UXM # 351 - 355, XMV2 # 70 - 75, X-Men Unlimited # 17
Scott and Jean are still in the comic, but they are taking time off in Alaska
Archangel keeps making appearances, but he's not on the team.
Bishop is off in space and I'm assuming we won't be checking on him anymore.
Joseph gets the red box because he flew off with Sabra.
Jubilee is just visiting, I think.
Marrow might be an X-Man. She's definitely a major character, living at the mansion. I'm not quite ready to put her on the roster yet.
Cecilia and Maggot both seem pretty entrenched as team members now.
Beast is still rocking his bangs.
Gambit and Psylocke were no shows over these 10 issues.
What did I just read!? Right off the bat I need to say that this era sucks! How did I get through like 10 comics and nothing happened? Seriously, I feel like I just read 10 filler issues in a row. There's some new characters, but wow the quality is just so low.
I might as well keep complaining. I was just talking about how nice it was that Lobdell went back to having two separate teams with smaller rosters. I felt that the result was more focus on individual characters and better storytelling. Now we have one giant team again, extra characters added in, and stories once again continuing across two titles with two different authors. Kill me now.
There is a new status quo with the X-Men living in a cleaned out mansion without any funds. If this sounds boring...you're right. It is! Usually I appreciate bringing real world economic issues into my fantasy, but this is stale.
X-Men V2 # 70, UXM # 351: The New Status Quo
Writer - Joe Kelly (XM 70), Steave Seagle (UXM 351)
Pencils - Carlos Pacheco (XM70), Ed Benes (UXM 351)
Marrow and Reyes are arguing outside of the mansion, continuing their whole "you're a perfect topsider" and "You have a bad attitude" schtick.
As they walk in the mansion, they are startled to find it completely empty. Bastion may have been defeated, but he was able to complete clean out the mansion, furniture included.
This causes Cecilia to completely break down after realizing that first she lost her old life and career, and now her new life is pretty bleak. Poor girl, I wish she could have seen the mansion when it was bumping. This is about the time when the rest of the X-Men return home in a badass splash page.
Jean and everyone is racing to put Scott in the medilab to take out the bomb in his gut, but the medical equipment is gone along with everything else. This is when Dr. Cecilia Reyes regains her purpose, steps up, and gets to work saving Scott. Jean does a little Matrix upload to bring C.R. up to speed on the situation. Actually, I wonder if the Wachowski's read this issue to get inspiration for the movie...Matrix did come out in 1999 which means they were most certainly writing the script while this was released...interesting. That is now a fact in my head cannon (This matters because the Matrix is by far my favorite movie of all time).
The space version of the X-Men (Rogue, Joseph, Beast, Trish) come home, however they've lost Gambit (who's hated) and Bishop (who's lost with Deathbird) and gained good ole Maggot.
While all this is going on, Juggernaut shows up with a lawyer. He claims that all of Xavier's assets have been frozen with him missing and that he will be taking over the finances so that he can help his "friend" Black Tom. For half the issue, Juggernaut is in plain clothes and playing this straight up until he realizes how vulnerable the X-Men are and decides it's a good time to attack.
There's a big brawl until Cecilia steps in and breaks it up. This, plus Juggernaut possibly being afraid of Maggot, prompts Juggernaut to leave. Cecilia takes the bomb out of Scott and Rogue hands it to Maggot's slugs to eat it and stop it from detonating.
UXM #351 is a Cecilia Reyes one shot. We see her charging back into the hospital and demanding to have her job back. Her bosses are skeptical due to her "mutant problem" but they let her work. Some colleagues are clear bigots, but even some patients who refuse to be treated by a "mutie." Eventually Pyro comes in, still suffering of the Legacy Virus and unable to turn off his fire. She takes pity on him, allowing him to escape, resulting in her being fired. She comes back to the X-Men realizing she no longer has a place in the real world.
X-Men # 71, UXM # 352: Scott and Jean on Vaca
Writer - Joe Kelly (XMV2), Steave Seagle (UXM)
Pencils - Carlos Pacheco (XM)
For all of the ripping I'm doing, there are some pretty cool kitchen table politics going on X-Men # 71. The X-Men are literally sitting around the kitchen table talking/arguing and we get to see some of the new dynamics.
Marrow is living at the mansion, but she's being a rude slob. Most seem to be giving her a shot, except for Storm who is being especially tough on her. You know, she did try to wipe out the human race, resulting in Storm needing to stab her in the heart (and rip it out), so Storm isn't exactly wrong for being skeptical (As covered in 135: UXM #323 - 325 (Gene Nation, Feral Logan, Rogue Wild)). Marrow isn't the only one clashing with Storm, as Cannonball gets pissy with her for stopping him from welcoming Maggot and treating him like a newb. Are we finally going to see him start acting like the leader he was in X-Force, though?
Maggots consistently hitting on everyone, starting with Jean (can't blame him). Cecilia accidentally hits on Beast, starting a little "will they/won't they" over this arc. Storm and W are continuing to be very close, once again harkening back to Claremont level "open friendships."
