The time around we're looking at the breakout of the Legacy Virus taking it's first high profile victim in Illyana Rasputin, with two more secondary characters announcing they might be next. UXM # 301 - 303, published between July and August 1993, spends some time showing Fitzroy and the Upstarts going after Forge, but ultimately ending with the death of Illyana. XM # 24, published in September '93, is essentially the epilogue, showing us how the various team members are coping with Illyana's passing. X-Men Annual # 2, which came out in October 1993, begins to show us how the life of mutants will be changing while the Legacy Virus is raging.
UXM # 301: Fitzroy and Forge
Writer - Scott Lobdell
Pencils - John Romita Jr.
So we start by checking in with Fitzroy as he is torturing Selene in an attempt to get the attention of the GamesMaster.
I'm not sure what's up with Selene. There was one panel where it looked like she may have been behind the whole Upstarts challenge, but then we didn't see her again. Now she randomly pops up here? Weird.
The Gamesmaster pulls all of the Upstarts into a psionic Zoom call and proceeds to give a rundown of the kill points.
Fitzroy killed Donald Pierce and his Reavers, in addition to most of the Hellions. He makes sure to remind everyone that Emma Frost is half dead. He is drawn rather majestically.
Shinobi Shaw murdered his dad. He is also shown in his underwear, drinking wine, with a rose in his mouth. We get it! The guy is a sleazebag. You can draw him in one panel where he's not doing these things and we won't forget who he is.
Siena Blaze tried to kill three X-Men (as I will be covering in my next blog, including X-Men Unlimited # 1).
Fabian Cortez was winning with his murder of Magneto, but let's get real...he's still alive.
And then Graydon Creed hasn't killed anyone yet. He is hilariously working out in this image. It's like JRJ was trying to think of how to make a human look strong without powers, so he literally just shows him curling dumbells. Two points deducted from Griffendor for that, JRJ.
And the impetus for this issue is laid out, with Forge announced as the mutant currently worth the most points. Since Fitzroy called the meeting, he is allowed to take first crack at him.
It's also worth mentioning that Forge is revered in Fitzroy's timeline as "The Maker," and I feel like Lobdell may have missed an opportunity to comment on that in this comic.
Peter is still taking care of his sister, Illyana. Also, we are reminded that he is stuck in his metal form due to the events of Uncanny Annual # 17 (as covered in 98: UXM 298 - 300 (Acolytes Return).
We check in with Forge and see that he is still taking care of Mystique. She is shown to still be a bit mentally unstable.
Whaaaaaa. So while Storm and Bishop are flying to see Forge, Storm makes a comment about clarifying that they are not dating. So I'm going to read between the lines here. Sometimes, with comics made for kids, you need to draw your own inferences. Why would Forge be unsure if they are dating or not, based on what we've seen on panel? My guess is that these two are hooking up, but Storm is clarifying that he's not relationship material.
Forge breaks into the Aerie (Forge's Dallas Penthouse) and begins attacking Forge and Mystique.
They fight. Bla bla bla. There is a hilarious scene where Fitzroy says that his armor was made in the future and it can't be damaged and then Forge says he has a gun that he made during breakfast...and then goes on to damage Fitzroy's armor. Love it.
In an effort to help Forge, Mystique impersonates Bishop to buy him time. This gets her slashed open. I don't know if this injury is followed up on (haven't seen it yet), but I'll be keeping my eye on it.
As Storm and Bishop (The Real Bishop) show up to see Forge, the penthouse explodes! Oh no!
UXM # 302: Fitzroy and Hospice
Writer - Scott Lobdell
Pencils - John Romita Jr.
# 302 begins with Storm creating a windstorm to stop debris from falling on people, but of course the bigoted humans assume she's trying to hurt them and start saying nasty things to her. For some reason this hypocrisy reminds me of "Pro police" activists attacking police during the Insurrection on January 6th, 2021.
