In my post on Astonishing X-Men this week I was having a hard time articulating exactly how to feel about Whedon's repetitions of himself, of Claremont, and of other science fiction -- whether his revisions were enough to justify telling the story, or if has some big revision still coming, or if the apotheosis of Cyclops is enough. I was thinking if this in part because of Neil's posts, which I linked to, and Neil commented:
I'm still incredibly ambivalent about where I stand on Whedon's numerous repetitions and revisions, which I think is pretty clear if one were to read all of my blogs about the various issues: what I criticize grumpily in one issue I find reason to laud in the next; what I declare to be new, (like the riffing on Dune, science fiction in general) someone else identifies as old - but maybe old and better; and when I say that something is old but better, (like Cyclops breaking loose to save the team) someone will inevitably respond by saying that it's merely old and has, in fact, been done better before. And so I, too, am constantly revising my position. It's frustrating, but exciting in its own way, too.
Even in comparing your and my comments, I notice that we often catch the same repetition but value it in qualitatively very different ways. And I think you're right to say that our conclusions, ultimately, will hinge on how Whedon wraps the whole thing up. There's really a lot riding on the ending of this thing.
Then James comes in and comments with this:
It really doesn't matter to me if Whedon is repeating, improving, or just cutting and pasting Claremont scripts and getting John Casaday to draw them: this is the most fun I've ever had reading X-Men comics.
You can argue, and I might, that repetition makes a book less fun (because you are seeing something you already saw). But as fans of a genre with very tight storytelling conventions, we know there is fun to be had watching the same thing over and over again. I wonder if Whedon's Astonishing X-Men will end up succeeding just on the virtue that it is more fun than anyone has seen on the X-Men for a while. James's comment made me feel a bit like a guy watching a magic show and saying "but he didn't really cut the woman in half." Well of course he didn't, but there was a split second there, where he made it almost look like he did, and even though we know better, it was kind of fun.
I am going to keep thinking about this. In a weird way, Whedon's run on the X-Men has me thinking more than Morrison's run, if only because always knew how I felt about every issue of Morrison's X-Men. With Whedon, not so much.