UXM # 311, 314 - 315 (April - Aug '94), Uncanny X-Men Annual # 18 (July '94), X-Men Unlimited # 5 (April '94)
UXM 311: Sabretooth gets loose in the Mansion
UXM 314: Emma Frost wakes up and takes over Iceman
UXM 315: The Acolytes conduct a trial
Annual # 18: Caliban kidnaps Jubilee
XM UL # 5: The X-Men are pulled into Shi'ar politics
Hello, true believers! I'm putting my connections up here because I wasn't to explain a new approach I'm taking with the Uncanny X-Men Graphic.
I knew that the line between Gold and Blue was slowly dissipating, but with this issue there was really only 2 active members (Storm and Bishop). Archangel did make an appearance but he was barely in these few stories. Iceman was in it, but taken over by Emma for most of it. Jean is still off on her honeymoon, and Colossus is still hanging out with the Acolytes (I believe he won't be coming back, instead opting for Excalibur).
So my plan for now is to still consider Strom, Bishop, Archangel, Jean, and Iceman as the Gold Team. Then I have done away with the allies section and instead I'll be adding every other X-Men who fights with them in the graphic since technically they are all one X-Men team now. This meant that Banshee/Emma Ice, Jubilee, and Beast are portrayed with large images, but they don't get snappy RPG inspired titles above their names. If I get the impression someone may be joining this squad permanently, I'll give them the green box. Let's see how this goes!
I also noticed that there is a lot of Generation X Setup in these stories. Emma wakes up from her coma and is obsessing over the loss of her beloved Hellions. She is comforted by Banshee (her future co headmaster). We also see Jubilee portrayed as a true teenager who probably shouldn't be running around with the adult X-Men, setting up her transition to Generation X. I STILL haven't read Generation X yet and I can't wait to get there.)
UXM #311: Sabretooth Loose
Writer - Scott Lobdell
Pencils - John Romita Jr.
At the start of the issue, Beast is working on the power (which was impacted by Magneto's worldwide EMP), Jubilee wants to go to a movie, Bishop is in the snow guarding the mansion, Storm is on a date with Forge, and Iceman is caring for Emma Frost.
The power goes out, freeing Sabretooth. While we had been spending a lot of time making Sabretooth slightly more sympathetic, this issue throws all that out the window showing Sabretooth on the loose. This plays very much like a horror film with the lights out and a beast hunting a teenager (Jubilee). This comes to a head when it looks very much like Sabretooth is about to kill Jubilee to scratch his need for blood. Jubilee is scared and misses Wolverine, but luckily Bishop shows up at the last minute and is able to put Sabretooth down.
UXM #314: Emma's Loose
Writer - Scott Lobdell
Pencils - Lee Weeks
With the power going out and Sabretooth on the loose, Emma wakes up from her coma and takes over Iceman with some good old 80's body swap action. Emma is basically freaking out, running, getting depressed over the Hellions, and dominating Iceman's powers in ways he never has before, all while being chased by the X-Men. Eventually she lets her depression take her over and gives into the X-Men, going back into her real body and being comforted by Banshee.
UXM # 315: Exodus is Loose
Writer - Scott Lobdell
Pencils - Roger Cruz
This is an almost exclusively Acolyte-centric story that could have even been an X-Men Unlimited issue considering it takes place in a setting divorced from anything going on with the current X-Men.
This issue goes all the way back to Issue # 300 and focuses on the trial of Neophyte, the young Acolyte who helped Moira escape after learning that Fabian Cortez was a fraud. (Even though this was only 15 issues ago, this feels like it happened years ago). Colossus is defending the young mutant in an internal Acolyte trial, being overseen by Exodus.
Neophyte ends up being saved, but there are some important takeaways here. First, Exodus is becoming increasingly mad and ruling through Magneto, even though he's in a vegetative state. I feel like there is a lot of the meat on the bones here with Exodus and I hope we get more of him sooner rather than later. Voght (who we learned has a romantic history with Professor Xavier but we have yet to see them interact together in the present timeline) is clearly suspicious of Exodus and is seen to be one of the few Acolytes with a conscious. And most importantly, we see that even though Colossus has thrown his lot in with the enemy, he's still rather virtuous and trying his best to reform them from the inside.
