Daily Archives: November 5, 2008

Quick Critiques – Nov. 4, 2008

Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Boxes #1 (Marvel Comics)
by Warren Ellis, Alan Davis, Adi Granov & Mark Farmer

The inflated cover price for two short stories (plus “bonus material”) was almost enough to steer me clear of this spinoff title, but I’ve been enjoyed Astonishing X-Men and Warren Ellis’s tenure on the book, so I caved and gave Ghost Boxes a shot. For those who passed on this limited series, the good news is that one needn’t read this comic book to appreciate the continuing drama in the main title. The bad news, though, is that they’ll miss out on some striking Adi Granov artwork. The first story shows an alternate outcome to the title characters’ recent encounter with a mutant from another dimension; how or if it adds to the plot in the main series isn’t at all clear. Adding to the confusion are Alan Davis’s layouts. His work is usually a real treat, but he employs diagonal, fluid panel layouts that don’t follow the usual flow of comics storytelling. It’s an interesting experiment, but it doesn’t quite work. Now, Adi Granov’s art on the steampunk X-Men story (only tangentially connected to the “Ghost Boxes” premise) is fantastic. It’s a pleasure to see his work on something unrelated to Iron Man. He demonstrates that he’s capable of much more than the sleek, shiny world of armored super-heroes. His photorealistic approach brings out the historical/flashback tech elements incredibly well. Ultimately, Ellis offers little more than alternate-reality takes on familiar characters and recent developments in Marvel continuity. It’s not exactly ground-breaking material, and if this material were integral to the “Ghost Boxes” storyline, I can’t imagine it would be relegated to this two-part title. 6/10

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