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

[Astonishing X-Men] #13-16

Yes, it's taken me this long to read them, I know.

This time you get more commentary than quotage, though (in contrast to my last writeup).


[cover: team in fighting stance -- though Kitty not so much -- on a big dirt pile surrounded by fire --- recalling Genosha, I guess]

Cassandra Nova to Emma: "I could strip you down to a single screaming neuron of pain without blinking"

My impression from fannish osmosis has been that Emma is one of the most powerful mutants around.  It also begs the question of why supah powerful telepaths (who don't have Xavier's moral qualms) don't just bend the world to their will right off.

So, Cassandra Nova created Emma's secondary mutation?  (The imagery recalls Genosha -- from what little I know -- and is supported by Nova's words.  And wiki tells me that Emma's secondary mutation manifested at the Genosha massacre.)  How do you even do that?  And of course there's the question of Why.


I like this shot of a really diverse looking group of young mutants.

I like the idea that "a lot's happened [...] but that don't change what matters."

Logan: "You want advanced self-pity, I think that's Professor Summers, across the hall."
I'd heard that line before, but it's more powerful in context.  And I like the framing of the "This is combat" panel.

Logan: "Yeah, it's a big grey room. No computers, no simulators... kinda bare.  They should maybe get a fern."
I cracked up at the "fern" line.

kid: "So what's the...uh...danger?"
And Logan calls for the lights.  Nice.


Hank: "And we assume the children are going to survive this experience because..."
This line makes me uncomfortable.  I mean, do we really not trust Logan?

Scott: "Going up against the 'great and terrible Wolverine'... they'll feel like heroes just 'cause they survived."
Which makes sense as an idea, though we see later that it didn't so much work out that way.

Scott: "You want me to tell you why you're down here?"
Hank: "I'd love it. After you tell me why you're hanging around here and not upstairs with your lady love."
Scott: "Yeah. Hmm."

This confuses me.  I initially read it as Scott asking Hank why Hank's doing all this labwork, which makes the conversation make sense, but in rereading to type up I realized what it really says, and that whole conversation falls apart for me.

However, I do love Scott's "Nobody's afraid of me or I'd've done it."
There's so much to be done with that line.  Of course there's his fear of losing control of his powers, which comes up later in this arc.  There's also the fact that people non-mutant kids sure are afraid of him.  (Why yes I did just read karabair's commentary on her fic "Mitzvah.")  And of course the issue of, fear or no, whether he's respected as a team leader -- which, again, comes up later in the arc.


Ew! Eyes!

Hisako: "You didn't know you wouldn't go through?"
Logan: "What am I, Research Guy? It all worked out."
Hisako: "I could be dead."
kid: "Dead sounds nice."
Logan: "Buncha whiners..."

Logan's response to Hisako is so him, but I will not believe that he was actually going to stab her eye out.  Though I can see him doing the eye thing for effect once he had realized only his claws would go through :)

Wiki conveniently provides a translation of her and Logan's exchange.

Her armor as accessing ancestral strength, huh? That's totally not how X-mutation works [and either way it doesn't make sense that his claws could go through, since we've seen her armor protect against non-organic stuff before, right?] though I'm reminded of c_elisa's "Possession" (about Storm) and hey, I've already said [in my comments on the previous two bound books] that some of this all feels too much like magic.

I love when she finally lets her guard down after he leaves.  ::cuddles her::


Mmm... autumn....  Lovely coloring.

"Why did you let us die?"  Meep!  Especially with the visual.


Shaw: "While the original Hellfire Club has devolved into a glorified strip-bar, we have an actual mission.  A holy one, to me."
Er?  ...  And that would be what exactly?


And we open with "Nothing has changed."  Just like Logan in the Danger Room.  Nice.

Brand to Commander somebody: "The term is 'intergalactic', and that means it's so far out of your jurisdiction you couldn't breathe there."


I enjoy that Kitty thinks in terms of "If only we were in some life-threatening situation...."

