Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly/Serenity, as well as script-doctor par excellence on Speed and Toy Story to name but a few, enjoys the type of celebrity usually reserved for actors or pro-athletes and almost unheard of for those behind the scenes--and deservedly so.
Whedon exudes story. Although best known, perhaps, for witty pop-culture references and intriguing linguistic twists, Whedon is a veritable treasure of modern mythology from gothic horror to science fiction space-fare and, more to the point here, comic books.
Not since the Claremont/Byrne days have the X-Men been so much themselves, and so much more.
The first of the two arcs presented here in glorious large-size hardcover format, Gifted, introduces a new villain, Ord of the Breakworld, re-introduces an old and very dear friend, and threatens both the physical and, in classic Whedon-style, the emotional world of all involved with one small, four-letter word--cure.
The second arc, Dangerous, turns around, from the future and the stars, to the immediate heart of the X-Men world, their long-time training room, their loyalties, and the nature of intelligent life and oppressor vs. oppressed.
Keeping pace in spectacular fashion with Whedon's deadly-accurate dialog and plotting are John Cassaday's (Planetary) art complemented by Laura Martin's colors. From the grippingly casual to the bullet-time explosive, Cassaday captures every emotion, subtle nuance, and jarring physical impact, and Martin lights it up and washes it with every shade and mood imaginable.
No idea-splatter, no super-decompression, no endless splash-pages or pose-downs, just the most enjoyable comic experience I've had in ages. I already have the soft-covers and I'm still getting this.