Uncanny X-Men # 360 - 361, X-Men V2 # 80 - 81, Gambit V3 # 1 - 4, X-Men Liberators # 1 - 4, X-Men Unlimited # 22
Alright, I just need to absolutely nerd out right at the top of this post. I've been bitching about this Seagle and Kelly era, but holy crap did I enjoy the return of the Excalibur characters!
I really don't know if I'm just a sucker for "the good old days" or if Joe Kelly (I think it's more him than Seagle) is doing some excellent writing, or if Ellis and Raab were terrible at writing Excalibur, or maybe the new characters (Maggot, Cecilia, Marrow, Cannonball) just weren't great...but whatever it is, I'm here for it.
Again, while i'm not sure of the cause for this awesomeness, these character pairings are pure gold! Wolverine has gone back into his Philosopher Logan persona (finally) giving Colossus endless shit and threatening Gambit over not breaking Rogue's heart.
Wolvie is immediately best friends with Kurt again.
He's immediately tight with Kitty. Wolverine's getting fucking fastball special's again, too! It's like Wolverine is brought back to life by his old friends being back and so am I!
We also get to see Storm and Kitty who seem to have transformed from a mother/daughter relationship to a pairing of mutual friends. Kitty starts immediately moving into a mentor role for Marrow, which I think is pretty cool. I just can't get enough of all this, bring it on!
Oh, and Gambit came back.
UXM # 360 & XM V2 # 80: Cerebro's X-Men
Writer - Steven Seagle (UXM), Joe Kelly (XM)
Pencils - Chris Bachalo (UXM), Brandon Peterson (XM)
Xavier (or is it Xavier) gathers a new XM
Mercury, Rapture, Landslide, Chaos, Crux, the grey king
We see a character who looks like Xavier gathering a new group of X-Men. I find it interesting that we just got rid rid of Maggot, Cecilia, and Cannonball and the result is to introduce a bunch of brand new characters at the same time we are bringing back some goodies. Regardless, these new characters are pretty lackluster and when I look them up, it seems that we'll never see any of them again so I guess they weren't intended to be big movers and shakers.
New XM attack Kitty, Kurt, and Col on a cruise ship
New XM claim to have been recruited by Xavier
Team meets with Val Cooper, the gov is looking for the XM because Peter Corbeau is missing
Storm, W, Rogue, Marrow
Kitty is kidnapped. Kurt and Col go to an empty mansion for help.
Cecilia is there with a shotgun
The Excalibur reunion is on hold for a little longer. It doesn't surprise me that Cecilia seems to be sticking around as a satellite character. I'm interested to see if that holds.
There is a rocket launch where some members of the gov want to track and kill mutants from space.
This will serve as the central conflict of this run, while also escalating tension between mutants and humans in a new way.
Fake Xavier uses Kitty to clean up a computer virus, then he says to store her by Corbeau
XM Vs Fake XM, Kurt and Col show up
Marrow saves Rogue from an alligator? Yea.
This was pretty ridiculous and I loved it.
Kitty finds Corbeu in a sewer
Awesome team picture on page 19
The real XM save Kitty from the fake XM at the shuttle
Kitty phases the XM so they don’t burn up when the rocket takes off.
Rogue absorbs Col, NC, and W
It's been a while since we've seen super Rogue and I'm here for it!
Yes! A fastball special!
Rocket stopped. Fake Xavier is Cerebro?!
Xavier certainly was acting different and now he's exposed as a fake. Somehow, Cerebro has turned into a different form of a being and is slightly nefarious.
UXM # 361 & XM # 81: The Return of Gambit
Writer - Steven Seagle (UXM), Joe Kelly (XM)
Pencils - Steve Skroce (UXM), Andy Kubert (XM)
Storm and Kitty meet Black Tom in South Korea
A second gem of Cyttorak leached Juggs power.
Gambit helps Storm and Kitty
Rogue sneaking out looking for Gambit
This is a pretty powerful scene where Wolverine finds Rogue sneaking out in the middle of the night. Apparently she's been doing that for a while looking for Gambit. This is nice setup for his impending return.
W took Piotr’s room, but now he’s moving outside
I guess Wolverine didn't mind giving his room back up again and will spend some time outside again.
Marrow steals Col’s sketchbook to see a picture of Kitty.
Kitty and Colossus being shipped again?
I think Colossus stumbles across Marrow secretly finding females attractive.
This seems like a pretty big point, which I hope isn't quickly dropped, but fear that it will be.
Everyone but marrow in the danger room
Rogue finds Gambit by the dock. He’s charging cards and almost blows off his hand due to excitement and distraction
Philosopher Logan is back and lecturing Gambit about earning his second chance and not breaking young girl’s hearts.
Storm makes a crack to Col about Kitty being available again.
Rogue takes G to Boston for a chat.
