X-Men Unlimited # 27, X-Men Black Sun, Magik, X-Men Annual Vol 2 (2000)
X-Men Unlimited # 27: Enter Thunderbird
Plot - Chris Claremont
Script - Joe Pruett
Pencils - Brett Booth & Ron Lim
Jean and Cable pick up Neal Shaara to take him to Muir Island
Neal’s brother is missing
Karima rescues Neal from street thugs
Sanjit (brother) is a prime sentinel
Karima transformed into an Omega Sentinel. Neil awakened
Sanjit saves Neal. Karima tells him to run before she turns on him.
Even though Thunderbird (Neal Shaara) had appeared prior to this, I'm starting here since he's brand spanking new and this is his origin story. Like Maggot, he's a flirter. You all know I like new characters, but I haven't really seen much to make me like or dislike him so far. I was more excited to meet Karima for the first time since she has a pretty big role in the early days of Krakoa.
Plot - Chris Claremont
Script - Len Wein, Roy Thomas, Louise Simonson
Pencils - Thomas Derenick, Karl Waller, Alitha Martinez, Pablo Raimondi
Kitty fights a N’Gari in the danger room
While Kitty naps, Belasco sets up a fever dream
The N’Garai have killed most of the X-Men, ravaging the world
Belasco used Kitty to make a bloodstone (or something like that), still trying to bring back the Elder Gods
Magik comes back and Belasco teleports away
The N’Garai pour into Limbo
Cc/Len Wein/ TD
Belasco possesses Banshee, Sunfire, NC, Storm, and Colossus to capture
Polaris, IM, Beast, Phoenix, AA
Betsy riding with Neal Shaara, the latest X-Man. The new Thunderbird
AA gets jealous
The possessed Storm fails to capture AA but the Ru’Tai succeeds
CC/Roy Thomas/Karl Waller
Magik and Thunderbird preparing. Saves Betsy
Sunfire and Banshee ( possessed New XM) attack Iceman and W in Genosha
A Ru’Tai stops Banshee from killing Magneto
The N’Gari are after Lorna
Lorna encases her body in a metal shell
The N’Gari steal the souls of IM and Lorna
CC/Louise simonson/Alitha Martinez
W and Thunderbird mowing down N’Gari in Limbo
Magik is capturing the original 5 in her soul sword
Jean doesn’t have Telekinesis
Kitty and Magik trick Belasco, New X-Men are freed. They win fighting alongside W, Thunderbird, and Jean.
Magik was Amanda Sefton
Black Sun: Colossus and Nightcrawler
“Psylocke developed robust telekinetic powers, a result of a powerset exchange with Jean Grey, who in turn acquired Psylocke's telepathy. Without fine control over her new telekinetic abilities, she rejoined the X-Men to refine her skills, being immediately attracted to new member Thunderbird.”
I'm not going to lie, this was definitely more of a "skim," than a read. I hold a grudge that Magik returned, yet it's not Illyana. I know she'll come back eventually so I'm ready for it to be sooner rather than later. I did really get into the Illyana and Belasco story and felt disappointed we never got a resolution to the elder gods thing, but this just wasn't a great story. The biggest thing of note was that Psylocke and Jean swapped powers.
Magik...but not Illyana :(
Writer - Dan Abnett
Pencils - Liam Sharp
Magik and NC fight off Nightmare and Dormammu in Limbo
Magik sides with Dormammu.
The dark void enters Mephisto’s Hades
Many various demons band together, including D’Spayre
The void was a server on earth. NC destroys it.
Definitely less of a skim and more of a synopsis for me. No Illyana, no effort!
X-Men Annual vol 2 # 2000: Lady Deathstrike with the Golden Heart
Writer - Chris Claremont
Pencils - Scott Eaton
Humans transforming after getting an e-mail from Bastion
I can't decide whether I like that Bastion keeps coming back or if I'm annoyed by it. Either way, we stayed away at the end and this was a well written story so I'm ok with it.
Rogue and Betsy race, but Betsy’s power craps out.
Rogue is leader!?
