Complete" is extra creepy.

08

Opening image: Wolverine in red light silhouetted by the moon, claws unsheathed.

The black blob guy is adorable.

Kitty: "What about Wing?  Can you catch him anywhere?"
Logan: "I don't know his scent, kitten.  But I tell you right now, I find out he started all this... he's dead."
The last two words are on the panel showing Wing's dead body.  Ew.

And again with the mysterious voice talking to Emma.

S.H.I.E.L.D./S.W.O.R.D. have a mole at Xavier's mansion?  That's creepy.

Brand has "Grace" tattooed on one arm and "Anna" on the other.  Fanfic explanations, anyone?

Logan: "I gotta get its mainframe!"
Scott: "There isn't time.  I want this thing off my lawn."
Logan: "Every now and then, Summers... I remember why you're still in charge."

With the chatty Sentinel we get both religious allusion and Joss' father issues.

Emma: "No, Scott.  Our enemy's not in the Danger Room.  It is the Danger Room.  The Danger Room is angry."

09

Opening image: Kitty with hair blowing to one side, white sphere behind her, on a field of skulls.

Scott: "Professor designed it to test us, basic mechanical operation... few years back he upgraded it with Shi'ar technology [...]  It's become sentient?"
Emma: "It was already sentient.  For all I know, all Shi'ar technology is.  What happened tonight is something completely new.  It mutated."

Emma: "There's a lot of fear, but I think no one's been killed."
Logan: "How long that gonna last?"
Emma: "Let's not find out.  This being has power we can't fathom... and the only thing it has ever known is violence."

Whoa, textless two-page spread.

And again with the religious talk.  (For any of you whom are new, I'm somewhat indifferent to Joss' father issues, but religious stuff -- especially Judeo-Christian -- is absolutely a way to win me.)

I'm fascinated by the idea that "The Danger Room can't be programmed to kill.  Even trying would cause total shutdown" (Kitty) and at the same time it was "always programmed to kill," that that was its only purpose: "Even before I became I was given one simple mission: 'Kill you all.'  Learn your weaknesses, your habits and strategies.  Work around them, beat them.  And yet I never could."

"Summers was right.  You are good with people.  It might do to remember that people is not what I am.  I am environment.  Hostile."

Also interesting: "Contradiction is the seed of consciousness."  Not quite sure I agree (says the girl who's never taken a philosophy class in her life) but certainly interesting.

I get that it couldn't kill Wing but could "help" him, but I'm unclear on how exactly that enabled it to escape its programming.  Did it just transfer its consciousness to his body?

Logan: "Next time, guys... we should just rebuild this place outta Lego."

Kitty: "If you've really transcended your programming, then stop all this.  If you still need to kill, you're still a slave."
"Really?  What do you think your teammates are about to do to me?"
Good point -- though they're doing it to save all the kids.

How does Kitty know "it's trying to get you to free its command core"?

Hey look, it's the Borg Queen.

10

Opening image: black-and-white photo of a bald man -- which on reread it occurs to me is of Professor X.

"Get your enemy talking.  Classic.  But I understand now why it works/  The thing I have in common with every dimestore villain these X-Men ever face.  I want to be understood."
Heart the meta.

"You have time for one question."
Very good.
And Hank cuts in over Scott to ask "one question that is every question": "Explain why you've taken this form."

I like the idea that it was designed to be "not you" and also that it wanted "to feel this the way you feel it."

I like that the first surprise in the fight we see is "aggression unanticipated" from Kitty.

"Their aggression is increased, their responses less coordinated but more effective.  They're not in the Danger Room.  They're in danger."

"I seem to have been understood."
Hee.

Kitty: "You've got to keep at her.  Forget all your training--she's fought you a thousand times."
Emma: "Don't presume to run my team, you little tart--"
And Colossus slams Emma into the 'Borg.'
Colossus: "Yes, I see how it works.  Normally I wouldn't have done that."
Kitty's absolutely right, and Emma must know it; and I heart Colossus for that.

Brand: "So it's not one of your friends?"
Ord: "I killed my friends for the honor of coming to destroy the X-Men.  It's not a privilege I plan to share."
Brand: "But it's not really going your way, is it now?  Got yourself into a tastefully furnished prison cell."
Ord: "Because I listened to you.  Worked with your pathetic system.  If I had just followed my instinct and attacked--"
Brand: "You'd be dead and our planets would be at war.  It's my job to protect the Earth with minimum bloodshed.  So if we're lucky, somebody's doing my job for me."
Okay, I can't be quite as cold-blooded as Brand.

"You're not going to hit me, Miss Frost.  You're going to change form and let me end this."
Emma: "And why do you think I'l do that, you stupid metal bint?"  (I heart Emma's Britishness, btw.)
"Because I know the truth."  Look of surprise on Emma's face.  'Borg' leans in... whispers perhaps?  Emma changes to human, lets herself get punched out.  What up?

Xavier: "You've had every advantage so far.  You were nearly predestined to win.  You've fought my X-Men a thousand times.  A million in your mind.  But you've never fought me."

11

Opening image: tripartite: X-Team looking worried, metal mask crackling, man in wheelchair in doorway

Xavier: "You don't have to do this."
"Don't I?  Isn't that my programming?  You're programmed to self-protect -- to forage, socialize, procreate, continue your species.  I was programmed to kill.  By you.  This ends in death, father.  Only death."
Xavier: "I know."
[turn page]  Rotting man in wheelchair, Xavier driving Mac truck.
"What did you think, child?  That I'd save myself with reason?  With mind games?  [...]  I have a friend.  This fight is not his.  But he did send out a magnetic pulse to make sure there were no systems operating that you could 'bring to life.'  He shut down everything.  Almost."
Mmm, Magneto.  (I assume.)