Uncanny X-Men Annual # 18: Caliban is Loose
Writer - Glenn Herdling
Pencils - Ian Churchill
Good old Caliban decides out of the blue that he's pissed at Sabretooth about him killing the Morlocks during the Mutant Massacre. While these two do have a rivalry, I love how characters just choose randomly to get revenge on people after a lot of time has passed to set up a story. I just read another one like this that I'll cover later with Mystique randomly choosing to get revenge on Legion for killing Destiny.
Anywho, Caliban kidnaps Jubilee and says that he'll only exchange her for Sabretooth. He also says that he will only work with Kitty Pryde, who is the only one he trusts. I love this as you all know I love Kitty and we're harkening back to her heyday with the X-Men. When Kitty is told about this, she is pissed the Professor X is once again asking her to betray a friend (he asked her to betray Colossus with the Acolytes during Fatal Attractions, Excalibur # 71).
Kitty and Sabretooth have a fun little fight where she actually manhandles him with her phasing power. In the end, Jubilee and Kitty's lives are in jeopardy in the sewers due to a giant squid attack (don't ask) and Sabretooth actually comes back and rescues them, once again confusing me about whether he is supposed to be sympathetic or not.
X-Men Unlimited # 5: The Shiar is Loose
Writer - John Francis Moore
Pencils - Liam Sharpe
The Shi'ar have been busy outside of the pages of the X-Office. The Shi'ar have defeated the Kree and this issues takes place as Lilandra looks to install her sister Deathbird as the overseer of Hala, the Kree Home world.
Charles was invited/kidnapped along with Storm, Forge, and Jubilee and brought into space to witness this historic event. Shortly after arriving, Jubilee runs off and meets the resistance. She quickly learns that Deathbird has been acting like a despot, and it's unclear whether Lilandra is aware. A more extreme faction of the resistance breaks off and decides to carry out a large bombing operation that would kill millions.
In an attempt to stop this from happening, Jubilee and the resistance leader appeal to Lilandra for help. The combined forces of the resistance, X-Men, and Shi'ar are able to stop him last minute, but then Lilandra turns on the resistance leader and announces he still needs to go to jail for crimes committed prior to this, which is a pretty shady move however I understand why a Galactic leader may need to act forcefully.
All of this tension puts a real strain on Lilandra and Charles' relationship, resulting in the two of them mutually agreeing that their relationship needs to come to an end.
John Francis Moore steps in as the plotter and writer on X-Men Unlimited # 5. I'm familiar with him from my X-Men 2099 readings (which I should probably do a blog on soon) and I believe this is his first entrance into the X-Men in the more current timeline. He seems to be a pretty good writer, so I'm open to this.
I also need to mention that I love Ian Churchill's pencils. His action scenes in the annual between Kitty, Caliban, and Sabretooth were fantastic. I'm also protective of my Kitty, but he did a better job of capturing her than most of the Excalibur artists (except Alan Moore) have been able to do.
I think John Romita Jr is the regular penciler on UXM at the moment, but I think I'm ready for him to move on. His pencils aren't bad, but they really don't wow me. I think it's time to pass the torch soon.
As a reader, I'm starting to feel quite confused about where the plotters are taking us with Sabretooth. I want to be clear, this isn't like Magneto where we saw him as a villain and started to slowly view him sympathetically in a linear path. For instance, Sabretooth got his own limited Series, but he was very clearly a villain by the end of it. We say that he was a murdering maniac. We may have understood him better, but that series was very much designed to feature him but keep him in the Villain mold. XM Unlimited # 3 continues the Sabretooth story and keeps him in the villain mold. But then in recent issues of both Uncanny and Adjective less X-Men, he's started to get softer, at times warning the team of villains on the premises or even helping in battle.
This all comes to a screeching halt in April '94 with X-Men # 311 as Sabretooth escapes and is about to straight up murder Jubilee for fun. I don't care what happened before this, if that's the point he's at right now, any other character inroads you took are wiped clean. So ok, he's a psychopath again, ok. Fine, not everyone can be reformed and that's a good story too. But then in Aug '94 we get the X-Men Annual with Sabretooth doubling back and choosing to save the life of Jubilee and Kitty in the Morlock sewers. So what are we doing here, people!? Is this just miscommunication or a lack of coordination among writers?
Jubilee's youth on display. Misses Wolverine.
Kitty still a badass
Bishop a badass. Bishop training with Shard in the Danger Room
He killed her??
Emma questioning whether she started the Hellions to help them or for herself
Emma questioning everything after learning of the Hellions death