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169: UXM #347 - 350 (The Trial of Gambit)

What’s Covered?

UXM # 347 - 350, Psylocke and Archangel: Crimson Dawn # 1 - 4

Roster Watch

  • Maggot joins the team (I'm not sure how long he'll be around)

  • Gambit is kicked out by Rogue (I doubt that will last long, but we'll see)

  • Bishop is lost in space and written out (I'm sure he will be gone long)

  • Allies are Psylocke and Archangel, plus Trish Tilby

  • Enemies are Erik the Red (Magneto), Spat, and Grovel


Psylocke and Archangel: Crimson Dawn # 1 - 4

Writer - Ben Raab

Pencils - Salvador Larocca

Let's get through this fast, shall we?

A new villain, Kuragari is introduced as the big bad of the Crimson Dawn dimension. Kuragari kills good old Tar and Gomurr the ancient shows up right as Psylocke is kidnapped. Kuragari both flirts and fights with Psylocke. Gomurr tells Archangel he can only save Psylocke if his heart is true after the ghost of Tar named Gomurr the new Proctor of the Crimson Dawn. Psylocke is brainwashed until Archangel declares his love, which helps Psylocke snap out of it. I guess the idea is that Archangel had to give up a portion of his life in exchange for what he took from the Crimson Dawn to save Psylocke, although it’s not very clear.

Throughout the series, Archange has strong feelings about Psylocke's changed state. Archangel wonders if being “twisted into harbingers of death and destruction” isn’t enough to base a relationship on. This is interesting because these two were likely shipped specifically because they this type of similar experience.

UXM # 347 - 350: Gambit's Past Revealed!

Writer - Scott Lobdell (347 - 349), Steve Seagle (350)

Pencils - Joe Madueira (347 - 348, 350), Chris Bachalo (349) Andy Smith (assist on 350)

When last we checked in with the Uncanny squad (as covered in 159: UXM # 341 - 345 (Shi’ar Problems), the team had aided the Shi'ar in a battle with the Phalanx and were on their way home. As the X-Men travel through a portal, they appear to be separated and lost in space. While Bishop is truly lost in space (more on that later), Gambit, Rogue, Beast, Trish, and Joseph think they are lost in space, but quickly learn a mutant named Landscape (who literally never shows up again) was just making holograph projections. In truth, they are on Earth and in Antarctica.

Gambit is found by two bounty hunters who happened to be looking for him...and then he popped up in front of them. Coincidence? This isn't the best explained story. One of the bounty hunters is a young girl named Spat, who we learn is aging backwards. We never learn for sure if she is a mutant, what happened in their past that caused her to age backwards (although we learn it's Gambit's fault, since everything is), nor why she chooses to wear a caveman outfit. She's also with a giant talking monster named Grovel...again, no explanation.

Meanwhile, we check in with Archangel and Psylocke who are returning to Warren's loft, which is all messed up from the time Iceman was there during Operation: Zero Tolerance.

We also get our first introduction to a mutant named Maggot, who is looking for Joseph (never explained why). Maggot is a mutant who controls two sentient slugs that eat matter. Something like that. Still a bit confused about Maggot.

We also pop in to see what's going on with Bishop. He's still in space, with Deathbird, and she explains to him that he's crippled (but she appears to be fixing him) and that the rest of the X-Men are dead. I believe this essentially writes Bishop out of the series.

Back to the main story, the other 4 X-Men are captured by Nanny (Magneto's robot, not Nanny who was with Orphan Maker). The last time we saw Nanny was X-Men V1 # 113 as she was creepily holding the X-Men hostage and force feeding them and brushing their hair. Here, once again she has captured the X-Men in Magneto's former lair at the bottom of the earth and all the heroes powers are suppressed.

Rogue is starting to get random flashes of Gambit's memories.

If you recall, Rogue had begun to learn of Gambit's past in the Rogue miniseries, absorbed his memories in XM # 41, and then had gone on a road trip with Iceman 20 issues ago to all of Gambit's past hangouts, but in the end she never fully remembered (or learned) what his secret was. Also, apparently Gambit's memories give her wolf like canine teeth. Regardless, she comes back to her senses and shares an intimate moment with Rogue. Her powers are negated, so it's the first time they are able to touch. At first, I was wondering if they banged, and then later it became clear that they definitely banged.

