Today we're covering X-Men Unlimited # 1 (June 1993), Wolverine # 69 - 74, and the limited series: Sabretooth # 1 - 4.
The common theme here is simply events leading up to Fatal Attractions. These comics don't all directly connect to Fatal Attractions, but this is more like clean up of all other stories that were published before Fatal Attractions.
X-Men Unlimited # 1 gives us the introduction to the Final Upstart we have yet to meet, Sienna Blaze. Wolverine # 69 - 71 focus on Wolverine, Jubilee, and Rogue on an op in the Savage Land looking for evidence of Magneto. # 72 - 74 gives us some good Jubilee backstory while we deal with some rogue Sentinels. Sabretooth # 1 - 4 gives us a nice family reunion for Victor Creed.
X-Men Unlimited # 1: Enter Sienna Blaze (June 1993)
Writer - Scott Lobdell
Pencils - Chris Bachalo
I had never read an X-Men Unlimited comic before, and I have to say...this was some good shit. The issue starts with Cyclops fumbling around in the wreckage of the Blackboard after a nasty crash, leaving him without his visor. Eventually Cyclops, Storm, and Professor X are reunited and together have to rely heavily on each other and grit it out to survive.
This issue serves as the introduction to the final member of the Upstarts, Sienna Blaze, as she is the one responsible for bringing down their plan with her devastating power. It's really a really cool deep dive into the big 3 of the X-Men as Cyclops is dependent on Xavier to use his mind powers to help him navigate, where Cyclops needs Cyclops to move around. Storm has to exert her power to fight Sienna Blaze in ways we haven't seen before. We get a hint that Magneto may have stepped in to save the Professor's life, but ultimately they persevere, picking up by Bishop and Psylocke who was looking for them.
Wolverine # 69 - 71: The Savage Land
Writer - Larry Hama
Pencils - Dwayne Turner
These 3 issues center on Wolverine, Jubilee (of course) and Rogue traveling to the Savage Land looking for evidence of Magneto being alive. Rogue is obviously added in because she spent so much time in the Savage Land and has feelings for Mags (as covered in one of my favorite issues: 73: UXM # 273 - 277 (Savage Xavier).
These 3 have to fight Sauron and other mutates (previously created by Magneto in the original run.) Long story short, they find evidence that Magneto is back and alive, however they wait until Fatal Attractions actually starts before actually saying his name.
Wolverine # 72 - 74: Rogue Sentinels
Writer - Larry Hama
Pencils - Dwayne Turner
So once again, Wolverine and his trusty sidekick Jubilee run into some rogue Sentinels. But wait, these ones are different! They are smarter or something. I don't care, I was bored. We do learn more about Jubilee's backstory, where apparently her parents were murdered. This is a plotline that Lobdell will try to get mileage out of in recent issues of Uncanncy, especially during Fatal Attractions.
Sabretooth # 1 - 4: Family Reunion
Writer - Larry Hama
Pencils - Mark Teixeira
Alright, let's summarize this shit. So Sabretooth is working as a mercenary with his trust sidekick Birdy who ends up betraying him early on, but he clearly likes her because he refused to kill her for the betrayal.
He gets a job from a mysterious character in full body armor called the Tribune, encouraging him to kill Mystique! He meets up with Mystique and she gets away at first, and when they meet up later, she has Wolverine with her and of course the two brawl. Why wouldn't they?
Before Sabretooth can kill Mystique she drops a bomb that she and Sabretooth have a history together (who, like Wolverine, had it erased during the Weapon X project) and they gave birth to a child. It turns out that the Tribune is actually their child and he is none other than Graydon Creed, the human leader of the Friends of Humanity (and secret Upstart member). Did I mention he's human. Graydon Creed kills Birdy, Sabretooth refuses to kill either his son or his baby mama.
This is my first time reading X-Men Unlimited and I'm digging this first one. From what I understand, these are published once per quarter and will capture random stories that can be plugged into any timeline. That doesn't generally appeal to me since it doesn't necessarily carry the current story forward, but this one is fantastic so I'm going to keep it going. Plus, this one actually seems like it is current since the Upstarts are very active and it served as the intro to Sienna Blaze, a clear player moving forward. Plus, there are only 4 per year so I think I can handle keeping up with it.
Speaking of whether I keep up with comics or not, I am very conflicted on the Wolverine solo story. I read the beginning Claremont issues and really didn't like it, essentially giving up. Then I started to realize that the solo comic was telling more about his backstory, supposedly got better with Larry Hama, and the story of Silver Fox was being told. I got through all that and essentially felt like I would have been fine without it...so I considered giving up again. But then the re-launch started referencing the series again with the Death of Mariko, so I decided to catch up again and just keep up with it.
Now I'm at an inflection point. If I could go back in time and give myself advice, I would probably say not to bother reading these 74 issues and perhaps just read some recaps to save myself the time. Most of the issues were a waste of time and the few that had big events weren't really captivating. I think I may be giving it up again for a while, at least until the series starts being referenced again. If that doesn't happen, I may never go back. We'll see...
X-Men Unlimited is created by Scott Lobdell and Chris Bachalo. This is Bachalo's first X-Men issue, but from what I understand he is one of the founders of Generation X (a comic that I have NEVER read and know next to nothing about). In Comic Creators on X-Men, Chris had the following to say about this project:
"I turned it down at first. Then, when my wife came home later and I told her about it, well, to make a long and dramatic story short, she convinced me that it would probably be a good idea to work on that book."
I think the art is pretty good and I've heard of Bachalo as one of the X-Men founding fathers, so it's probably a good idea he listened to his wife. I try to listen to mine whenever I can and it's almost always better than my own ideas, so good thinking Chris!
These Wolverine issues and the Sabretooth series are written by Larry Hama. Hama is definitely the best Wolverine scribe, but as I alluded to above, I still don't love it. Dwayne Turner was on pencils for the Wolverine series and I would consider it below average. Mark Teixeira came back to create Sabretooth and I like his style. It's unique.
Hama picks up where Claremont left off and continues to discuss Rogue's relationship with Magneto. This tells me that this is a character thread will be seeing continuing in upcoming Magneto stories (like the Fatal Attractions crossover).
After years of hanging out with Jubilee, Hama finally decides to give her some backstory. We learn that she was an orphan at the mall (when we first met her) because her parents were killed. It looks like there is more meat on the bone here that we'll continue diving into.
Sabretooth gets a bit of characterization, but I like that, unlike Deadpool, there is no question here about him being a villain. There is no redemption story. He's interesting, but he's clearly a maniac.
My Rating and Review
XMU # 1 - 9/10
Wolverine # 69 - 74 - 3/10
Sabretooth # 1 - 4 - 6/10
Previous Post - 101: UXM 301 - 303 (The Legacy Virus)
Next Post - 103: Fatal Attractions