[This post is part of a series of posts looking issue by issue at Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men run. For more posts in this series, see the toolbar on the right.]
In the final part of “Torn” Ord, Danger, Nova and the X-Men collide moments before being “beamed up” by SWORD and taken into space.
Where on earth can you really go from the apotheosis of Cyclops at the end of the last issue? Whedon goes with the glorious freedom of shooting (illusory) people with a gun while making off the cuff quips. It is brilliant because Whedon is brilliant, but it is really brilliant because we finally get to see Cyclops just cut lose. Cut loose from the mode he has been in forever, but also cut lose from Morrison – one of the first things Whedon has him do is blithely shoot Morrison’s most enduring X-Men legacy, Nova, like it was nothing. He is finally free and it is exhilarating. He is happy. He is smiling. Morrison changed him, but he was still pretty angst-y, petulant, and over-serious a lot of the time.
In a battle with Ord and Danger, Wolverine is aided by the character who will be known as Armor. She is Whedon’s answer to Jubilee I suppose, a character I feel like a little bit of an idiot missing. She was terrible, right? I am sure I am remembering her through rose colored glasses. Importantly, we are re-introduced to Armor's powers in the fight, something that will become more important in the remaining issues of “Unbreakable,” I think.
One of the best bits of Whedon dialog: Wolverine: “Quit whining kid. I got eaten today.” Beast: “Yes, about that…” Wolverine: “Forget it.” Beast: “I can’t begin to apologize.” Wolverine: “Pfft! That’s what friends are for.” Beast: “I’m fairly certain it’s not.”
Kitty’s “Cry me a river, bitch” is also pretty inspired.
Whedon’s persuasively re-imagines Morrison’s defeat of Nova – since Emma put Nova away, Nova placed a psychic suggestion into Emma, and it fed off of Emma’s survivor guilt – guilt from Morrison’s Genosha attack. This is a much smarter – though to be fair much smaller – ret-con than something like Deadly Genesis. And Whedon delivers it without losing the tension of the scene because the explanation is going on as Nova is jumping into Armor -- you see why were were reminded who she was. All the talking actually builds tension, because they do not know they are missing something deadly, but we do.
Everyone collides, they are all hijacked into space, and Whedon ends with a little foreshadowing from a psychic character on the ground – one will not be coming back. This is Whedon at his best – simple, effective, fun, and smart.
"Gifted" was pretty good, "Danger" had some weak stuff, "Torn" is great and, as far as I can tell, "Unbreakable" will be amazing (it is as of issue 23).