Onslaught Marvel Universe, UXM # 337, XM # 57, Onslaught: Epilogue
Onslaught: Marvel Universe
Writer - Scott Lobdell & Mark Waid
Pencils - Andy Kubert & Joe Bennett
It all ends here. As we covered in the last blog, Xavier went alone to confront Onslaught, but in this issue he is quickly joined by the following X friends who save him: Cyclops, Joseph, Cable, Wolverine, Gambit, Bishop, Jean, Storm, and Rogue.
Eventually the rest of the Marvel heroes show up, alongside Psylocke and Iceman.
Using the combined powers of Nate and Franklin, Onslaught creates a second sun (dumb) to destroy all life.
Dr. Doom creates a plan to distract him, which works. Hulk smashes so hard that Bruce Banner is separated from the Hulk.
Onslught sheds his physical form and is deemed to be unstoppable until an idea is presented that he can be stopped if his mass is merged a bunch of heroes. There is a stipulation that it can't be mutants because of...plot. It works to make an emotional moment when Quicksilver can't go in, but his wife Crystal can. However, the Scarlet Witch goes in and she's a mutant so clearly they are ignoring that.
This serves as the vehicle to take most of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four our of the Marvel Universe so they can delivered to the Image crew of Rob Leifeld and Jim Lee.
Xavier, Joseph, and Cable save Nate and Franklin to finish off the series.
UXM # 337 & XM # 57: What comes Next?
Writer - Scott Lobdell
Pencils - Joe Madureira & Andy Kubert
This is essentially a two issue epilogue to the Onslaught event.
While the Marvel brass decided not to keep Xavier as Onslaught to not taint the character forever, Lobdell still has him wisely taking some of the responsibility which will eventually begin another long period of time without him in the comics.
Xavier tries to push Wolverine away by being an asshole to him, but Wolverine isn't taking it and shares, in an emotional moment, that Wolverine stayed with the X-men over Department H (Giant Sized X-Men deep cut) because of Xavier. Is this playing on the theory that Xavier manipulated the mutants in GSXM to come with him!?
Graydon Creed is about to become a larger part of the upcoming narrative, so here we see him playing into the narrative that the X-Men killed the Avengers, making this one of, if not the worst, time for mutants in the eyes of regular humans.
We see that Quicksilver (and his baby, Luna) are staying with Scott and Jean.
We also see that Bastion and his team are working with discarded Sentinels. We also see that J. Jonah Jameson will continue to be a presence in the comics as he continues to investigate Graydon Creed, even after being threatened by him.
Professor X is still beating himself up. Not only is he depressed over what he did, but he no longer has his telepathy. Eventually Val Cooper shows up to take Professor Xavier away (the government is demanding that he answer for what happened and be evaluated to see if he's still a threat.) There are some big emotional moments, especially from Wolverine, about Val only taking Xavier over their dead bodies, but Xavier says that he wants to go with them to answer for what he did.
Beast tells Trisy Tilby that he had a lot of time to think (while being a prisoner) and that he wants to make things right with her.
Writer - Larry Hama
Pencils - Randy Green
This one is short and sweet. We see that Xavier was somehow transferred to Bastion's care where he is essentially a prisoner. We also meet a new character named Nina, another prisoner. Nina is a "Mannite," which seems to be a mutant who was created in a lab. She is incredibly strong and eventually breaks Xavier out of the prison. She certainly seems like a character who has a lot of importance, and I do see that she'll make a few appearances over the coming years.
I want to take a second here to reflect on my experience here reading Onslaught. As a reminder, I read comics religiously for a couple years in the early 90's when I was around 10 years old, but I faded away when the bubble burst.
I'm realizing that there is a pretty clear analogy here. There a bunch of novels that I absolutely love, such as Dune or Hyperion (and Fall of Hyperion) where I've never read the sequels. I absolutely love these books, but I hear pretty regularly that the sequels are garbage. And it's funny because I recommend these books a lot and when people get done they say "so what do you think about the next ones" and I say "I've never read them because I hear they are terrible." Usually people are stunned and can't believe that I can consider these books to be my favorite, yet I've never even read the follow up material to decide for myself whether or not they are good. Well, I will probably read those follow up books one day, but that is technically what I am doing here.
I considered myself a lifelong X-Men fan and comic reader, but so much of that original fandom came from the animated series, the movies, and those few years of comics I read in the 90's. I like to read what other X-Men fans have to say about the comics, with most of them commenting on their experience reading this as a kid, and they talk about these comics as if they were inevitable. But it's a weird experience for me, because to me this is all brand new and for the most part I have no idea what is about to happen.
