X-Men Unlimited # 6 - 7, X-Men V2 Annual # 3 (1994), Bishop # 1 - 4, Wolverine V 2 # 86 - 90, Rogue # 1 - 4, X-Men V2 # 38 - 39, Uncanny X-Men # 319.
Woah boy, there were some tough reads this month. This blog is basically a hodgepodge of all the issues I read recently that I felt I could have easily skipped on my way to Legion Quest, and ultimately Age of Apocalypse. I'm going to give it some token coverage and then move on to more impactful topics, like the Generation X kickoff.
X-Men Unlimited # 6: Yawn...Sauron and the Savage Land
Writer - John Francis Moore
Pencils - Paul Smith
If you're following my blog regularly, you know that I'm typically bored by the Savage Land, almost as much as I can't stand Arcade. In this one Sauron is leading the mutates and kidnaps Havok in an attempt to meet his growing energy vampire needs. In a cute way, Scott, Jean, and Lorna all work together as a family, with Jean teaming up with Karl Lykos (the human persona of Sauron) on the Astral Plane to defeat him once and for all. I give it...6 months until we see Sauron again.
U-Men Unlimited # 7 & X-Men Annual # 3: Storm Stories
Writer - Howard Mackie (XMU 7) & Ian Edgington (UMA 3)
Pencils - John Romita Jr. (XMU 7) & Gene Ha (UMA 3)
I've been complaining about Storm not getting much focus recently, but here she takes center stage in both X-Men Unlimited and X-Men Annual # 3. Wait a second, neither of these are by Scott Lobdell. Does Lobdell just not like Storm!? Maybe. This is something I'll need to track.
XMU # 7 takes Storm back to Cairo. Her old thieving mentor, Achmed El-Gibar is dying and Storm comes to pay her respects, but also protect a young mutant named Jamil under Achmed's control who Candra is trying to recruit for her own nefarious purposes. Storm ultimately battles Candra, but Jamil chooses to go with Candra anyways. A quick search tells me that Jamil will show up in 4 more comics over the next few years, which is four more than I was expecting.
XM Ann. # 3 is a dramatic issue when Storm is poisoned by Shinobi Shaw as she is invited to the Hellfire Club. She spends the issue acting very independent, almost making me think that she's having another "Mohawk relapse." Ultimiately no, she's not. She was poisoned in a nefarious plot by Shaw and ultimately breaks free with the help of Bishop and Gambit to fight them off. There is one great Storm quote that I wanted to share from after Storm snapped out of it:
"Yes I may have weaknesses, but my strength is founded upon not falling prey to them."
I think it's time to stop trusting Shinobi Shaw. He invites Warren and Betsy...attacked them. He invites Storm...poisons and attacks her. I think there is a pattern here.
Bishop # 1 - 4
Writer - John Ostrander
Pencils - Carlos Pacheco
I'm still waiting for a good Limited Series. In this one, another time fugitive named Mountjoy is terrorizing Bishop and the X-Men. Bishop has to team up with Bantam, the diminutive assistant to Fitzroy, in order to stop Mountjoy. Meanwhile, Forge improves the holoprojector by connecting it to Bishops brainwaves, thus making the projection of his sister, Shard even more real. Bishop ultimately defeats Mountjoy and needs to watch Shard die once more, however she will be back shortly.
Rogue # 1 - 4
Writer - Howard Mackie
Pencils - Mike Wieringo
This Rogue miniseries is essentially a sequel to the Gambit miniseries. Woof. Following the events of the Gambit series, Bella Donna is awake, in power, and considering re-kindling her relationship with Candra. Bella Donna kidnaps Cody, the boy Rogue sent into a coma after kissing when her powers first activated (he's still in a coma, FYI).
Rogue and Gambit go through all sorts of shenanigans, fighting Candra and Bella Donna at different points. The end result is that Bella Donna is clearly evil now and Cody dies. This essentially clears the playing field for Rogue and Gambit so they can get back together, however the drama between them is far from over!
Wolverine # 86 - 90: Yawnstantinople plus Sabretooth
Writer - Larry Hama
Pencils - Ron Garney (86), Adam Kubert (87, 90) Fabio Laguna (88 -89)
# 86 tells the tale of that mysterious Wolverine Skeleton found by ElseeDee and Albert. It turns out that a future version of Wolverine and Forge had traveled back into the past where Wolverine died, however when Elsee Dee and Albert went into the past, they stopped that from happening, which removes the skeleton from the timeline. Don't ask me any follow up questions.
In # 87, Wolverine and Gambit travel to Madripoor where they run into Maverick who is trying to commit suicide through battle since he has the Legacy Virus. This prompts Wolverine to start the journey back home and return to the X-Men. There is one Wolverine quote which cracked me up:
“ What am I, a Viking funeral Director?”
# 88 wasn't half bad as Wolverine walks in on Deadpool trying to kill Kane and Vanessa (who are dating now and working in Hollywood). Wolverine saves Vanessa and everyone leaves intact. This results in Wolverine giving advice which further paves his path back to the X-Men:
“I used to be just like you, trying to find my way. Thinking I could do it on my own, running around hollering in the woods. Then I found some folks who were just like me, who understood, who cared, and all of a sudden I had a place I could call home.”
In # 89, on his way home to the mansion, Ghost Rider brings wolverine to Ogun, who is actually just a ghost, and he eventually defeats him.
