UXM # 244 - 250 (Jan - Oct '89), Havok and Wolverine Meltdown Limited Series
UXM # 244: The gals go shopping
Writer - Chris Claremont
Pencils - Marc Silvestri
After Inferno, you just know we're going to get a classic slow issue. This time, the girls decide to go shopping! It is kind of cool to see them as Divas, strutting around all confident and beautiful.
This scene isn't making any sort of impact on larger continuity, but it was one that pulls on the drawstrings. The girls con Storm into going on-stage with a male stipper and she just totally goes with it, dancing it up.
And if the girls are in a mall, which super hero do we associate with mall's?! That's right, Jubilee! Woo hoo! We see her as a Chinese-American, South Californian Valley girl who ran away from home and is living at the mall. We see her entertaining with her fireworks and constantly running away from mall cops.
Speaking of mall cops, here she is running away from them and showing off her gymnastics skills. I never really thought of her as being terribly athletic, but you learn something new every day. If she's going to be a super hero, then she better naturally be pretty athlethic somehow.
Jubilee is chased by the M Squad, a group of humans who first showed up during Inferno, hunting mutants like the Ghostbusters. The X-Girls help her (without knowing it) and then at the end she follows them through the gate (without them realizing it). The portal lingered for a while and I think it's being implied that Gateway wanted her to come through, that all knowing demon!
UXM # 245: The silliest of silly
Writer - Chris Claremont
Pencils - Rob Leifeld
If you thought Claremont couldn't get any sillier than Excalibur, then you haven't read this issue yet. I don't know if I'm too serious of a guy or something, but I have trouble enjoying these issues. Perhaps it's because I'm reading every issue and covering it, so an entire issue without major devlopments makes me feel like a waste of time. I don't know, but while this was 100% intended to be more of a comedy filler, and I giggled a bit, I'm just going to zip through it in my coverage.
So basically the theme of this issue is that aliens land with the intention of taking over the earth. However, throughout the issue no one takes them seriously and they end up giving up. For instance, at one point the alien threatens a mayor and he says something like "You can be in charge, this job was too stressfull anyway!"
One thing that cracked me up was that their evil plot was to deploy the "Jean Bomb." Haha, what better way to destroy society than to send out a bunch of naked Jean's to mess up everyone's life! Also, I believe this entire issue is mocking DC events. For instance, one of their alien invasion plotlines utilized a "gene bomb."
While the last issue featured a girls day out, the backdrop of this issue is a boy's night out. Oh and Colossus is wearing skin colored makeup over his metal so he could go out, courtesy of Dazz.
Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown
Rather than give a full breakdown, I'm just going to cover a few important points.
Meltdown is a 4 Issue Limited Series featuring Wolverine and Meltdown. To make a long story short, Wolverine and Havok play buddy cop as a pair of Russian scientists/operatives, who are also responsible for Chernobyl, try to use Havok's powers towards their ultimate evil ends. A bunch of shenanigans ensue and ultimately our heroes save the day.
The art in this series is very different, as they go with a quite unique "painted art" style that you're not going to find too often in the comics world. While you'll probably find many people out there raving about the art, I am probably just not cultured enough to enjoy it. It's so abstract that I just have a really hard time following the story.
For some reason, poor Alex Summers keeps getting played the fool by various woman. Polaris turns evil when taken over by Malice, Madelyn turned him into the Goblin Prince when she went evil during Inferno, there is a short story in Marvel Comics Presents called "Pharoah's Legacy" where this happens, and then in this story there is a Russian agent who uses him similarly. Poor guy.
One big thing worth pointing out here is that these two guys seem to develop a bromance. This is quite important to the larger story because I had been tracking how Wolverine seemed to not like him, constantly giving him a hard time and making comments about how he's not as good as his older brother. This seems to be a turning point in their relationship and you see how they are closer after this. I suppose it doesn't matter much because Claremont is in the process of dismantling the X-Men and both characters are bout to go on big absences. I also know that Havok won't stay with the X-Men as he'll go onto lead the new iteration of X-Factor (I actually know stuff about the 90's era!)
