Astonishing X-Men #14 (Marvel Comics)
Runners Up: The Immortal Hulk #4 (Marvel Comics), Justice League #4 (DC Comics)
In issue #13, Astonishing X-Men not only shifted its creative team, but the team within the title itself. Taking advantage of the fallout from the Gold team’s failed wedding and other recent storylines, Matthew Rosenberg was able to assemble an intriguing, if atypical, team of X-Men for his shot at the book.
Boy is this paying off.
While X-Men Gold and Blue have been tapping into nostalgia to bring readers back to the adventures of the Merry Mutants, Rosenberg is showing a clear intent to move forward with more recent events. Rosenberg also does a wonderful job of the capturing the personalities of his team and for longtime fans there are few surprises in store. Greg Land handles art on the book, adding a pedigree that makes it feel like the lead for the four different teams, even though the story frames them as the rebels. Land elevates Astonishing back to the level of the Whedon/Cassaday run. Between X-Men Gold (which had a thematically smaller issue this week) and this new team on Astonishing X-Men, I’m having more fun with the team than I have in a very long time. Let’s hope the upcoming Uncanny X-Men keeps the momentum going.
The Immortal Hulk continues the gamma-fueled rampage in this issue, and is becoming one of the most interesting visions of the character to date. As one of the co-writers of Avengers: No Surrender and the driving force behind the most recent incarnation of The Ultimates, Al Ewing continues to prove his worth to the Marvel Universe. Not afraid to break a few eggs here and there, he’s the perfect choice for The Hulk, a character always better with a little bit of edge. Joe Bennett is also nailing this one, with recognizable visages in new settings. Not unlike Rosenberg and Land, their knowledge and clear admiration for Marvel shine through every page. They also bring in someone with a cool connection to The Hulk, and tie them right into the new premise of the title. Oh, those Alex Ross covers don’t hurt either.
Justice League unveils the origins and motivations of The Legion of Doom, as James Tynion IV, Doug Mahnke and Jaime Mendoza take the reins. This current run has done a wonderful job of restoring the grand feel that the title deserves, and they seem to have fairly free reign over the content therein. Make no mistake, the biggest baddies are committed to wiping out the League, and by issue’s end, you’ll know another piece of their insidious plot.