Written by Warren Ellis
Art by Simone Bianchi
Wait for the trade is the best advice I can give in regards to Astonishing X-Men, especially considering the dubious quality of the current Ellis / Bianchi run.
Continuing from his debut issue last month, Ellis has the team fly to Chaparanga to, um, find a guy they've never seen and stop him from doing...stuff. Ya, that's about as well defined as this issue gets. I get the feeling the only reason Ellis chose this third world location was so he could have the Emma being a snob scene and no other particular reason.
Once the team arrives at their destination, they instantly find the villain on the only still floating space ship in this alien ship graveyard. Why isn't Hydra, SHIELD, AIM or any other organization here scavenging alien technology? Hell, if alien craft more advanced than anything on Earth was landing on our planet, there'd be wars fought over the salvaging rights. I know the Marvel Universe is a tad on the fantastic side of things, but I can't imagine any major corporation not being all over this, yet Ellis has children picking these things apart to sell for scraps.
The rest of the issue consists of a poorly introduced villain and his "fight" with the X-Men, which ends with him blowing his own head off with his fire based powers so the X-Men won't be able to read his mind and he speaks of a mysterious Annex that is coming.
Yes, that's all that happened and I'm not sure if I was supposed to feel shocked or amazed that the badguy blew his own head off or not. I had no connection to him and he barely had any dialogue or development, so I find it difficult to really care one way or the other.
While the new Fastball Special with Armor in Colossus' spot was funny, that's about the only good thing that came out of the stilted dialogue that plagued this issue . It's hard to believe this is an Ellis penned story with how generic and cliched everyone soudns.
Oh, and I liked the fact Ellis touched on the whole Cyclops turned murderer aspect of the X-Men when Storm wonders if she killed the villain after destroying the alien ship midway through the fight. It didn't change the fact Cyclops' current pro-murder stance makes no sense, but it was nice to see that some of the actual characters are noticing the change in character.
Verdict - Avoid It. It's not that bad, but I say avoid it because you should just wait for the trade. You aren't missing anything waiting, this will probably be delayed and it's just not good enough given the pedigree of the title's creators and pales in comparison to Whedon and Cassaday's run. Give it six issues and, if it's good, grab the trade.