Archangel shows up, but pretty much everyone gives him one hell of a time for showing up too late after much of the remodeling has been completed. And guess who gives him the hardest time? You guessed it, Wolverine. Joseph gives him a fair amount of shit as well.
If there's any semblance of an "A Plot," I guess it's with Scott and Jean. They are taking a little break from the team and flying up to Alaska. On their way there, AIM boards the plane in the air and attempts to steal a mutant who is being held below.
The mutant is very powerful and allows the plane to land early in Canada (by calming everyone, including the pilots) down. The mutant is immediately taken by Department H, who is apparently up and running again.
X-Men Unlimited # 17: Sabretooth Body Swap
Writer - Terry Kavanaush
Pencils - Pencil Party
Yea...so Wolverine shows up at Worthington Enterprises, being an even bigger dick than usual to Warren. This time he is claiming that AA is trying to bring back the neutralizer, which is the gun made by Forge that sapped Storm's powers way back during the Claremont run. It turns out that Wolverine is actually Sabretooth, after S-Tooth used a telepath to do the good ole' 80's body swap. Wolverine shows back up (in Sabretooth's body) to save the day, however they do find a secret base in Worthington Enterprises which they shut down together.
XMV2 # 72 - 73, UXM # 353 - 355: Sabra, Sauron, Alpha Flight
Writer - Joe Kelly, Steve Seagel
Pencils - Carlos Pacheco, Jeff Johnson
Marrow is being a bad girl in the basement where she's taken up residence. Wolverine decides to take her under his wing. He starts a training program and thinks he will win her over with some hard discipline.
I assumed this was going to be the start of her retribution as Wolverine says:
"You remind of someone I used to know.
I'm assuming he's talking about himself, but let me know in the comments if you think this is someone else. It's definitely not Kitty or Jubilee, his past wards. Maybe Rogue, but he was never close with her and she wasn't this much of a hothead. Where was I? Oh yea, so I assumed this was the start of a fun pairing and Marrows transformation into a hero...until she stabs him in the neck, runs off, and returns to Callisto.
We check in briefly with ambassador Gabrielle Haller who is writing to Senator Kelly to release Professor Xavier. Eventually he will, only to discover that he's already gone. While writing the letter, she's visited by Sabra who will eventually come to the states and fight the X-Men. Sabra tells Haller that the name Erik Lensher is a forgery and that Magneto killed the forger, some guy named Odenkirk. (Is this the start of some weird double retcon where Magneto stops being referred to as Erik Lensher?)
Later, Rogue confides to Storm about a dream she had where she stole Wolverine's powers and has been craving touching people lately. This plays into the cliffhanger at the end of UXM #358 when someone leached Wolverine's powers, everyone assumes it was Rogue and she flies off, and then it turns out to be Sauron. Rogue also asks Joseph if she can touch him to him see his past, but he says "No bitch, you cray?" (I don't use real quotes when I'm making lines of dialogue up).
Before we get to that though, Storm gets everyone together to swim. This gave me a little flash to the Jim Lee days when any opportunity was taken to show the team looking sexy. Iceman and Jubilee are there too! Marrow is still sulking in the basement. Maggot hits on Cecilia Reyes, followed shortly by Storm. At one point Wolverine tackles Bobby and Marrow calls him out for attacking another team member.
We then have an entire unnecessary issue which is a battle between random Sauron and the X-Men. They eventually beat him.
The most interesting part of this is during the next issue (UXM # 355) when Wolverine wraps him up like E.T. and drives him to the city on a motorcycle, looking for Rogue.
They run into the new version of Alpha Flight (teased when Jean saw Department H earlier) and they have a classic hero misunderstanding fight. More boring filler occurs. I haven't read any Alpha Flight since like Issue # 15 so I have no idea who is on the team. Here is my attempt at describing it to you.
Guardian, the James Hudson version, is the leader. But...isn't he dead?
Heather is there too in some sort of suit. Wasn't she Guardian for a while?
Puck is there and looks the same.
Sasquatch is there but has gone through a re-design.
Madison Jeffries is there as Box.
Two new dudes named Flex and Radius are there, but I neither know nor care what their deal is.
Where are the twins?
Lol, shocker that Marina didn't make the cut.
Legitimately shocked that Shaman, his real daughter, and his adopted...daughter Snowbird aren't around. Maybe they all died or something.
There is a random side story where the school is getting an inspection from the Board of Ed and it fails the test.
Later, Joseph once again creeps into Rogue's room with some important thing to tell her, but she gets creeped out and (rightfully) throws a pillow at him and tell shim to stop being such a creep. Later, Joseph goes crying to Maggot and asks him to be his friend, but Maggot is like "Nah, actually I realized you aren't the real Magneto" and Joseph is like "Bro, what?" Sabra attacks Joseph until this news about him not being Magneto stops this other misunderstanding fight. Joseph leaves with Sabra (and I'm assuming he is exiting the team at this point. Good, we need less characters).
Meanwhile, Marrow runs off with Cecilia's medical bag to help Callisto, who once again refuses to die.
