In the wake of the destruction of the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters in Westchester, New York, the X-Men have moved to San Francisco. Rather than act like traditional super heroes, they have a good working relationship with the city government and the police call them in for some of their weirder cases. In Ghostbox, a mutant is found dead. The thing is, there are only about 150 mutants left in the world and the X-Men know all of them. This guy isn’t one of them. In fact he appears to have been artificially created. Also, he appears to have been killed by another unknown mutant. So, who was he? Why was he killed? And who killed him?
If you think that this sounds like a boring murder mystery comic, you’re dead wrong. That’s just where it starts. This comic is a giant science fiction epic. It’s a globetrotting adventure. It contains mayhem and mad science. There’s a visit to a junkyard just for alien spaceships, a jaunt to the base of the (heretofore unknown) Chinese X-Men and an invasion from parallel earths. There are space lasers, flying cars and death legs. Yes, you read that correctly. Death Legs. Stop me if this sounds like everything you’ve ever wanted in a comic.
The art in this book is wonderful. It’s about a half step removed from traditional comic book art and it’s fantastic. It’s exactly how a dark, sci-fi, superhero comic should look. The costumes feature dark colors, the futuristic technology is luridly detailed and the fight scenes are incredibly pleasing to the eye. This is a fairly gory comic, with revealing outfits, blatant references to sex, crazed, bioengineered monstrosities, and an on-panel suicide. All of this merits it a 14 and up rating.
Honestly, I see no reason why anyone shouldn’t own this comic. It’s a good jumping off point for new readers, with characters long-time fans will love. There are delicious amounts of snark, but also a nice bit of mindless violence. There’s a clever, well thought out plot with some good twists and turns to fool the more savvy readers. All things considered, it’s a gem of a book, which will add value to any collection.
Astonishing X-Men, vol. 5: Ghost Box
by Warren Ellis
Art by Simone Bianchi, Alan Davis, Adi Granov, Olivier Coipel, Kaare Andrews
Marvel Comics, 2009
Publisher Age Rating: T/Teen