After many shipping delays for the individual issues collected in this book, reading it in one sitting works in the story's favour. It's hard to feel the urgency of a crisis when there are months between chapters. By the time you'd get the next chapter, you had to re-read the previous ones as a refresher. The characterisation and interactions between the cast seem natural and genuine, and the art is good. It's just... without spoiling anything, the X-Men seem to encounter no difficulty resolving whatever crisis they're facing. There's no sense of danger. The big baddie turns out not to be so big after all, and the way our heroes deal with "it" is very much anti-climactic.
Warren Ellis writes these X-Men well. The action set pieces and the "stunts" are exciting in themselves, but there it ends. Phil Jimenez supplies the art for this story (with Andy Lanning) and I must say that they do a good job. The cinematic angles used and the various designs used for the story are great. My only gripe is that Emma Frost looks like she aged 10-15 years since the last story arc, on top of having a '70s hair-style, like she's one of Charlie's Angels...
What makes this story ultimately pointless is the fact that "Astonishing X-Men" (AXM), as a series, is never too bound by current continuity. In this particular story arc, the X-Men's base is still on the outskirts of San Francisco. They've had their own island nation for over a year now, and you know they all make it there... Again, there's no sense of danger. We probably won't see their wacky X-2 rescue jet (complete with scorpion legs!) - or that (really not) frightening baddie - ever again. (Yay!)
AXM used to be the flagship X-Title, from which other X-books took their cues. But an irregular shipping schedule, as well as so-so stories , have changed all that. Pity. This title deserves more. 3 stars.