UXM # 338 - 340, XMV2 # 58 - 59, XFa # 130
Iceman leaves the team to spend time with his dad. It's probably a good thing because there's too many damn characters and none of his plot lines were terribly interesting, but I do give Lobdell credit for trying.
Cannonball and Beast are members of the team, but had less to do during these stories so they are relegated to the Allies section.
Psylocke and Archangel are kind of around, but probably not part of the team. Psylocke might be? I wasn't sure so she's in the Allies section.
Quicksilver is hanging around, however he leaves during this arc and won't be an ally anymore as he joins Hercules and the Avengers.
XM # 58 - 59, UXM # 338 - 340, X-Factor # 130
Writer - Scott Lobdell, Howard Mackie (XFa # 13)
Pencils - Ralph Maccio (XM 58), Adam Kubert (UXM339, XM 59), Joe Madueira (UXM 338, 340), Salvador Larocca (assist on UXM 338) Eric Battle (Xfa # 130)
While there are some other small sub-plots going on, the largest story throughout these issues is that of Graydon Creed and his presidential run. As we've discussed previously, both Sam (Cannonball) and Bobby (Iceman) have been assigned to keep an eye on Creed and are part of his staff. I really need to suspend my belief for a second because I was a government teacher in a former life and I know how impossible it would be to quickly infiltrate a campaign.
During a clearly racist interview with Trish Tilby (because she's the only reporter alive), an old man calls out Creed for being said racist. We end up learning that this old man is none other than Bobby's bigoted father. This is really interesting to me. Bobby's dad has clearly been identified as a bigot. Many writers have taken this plot point and expanded upon it. It started with Bobby bringing his Asian girlfriend, Opal, to dinner. He was the true antogonist in the Iceman Mini series, constantly giving Bobby a hard time and his racist ideology was coming out. So here we have him making a heel turn and putting himself on the line trying to stand up for his son. I'm very conflicted on this. My brain is telling me that I should have an emotional reaction. I should have a tear coming to my eye and be thinking "There you go, buddy! You finally came around." But you know what, that didn't happen. This character is nonredeemable to me. Too little, too late. I'm glad you're sticking up for your son, I mean I'll take it, but it took you too long.
There is another ongoing subplot (which actually started during Onslaught) where J. Jonah Jameson, the editor of the Daily Bugle who is always giving Spider-Man a hard time, is investigating the truth about Graydon Creed. We know that he is searching for the fact that Creed is the son of Mystique and Sabretooth, but it's fun regardless watching him get closer. At one point we see that Bastion kills a reporter who was about to give Jameson dirt on Creed. It's unclear if they are working together or if Putin, I mean Bastion, just recognizes that Trump, I mean Creed would be good for his agenda and therefore wants to support his political aspirations.
In later issues, Bobby's dad is attacked by Creed's men. This puts Bobby into a spiral of sadness and results in him quitting the team.
This all comes to a head (oddly) in X-Factor # 130 because the team is assigned to protect Creed from an assassination attempt. I get that X-Factor is the government superhero team, but they are literally composed of two evil mutants who happen to be his parents...so this is a poor allocation of resources by the U.S. Government. Come on, Forge. Speak up! Creed actually freaks out about being in the presence of Sabretooth and he made me giggle as his sonis egged on. This whole issue has misdirection showing Mystique working with Avalanche and Pyro, seemingly trying to assassinate Creed. He IS assassinated this issue, but we learn that his mommy was actually trying to save his life and X-Factor's interference stopped her from doing so. Ok, whatever.
Angel's Fluffy Wings
The Creed storyline doesn't move into the A plot until after UXM #338, because this issue is focused on (Arch)Angel. Ozymandias finds a broken Archangel and watches as feathered (and fixed) feathered wings break thru his metallic ones. I'm unsure whether this is due to his original wings having grown back under the metallic ones or if someone (Ozymandias/Apoc) having done something to help that along. Also, it doesn't matter, because this plot is very clearly made up on the spot and I doubt anyone was setting this up anywhere else. (Annoying!) Something weird happens with Pryo (still dying from the Legacy Virus) burns down a church that Warren was in, but everyone's fine so don't worry. I'm not clear of Warren's status with the X-Men at this moment.
Beast and Cyclops are on a plane when it is attacked by the new "Brotherhood" being led by none other than Cyclop's brother and former X-Factor leader, Havok (Alex Summers). There's a brother on brother fight (yawn), and Havok is wining about how he's finally in control. I'll comment more on this later and we'll see more Havok and this Brotherhood in future story arcs.
QS and Hercules
In another side story, Hercules shows up at the mansion looking for QuickSilver. Hercules tells him that the Avengers who are left need to band together. I'm not sure if this was done to take Quicksilver off the X-Men map or if editorial is planning on doing something else with the leftover Avengers so they needed him back. I also wonder if they were considering making QS become part of the X-Men...I'm glad they didn't.
