This is part four of Ellis’ first Astonishing arc, Ghost Box. It may appear that not much has happened yet, but I assure you it has. The story has progressed so naturally that you barely noticed. A mutant (Triploid) was murdered by another mutant (13). Those names are given because of all that fascinating Ellis science. The 13 was trying to open a Ghost Box (A gateway to another world). Why? Something to do with an annex (Big city word for Invasion. Wow, I would’ve loved it if Secret Invasion had been called Surreptitious Annex, wouldn’t you?) of course. The 13 committed suicide before he could be interrogated unfortunately. The X-Men then discovered that it all led to Tian, a five-mile dead zone located in China. Who was there? Chinese X-Men, what else? Yeah, that’s a lot of stuff and that was only in the first three issues. In addition, Ellis has been laying the groundwork for possibly his entire run while making us laugh hysterically along the way. Yeah, this book is good.
Ellis’ PIC is relatively newcomer, Simone Bianchi. Bianchi has only done interior work for three (Green Lantern, Shining Knight, and Wolverine) other comics I believe. I’ve read all of them and I’m impressed. This is his first team book and if you’ve seen his detailed work, I don’t have to tell you how difficult this task is. I’ve read about how it’s killing him. Sadly, this makes for a slightly uneven book. There are times when facial expressions can look a bit awkward and the lack of backgrounds can hinder the storytelling. Still, Bianchi remains one of the freshest pencils working today. His art is truly unique and when he does hit his mark, the result is staggering. I’m pleased that Marvel let a “Young Gun” on one of their flagship titles. As he’s proved, they made a good decision.
I haven’t talked much about this issue specifically yet, but that’s because it’s a continuation of quality and I don’t want to spoil anything. If you aren’t reading this book, you should start. If you are, you can look forward to a lot more action. There’s also a reveal of sorts on the last page that proves Ellis knows the X-Men. I read his scripts in those filler issues. He may be a foreign lunatic, but the man knows his X-Men.