UXM # 246-247: Nimrod, Master Mold, and the Siege Perilous
Writer - Chris Claremont
Pencils - Marc Silvestri
So this is very weird to me. Ever since Nimrod came to our time, he's unsure what he should be doing, so he's spending some time doing good deeds. I'm pretty sure he ends up being THE VILLAIN so this is a very different place for him.
Shaw and Senator Robert Kelly (Remember him? The anti-mutant Senator running for President who was saved during Days of Future Past) are discussing the creation of a Nimrod. I still don't understand what is up with Shaw. Magneto's right that he's definitely an asshole who doesn't care at all about the future of mutants.
Ok. What the FUCK is this!? I only showed one panel here but Wolverine and Storm are walking around half naked in one of their rooms and at one point Storm has her hands on his shoulders. Are these two banging!? I feel like such an idiot a few blogs back talking about how they were just holding hands because they were good friends, and since then they've been making out and now walking around naked with each other. I don't believe they ever officially get together, but is that what we're seeing here!? I'm so confused and thrown for a loop.
Also, Storm sees his eye patch that Wolverine uses while in Madripoor when going by the alias "Patch."
Master Mold pops back up again, using a construction site to re-build himself. .
Rogue, while fighting Master Mold (and wearing a Ms. Marvel outfit) gets slammed into a car carrying Senator Kelly and his new bride. She goes back into the car to save Rogue.
Senator Kelly's wife is killed by Master Mold, trying to save Rogue. You just know that's not going to help his anti-mutant views.
Another thing that happens here is that Master Mold absorbs Nimrod and Nimrod's unique programming starts messing with Master Mold.
All of the X-Men show up and combine to fight Master Mold.
Picking up on a plotline from X-Factor (covered in 45: X-Factor 12 - 16 (The Fall of an Angel)), Master Mold is looking for mutants who fall into the category of "The Twelve." In my last blog I said: "Apparently there are 12 mutants in existence who have the power to lead mutankind to victory over the humans and it is his mission to eliminate them. We are shown Cyclops, Jean, Storm, Apocalypse, and Franklin Richards, but there are still 7 unidentified at this point." So this picks back up with another member of the Twelve, Storm!
Jubilee is still hanging out at the headquarters, bored.
Master Mold is able to start using Nimrod's improvisational skills and it isn't going well for the team. He also re-built himself after being destroyed. Ut Oh.
Rogue goes into Super X-Men mode by taking Colossus's steel body and Longshot's luck.
Master Mold is punched into the Siege Perilous, but was Rogue too close?
Dazz uses her light powers to dislodge Master Mind, but this sends Rogue through the Siege Perilous. She disappears here and she still hasn't re-appeared as of my current reading (#267). In other words, she's about to start a seriously long absence, which is crazy for such a crucial member of the team. I know she's not dead though because she'll back for the 90's reboot.
Senator Kelly tells Shaw they can build the Nimrod. Ut oh Shaggy.
UXM # 248: Say Goodbye to Longshot
Writer - Chris Claremont
Pencils - Jim Lee
While we don't get into the Reavers too much in the arcs I'm covering here, this is where we get the first introduction to the full Reavers team. It's basically a collection of all the Cyborg's we've seen throughout the X-Men comics, led by Hellfire Club castoff Donald Pierce. His lieutenant (and lover?) is Lady Deathstrike, who we first saw in #205 as a solo Wolverine story (as covered in 41: UXM 205 - 209 (Bye Rachel)). We also have the three remaining Reavers who got away (Bonebreaker, Skullbuster, Pretty Boy) in #228 (as covered in 52: UXM 228-234 (The X-Men Down Under)). Finally, we have the three former Hellfire Club Goons who were carved up by Wolverine during the Dark Phoenix Saga (Reese, Cole, Macon) and put together with bionic parts. They all seem to have a hatred for Wolverine, but we'll get to that in the future.
