[This post is part of an issue by issue look at Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men run. For more of the same, click the Astonishing X-Men tag at the bottom of this post.]
Finally we come to the last page, the return of the Hellfire club that has been whispering in Emma's head the whole time -- a Hellfire Club that includes Casandra Nova. Emma of course comes from the Hellfire Club, so this is a great choice; it is amazing Morrison never invoked them in any serious way. But to put Morrison's Nova in the club is beyond brilliant. Here Nova appears on Genosha with the super-sentinel -- we are fully drawing on Morrison's first arc. It never occurred to me Whedon would draw on Morrison so directly. Ironically drawing on a predecessor character feels fresh, because I did not know it was in the options box. Whedon's anxiety of influence revisonary swerve is amazingly successful: He will not have to stand against Morrison so starkly if he offers himself up as a continuation of what Morrison began.
If I was talking about the relationship between New X-Men and Astonishing X-Men in How to Read Superhero Comics and Why, I would have quoted Bloom's fifth revisionary ratio, Askesis: "The later poet does not, as in Kenosis, undergo a revisionary movement of emptying, but of curtailing; he yields up part of his own human and imaginative endowment, so as to separate himself from others, including the precursor, and he does this in his poem by so stationing it in regard to the parent-poem as to make that poem undergo and askesis too; the precursor's endowment is also truncated."
But you probably get the idea. A Morrison run separate from the Whedon run demands comparison, and Whedon will lose, just from lack of scope. But if Whedon continues Morrison then his run is a part of a new whole. That means that Whedon's run does not stand on its own, but it does gain power from the connection; and Morrison's run is now retroactively figured as part of Whedon's, the necessary "prologue."
Cassaday repeat background watch: Here and there, but the art is top-notch in this issue.