Colossus tackles Fitzroy. I like this depiction because he's being extra aggressive, essentially trying to hurry up and end the fight so he can get back to Illyana. This is another step in his judgment being compromises, as you can see Jean noticing below.
Yay! Kitty shows up to help take care of Illyana.
UXM # 303: The Legacy Virus Strikes
Writer - Scott Lobdell
Pencils - Richard Bennet
This issue is structured like a TV show where they start by showing the aftermath of something and then slowly backfill what happened. Jubilee is sad about something and jean is consoling here.
Earlier, Kitty shows up to take care of Illyana and Jubilee is annoyed at Kitty. She's like "this chick shows up out of no where and suddenly I'm chopped liver."
But like all of us, Kitty wins her over. It's pretty cute where Kitty translates from Russian to English (Remember, Kitty is a genius) so that Jubilee can talk to her for the first time.
Illyana's health starts to take a nosedive and Kitty sleeps by her side.
The away team gets back from Dallas and Colossus is like "Why the fuck is everyone out here when someone should be with my sister!" Then he's told that she has died. You know this isn't going to be good. All he wanted to do was stay by his sister, but he was pushed by Charles to go on an away mission and couldn't be there for her while she died. This WILL NOT end well.
Jubilee is very sad and Jean, the team mom, continues to comfort her. I'm really digging this art.
XM # 24: Epilogue
Writer - Fabian Nicieza
Pencils - Andy Kubert
Weeks after Illyan'as death, Gambit tries to take Rogue's mind off it by taking her out to dinner. Their relationship is definitely going to the next level.
Scott comes back from his weekend with the grandparents and decides he's done running from his problems and keeping his emotions from Jean. From this point forward, he's an open book to her. This is a great moment for the longest running couple in X-Men's history and likely is a lead in to their upcoming marriage.
This comment is a bit out of context with my screenshot, but essentially Wolverine is talking to Psylocke and Revanche. They are two bodies with 4 minds. Basically, they are both Betsy. They are both Kwannon. That's weird, but it's just the truth.
Kitty offers Jubilee Illyana's BAMF doll, which we'll see Jubilee cuddling with in future issues. Kitty's a baller, if you didn't know.
Jean and Scott, together forever and on! And...Magneto foreshadowing!
XM Annual # 2: Jonathan Chambers
Writer - Fabian Nicieza
Pencils - Aron Wiesenfeld
I'm going to add a lot of exposition here. So if you recall, there was a short story in an old Annual showing the end of Freedom Force in Iraq. Avalanche and Crimson Commando were badly injured and taken away by helicopter, stranding Blog and Pyro in Iraq. Toad ended up gathering Fantazia and freeing Blog and Pyro to form the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
Well here we see Avalanche and Crimson Commando (now a Cyborg only going by Commando) secretly working for the government and meeting up with the Brotherhood. I think they pretty much drop the government and will be annexed into the team for real from this point forward, but it's a little unclear.
More commentary on Psylocke and Revanche being one and the same.
The X-Men show up and fight the Brotherhood.
I'm going to reduce this entire comic to one short explanation. This guy, Jonathan Chambers, wrote a book called Fatal Attractions. He set up this island to create a haven for those suffering of the Legacy Virus. It turns out that he is a mutant and a bit of an energy vampire and he will help the infected by feasting on their power...but it does help them. Ultimately, Cyclops decides not to take him down, citing that mutants have the right to choose whether they stay with him or not. The Brotherhood appear to stay. Also, Pryo confesses that he has the Legacy Virus. (Will he die!?)
Big reveal here, Revanche has the Legacy Virus. Since we have two characters filling the same space, we might as well kill one.
Guess who's back!?
Kitty's back! Wha whaaaaaaa. For those of you who don't know understand this, it's because I slowly became obsessed with Kitty while she was a regular in Uncanny. She hasn't been in this comic since joining Excalibur, which was 5 years in publishing.