I'm curious as to what's up with sullen Emma outside their room.  And then Perfection shows up and it makes sense -- that she loves Scott but they don't get to be happy like Kitty+Piotr do.  Cassaday does a really good job in these panels showing her reluctance to do all this.  [Remind me again why she's working with Hellfire?]

I enjoy the Kewpie Doll look on Emma's face when she says "I'm wearing your favorite outfit..."


[cover: flametoned Logan&Emma liplocking]

La la la, look it's X3.

I really like that her masquerading as Phoenix jars him right out of it.  And he looks wooden in those couple panels, but in a good way, like "This is so not even close to being up for discussion."

I love the switch between "How good she could be" and "How bad she could be."

"I don't like games, Emma."
"No, you're Scott Summers.  You like homework and vegetables.
But you do play games with me.
When Jean was alive, you loved our games."
"I never touched you while--"
"Is that how you make it work?
Because our trysts were psychic, they don't count?  Your conscience is clear?"

This resonates with me a lot -- the appeal of the bad (and I like that on pageturn we see Scott say "No, it's not.") and I usually frame this in terms of Rogue/Logan (yes I realize I'm leaving a door open here for Scott/Logan; karabair can pick up that one :) ) because there are a lot of personal parallels there, but Scott has that intense mentality of being Good, which Rogue doesn't have so much but which resonates a lot with me personally.

I'm also reminded of karabair's "Four Things Emma Frost Might Find in Scott Summers' Brain" -- particularly the last line I quote here

And back to the text:

"You held her and wished, wisher you could be everything she...
... you wished you could be..."

And on pageturn we see -- not quite the cover shot but close enough.  V. nice.  (Though why in the heck Scott opens his eyes during this makeout session....)

"The poster child for mutant cool" (Emma on Logan)

"Poor puppy, don't you remember?  You don't have any claws."
Nice line.  Also because it echoes that uneasy relationship with power we talked about with Scott earlier.

Okay, um, segue?  Usually I approve of Whedon's segues, and I can understand the logic of putting Kitty/Piotr in the middle of this Emma/Scott scene, but still, yeah, not so much.

Also, she phased 'cause she lost control during sex?  Ew?  I'm also not sure how this makes any sense, since Kitty's phasing is a power she has to consciously activate, rather than one she has to actively suppress (unless I'm missing something).

Okay, back to Scott and Emma.

Xavier picked Scott to lead "because you [Scott] had nothing else to do.  [...]  Potentially the most powerful team on Earth and Xavier gave you the top position ... out of pity.  Because he thought you'd wash out if you didn't get a little boost."
Insert discussion of X3 here.  (For the record, I think Emma's playing to Scott's insecurities here and do not in fact myself believe that Xavier gave Scott team leader position.  Not only do I believe Scott is a good, and probably the best, choice for team leader, I don't think Xavier is sentimental enough to assign that position to anyone he didn't think would do a good job in it.)

"The X-Men never cohered, never won the world's approbation, and Jean, God, she wouldn't stop dying on you."
"You had no control.  Control.  First to last, that's the thing."

Next intercut: Brand&co.  Which is yay, though again I'm not quite sure what it's doing here.  (Though of course control is a theme, and I enjoy that it immediately follows Emma's "Are you ready to go to the bug room?")

"And if our guys picked it up, the Breakworld--"
"They closed down communication sixteen hours ago."


Ord "was their version of subtle."  Love that.
P.S. I kinda wanna make a Ravenclaw icon of that first closeup panel of Brand.  She's angry and confused and really pretty -- and we've already established how her Big Picture mentality pings me.

And back to Emma+Scott:

"Your little private hell, courtesy of Cassandra Nova.  Mine's much more upscale--you should come find me sometime."
Hee.  (Though I feel like she can only joke about that because she hasn't been to her own personal hell -- though okay, Emma could probably still do that cool exterior and joke to Scott, but I feel like her personal hell wouldn't be upscale -- hi karabair's "Mitzvah" again -- though I'm sure there could be plenty of personal hells for her that did take place somewhere upscale.)