Let's start by talking about the elephant in the room. It's scary how many parallels there are between Graydon Creed and Donald Trump. This is a silly comics blog, so I'm not going to get political. I had been noticing the similarities but decided to keep it to myself, but then I saw the following quote in one of these comics:
“Make America safe again.”
That's crazy! This is just absolutely crazy. A non politician making a name for himself through fear mongering and has a successful presidential bid on the platform of grievances and scapegoats. Pretty crazy. I'll move on.
What's up with Alex?!
I know I've talked about this before so I won't harp on it too much here, but Alex (Havok) breaking bad actually seems like a natural character arc. He's a character who clearly preferred not to be a hero. He just wanted to live a normal life with Lorna. He joined the X-Men only after she was possessed by Malice. He agreed to lead X-Factor only after Scott and Charles twisted his arm. He has an older brother who is a prick and probably difficult to live in his shadow. And pretty much every girl he's ever dated has manipulated him. He blames the death of some of his team members on himself. He was easily twisted to evil by Madelyn Pryor. His alter ego was evil and hated his brother. I mean...this actually makes a lot of sense and I'm scared to death that this is going to turn into some "I'm actually a good guy but working undercover for Val" thing. Just let this guy go evil and let's enjoy it.
Philosopher Logan is back.
In the Claremont era, I began referring to Wolverine as "Philosopher Logan." One of these days, I'm going to write an entire blog dedicated to this concept, but I haven't done that yet. Essentially, Claremont started writing Logan as giving fantastic and inspirational advice. He did it quite a few times with Kitty. My favorite is when he scolds Colossus for hurting Kitty. He has some great monologues with Storm too. This element of his persona had been complete ignored for a long time, but there were a few instances of Philosopher Logan popping back up in these stories.
First, in XM # 58, Logan tells Bishop:
“ Listen to me, Bishop, you don’t have to do anything, you just have to be. If you think your life is over because the big question got answered… think again. You don’t have to go back to the future to have one, you got the same thing to work with the rest of us have… today”
Good shit right there.
And then in XM # 59, he gives more great advice to Quicksilver about loss:
No time for interesting stories in between crossovers
I'm not sure if this is the cause, but I suspect that one of the contributing factors to these poor stories that seem like they are spinning their wheels is due to crossovers. I think crossovers are these huge events that you are always building towards, and when a crossover isn't going on, the writers (or at least Lobdell) don't seem like they are even trying to tell meaningful stories. Luckily Lobdell is still good with character moments, but the plot is certainly not compelling.
X-MenV2 # 59 is Adam Kubert's final issue. I was very sad about Jim Lee leaving, but Kubert's ability to mimic Lee made the hurt go away, for a while. But then Joe Mad became the next big thing and he started mirroring that manga style, so he's not going out on a high note in my book. Regardless, I can certainly appreciate him as one of the top X-Men artists and his work will always have a special place in my heart.
Wrestling with being leader without Xavier and the fact that his brother is currently breaking bad.
Psylocke seems to officially be part of the team again (not hanging out off camera with Warren), however she still barely had much screen time which is why I'm keeping her in the "Allies" section of my team graphic. She doesn't get the spotlight yet.
She has a new crimson mark on her face, following the Crimson Dawn storyline that brought her back to life. She also seems to have new powers, like popping in out of the shadows. This is a pretty big point to follow up with 0 development of, but I believe she will start in a Crimson Dawn miniseries which will explore this more. Haven't read it yet.
New crimson mark on her face
Undercover on Graydon Creed’s political campaign.
Bishop laments to W about not knowing what comes next.
Philosopher Logan: “ Listen to me, Bishop, you don’t have to do anything ,you just have to be. if you think your life is over because the big question got answered… think again. you don’t have to go back to the future to have one, you got the same thing to work with the rest of us have… today”
Bishop is going back to being more of the primary X-Men security guard.
Unfortunately, not given much. However, she does find Gambit in the Morlock tunnels, opening up a new (or ongoing?) mystery about Gambit:
As mentioned earlier, W is still in his bestial form, yet shelling out amazing advice to people left and right.
Not given much.
Not given much.
As mentioned above, he got his feathery wings back. It seems as though he WAS back with the team, but appears to have left again. He maybe should have gotten the red box in the team graphic like Iceman did depicting that he's leaving the team, however it's not super clear (and he hasn't had a primetime spot in quite some time), so I'm leaving in the Allies section for now.
Gambit, Rogue, and Joseph.
Joseph bursts into Rogues room with a solution to her touching problem
Gambit sees Joseph floating outside her window and attacks him
As mentioned earlier, his father is attacked. This leads to Iceman leaving the X-Men. There have been plenty of attempts to humanize Iceman, but I feel like he's still just a pretty lame character who it's hard to become invested in. It's not for a lack of trying though. There are those hints about him being gay. His buddy cop shenanigans with Rogue. However, much like when Iceman left with Rogue, I don't feel sad or anything about us getting less time with him.