By Jason Juniewicz
ASTONISHING X-MEN has made its mark as one of the premiere X-books out right now, somehow elevating creators Joss Whedon and John Cassaday to even greater superstar status. But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.
But fear not fellow Children of the Atom, the new creative team of Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi--jumping aboard AXM in 2008--is more than capable of taking the book to the next level. Ellis' work on NEWUNIVERSAL, NEXTWAVE and a host of other titles shows his ability to run with a team book. Simone Bianchi has already put his stamp on everyone's favorite Canadian mutant, Wolverine, and is more than ready to add the rest of his teammates to his repertoire.
ASTONISHING X-MEN Editor Axel Alonso is, suffice to say, excited about the new team. "I go back a long way with Warren," explains Alonso. "He's one of my favorite writers. We exchanged e-mail not long after I was announced as X-Men Group Editor. I knew I wanted him involved in the future of the line and ASTONISHING was the first title that came to mind. I needed someone who thought with a big, progressive mind.
on Wolverine #55
As for Simone--he's the type of artist you discover once every decade. With no hyperbole, I think we're looking at one of the all-time greats here. Simone is insanely talented and, yes, a little insane. He is always pressing himself, always reaching for new heights. He is the exact opposite of complacent. His art has weight and scale and depth – all the qualities this series will need."
Alonso assures longtime fans that they can rest assured both Ellis and Bianchi will be able to deliver the goods and bring fresh ideas into the book, helping it evolve. "For starters, Warren and Simone will take the series to new places," says Alonso. "At its core, ASTONISHING is a boutique standard title. It will only be as good as the creators who give it meaning. It can't find any relief in crossing over with other titles; it has to hood readers with substance and execution."
But with everything going on in the X-books, fans might wonder where Ellis and Bianchi's run on ASTONISHING will fit on. "Ellis and Bianchi's run will take place in the aftermath of 'Messiah CompleX.' Like all the X-Men titles, it will have to reconcile the power shifts, deaths and seismic changes that occurred in the event," explains Alonso.
A veteran editor who, in addition to the X-titles, watches over the MAX line, Moon Knight and a host of others, Alonso illuminates why ASTONISHING X-MEN offers something special to fans of all kinds. "It is a boutique standard title that exists in continuity, but does not use continuity as a crutch. It does not explicitly tie in with the other books. It's only as good, as 'sexy,' as the creators who work on it."
Alonso also had some insight into why Warren Ellis seems to do so well with books featuring multiple characters, such as his work on The Ultimate Gah Lak Tus Trilogy and NEWUNIVERSAL. "Warren can nail a character with a line or two," says Alonso. "So, yes, he can handle ensemble casts better than most."
Look for Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi's first issue of ASTONISHING X-MEN in 2008.