XMV2 # 74-75: Not the N'Gari?
Writer - Joe Kelly
Pencils - Carlos Pacheco
Ugh, there's more?
So Maggot is losing control of Eany and Meanie. For today's filler issue, someone spun a wheel and we landed on Angel, Maggot, and...the fucking Abombination. Ok, let's have these 3 fight in a sewer. That's the end of that synopsis.
One cool thing was that Colossus visited Callisto on her death bed, which was a fun callback to their prior relationship from the Claremont era. (Wait, it just dawned on me how random this is. Colossus is part of Excalibur...who is in Europe. How is he just showing up here? Is this a dream or something?)
The larger unfolding storyline takes place with Wolverine investigating a murder. We're led to believe that it was Eany and Meanie and Maggot is behind this. It turns out that the N'Gari Cairn has been opened up, however it's not the N'Gari. Apparently there was a slave race that is smarter than them and overthrew their masters. But they also want to take over the earth, so it really doesn't matter that they are a different race.
One cool thing is that this new race, the Ru'Tai, worship Wolverine. Apparently when he entered their dimension and carved up 100 N'Gari, it showed the slave caste that they can rise up.
So I kind of talked about this earlier, but we have two new writers in Steve Seagle and Joe Kelly. To be honest, I can't really tell them apart yet. Maybe I'll have more to say on them in the future. For now, you can tell that I'm not loving this. Kind of just trying to speed up until I get to Morrison. Or at least speed up until Excalibur breaks up and re-joins the team cuz that will be cool.
I thought I remembered liking Carlos Pacheco, but some of his art is so abstract that it's hard to follow what's happening. I wasn't a big fan of Joe Mad because I didn't like the manga stuff, but at least he had well defined manga. I think I would take that. This is just...blah.
What with all the fakeouts? Such a cheap writing trick. Rogue is having dreams about taking Wolverine's powers. Then someone takes his powers! Nah, it's Sauron. Eany and Meanie are out of control and then someone is killed in a similar way. Nah, it's the Ru'Tai.
Arguably, the character who gets the most character development is Cecilia Reyes. It appears as though she will be the new X-Men POV character. It was once Kitty, then Jubilee, now it's Cecilia. I like the character, so I guess they are succeeding. She's got a realistic view on life.
I love how she keeps calling Storm "sister" and Storm is like...umm, no. No, you don't call me "sister." I'll take Goddess.
There's also some weird dynamic going on between her and Beast. Like she "accidentally" hits on him in an earlier issue when Trish is in the house. Then a few issues later, they are spending time together as fellow doctors and he starts telling her how amazing she is. I'll stay on Ship Watch for the time being.
Storm and Wolverine
Once again, Storm and Wolverine are super close. This is a character interaction I am down with. Claremont had these two as best friends, and very likely fuck buddies. There was even an X-Men animated episode where they were married in an alternate reality, but since I'm in 1997 (or 98) and that hasn't happened yet, I'm guessing it was made up for the show. I'll moderately stay on Ship Watch, however I sincerely doubt they will ever actually get together.
Loved seeing W rip into Trish Tilby.
I actually liked the misdirect with Wolverine looking like he was going to take Marrow under his wing and then she stabs him and runs off. I mean, low blow by Marrow, but still I like it when I'm surprised. Doesn't happen too often anymore.
The writing isn't all bad. There is a cool scene where Wolverine's New Years Resolution is:
"Be the best there is that what I do, just as soon as I figure out just what that is"
Rogues keeps dreaming about wanting to touch people. She wakes up and talks to Storm about it and then keeps making up flimsy excuses to do it some more. I bet Gambit would let her.
This leads into her investigating whether she can get her powers removed. Pretty cool that this was a likely inspiration for the first X-Men live action movie.
I'm disappointed that Rogue is no longer serving in a leadership role. Lobdell had just broken up the teams and put in some leg work to make her the leader of the Uncanny squad, but now she's back to just being another one of the gang. Too bad.
We get a few Bishop scenes. Deathbird is still telling him that he's paralyzed and that all of the other X-Men are dead, but he's starting to suspect that she's lying to him. We know she's lying (or wrong) about the X-Men, so I'm guessing he's not really paralyzed. Also, I wonder if we'll keep checking in on him or if he'll just stop getting panels and we'll go a few years before hearing from him.
For whatever reason, Jean adopts the green Phoneix outfit again. Scott gets upset, but Jean says it has to do with conquering her past. It sure seems a little random to me. Like this could have been a good story 5 years ago. We're past the Phoenix stuff now. Although I guess she started calling herself Phoenix a few years ago. I kind of forgot about that because I stubbornly stick to calling her Jean. (Like I don't call Kitty Shadowcat).
Maggot’s real name is Japheth. That's not important, but where else should I share it!? I am pretty entertained by him constantly hitting on everyone.
Angel is struggling between his life with Psylocke vs his life with the X-Men. Will he re-join the team? I thought Psylocke joined the team last arc, but she's gone again so not sure what's up with these two.
Just send him back to X-Force already!