Longshot has a long dream where he's tortured by past loves. In this dream, Richochet Rita, who we first met in Longshot's Limited Series (covered in (28: X-Men Miniseries), turns into Spiral. And this absolutely blows my mind! Is this why she always mentions that her grudge against Longshot is personal?! Is this why she freaked out when fighting him last worried that he's "remembering and acting different?" Is Spiral Richochet Rita!? She must be! Great twis, Marvel. I didn't catch that one but should have.
After the dream (or maybe during it, it was a bit confusing), Longshot announces that he needs to leave to find himself. Literally, he has no memories before he was pooped out of a portal during one of the New Mutants Annuals (I'm too lazy to look up the exact one, but it was the same one where Psylocke was introduced). This was supposed to lead to a mini series focused on Longshot, but it never came to be. This is pretty much the end of him as an X-Man.
First all, Nanny again, seriously. I'm so done with Nanny. Nanny and Orphan Maker are attacking the X-men at home. Not sure how she found them.
Also, we see Psylocke looking hot and wearing skimpy clothes. You know what that means? Jim Lee is here!!! Psylocke is still a British chick at the moment, but soon she'll turn into the hot Japanese ninja and Jim Lee will have a field day.
Punching and kicking...
Nanny is the first person to run into Jubilee as she tries to steal some food and Jubilee uses her gymnastics skills to evade Nanny and even land Nanny on her back like a turtle.
Havok unleashes on Nanny's ship. He's probably as annoyed by her as I am, but he accidentally catches Storm in the blast.
So we're led to believe Storm is dead. I didn't believe this one for a minute, but the team does believe she's dead for quite some time. Also, she doesn't appear in her normal adult incarnation for years of publishing, so I guess this is significant.
UXM # 249-250: Polaris and Friends in the Savage Land
Writer - Chris Claremont
Pencils - Marc Silvestri
Longshot is off on a soul searching mission, Rogue is in the Siege Perilous (I still don't know what happened to her), Storm is "dead," and Wolverine is on sabbatical (even though that's not indicated here).
Lorna calls the X-Men, and specifically Alex looking for help. Supposedly she is more in charge than Malice at the moment.
With Wolverine gone and Storm "dead," Psylocke takes over as leader. I must say that this seems pretty natural to me. She's also been shown as being responsible and confident, so I can easily buy this. I also like that Claremont specifically calls this point out so that we don't miss it. They also agree to help Lorna and that's where the next two issues will take us.
A bunch of medieval guys on pterodacyls show up and kidnap Polaris. Spoilers, they are from the Savage Land.
It turns out that Lorna was kidnapped by Zaladane, who is supposedly Lorna's sister. Lorna Dane, Zaladane...why not? I didn't remember her at all, but a little internet sleuthing reminds me that she was the priestess with Garokk and even filled in as the assistant to the High Evolutionary when he was in the Savage Land.
Zaladane successfully steals the powers from Polaris. While I'm sure she'll get those back eventually (she hasn't yet), this is a convenient way for her to have Malice expunged from her psyche. The Marauders are out and the Reavers are in, so it makes sense to take care of this loose end.
The X-Men are temporarily brainstormed and since we're in the Savage Land, we better show Ka-Zar and Colossus's old girlfriend and his bastard son (not confirmed?)
Eventually the X-Men get their minds back, put up a fight, and turn everything around. Polaris ends up getting powers, but not magnetism. I'm still not entirely sure what's happening with her, but she keeps getting bigger and stronger for some reason.
I'm not sure what the hell Chris Claremont is up to. The X-Men title did follow suit of the other titles (New Mutants, X-Factor, and Excalibur) by slowing things down considerably after Inferno (which I think is mostly a mistake), but luckily they didn't create a single drawn out storyline that took place across 1989. Unless, of course, you consider disbanding the X-Men to be the theme! I will give credit where credit is due and say that outside of a few super silly issues (244 - 245), the stories are actually pretty good (unlike the other 3 X-Titles).
