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163: XM # 65 (Operation: Zero Tolerance Begins)

What’s Covered?

X-Men Volume 2 # 65

Roster Watch

  • I guess Carlos Pacheco thinks Storm is a stripper

  • Did I miss something, or is Wolverine no longer feral?

  • The Ally here is Dr. Cecilia Reyes, the Villains are the Prime Sentinels.

Kicking it Off

This post is going to be used to kick off my Operation: Zero Tolerance coverage. We'll start with X-Men V2 # 65 where the X-Men are captured, and then break the event into smaller categories. While there is an overall linear flow to the event, the story is pretty darn self contained over the various X-Titles, so I'll cover it this way:

  • 163: XM # 65 (Operation:Zero Tolerance Begins)

  • 164: XF # 67 - 69, Cable # 45 - 47 (OZT: Cable & XF)

  • 165: Generation X # 26 - 29 (OZT: Generation X)

  • 166: X-Men # 66 - 69, UXM # 346 (OZT: Iceman and Friends)

  • 167: Wolverine # 115 - 118 (OZT: Wolverine and the Fate of the X-Men)

The first blog (this one) will kick off the event with the core X-Men lineup being captured. The new Uncanny group (Gambit, Rogue, Joseph, Bishop, Beast) are not a part of this crossover at all.

The second blog will be split between Cable who is on a single man mission to stop OZT from getting access to sensitive data (Xavier Protocols, Mutant Underground contacts, etc.) and X-Force who is slumming it with MFL and taking on a subsect of OZT.

The third blog will focus on Generation X and will be broken down into the following:

  • Sean, Emma, and Penance looking for the rest of the kids

  • Jubilee in captivity after being kidnapped by Bastion

  • The rest of the team/kids on a journey of their own.

The third blog will follow the X-Men line and is spearheaded by Iceman as he aligns with an Ex villain (Marrow) as well as two new characters (Sabra and Dr. Cecilia Reyes) to take on OZT in a peripheral sense.

Surprisingly, the fourth blog will focus on the Wolverine series as that is where the meat of the story takes place, focusing on the core X-Men lineup of Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean, Storm, and Cannonball.


X-Men V2 # 65: O:ZT Begins!

Writer - Scott Lobdell

Pencils - Carlos Pacheco

The main plotline here shows Bastion and his Sentinels ordering the Blackbird down and the X-Men choosing to fight instead.

This is the driving force of the series as the media makes it look like the X-Men were the attackers. This line of X-Men are captured and will be held captive throughout most of the event.

This issue also introduces Dr. Cecilia Reyes, a character who I've never read before but I remembered her from the New Mutants movie.

There is also a scene where Jean was pulled into another Dimension and ran into Iron Man. Since the Avengers are currently in Heroes Reborn, I'm guessing that's the dimension where she traveled. To be honest, I completely forgot that this even happened because not another thing comes of it for the rest of the event. I would guess that maybe it's setup for something that comes later, but I have this feeling it's one of those random loose ends that never gets tied off.

My Connections

Overall, Operation: Zero Tolerance is a very good event. It seems kind of natural to take the racism, fear, and bigotry highlighted in 34 years of X-Men comics and have it spill over into an official genetic war. As mentioned previously, it's noted that the combination of Onslaught (a mutant being overpowered, leveling New York, and coming close to erasing all existence) and the assassination of a Graydon Creed (A presidential candidate on an anti-mutant platform) served as the tipping point for the acceptance of a more radical solution to the "mutant problem."

In a lot of ways, this reminds me of how 9/11 changed America. There was a very shaky attack on American soil that led to extreme fear. Attacks on certain ethnic groups skyrocketed and the government itself played into people's fears by justifying the war in Iraq. And let's not forget, 9/11 happened after this event was written. Not that there aren't numerous events in history which followed a very similar theme, but that seemed like the strong comparison to me.

I would also say that Bastion is a very good villain. He's not SUPER developed and the event ends without clarifying exactly who (or what) he is, but the idea of a man organizing, militarizing, and acting out the bigotry which has served as the true villain behind X-Men is pretty good. The villain is more execution of philosophy than some overpowered mutant who is threatening the world. And that isn't to say that Bastion isn't interesting either. I like that he is brand new, we're not seeing Apocalypse or Magneto again. He's a human (or is he?), but he has a lot of mystery behind him making you wonder what his true motives are. I also find his interactions with Jubilee fascinating, however that plot isn't necessarily paid off in this event.

My Rating - 9/10


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