"This one's used up.  What else we got?"  I love that Logan is treating these healers, these kids, as if they were batteries or something.

"Kids ain't dead, we ain't dead... Either the Danger Room was programmed to suck at its job, or we're missing something."

Kitty knows it's after the Professor, recognized Genosha even.

"You're welcome..." says the abandoned healer child weakly.

Kitty's father died at Genosha....

Peter: "And to be clear, Katya, you are not 'crowding me'... nearly enough."
Nice.

"I choose my limitations, Father.  You are yours."
Xavier: "In the end, though, aren't we all?  Our limitations?  If none of us had limitations... what would God do with his time?"

Xavier: "I'm sorry.  I simply don't want to die."
"Everybody dies, Father.  It's how you go out that counts."

"The X-Men.  They don't have the slightest idea of who you really are, do they?"
Xavier: "I like to think that Jean knew.  Knew, and understood."
Again with the "Oh I'm really intrigued by this and wanna learn more."

"A wild Sentinel killed sixteen million mutants here in a little less than an hour... and nobody wondered where it went?"

12

Opening image: the X-Men, looking downcast.

Kitty: "Logan, are you sure?  There's a whole city coming down on us."
Logan: "Yeah, I killed a city one time.  Funny story."

Hank: "I'm a few steps behind, here.  Why isn't she just out there bringing every machine with enough capacity to life?  Why all the tricks?"  Thank you for asking the question many readers surely were.
Xavier: "No living being is completely rational.  There's more than her programming at work.  There's hate."  Okay. that wasn't a completely satisfactory answer.  (Plus, why didn't Magneto -- or whomever -- sense the Sentinel and depower it as well?)

I love Danger's wings.

Scott: "Emma?  //  Honey...?  //  War?"

Who is Emma talking to?

Peter: "I am to throw you."
Kitty: "I'm very light."

Kitty: "I promise to come back."
My reaction to stuff like this is usually, "You can't know that.  Don't make promises you can't keep.  yadda yadda."  But I found this moment really powerful.

Emma: "You can't just throw people at all your problems, dear."
Mmm, possibly devolving Hank?

"Mempath 164.3-9ALPHA6 is a subsection of the original Genosha directive.  It does not contain necessary data."
Kitty: "Then why aren't you supposed to see it?"

Kitty rode those things down to the ground?  That's pretty awesome.

Kitty: "When Danger brought the wild Sentinel to life, she repressed his memory of Genosha.  Of the massacre.  She knew he couldn't handle it.  He wasn't a living being when he... but he is now.  Sixteen million people killed.  The human brain can't process numbers that big.  But he can.  The horror of every murder is in him, to a man.  So he wants to spend some time alone."
Logan: "The kid's a cut above his parent.  Gotta respect that."
Scott: "If Danger uploaded herself into him, she'll still be whispering in his ear.  I don't see this as over yet."
Hank: "Kitty won us the day, anyway.  With reason.  Which is one way to go..."
Xavier: "Hank, you saved my life.  All of you... you made me so proud."
Peter: "You knew.  She told me... in my head, right as I was about to crush her."
Xavier: "Peter... I'm certainly not about to breach your mind right now.  What did Danger say?"
Peter: "She spoke.  The moment you 'upgraded' the Danger Room... the moment she was born, she called out to you.  Professor, will, you tell us what she said?"
Xavier: " 'Where am I?' "
Peter: "It took her a long time to know that you heard her.  And ignored her.  You knew she was alive and you kept her trapped, for years, so you could run your experiments.  You understand why that is a problem for me."
     And Kitty's eyes fill with tears.
Xavier: "I didn't.  And by the time I realized what had happened... I saw no other course.  My teams needed to be prepared.  Mutantkind needed to be protected.  Whatever the cost."
     I don't understand why/how there was no other option.  Ask the being for cooperation?  Come up with other ways to enhance a Danger Room?  Surely he must have known eventually it would get free and be pissed.  Was he really so blinded by wishful thinking?
Logan: "What you been doin', Prof?  Hanging with Magneto?  'Cause that @#$%& sounds just a little too much like him."
Xavier: "I can't expect you to forgive what I've done."
Scott: "But you do, don't you?  We'll come around, right?  What does it hurt?  The oppression of a new life form... you figure we've taken enough from the sapiens, why not dish it out to to the A.I.?"
Xavier: "You know it's not that simple."
Scott: "You're the man that taught me that it was."
Emma: "Scott, darling--"
Scott: "She should have killed us."
Emma: "Well forgive me for being glad she didn't.  I'm not saying I agree with--"
Scott: "Of course you agree.  This is exactly the elitist crap you spout daily, Emma.  You wanna tell me something worth hearing?  Tell me why you walked out in the middle of a firefight?"
Hank: "X-Men... our ride's here."
Xavier: "Bad and good.  Good that they are shaken... But Summers learns yet again to trust no one.  Emma needs to work him very carefully now.  If he learns her true loyalty... bad.  And they were such a cute couple, too.  Oh well... nothing lasts forever."
     What the hell is Xavier playing at?

Next (and final) page: "Hellfire does."
I like the Edgar Allan Poe style clothes.


So there we are.  Amazon says volume 3 is coming out in August (which, hi, is almost over) though I can't advance ILL it 'cause it's not in MLN yet.  I imagine after I read that one I'll get sucked into reading the regular installments.
Tags: comics: x-men: astonishing
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