# 90 was also pretty damn good. Wolverine is finally back in the mansion and Sabretooth spends the entire time trying to get under Wolverine's skin. He even threatens all of Wolverine's women, including Jean, Heather Hudson, Kitty, and Jubilee. He is particularly well informed. Wolverine slowly realizes that Sabretooth had been trying to escape and gets to his jail right as he gets out. They have a brutal fight and it actually ends with Wolverine defeating him, about ready to pop a third claw into his brain. It appears as though he does, in fact, kill Sabretooth but this happens right as reality ends and Age of Apocalypse begins.
X-Men V2 # 38: Quiet Issue
Writer - Fabian Nicieza
Pencils - Andy Kubert
In a move setting up Generation X, Scott, Jean, and Charles are putting up a sign officially re-branding the mansion as the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. Whereas the old Massachusetts Academy (White Queen/ Hellions location in Massachusetts) will be the Xavier Institute proper and will be the home of Generation X.
Beast is working around the clock on the Legacy Virus. Iceman is trying to convince him to take a break.
Speaking of Iceman, he's really struggling with his powers and begins a process of bonding with Rogue which is continued next issue. At one point she tries to snap him out of his malaise by saying:
"You can control your powers, so don’t hide from your problems, Bobby, deal with them!"
We check in with Legion one more time and it appears as though he can commune with the consciousness of Destiny.
X-Men V2 # 39: Adam X-Tremely Dumb
Writer - Scott Lobdell
Pencils - Steve Epting
This is as fillery as filler gets. Scott's grandfather crashes in the Alaskan snow and is saved by Adam X, X-Treme! That's it! Also, Jean acknowledges in a throwaway line that her sister was a member of the Phalanx.
UXM # 319: More Quiet Development
Writer - Fabian Nicieza
Pencils - Terry Dodson
The "main" story involves Rogue befriending Iceman and driving with him to see his parents. Rogue and Bobby discuss explicitly that his dad is a bigot, something that I don't consider to be "news" considering how he treated Opal when they went out to dinner and comments he made during the Iceman Limited Series.
Archangel and Psylocke go on a date and honestly, they just seem like a badass couple. I didn't see these two coming and had mixed feelings about it, but they are both edgy, dealing with body issues so they kind of seem good for each other. There's no better way to shake depression that finding a hot girlfriend, amiright Warren??? Warren also mentions that while his family's company was destroyed by Cameron Hodge, his personal fortune is still intact.
As setup for Legion Quest, Legion crashes Charles dream and impersonates Magneto. Legion (as Magneto) is basically selling the idea that Xavier's dreams would have been realized if it wasn't for Magneto. Charles wakes up and realizes how scared he is of his son, which is setup for Legion Quest as well.
All of this nonsense with Adam X was actually leading somewhere, according to the CBR article "X-Men Legends: Fabian Nicieza Is Ready to Solve the Third Summers Brother Mystery."
"Adam's introduction was part of a long-form story Nicieza had planned that would reveal him to be the son of the alien Shi'ar Emperor D'Ken and the human Kate Summers. However Nicieza left the X-Men titles in 1995, and the story behind Adam-X's origins has remained untold."
"It was a cart before the horse actually. I threw the "brothers" line into Sinister's dialogue mostly for fun and to make him come across like the smart-ass that he was. Editor Bob Harras liked that, since he always liked mysteries he would never let us resolve, so I started to give it some more thought."
"I thought the presence of another brother had to tie into anything that happened to Christopher and Kate Summers during the time they had been kidnapped by the Shi'ar. I figured out a way to do all of it that would have been respectful to the continuity of the time and especially of Kate Summers. I could have considered a tawdry approach, but I didn't want to do that to a character who had been dismissed on-panel in a way that, as a reader, I had never been happy about."
Jumping to Wolverine for a second, Larry Hama and Adam Kubert appeared on The Epic Marvel Podcast to talk about the major decision to have Wolverine potentially kill Sabretooth in Issue # 90. Larry Hama says:
“There’s just so much you can tease the reader. The animosity between the two characters is just so huge. And the amount of bad stuff that Sabretooth did to him over the years…it demanded some sort of payback. It was just something I think readers really wanted to see. We gave it to them.”
Remarkably, Adam Kubert adds:
"Well let me correct this, we almost gave it to them. I had to re-do the last page. Bob (Harras) said we can’t do this. In the original last page, it was clear that Wolverine killed Sabretooth and it was right before the Weapon X transition and such. But then I re-did it to leave the question a little more open. Did he kill him or didn’t he?”
This is really fascinating. I haven't gotten yet to the Wolverine comics after Age of Apocalypse so I don't know if this sticks or not. I mean, I know Sabretooth comes back eventually, but did this kill him for a few years in publishing (which is equivalent to a Marvel Death)? Or does it at least take him out as a recurring X-Men character? We'll just have to see.
This was really a slow time for the team, so here's a few quick bullet points about how various characterizations takes a step forward:
Rogue and Iceman have a budding friendship. Iceman says Gambit is a jerk, which introduces more conflict in the Gambit/Rogue relationship.
Storm gets a bit of characterization without Lobdell, but nothing that will move her forward.
Iceman is still moping about his powers and what happened with Emma
Beast has turned into a workaholic, focusing on the Legacy Virus full time.
Archangel and Psylocke are officially a couple, and a cute one at that!
My Rating - 2/10
*Wolverine # 90 gets a 10/10
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