Unfortunately, Kitty is back because Illyana is dying. This marks the second time I'm losing her. It's a little less sad now because the super hero was already dead and this is practically like a different person. However, still sad to see my friends, the X-Men, go through this.
I realized this is actually the first time I've really enjoyed Jubilee. I loved her in the animated series growing up, but I guess I hadn't been into her much in the comics.
Running Legacy Virus kill list:
Deceased: Illyana Rasputin, Random Genoshan Mutates
Infected: Revanche, Pyro, Multiple Man?
Lobdell continues doing his thing in Uncanny. He continues to be great at writing character moments, but now I'm starting to wonder if his action beats are a little off. We got a really random "Fitzroy tries to kill Forge" scene which was pretty weak, however that's comics for you.
John Romita Jr. continued on for 301 - 302 and I'm liking his new look and feel. Some dude named Richard Bennet filled on 303 and I really liked the aesthetic. I'm going to keep my out for him and see if he sticks around.
The history of Kitty and Illyana's relationship is really quite fascinating. In the earliest years, Kitty was a 14 year old girl and had looked after Illyana as a 7 year old. Then Illyana fell into Limbo and spent 7 years there with the demon Belasco, many of which being raised by a version of Kitty that had literally turned into a cat who trained Illyana to be a warrior. (That really sounds whacky when I summarize it like that). Illyana came back into the present time stream having aged 7 years in the span of a few minutes. As time went on, Kitty and Illyana were the only teenagers in the house, so they shared a room and became best friends. When other teenagers moved into the mansion (The New Mutants), Illyana joined their ranks while Kitty stayed with the senior team. Their friendship remained strong. Then during Inferno, Illyana was de-aged back to a 7 year old and lost all memories of her friendship with Kitty, however you can see in this arc that the connective tissue is still there.
The last time we saw Scott (as covered in 98: UXM 298 - 300 (Acolytes Return)), he had run off to Alaska to see his grandparents and be alone. This arc shows him coming back home with a renewed love for Jean. Apparently his tryst with Psylocke pushed him to realize how much he loves Jean and he was basically an asshole to her. He vows to be more open and to always solve problems with her. I know they are getting married soon so I'm guessing this is lining us up for that!
It's also worth noting that I'm still waiting to start liking Cyclops. I think they finally wrote him out of the problems with abandoning Maddie and Nathan, so I don't necessarily hate him for that anymore, but I have yet to see much that makes me like him. I know A LOT of people love him, but I'm still waiting. Jean is also pretty darn boring considering what we've got from her in the past, however I do respect her "mama bear" persona for the team.
It is firmly established that both Revanche and Psylocke are "the real Betsy." They both contain Betsy and Kwannon's minds, with Psylocke being in Kwannon's body and Revanche being in Betsy's body. This is confusing, it's not surprise they are setting up Revanche to die of the Legacy Virus.
Rogue and Gambit's relationship has officially moved from flirting to an exclusive relationship. Good for them!
The "shit on Colossus" tour continues. He is pissed that he has to go on an away mission instead of being with Illyana and she dies while he's away. This is not going to help him get back to normal, and I suspect he's about to go "evil".
Iceman is still apparently dating (and neglecting) Opal, which is surprising since I was pretty sure she ended things with him already. Maybe he can't commit because he likes men. Just saying, that could be it.
Storm makes a comment to Bishop, clarifying that they are not dating. So I'm going to read between the lines here. Sometimes, with comics made for kids, you need to draw your own inferences. Why would Bishop be unsure if they are dating or not, based on what we've seen on panel? My guess is that these two are hooking up, but Storm is clarifying that he's not relationship material.
It's nice to see that Forge is still taking care of Mystique. She still appears to be a little off her rocker. I would really like to see more of her. Why isn't Rogue taking care of her?
My Rating and Review
Even though we have a big event (Illyana's death), this just comes across as very mediocre. It reminds me of when a TV show has poor writing, so they start killing off characters for shock value. We're about to get into Fatal Attractions, so we'll see if the stories improve as we pick up the pace.
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