Josh Whedon's Astonishing X-Men: questions of continuity
August 5, 2004 3:22 PM   Subscribe

A question for people who've been reading Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men...

I haven't read X-Men (or many comic books) for a few years so I'm not up on the continuity. So I was wondering -- what's up with Kitty Pride -- she looks younger than last time I met her and in the memories which appear in the opening issue -- have I missed something or is it just the way the artist is drawing her? Also, while I'm here, what's happened to Jean Grey?

[I have tried Googling for this stuff and all I've found are rightly glowing reviews for this new series]
posted by feelinglistless to Media & Arts (15 answers total)
I think it's just the way the artist is drawing Kitty.

Jean's whereabouts is rather complicated, but the short version is: she's dead, again. For the full story, I unreservedly reccomend picking up Grant Morrison's New X-Men run-- the entire thing is available in collected editions (paperback or hardcover, start here or here). If the retro stylings of Astonishing are more your bag, you may not like Morrison's radical interpretation of the X-Men, but it's truly worth picking up.
posted by samh23 at 3:49 PM on August 5, 2004

Response by poster: What's so radical about Morrison's techniques and how do they differ?
posted by feelinglistless at 4:03 PM on August 5, 2004

I think they've made Kitty younger to coincide with the age of the students in the movies. She was always one of the youngest X-Men, though.
posted by interrobang at 4:13 PM on August 5, 2004

Oh no, not another de-aging! When will creators finally let their creations grow up?

Doesn't this retroactively make Piotr Rasputin and Pete Wisdom cradle-robbers and/or statuatory rapists? She had dated/boinked both of them years ago in the pages of Excalibur during Warren Ellis' run, and Wisdom's gotta be like 35 or something.
posted by Asparagirl at 5:25 PM on August 5, 2004

My GF reads these comics, and here is the stream of words she said upon hearing of this question... She isn't actually younger; the artist does old school art; she is canonically young anyways (22ish); her purpose on the team is to appear non-threatening to the public; Whedon is using her as someone who is less jaded then other members of the team.
posted by sleslie at 6:24 PM on August 5, 2004

samh23: After reading this thread, I'm interested in picking up a couple of editions. I looked at the links on Amazon that you pasted, but I'm having trouble figuring out the difference between the two and which is the "right" one to get. Is the first link a subset of what's in the 2nd link?
posted by freshgroundpepper at 11:02 PM on August 5, 2004

She definitely isn't that much younger -- I was guessing mid-twenties based on the art.

Jean's dead, but since when is that new?

And how much do I love this comic already? Okay, there are only three issues, and it's obvious that Whedon still hasn't got over his "strong evil woman will never amount of any good no matter how hard she tries" thing because Emma Frost is just cruisin' for a massive fall just like Lilah Morgan was, but I still love it so.
posted by Katemonkey at 1:19 AM on August 6, 2004

If the end of the third meant what it seemed to could get really interesting really fast.
posted by graventy at 4:04 AM on August 6, 2004

Jean's most recent final words to Scott (Cyclops)- "All I ever did was die on you". Classic.
posted by mkultra at 4:59 AM on August 6, 2004

It's just the art. Kitty's mid-20s age is very well supported by the current story ages of The New Mutants (most of whom are around in some limited capacity in the X-titles), and even better supported in recent stories involving her before Joss got ahold of her. Chris Claremont had her as semi-active and attending college in the last 18 months of "X-Treme X-Men", and also in the "Mekanix" limited series that was basically a "what Kitty's been doing for the last few years she's been missing" story.

Truly, one of the things about this title that I'm enjoying most so far is that some of the characters are being allowed to *gasp* seem like they might NOT be in their 20s.
posted by frallyth at 9:51 AM on August 6, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for clearing up that confusion everyone. Has the fact that no one seems to age ever been address in the Marvel Universe -- is it a known-quirk or like The Simpsons never refered to.
posted by feelinglistless at 1:27 PM on August 6, 2004

Used to be there were some token justifications... Nick Fury (once a WW II sergeant, hence an octogenarian by now) is addicted to a longevity drug (I forget whether there was ever any justification as to why this was never mass produced.) All of the Fantastic Four but Johnny (Ben Grimm was another WW II vet, and Reed and Sue are contemporaries of his) got rejuvenated at some point in the '80's...

But more generally, the Marvel Universe editorial policy just defines the FF's space flight as having been ten years ago, and remaining ten years ago. So now it was testing an experimental star drive, not making a moon launch. Ben was a Gulf War vet. So, basically, it's a known quirk that no one, internal to the Marvel Universe, refers to.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 1:38 PM on August 6, 2004

feelinglistless: This review has a good breakdown of Grant's run, but it contains massive spoilers so I'll excerpt it here:
[Morrison's] run begins with the revelation that the battle between humans and mutants is over; a gene in humans has activated, spelling the extinction of homo sapiens within the next 4 or 5 generations; mutants are poised to inherit the earth. Then, in a massive attack against the Magneto-run mutant haven of Genosha, 12 million mutants are killed, including the baddest mutant of them all, Magneto.

With this setup, the X-Men face the task of preparing for a world in which the old ways and enemies are gone, and they face new threats (chiefly in the form of Cassandra Nova, described as a being of pure emotional energy, and Sublime, mysterious leader of the "U-Men"). And while Charles Xavier's ideology seems to have won, he must face dissent from within his school, in the form of radical mutant separatists who invoke Magneto on their t-shirts, and the relationship of the X-Men to a media-saturated, post-modern world.

However, Morrison's changes reach beyond the plots to the very conventions of X-Men stories. The team uniforms have been changed from colorful spandex to black leather, adorned in several places with a characteristic "X." The idea here is to make the X-Men a brand, just like McDonald's golden arches or Nike's Swoosh, to work their way into the public consciousness . (Wolverine, whose costume used to consist of yellow spandex, says "suddenly I don't have to look like an idiot in broad daylight.")
(And yes, there are bigger spoilers to be had than what you just read.)

Beyond the new ideas, one of the best things about Morrison's take is the way he uses familiar X-Men concepts in new ways without being too deconstructive-- like the Scott/Jean/Logan triangle, Xavier's school, Weapon X, Sentinels, dystopian futures, Phoenix, Hellfire Club, Magneto, and of course, the struggle for mutant rights. He brilliantly created a forward-looking blueprint for the X-Men that re-frames the strengths of the franchise for a hip, modern audience. Whether it is followed in his absense, or not, is another question.

freshgroundpepper: Marvel reprinted Morrison's New X-Men run in two different lines: hardcover (three volumes) and paperback (seven volumes). The paperbacks collect six or so issues each. The hardcovers are oversized, collect two or three of the paperbacks, and sometimes include DVD-style extras. So, hardcover volume 1 collects paperback volumes 1 and 2, and so on.

If you compare them on price alone, it's the same cost, or cheaper, to buy one hardcover than the paperbacks it collects (especially with the nearly 1/3-off Amazon discount), and the hardcovers are a nicer package. But if you're looking for a low-cost intro, the paperbacks are the way to go
posted by samh23 at 1:39 PM on August 6, 2004

got it, thanks for the explanation samh23. I think I'll go with the hardcover.
posted by freshgroundpepper at 8:23 PM on August 6, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, less confused now...
posted by feelinglistless at 3:20 PM on August 10, 2004

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