"I'll fail you ... I can't control it."
"Control what, dear?  Your power?  It's your great setback, isn't it?  The source of all your extraordinary self-doubt.  Every great leader revels in his power, however judiciously he uses it.  But yours... you fear it.  You resent it.  Ever since you and your brother had that fall [...] you've been unable to control it.  Living in constant, rigid terror of harming someone with it."

I find this really interesting.

I'm not entirely clear on what goes on in the next panel, though.

"The world is a terrifying place for some children.  That lack of control, that fear of abandon... it was always in you.  The only way to be sure you would always, always hold yourself together ... was to make it impossible not to.
What is that boy doing, my love?"

And we see a tear come down his cheek, which my understanding (this is from reading Minisinoo I think) is that he can't normally do, since he can't turn off the beams.  Of course, since this is dreamspace anything can happen, but I still wanna parse the full significance of it.  I also wanna know exactly what happened way back in that childhood.  I think I understand Emma to be saying that in order to save himself from ever having his powers go out of control he could have created some sort of psychic block to make it impossible for him not to control his powers (while I know people can repress traumatic memories, this seems a bit beyond the abilities of non-telepaths) and that at this moment in his childhood that we're witnessing he made a conscious choice as to that option.

And back to the mansion:

Kitty: "Morning"
Logan: " 'Bout time."
Kitty: "Okay, so, coffee?"
Piotr: "Da. Please. Yes.  Are we the first up?"
Ah Joss and smelling sex on people.

One page with Beast and then Emma voiceover catatonic Scott.  Okay, so Scott made the decision not to try to control his power, "to let it be [his] demon."

"But you're past it now, Scott.  And all you had to let go of ... was you.  You're free, my love."
I'm really curious as to what Emma means exactly.  What is going on inside his mind?


[cover: greyscale of the Hellfire Club looking down on the viewer]

Opening sequence: Oh that's where karabair's icon comes from.

"If you shut down my... my higher brain functions ... then I'm just a beast.  What do you think happens then?"
Nicely played, Hank.

"Nothing, pet.  Your dwindling human consciousness is the only thing that perceives me as a threat.  The Beast doesn't even know I'm here."
Ah, scary telepaths.

Logan sprawled on the floor making pink paper dolls (or whatever those are called when you have all the matching cutout figures connected) "Isn't it the best, Miss Nova?  Say mine is the best or I shall be cross all day!"
Oh... goodness....

"I'm not gonna be purple-manned by some goth punk.  I'm too old to be... Oh my God, I just said 'some goth pink'.  I'm really old."
1) What the heck is "purple-manned"?
2) No, darling, nothing old about saying "some goth punk."

"I'm gonna die if I don't focus.  I gotta materialize.  Preferably not in the magma."
I like how Kitty's thought process pattern is consistent across situations -- I was reminded of her pep talk to herself before going to see Piotr in the previous issue.

Logan: "A beast!  A tiger, only blue, and large as a moose!  Do hide me, only say you'll do..."
Hisako: "Uh ... Is this a test?"
Love her.  Also, " 'Kay now it's official. I no longer want to be an X-Man."

Does Hisako normally manifest giant red armor like that?  I'm used to the smaller blue.  So I'm unsure as to whether her "...Hell was that?" refers to the Logan+Beast situation generally or (also) to what happened with her own armor.

Fab segue to Brand&co. ("Not that I entirely care...")

Mmm, Danger+Ord.
"Please do not turn around.  I have instructed the monitors not to detect me.  But if you appear to be conversing, even with yourself, it will not go unnoticed."

I like that it's recalling Emma's words about why she brought in Kitty that coincide with Kitty managing to stop her descent.


[cover: Kitty, phasing through the cover, in superhero outfit and poised to bust your shit up]

Okay, I get the gag of turning Logan into someone into an old-fashioned proper though this could get old quickly.  I do enjoy this, though.  "I will be more virtuous always and give much more thought to good deeds and helping poor people unless you don't like them for some reason and that's why they're poor."  Also, "I'm in a tree.  [...]  I'm hardly winded from all the running about.  This mortal terror does wonders for the lungs, I should remember that for later.  [thought bubble on panel of Beast looking nasty]  Dear Lord, let there be a later."