I guess Rogue is the leader now!? I like when she was leader for a hot second last year so let's see where this goes.
Lady Deathstrike appears looking for help
Prime sentinels attack
Betsy has a telekinetic knife. Lost shadow slipping
W willing to get fried by TB but doesn’t. Goes feral.
Forge is there. So is Dani as a Sorcerer’s apprentice?
I love me some Dani. Fun fact, my wife is currently pregnant and it was a girl we were going to with Dani (Also inspired by Danaerys), but it's a boy so that fun thought is over.
Tessa (Sage) defected
TB playing cricket
Talks about his love, Karmina Shapander. A prime sentinel who wants to kill him. That’s why he hides in the USA
Rogue seeing if she can reform Lady Deathstrike.
This whole turning villains into heroes thing is a cool trope but I may be getting sick of it?
Stryfe is the real villain, not Bastion.
The only person to use telekinesis the way I would
He’s powerful as fuck
Beaten by Psylocke not thinking, lol
If Stryfe is going to come back, it needs to be a bigger deal. They keep using him as sparingly and "one offy" as D'Spayre or the Impossible Man.
My Connections and Creators
I'm going to remind my readers of why I started this journey in the first place. It was 2019 and I decided to jump on board with HoxPox. I really enjoyed the stories, but there was just sooo many references I didn't get.
One of my thoughts was...who the fuck is this Sage person who everyone is treating like a core member of the team. Then I looked her up and found out she was Tessa, someone I did know. This is one of the many references that inspired me to go back to the very beginning and document my experience along the way. I knew one day I would get to the point where Tessa became a good guy and value it more, having recently read about her with the Hellfire Club and knowing this status would change. Sooooo that happened and I perked up and got pretty excited. Throw in that it was actually Claremont who did this and I got even more excited.
I felt similarly to Karmina. Not as as strong of an influence on me, but she came across as a pretty important villain that everyone knew but me. I wasn't expecting her to pop up here so when she did, it led to a second time I perked up and got excited.
Wow, Chris Claremont is back. This is really huge. I keep reaching out to other fellow bloggers and nerds to learn more about what it was like back in the day. Seems like the drumbeat and excitement was through the roof. Unfortunately I know it was kind of a flop, but I am prepared to go through it and make my own judgement.
These stories are told directly before Revolution (the 6 month gap), but after Claremont comes back.
So far the stories are average, but I like that Rogue is leader, Psylocke is back to being relevant, we have a new character in Thunderbird, his favorites like Dani and Forge are being pigeon holed in, and of course making new twists on old friends like Tessa.
I also want to call bullshit on Mr. Claremont. I've read a lot of interviews by him, and he constantly says that he didn't bother to read X-Men by other authors after he left. Well, bull fucking shit. You can already tell that he's continuing some themes from Lobdell and others. I'm going to hold off on providing specific examples since my best ones come from the next story arc, but this is something I'll be tracking.
Black Sun Scripters!
Len Wein, Roy Thomas, and Louise Simonson all appeared as guest scripters on X-Men: Black Sun. I just love this. I recently got a new job as a "big shot" at a new company. I had about 17 openings to fill and I literally just went around to my favorite people from past companies and brought them on board with me here. Come one over, the water's warm. This is how I envision a phone call went with Wheezy: "Hey Wheezy, I know you hate Marvel, but I'm going back to the X-Men and it's gonna be a blast. Want to come back and write a story with me for the hell of it?"
New Leader of the Team
Fabulous without Gambit
Brand new to the team (and Marvel Universe)
Flirting with everyone, including Psylocke
Psylocke is back after an extended absence on the sidelines
She no longer has telepathy and is currently a novice telekenetic after swapping with Jean.
She's 16 again (after Warren Ellis made her 18 so she could date Pete Wisdom)
Claremont seems to be leaning into her ninja side.
She is fighting with one of Wolverine's old bone claws, tapping into Age of Apocalypse vibes.
Nightcrawler, Colossus, Beast
Isn't getting a lot of attention so far.
Being pushed back into relevancy.
Manifesting Phoenix shapes.