Buffy Pryde

So, Joss Whedon (writer/director/creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel) has recently begun writing a comic title for Marvel Comics, The Astonishing X-Men. One of a myriad number of titles featuring Marvel's merry mutants, this obviously is a headliner for the company and a great coup for comics. Whedon is extremely popular and fans of his TV shows rival Trekkies and comic-geeks alike as obsessive/compulsive fanatics.

A confirmed comic-geek myself, and also a big fan of Whedon's TV work, I was not as huge a fan of his comic work (his first effort was Fray from Dark Horse Comics, and while good, it never really caught me.) But, with his current run on this brand new X-title, I am a convert to the Word of Whedon.

Like anyone who has ever been a comics reader, the X-Men are a staple of the industry and something everyone reads at least for some period of their lives (usually their teens and maybe in their early 20s, but then move on to more "mature" titles.) There are of course, still Marvel Zombies out there who devour anything X-related and have never stopped collecting their myriad adventures.

Of late, however, the X-Men have gained new prominence in the entertainment world with two smash hit movies and a very successful series of comic adventures penned by luminaries like Grant Morrison (New X-Men), Mark Millar and Brian Michael Bendis (Ultimate X-Men), and now Whedon on Astonishing.

Whedon has said many times before that the team dynamic and chumminess of his characters in the Buffy-verse were based on the model that Chris Claremont and John Byrne laid out in their seminal run on Uncanny X-Men in the early 80s.

And reading his most recent comic work, it is obvious he has a love for these characters and their family-esque roots. These are outcasts that have no one but each other. All of the action and wise-ass quipping that goes on – the sexy panels and amazing artwork of John Cassaday – are all secondary to the emotional bonds that hold these characters together. That’s the X-Men that I remember and that I love.

It’s nice to see them back where they belong without being retro’d, reduxed or rebooted. This is fresh storytelling that just knows what’s at the heart of the characters and how to bring it to the surface.

So, if you haven’t checked out comics in years (or ever) and you like the things Whedon did on TV, run out to your local comic shop or Borders and pick up Astonishing X-Men. Conveniently enough, this week saw the release of a Marvel Must Have: Astonishing X-Men, which collects the first three issues of Whedon’s run. Issue #4 was also released and if you are an old time X-fan, avoid the variant cover, as a big secret is revealed – a pleasant one in my humble opinion.

So, until tomorrow night – snikt!

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