They are trying, roughly, to make up
She says she loves him, he can’t say it. She flies off, mad but it looks like they have made up.
Some demon, Kali, blows up a building
R and G destroy her
Nope, not dead. She takes over Gambit.
Rogue tries to rekindle things with Gambit, but he turns her away.
X-Men Unlimited # 22: Dead Rats
Writer - Brian K Vaughn
Pencils - Patrick Gleason
Marrow puts a dead rat on Kitty’s pillow
Marrow saw terrorists in the subway
Storm, Rogue, Gambit, Col to subway
NC, Kitty, Marrow, W going underground
Kitty: “Kurt, if you don’t mind I’ll go with Marrow down the five. I’d hate to split up you and your drinking buddy. “
Kitty trying to mentor Marrow. M obsessed with K’s beauty. K almost calls M pretty.
Kitty was gonna sacrifice herself by phasing a bomb, but Marrow knocks her out, stabs Flagsmasher through the shoulder, and walks away trusting that he will diffuse the bomb. He does.
I've become far less interested in X-Men Unlimted lately, but this is a pretty good one! This picks right back up with the return of the Excalibur characters. We see even more light shined on Marrow's obsession with Kitty being cute, but Kitty can charm anyone and starts to take her under her wing.
Gambit V3 # 1 - 4
Writer - Fabian Nicieza
Pencils - Steve Skroce
My summary is simply "Gambit doing random thievery for The New Son, who saved him in Antarctica."
I'm going to be honest, I read the first issue and then stopped, being ok with only reading Issue summaries. Let's dissect why I didn't enjoy this experience. First, I really disliked the first two Gambit Limited Series. I just found the plots to be boring and Gambit's personality wasn't carrying it for me.
Second, you all know I struggle with solo character stories as I've found it very difficult to get through Wolverine. Luckily, I've enjoyed Cable's for the most part (other than the last 15 issues or so). So maybe I just really enjoy team dynamics and solo stories don't grip me as much. Or maybe it's because I'm more interested in things that move the plot and prime character developments forward, and the solo series' often don't do that unless they are part of a larger event. Maybe this is also why I liked Cable more, since Domino was a part of it too and I was fascinated by their pairing...and she left 15 issues ago and I've been less interested. Interesting...
Third, I'm not the biggest fan of Gambit. I certainly don't dislike him, but I've never been pulled into his orbit like so many others have. He is not as interesting of a character to me as he's supposed to be. So a solo story focusing on him, diving into random topics that I barely care about just doesn't cut it for me. However, I do plan on reading Gambit # 5 to see if the next arc captures me or not.
X-Men Liberators # 1 - 4
Writer - Joe Harris
Pencils - Phil Jimenez
Col, W, and NC head to Russia
They discover a Soviet base with mutant children prisoners.
One of them has a death touch. Logan believed dead.
Omega Red is summoned to defend the camp.
OR is beaten, the boys mom kills his son, XM save the rest of the children.
Feel free to skip this one.
This arc has Claremont-level exposition to go with these Claremontian relationships.
My notes simply say "Andy Kubert! Steve Skroce?!" I'm ready to move past Bachalo (sorry hard core X-Men fans) as Kubert and Skroce seem to represent a return to the post Image and pre-manga time period, which I happened to like.
With Cyclops in Alaska, Storm is the unquestioned leader of the team. This naturally open her up for more character moments than she's had in 7 years.
I love that someone needed to give Colossus a hard time. The dude turned on the X-Men and became a villain, so yea, I'm glad Wolverine didn't get over it, at least before getting two cents in.
We also have Philosopher Logan back and lecturing Gambit about earning his second chance and not breaking young girl’s hearts.
I wasn't sure how Nightcrawler would fit in, but it seems like he is content to defer to Storm as Team Leader where she seems comfortable to put him in charge of specific away missions.
It's also so great to see him and Wolverine immediately snap back to being best buds.
Kitty back to her amazing joke cracking and precociousness! Here's one example, granted not the best example.
Kitty throwing knives near W’s head while talking about whether G should be staying at the mansion or not.
He gives her a hard time about Pete Wisdom. She doesn’t like it and throw it right back in his face about marrying Viper (which happened in a recent Wolverine solo issue)?
Fuck yes, I love their connection.
They seem to be continuing the potential Kitty shipping that started in Excalibur. I'm perfectly fine if they don't get back together, but it could be alright if they do. I'm just happy he's fitting in more.
Marrow is continuing to be an interesting character. As mentioned earlier, I like her budding relationship with Kitty. She's also developed a nice rapport with Storm after they hated each other.
It looks like her 5 minutes of being team leader is over, but that's ok because she's still holding onto the maturity that she showed. I'm not a big fan of how quick she's falling back in with Gambit, but I actually appreciate that there are still a few things in their way.
He's back and that's ok.