I don't think this is complete crap like many people say, but it's definitely not great. Lobdell has his endearing traits (like his great character work in slow issues), but his lack of direction is becoming more and more obvious, especially now that he's running out of ideas. I also have to comment on the art. I can recognize that Joe Madureira is a good artist, but the cartoony, manga stuff just isn't for me. I'm probably just too stuck on Jim Lee and the Jim Lee clones (plus the Image guys), but it just seems dumb how cartoony this is. I'm ready to move on to the next artistic era.
I find myself looking forward to the next major shakeup, but I don't think that happens until 2001 when Claremont comes back and Grant Morrison launches New X-Men. But what the hell is gonna happen in 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000? I've already given up on X-Factor and Wolverine (for the most part). I'm contemplating Generation X since most of the rest of the series isn't on Marvel Unlimited (and I hear it's not great once Lobdell/Bachalo leave). Excalibur is done for good in 1998, so that decision will be made for me. I'm still enjoying X-Force and Cable, so no worries there. X-Men Unlimited isn't frequent, so no issue keeping up there. I'm not reading X-Man. I know that Deadpool, Alpha Flight Volume 2, and Ultimate X-Men will be starting in a few years, but I think I will add them to the same list as Dazzler and Alpha Flight Vol 1 to come back to one day in the future.
In a Newsarama article in 2016, Scott Lobdell had the following to say about Heroes Reborn and Onslaught:
"When word comes down that Marvel was shipping off those characters to another universe, me and [then Editor-in-Chief] Bob Harras are sitting around trying to come up with a story that makes sense for the X-Men to stay where they are, but those other characters to go. The question became, who has that power? And I said, well, Onslaught can do it. So we started to figure out why the X-Men would be involved too. But it was really once there was the need for "Heroes Reborn" that we reverse-engineered the creation of Onslaught."
I laughed a bit when I read this quote, because it makes me think of the last quote I featured by Lobdell. He literally had no idea who Onslaught was when he started teasing them, so I can totally see him being like "This Onslaught guy could make those heroes disappear, but hang on, I need to figure out who Onslaught is."
Mark Waid had the following to say about Onslaught in Wizard # 59:
"'Onslaught' is a very plot-driven story, but it's really a very simple plot. We're trying to pair off the X-Men and Marvel Heroes in interesting combinations, so the attraction is in how the characters interact, and how they face what very well may be their last mission ever. They will, in the course of this story, face their greatest defeat ever and have to rise from those ashes."
This is a pretty good point that I'm glad was made. The plot actually sucked, but the interaction between these heroes was pretty cool. I've been commenting on Waid's ability to make deep cuts with X-More lore and he was certainly doing that left and right to connect the X-Men or Magneto to the Avengers or Fantastic Four whenever possible.
Cyclops has been waffling in the wind a little bit the past few years, but it seems like Lobdell (or maybe Waid) is really pushing Cyclops as the definitive alpha leader of the X-Men. I'm still waiting to start liking him though.
Cyclops ascent is at Storm's expense. Did you notice Cyclops is remarked as "the leader" and Storm is references as "co-leader?" Yea, I noticed that Lobdell. You could have told me that Storm was still away (with Cable) and I would've believed you, she is still an after thought, which is a damn shame.
When is this feral shit going to end? He just looks goofy, and it's not like he's acting feral anymore. He's actually seemed a shade like Philosopher Logan lately. Let's get his adamantium back too, please. He could use a young mutant to mentor while we're at it, thanks.
After a long absence, she's officially back. I didn't realize how much I liked her as a character until I rejoiced at having her officially back. She's better than this love triangle bullshit, but I'm happy she's here.
Another character who I'm waiting to start liking more. He did score some brownie points with me as he was a gentleman with this love triangle thing.
Why is he still here? I had to go back through the comic to see if he was even in it.
Another disrespected character. I wonder if Lobdell is purposely neglecting the characters Claremont gave so much attention to.
Another character who's back in the fold. I can see right through their characterization attempts. How do we humanize him...oh I know, let's have him talk to Trish Tilby!
Is he even on the team anymore?
Last blog I gave her the green box showing she was back on the team, but this series she didn't come with the X-Men to the big fight, she showed up later as an afterthought with the other heroes. However, she is drawn sexy again and has this crimson tatoo above her eye. What's that about?
Iceman was with Psylocke as an afterthough who wasn't invited to the initial mutant attack.
So we exit Professor Xavier. Can't say he will be missed. I have mixed feelings about how he was handled in this event. Regardless, it appears that he won't be around for a while.
Is he part of the team now? I'm not sure how this makes me feel.
No wonder he's such an asshole. Terrible stuff always happens to him. Poor guy just needs a family and a home.