This run, and continued into the next blog I will cover, shows the splitting up of the X-Men as we know them. Wolverine goes on leave (leaving his solo comic more open to play around), Longshot decides to go soul searching and pretty much leaves the X-Men comic for good, Rogue gets sucked into the Siege Perilous (and won't show up again for a long time), and Storm seemingly dies (which I didn't get sad about at all because I KNEW that wouldn't stick). The next batch of issues shows the remaining team members also going into the Siege Perilous, but we'll save that for next time.
One more important thing to note is that Jim Lee has his first debut on an X-Men title with Issue #248. I'm going to have a LOT to say about Jim Lee as we inch closer to the 90's artists rebirth, but I'll keep my commentary to a few points here. If you've been a faithful follower of mine up to now, you probably notice that I rarely comment on the art unless I don't like it. I've been very focused on story up until now, but that is going to change. I never realized how important the art is until I start seeing some really great art. Todd McFarlane, Whilce Portacio, Rob Leifeld, and of course Jim Lee really revolutionized comic book art and it's crazy how much more I enjoy the comic I'm reading when these guys start showing up. My reading is a bit ahead of this so I've started to dip into it a bit (and obviously am getting very excited), but I'll leave my full commentary until we officially get there.
In addition to Jim Lee making his debut with Issue #248, another 90's star, Rob Leifeld (X-Force, Cable, Deadpool creator), made his debut with #245. I'll have a lot more to say on Mr. Leifeld in future coverage and while I don't think he is the most steady voice, I do happen to agree with the following comment he made on his of his Robservation podcasts:
"Comics were boring. Even Marc Silvestri, he will admit, he got bored. And from where I looked, Marc had done the book for like 4 or 5 books. And it’s not a job, you leave. It was the best selling book in comics. Even the writer had been on it for 15 years. You don’t think he’s burned out? It was like ‘Hey the X-Men girls go shopping and then the next issue, the guys go to the mall.’ And I was thinking this isn’t the stuff I grew up with. Where’s Magneto, where’s the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, where’s the stuff that’s going to psych me out?”
With all this pessimism, I buried the lede! We see the introduction to Jubilee! I was never a big fan of Jubilee, but nor did I dislike her. However, she was a major character in the 90's comic series and the 91 Jim Lee X-Men re-launch (which is the next thing I'm getting excited to get to), so she will always be a member of "my X-Men" which makes it super exciting to get her introduction. I think Gambit is the only one left that we haven't met yet, and he's right around the corner as well.
On the villain side, we get an introduction of the Reavers (under the leadership of cyborg Donald Pierce) who seems to be the "Big Bad" team threatening the X-Men, like the Marauders were the last few years. We get some classic villains like Master Mold and Nimrod showing up, and for some dumb reason more Nanny and Orphan Maker. I just saw that Nanny and Orphan Maker are part of the brand new Hellions roster, lol and I can't imagine why they would do that. However, that was a shining example of why I am going through this journey. When future comics decide to pull obscure characters from the past, I'll be ready to go!
Checkin' in with Rogue
Rogue is really struggling with the Carol Danvers personality. Here she's pissed that Carol re-decorated her room while she was in control of the body.
Storm really puts her in her place, and I love it. She's basically like "You murdered someone. This is the price you are paying for it. Now you need to live with it!"
Rogue as Carol pays her respects to fellow fallen comrades. This is also Claremont paying his respects to his dead Ms. Marvel comic.
Here we get a little extra information from her time in Genosha. I had speculated that she was raped and she clarifies that she wasn't, but it was still terrible. Poor girl.
My Rating - 1/10
Next up we'll check in with the New Mutants while they piss away 1989 in Asgard.
Previous Post - 61: Excalibur 8 - 17 (The Cross-Time Caper)
Next Post - 63: New Mutants # 77-80, 81 - 86 (Asgard Again)