With the launch of Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men in 2004, Marvel had to make sure that the series’ artist lived up to Whedon's blockbuster pedigree. Cue Planetary artist John Cassaday. Already a big name in the comic world having worked with Warren Ellis and provided art for Captain America, Astonishing was Cassaday’s highest profile work yet.

Featuring some modern re-designs of the X-Men costumes and employing his cinematic eye towards comic art, Cassaday soon became the artist of an entire generation of X-Men fans. His hyper-realistic work and over-the-top action scenes instantly became the star of the book, even overshadowing Whedon’s fantastic scripts.