While Joseph, Gambit, Rogue, and the bounty hunters were held captive, Beast and Trish were working to free them. Beast loses his blue fur, but that is a continuity error because his blue fur is not the result of his mutant powers, but rather than of an experiment that maybe could have happened to anyone.

Beast and Trish help the X-Men escape from Nanny and a group of other robots, right before they were killed.

Gambit is asked to finally share the truth, but instead he turns himself into the bounty hunters to face the evils of his past.

Psylocke ends up running into Maggot. She can sense that there is darkness within him...but then also good. Or something. It's not clear. She uses her new shadow teleportation power to bring him (and AA flies in too) somewhere, and that place is Antarctica with everyone else. That's the second time in this arc that people just happened to teleport to a convenient location.

Rogue and the team decide they need to go back to find Gambit and help him. Rogue finds a Queen of Hearts in the snow, that she had given him after they totally banged, and Joseph uses his power to raise a giant construct out of the snow. Rogue confesses her unconditional love for Gambit, however we will soon learn how strong of a promise that is.

At this point we learn that the big bad boss, and the person the bounty hunters were reporting to, was none other than Eric the Fucking Red. He holds a trial for Gambit and we learn the sad truth of his evil secret that's been hinted at for years. The dead Morlocks are serving as jury, X-Men as witnesses, Erik the Red as prosecutor, and Archangel as public defender for some unknown reason.

Rogue kisses Gambit, allowing her to access all of his memories. We learn that Mr. Sinister paid Gambit to assemble the Marauders, then it was Gambit who showed the Marauders how to find all the Morlocks in the sewer. Apparently Gambit became disgusted with what they were doing tried to stop them, but was hurt by Sabretooth and fled, right before saving Marrow (little Sarah).

She, umm, doesn't take it well.

Erik the Red brings down the whole house, and Rogue decides to save Gambit. She is furious with him and tells him that while she wasn't going to let him die, she also isn't going to save him, nor let him stay with the X-Men, flying off and leaving him in the snow.

In the end we see that Erik the Red was really...fucking Magneto!? What the hell is going on here? I haven't read past this point so I still don't understand what's going on.

My Connections

I have to start by talking about Maggot. Those who follow me that I am reading fresh. I read heavily in the early 90's, but most of this is new. I've cherry picked some more modern X-Men reading, and I read a lot of articles to stay in the loop. There are a lot of mutants who I was somewhat aware of. Marrow, Monet, Cecilia Reyes. But this Maggot guy, never once heard of this guy. Never. And apparently he's joining the X-Men. He's a dude that talks weird with two giant mechanical Maggots. What is happening right now?

There is so much left unclear in this arc. I'm guessing it's because Lobdell was on his way out and didn't try very hard (more on that later). Regardless, this arc was terrible explained. How did the X-Men teleport from space to Earth? How did Gambit end up right in the hands of Bounty Hunters that were looking for him. Why is Spat aging backwards. How can a giant monster (grovel) talk? Is he an alien? How or why did Psylocke teleport to the rest of the team? What is up with Maggot? We get a little explanation in Scott Lobdell interview that took place on the True Stories Based on Fiction podcast:

“What happened was month after month sales were like ‘no one likes X-Men in space, you need to get them out of space,’ and I called up and Joe and said ‘what page are you on? What’s happening?’ And he said that Gambit was in Space with Grovel. I told him that on the next page, the danger room holographic ends and they are back on earth. And that’s the end of it. My name is on Issue 350, but I didn’t have anything to do with it.”

Erik the Red. Ummm, he's weird. In the Silver Age, he was a villain who ended up being revealed as Scott. Then in the Phoenix era, he turned out to be a real villain working for the Shi'ar. Even Gambit makes a comment about how Erik the Red isn't real, he's always someone else. I'm really not sure what's going on here and even more confused that he was Magneto. What does this mean for Joseph? Why would Magneto choose to dress like Erik the Red. Why would Magneto care so much about Gambit? More questions.

