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191: Claremont Returns

What’s Covered?

X-Men Unlimited # 27, X-Men Black Sun, Magik, X-Men Annual Vol 2 (2000)

Roster Watch


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

  • Flashback

    • 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.

Black Sun

Plot - Chris Claremont

Script - Len Wein, Roy Thomas, Louise Simonson

Pencils - Thomas Derenick, Karl Waller, Alitha Martinez, Pablo Raimondi

  • 1

  • CC/Thomas Derenick

  • 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

  • 2

  • 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

  • 3

  • 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

  • 4

  • 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

  • 5

  • Cc/Pablo Raimondi

  • 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.[119] 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.

  • NC arguing

  • Tessa (Sage) defected

Hey Tesssssaaaa.

  • 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

Krakoa Thoughts

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.

Claremont Returns

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?"


  • Rogue

    • New Leader of the Team

    • Fabulous without Gambit

  • Thunderbird

    • Brand new to the team (and Marvel Universe)

    • Flirting with everyone, including Psylocke

  • 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.

  • Kitty

    • 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.

  • Jean

    • Being pushed back into relevancy.

    • Manifesting Phoenix shapes.

My Rating- 7/10


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