Hisako: "Did you see what happened with--or, I mean..."
Blindfold: "Your armor.  It was magnificent."
Again with the ambiguity.

Mmm, angry Kitty.  "Tell me what you know" with those slit eyes.  (Though yeah, the fact that this intensity is triggered by Colossus being wounded isn't my favorite thing ever -- though textually it makes sense.)

NTW: "Thanks for the 'Stand back' tip.  That was definitely less painful from back here."

Okay, I'm really curious as to what this sooper sekrit box from Xavier is.  Oh, and that's why it was All About Kitty earlier (end of #6/"Gifted") -- "That's why we brought someone here ... who can go through it."  Nice segue (per usual) to Kitty.

Blindfold: "Hello?
Oh.  I heard you before.  I wasn't certain, thank you, who it was.
I don't know.
I can try."

Okay, that's kinda creepy.  Who is she talking to?  We could always hope for Xavier (at some point earlier in this set of four I wondered why they didn't call him; I mean why is he in Genosha, anyway? okay, I guess he's allowed to retire, but when someone puts Scott in a catatonic state you don't think you might wanna call on one of the world's most powerful telepaths?).

Kitty: "All right.  I do this alone.  Not a problem."

Where are the Hellfire Club?  I'm guessing somewhere in the Mansion, but how does Kitty even know where to find them?

Emma: "Well, you know what they say..."
Yeah, good move, Emma, pinning the phaser to the ground
Emma: "AAAHH!"
Kitty: " 'Aah?'  They say "aah'?  You are pathetic."

Kitty: "You get in my head, the rock gets in yours."

Emma: "The Hellfire Club."
Kitty: "Of course.  Who?"

Kitty: "Who's the kid?"
Emma: "Negasonic Teenage Warhead."
Kitty: "Wow, we really have run out of names..."
Emma: "It's fun having the upper hand, isn't it?"
I'm undecided as to whether Emma is just being bitchy or if she's trying to play Kitty.

Wow, she's phasing Emma into the rock wall and Emma's sassing her -- "You can turn my brain to slate--which by the way you won't--but that's the truth."

Kitty: "You're right.  I'm not gonna kill you.  I'm gonna let you stay down here ... and think about what you've done."
Is it proof that you're a hero that you leave the bad guys alive?

Kitty: "Everyone's still under.  I hoped taking Emma out...  Has to be one of the others.  Nova or that dream kid, Megalithic something."
Oh come on, child.  If you had actually killed Emma, okay, but surely she could still manage this kind of psychic control from a distance.

Kitty: "What are you doing here?  I told you to hide."
Logan: "Well, I...  You're a girl.  And if there's danger about, I...  Well, it isn't right for a howlett to hide behind someone's skirts.
I shan't prize my life about my honor.
Unless you think that's a good idea."

wtf is "howlett"?

Perfection: "It's time, Pryde.  At long last, it's time to make yourself useful."
Shouldn't they just straight-up brainwash her to do their bidding?  I mean, has Xavier instituted magical protections against access by those under mind control?
"Forget what you're thinking.  Emma Frost may have been easy--embarrassingly easy--to take out ... but even she was never a match... [dramatic pageturn] ...for the White Queen."

Yeah, I pretty much had Kitty's reaction.  wide-eyes, squint-eyes, "yeahbuhwhat?"

next page: Ord's shuttle blown up
black guy: "You know, when he went out that window I thought he was trying to off himself."
Brand: "Woulda made sense.  I mean, what would you do if the one mutant destined to destroy your entire planet... [dramatic pageturn] ...is the one you brought back to life?"
'Bout damn time for that reveal.  We were told what, three issues ago, that they had learned who the destined mutant was?
Tags: comics: x-men: astonishing

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