So Gambit's past is finally revealed. I have to start with the first place my head went here. We had that whole misdirect with Bishop thinking Gambit was the traitor. Then we learned it was really Professor X...kind of. But now...Gambit really was a traitor, but just not at the even Bishop originally referenced. Ok...I don't really know what to say about this, except that I'm glad it's finally out there after a very long time laying the breadcrumbs.


Scott Lobdell's reign is over. I'm going to do a Scott Lobdell retrospective in a bit where I'll get into his run more, but for now, this is the end of a very long tenure. I have a lot of mixed feelings on him. I loved his slow issues as he used them to demonstrate how he really understood the characters. He had a pretty solid understanding of the continuity as well and I appreciated his deep pulls. Over time, I think it became more obvious that he didn't have things planned out, and that started to show with weaker story telling.

Chris Bachalo comes on board as the regular X penciler to join up with his buddy Scott Lobdell. Bachalo had the following to say in Comic Creators on X-Men:

"Yeah, for one issue. That was odd: Scott had left Generation X and I figured, 'I'll go work with Scott on Uncanny X-Men. We'll work some magic on the big book.' I jumped on and Scott left. I tried not to take it personally. Maybe it was my aftershave or that I stole his girlfriend. Maybe it was jealousy. Ha! We still communicate on occasion. Scott's always full of ideas and wants to share."

So Bachalo is ready to make some magic with his buddy and then he's completely ghosted. Bachalo didn't seem to think his tenure went very well:

"Oh, my first proper X-Men experience was miserable. Artistically, It was all over the map, doing this pseudo-manga thing. They asked me to tone it down, so I was trying to tone it down. It just wasn't a good experience. I think I did ten issues with a few hits and a few misses."

When asked about working with Steve Seagle, he said:

"He was really good. I think that Uncanny was really important to him, a real break. It was a good, high profile book that paid well and gave him a responsibility. I think he really wanted to do well, but the editorial climate at the time was extremely poor.
The company was in turmoil. They kept changing directions from issue to issue. They'd have the meeting, decide on a dime and change their minds a few months later.
I think it was all very frustrating for Steve and Joe Kelly, the writers at the time. They were having their differences with the editorial group and I think they got completely burned out after a while.
I don't know if they were fired or if they left, but it was just a horrible situation. And it made drawing the book really difficult. We'd get working on the story and then it would change and go in another direction. Steve's last issue was my last issue. To this day, I don't know why I was moved."

Character Beats


Rogue is still team leader and is faced with a startling discovery. She spent this entire arc saying that she wouldn't give up on Gambit and that she loved him unconditionally, but when faced with the truth of what he'd done, it was more than she could bear.

There is an especially tough scene where Rogue says "How dare you violate me. You mentally raped me." This reminded me of a few things. First and foremost, it brings me back to Avengers Annual # 10 where Claremont pens an Avengers book and takes aim at the mistreatment of Carol Danvers. She doesn't come out and directly say rape, but it's very much implied. This also reminds me of when Rogue lost her powers in Genosha and was attacked, but it clearly identified that she was not raped. It also makes me think of Jessica Jones Season 1 on Netflix, when she accuses Kilgrave of raping her since they had sex while she possessed.

Ok, one more. What it REALLY reminds me of, is when Neve Campbell gives up her virginity to Skeet Ulrich in Scream, only to find out shortly after that he was a killer all along. Actually, that one fits best here. Not only did she find out terrible things about her boyfriend, but it was immediately after giving up her virginity to him. That's a slap in the face. I get it, Rogue. I get it.


Well, all his cards are on the table now. Literally. I was expecting his secret to be that he stopped on a bug or something. This was pretty damn bad. They left a path for him to be redeemed, but no wonder he feels terrible. I wonder how long he'll be out of the comic for. Actually, I just looked. Looks like he'll be out for the next 9 issues before making an appearance. That's like 9 months in publishing time, so that's pretty significant.


What the fuck? So he's not the real Magneto? What's going on? Looks like the Rogue love triangle is done, or is it now that Gambit is out of the picture?


I can't recall if he was in this or not.


Written out


I like new characters, but who the hell is this guy!?

My Rating


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