Funnybook Babylon

December 17, 2008

FBBP #83 – Degeneration AXM

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , , , , , , , — Chris Eckert @ 10:31 pm

Happy Holidays! We hope to put together a year-end podcast, but for now here’s a dissection of Joss Whedon & John Cassaday’s run on Astonishing X-Men!

We’ve talked plenty about Whedon’s predecessor on the flagship X-Title, not to mention his successor, but precious little time on Mr. Spunky Strong Female Lead himself.

Topics Discussed:

  • Kitty Pryde: she’s strong, she’s spunky, she’s female… is she a lead?
  • Scott Summers: Self-Loathing Manic-Depressive!
  • Hank McCoy: Repeat Quisling!
  • Peter Rasputin: Back from the dead and just throwing people at other people like crazy!
  • Does Joss Whedon’s run really follow in G-Mo’s footsteps?
  • The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations
  • Cover Design: Logos vs Giant Names of People Who Worked on Cult Television Shows
  • Unearned Nostalgia

And many, many more. Good luck keeping it together for another week, people!


  1. This was my first time listening to this podcast, just so you know.

    Comment by 1st Timer — December 18, 2008 @ 8:16 am

  2. “Torn” and the finale of “Unstoppable” are two of the worst X-Men stories in the franchise’s history.

    For all that the X-men have given Whedon, he owed them BETTER than what he gave.

    Comment by Dan Coyle — December 18, 2008 @ 6:46 pm

  3. Dan, I didn’t enjoy all of Torn, but I liked Unstoppable. What issues did you have with Unstoppable that made it worse than Chuck Austen’s Werewolf run or the Milligan X-men issues?

    Comment by Pedro Tejeda — December 18, 2008 @ 7:57 pm

  4. Or Claremont’s X-Treme X-Men? Or Tieri’s Wolverine? Or… Jesus, dude, I mean, Whedon’s run was not the best thing ever, but it was certainly well above those standards.

    Comment by David Uzumeri — December 18, 2008 @ 7:59 pm

  5. Jamaal, I sort of half-agree with you on the Kitty-in-sewers thing. It would have worked well had it not ended the issue, since it serves as nosalgia or a referback for anyone who read the Dark Phoenix Saga, while for people unfamiliar with X-Men it would maybe compel them to read further. It might have worked better e.g. in the middle of the book, since you could immediately see what Kitty did, rather than spending a month (or five) wondering what Kitty was going to “phase the shit out of”.

    Chris, “Joss Whedon only writes spunky, strong, female leads” is my “Hank Pym/Peter Parker is a wife beater”. Buffy is pretty much it from that angle (and ok, maybe Zoe from Firefly, but it was an ensemble cast and Mal was the “main” lead, and there were 2 or 3 other female characters who weren’t particularly spunky or strong), and he’s pretty open about the fact that he read a lot of X-Men stories involving Kitty Pryde, and is a fan of the character and partially based Buffy on her.

    On the subject of playing with toys vs. having a story to tell, I reckon he was probably about 80% there just to play with the toys. At the end of the day, while there was a fair amount of nostalgia with Colossus being brought back and the development of his relationship with Kitty etc, he also did a lot for Cyclops’ character, which for so many years had just been overlooked, or as mentioned in the podcast had a hell of a lot of telling but not showing of how great a leader he was. And speaking of Cyclops, the comment at the end about how a reader wouldn’t lose much only reading the Breakworld arc I feel is a bit off-base. I feel the run really built up to that moment where he really shows why he leads the X-Men. I think it would lose its impact if you just read that single story.

    Comment by John McAree — December 18, 2008 @ 11:09 pm

  6. John,

    I agree, Cyclops’ arc would lose a lot of its impact without the build-up. I just wish that the first three arcs weren’t so flawed.

    Comment by Jamaal Thomas — December 19, 2008 @ 10:12 am

  7. I don’t at all understand the comments about it shifting to sci-fi with the second story arc. I mean, the first story arc involved them fighting against aliens from outer space with the help of an interplanetary government organization. Even ignoring the fact that the X-men franchise is already pretty sci-fi, are aliens and spaceships not science-fictiony enough for you?

    Comment by Ken Frankenstein — December 20, 2008 @ 6:28 pm

  8. Ken,

    Although we touched on the first volume of Whedon’s Astonishing X-men, the focus of the discussion was intended to be the second volume (which starts with more of a classic kind of X-men story). For me, the shift of tone was particularly noticeable because I only re-read the second volume before the podcast. Sorry for any confusion.

    Comment by Jamaal Thomas — December 21, 2008 @ 2:20 am

  9. Ken,

    I re-read Volume One of Astonishing before the podcast, and I have to say, that even if the first arc had them fighting Ord occasionally, the story occurred on earth and was more focused on setting up the status quo. SWORD does come in at points and gives us base information about this other planet, but it remains a pretty traditional X-men story with an alien antagonist instead of a human/mutant one.

    I really do feel that X-men has always had a light sci-fi feel due to genetics, and occasional off world jaunts. But I strongly feel that Whedon’s second story arc in the second volume pushes X-men much closer to Hard sci-fi. That type of sci-fi isn’t always about just the scenery but about humanity meeting against fully (or close to it ) realized cultures and discussing the differences. It’s really less of the trappings and more about the mood.

    I thought I had made that a little clear in the podcast but maybe we had the conversation pre or post podcast.

    Comment by Pedro Tejeda — December 21, 2008 @ 11:29 am

  10. Just because Emma Frost is from Massachusetts doesn’t mean she should sound like the cast of “Good Will Hunting.” This idea that all Bostonians talk that way is just a silly stereotype that’s been perpetuated by the media. Only some of the residents have that exaggerated accent. Wealthier and/or more educated Mass. natives usually abandon (or at least tone down) the accent at some point.

    Comment by John Foley — December 21, 2008 @ 9:37 pm

  11. John Foley,

    Find me any Mass native who uses the word “berk”.

    Comment by Mike Barrett — December 22, 2008 @ 2:54 am

  12. Maybe she watches a lot of Monty Python.

    Comment by John Foley — December 22, 2008 @ 3:05 am

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