Astonishing X Men: Gifted Volume 1 by Joss Whedon, John Cassaday. Graphic Novel. Personal Copy.
The Plot: The X Men are putting aside from differences, getting together, and re-opening the school. It doesn't go according to plan.
The Good: Yes, I read Graphic Novels; but I'm such the amateur. I'm still learning about when it's a "real" graphic novel versus when (as here) it's a reprint of work originally released as a comic book. And I rarely read Superhero comics/graphic novels.
Why? They scare me. All that backstory, sometimes going back decades! Melissa has done her best to try to convince me to just jump in. With Joss Whedon writing, and my knowledge of X-Men strictly from the movies, I bought Volume 1 of Astonishing X-Men.
And I liked it! And I was able to follow the story! Sure, I realized that there were certain parts that I didn't quite get; didn't quite appreciate. But Whedon's storytelling was such that I never felt lost; didn't feel like I had wandered into the movie theatre half way thru; didn't make me feel like I wasn't part of the club so should put down the book now and not even try.
Nope; instead, I was told enough of the backstory to go with the flow, enjoy the tale, and get my Whedon fix. Characters are complex, even the secondary ones; the dialogue vintage Whedon. A panel and a handful of words gives me just enough to know the history of these people and this world.
Oh, and the plot. So apparently bad stuff happened, and now some of the X-Men are reopening the school, but someone has found a cure for being a mutant! Mutants can be just like regular folks. Some mutants reject this, others embrace it -- but that's because some mutants have a better time of it than others. In true Whedon form (and, I imagine, this is true of superhero tales), the story has many layers. Should something that is who you are be viewed as a disease to be cured? Or embraced and celebrated?
And, of course, there's the bad guys.
Now I just have to get Volume 2.