X-Men # 62 - 64, X-Men Unlimited # 15
The new Adjectiveless X-Men lineup makes it's debut with the heavy hitters of Cyclops, Storm, Jean, Wolverine, and Cannonball
I guess Jean's name should be Phoenix...but she's just Jean to me.
Shang Chi is the Ally with the Kingpin as the villain.
X-Men V2 # 62 - 64: Shang Chi
Plot- Scott Lobdell
Script - Ben Raab
Pencils - Carlos Pacheco
We start off with some narration by Shang Chi as he's attacked by Wolverine. They have their typical heroes misunderstanding fight until Storm literally shocks Wolvie with lightning to force him to stop.
It turns out they were all summoned by Clive Reston, an old CIA friend of them all, regarding Sebastian Shaw and the Legacy Virus. It turns out that Shaw plans on using a potion called the Elixir Vitae to cure the Legacy Virus. Apparently Chi's father (Fu Man Chu, but not able to be called that due to licensing) using this elixir to help him live forever. While Shaw would be doing a good thing, curing the Legacy Virus, he plans to control production of it to make him richer.
This leads to Shang Chi joining the X-Men on a journal to China, where they are promptly attacked by some cyber ninjas. There is a fight that breaks out, which includes Jean fighting. I'll comment more on this later because it's actually noteworthy to see her fight.
Eventually Sebastian Shaw shows up and Jean literally drops a truck on him. Shaw wants to make peace so they can all work together to find a cure. We even see a little flashback of Rory Campbell (future Ahab) giving him the potion in an effort to save Moira.
However, there's always another layer. It turns out that none other than the Kingpin has actually been behind it all. Fisk has Sam hostage and is threatening to force him to take his cure (it will either cure him or kill him) if he isn't given the elixir...or something.
This leads to the X-Men, Kingpin, and Shaw all in a standoff over the cure, about ready to kill each other over this cure. This pushes Storm to destroy it all to save their lives and stop the bloodshed.
X-Men Unlimited # 15: Chris Bradley
Writer - Howard Mackie
Pencils - Duncan Roleau
Remember Chris Bradley from X-Men Unlimited # 8? I didn't, I needed to look him up. Well, he was a mutant teenager who was poised to join the X-Men's junior team (not Generation X?) until he found out he had Aids, I mean the Legacy Virus, and decided to spend his remaining time with his family.
Well, apparently with all the craziness of Onslaught, Chris lost touch with the X-Men and is pissed at them about it. Of all the random people out there, he connected with fellow Legacy Virus victim Maverick and they became besties.
Iceman is called to help after Chris's house is mysteriously burned down. Iceman calls Wolverine for some backup too. They eventually find Chris and realize he is pissed at them and this issues doesn't have much resolution. However, I just looked Chris Bradley up on the Marvel Wiki and was shocked to see that he has 45 appearances, eventually joining the New Warrior's as a mutant named Bolt. Wow! I thought for sure this character would end here.
So this was not an overly impactful story. It was ok, not great. For a minute I thought the Legacy Virus storyline was finally going to come to an end, but no. It's not.
I highlighted in the Shi'ar Issues post about the two comics seemingly being divided into two separate teams again, so here we have the remaining active members: Cyclops, Jean, Wolverine, Storm, and Cannonball. One of these things is not like the other.
This 3 part arc is officially called "Games of Deceit & Death" and Shang Chi says that title a million times. Each time, I keep expecting Pee Wee Herman to start shouting that this is the word of the day and people to start freaking out about how he said the title in the book!
This arc also continues the theme of the X-Men interacting more with the wider Marvel Universe. Here we get both the Kingpin and Shang Chi. Pretty fun to see 2 different A list villains together with Shaw and Kingpin.
Carlos Pacheco pencils all three, so it looks like he's the new regular artist. I can tell he's a competent artist, but it seems like he's trying to copy Joe Mad, and I've already established that I'm not a fan of the Manga look in my X-Men comics, therefore I'm not loving the art.
Ben Raab pops up as the scripter. I've been seeing him pop up more and more, plus I believe he's about to start his own run, so I'm looking forward to seeing his writing. I've heard he's great with continuity. This story isn't fantastic, but with Lobdell still hanging around I'll assume he doesn't deserve full credit yet.
Let's talk about Jean, baby. Let's talk about you and me. Let's talk about all the good things and the bad things about telepathy. Let's talk about Jean!
So first, Jean is actually fighting! I have a lot to say about this. The animated series actually goes out of their way to acknowledge that she is more of a supporting member than part of the field team. This is never acknowledged in the comic, but it's obvious when something has changed because you see her fighting so infrequently. And you know what, why!? She's a fricken powerhouse. We talk so much about how Cable could be the strongest mutant alive because he has both telepathy and telekinesis. Well guess what, Jean has those powers too! Maybe they keep her on the sideline because she would end fights too easily, but regardless I like seeing her get out of the kitchen for a change!
Perhaps she doesn't fight as much because she's scared of the power she had when she became Phoenix. Speaking of Phoenix, Jean actually gets shaken up when she sees Shaw, commenting on how he was responsible for unleashing the Dark Phoenix. Let's forget for a second that it wasn't actually her, but I guess she has the Phoenix's memories...?
Even Shang Chi notices that Jean is fighting:
“As much as I am amazed at wolverines ferocity… to see the woman, Jean Grey, in battle it is as if these two harbor similar passions, almost like unrequited lovers.”
Wait, is Raab brining back the Jean/Wolvie romance? Because that hasn't been mentioned in years, but pershaps Raab wants to lean back into it. That's ok, I'm down.
How is he still feral!? He looks so dumb. How does he still have bone claws!? Time to bring back normal Wolverine, guys. There's no more mileage here.
Oh, is he in this? Still waiting to start liking him.
I mentioned earlier that he really doesn't seem to fit in with this group. Scott, Jean, Storm, and Wolverine are like the 4 most popular X-Men. In fact, now that I think about this, who would he fit in well with?! He doesn't seem to have relationships with anyone on the team. If we're going to keep him promoted, we need to do something more with him, and that doesn't include treating him like a dumb kid. Come on, we can do better.
So let's talk about Storm destroying the cure. That was a bold move, and Storm is good at bold, decisive moves. But, um, was this a good one. I get that by destroying it, she stopped a major fight from breaking out. But, um, that was the cure to a deadly disease. Was that really a good idea? Shouldn't Scott be saying "Umm, Storm, I appreciate your decisiveness, but we need talk about this offline later, ok?"
MAKE STORM GREAT AGAIN