When Marvel Comics launched its "Astonishing X-Men" series in 2004, readers were astonished by the book's creative team of writer Joss Whedon and artist John Cassaday. In 2008, Marvel hopes to amaze readers again with the work of the new creative team on "Astonishing X-Men," writer Warren Ellis and artist Simone Bianchi. CBR News spoke with X-Men Group Editor Axel Alonso about the book and its new creators.
The new creative team for "Astonishing" came together quickly and organically.
"Warren and I go back many years, so I knew I wanted him involved in X-Men the moment I became Group Editor," Alonso told CBR News. "The logical place was 'Astonishing.' We traded e-mails over the course of a week, and closed the deal. As for Simone, he was midway through the 'Wolverine: Evolution' arc, so his art was hot on my mind. Seeing what he was doing with Logan and Sabretooth, I had to wonder what he'd do with the whole team. He was, like, 'When can I start?'"
For Alonso, there were a number of reasons why Ellis and Bianchi were the right creators to take over "Astonishing."
"Warren brings big ideas and a progressive mind. He can just plain write," Alonso said. "Simone is the most exciting new artist to come along in years. His style has got the power and urgency of Frazetta; the same scale and weight."
Ellis and Bianchi's first issue of "Astonishing X-Men" won't be a new #1,the series will continue with the same numbering, and should hit stores in the first quarter of 2008.
"Their first arc will take place in the aftermath of 'Messiah CompleX,' reconciling the power shifts, deaths, and other seismic developments that occurred there," Alonso explained."
Ellis and Bianchi's run on "Astonishing X-Men" will take place in the aftermath of "Messiah CompleX" but readers shouldn't expect the series to have close ties to the other X-Men books. Alonso revealed that like Whedon and Cassaday's run before them, Ellis and Bianchi's work on "Astonishing" won't be closely bound to current X-Men or Marvel Universe continuity.
The cast of characters that will appear in Ellis and Bianchi's "Astonishing" run hasn't been finalized yet.
"We're still sorting that out," Alonso said, "But there will be some new faces."
Ellis hasn't turned in an "Astonishing" script yet but readers can expect him to bring his trademark touch to storytelling in the Marvel U.
"I don't expect him to go light and fluffy," Alonso stated.
The new creative team of "Astonishing X-Men" isn't taking their commitment to the book lightly and is on the book for a long haul.
"Warren is on for 24 issues," Alonso said. "Simone is on for as long as possible."
Look for an in-depth interview with artist Simone Bianchi later today right here on CBR.