UXM # 273 - 277
UXM # 273: The best "slow issue" ever
Writer - Claremont
Here the central question is raised, "What do we do next? " I LOVE how both Jean and Scott are representing X-Factor. Scott knows better than to pretend like he's going to make this decision alone.
Love this pinup of the whole crew! So many awesome characters!
How fricken cool is this!? The team is looking at all of the active villains they still have to deal with throughout the worlds. In case you can't read it there The Hand, Masque's Morlocks, The Hellfire Club, The Reavers, Zaldayne, and Genosha.
A lot to dig into here.
First, Storm is saying that the mistake she made is splitting up the X-Men. This is really Claremont apologizing. He wanted to try something different so he split up the team, sent just about everyone through the Siege Perilous, and focused on secondary characters. Well the result is that sales dropped a bit and now he's fighting with Jim Lee to keep creative control over the comic.
Also, Cable is arguing that he should be the leader of all the team's but mom and dad aren't having it.
Just some good philosophical arguing.
Here's Claremont speaking through Storm again. Maybe it was wrong to move the X-Men to Australia off the beaten path. I think this goes in line with the quote from Simonson i keep talking about where creators shouldn't take their heroes too far out of their comfort zone for too long.
Storm pointing out that while Cable might not be great, he was there for the new Mutants while neither of them were.
Maybe Cable is right?
You're going to see a lot of talk about Xavier's dream this issue. That's because the man is coming back.
Cannonball and Archangel having a little aerial battle, yes please.
Gambit's all like "Alright Chere, you ready to get back to thieving?" But no, she has responsibilities.
Psylocke hasn't told her brother that she's alive, or that she's asian now. This is a pretty thin excuse, but at least it's addressed.
Wolverine and Gambit are having a fun little ruckus.
Gambit actually beats Wolverine, reminding us that Wolverine is not fully healthy. I'm not sure why this makes Jubilee cry.
Jean goes in Cerebro and gets assaulted by the Shadow King. She's getting beaten down until Psylocke shows up and bails her out.
Storm is talking about about putting to to a vote whether they keep fighting, but a bunch of the team puts on the new X-Men uniform, showing her where they stand. Now we know Storm is going to lead a new iteration of the X-Men which includes her thieving buddy Gambit, the Bromance of Forge and Banshee, and the Madripoor Trio of Wolverine, Jubilee, and Psylocke,
Scott's getting the itch to re-join the X-Men and his time will come soon, but not yet.
Just more fun dialogue.
Lila shows up and zaps this new X-Men squad into space to save Xavier.
Xavier in Space
First of all, Lila isn't dead! We thought she sacrificed herself all the back in 50: NM 62 - 70 (The SpyderSam Chronicles).
The team is entangled by some sort of power inhibiting vines as soon as Lila teleports them in.
It appears as though Lila is working for an excellently drawn Deathbird and brought the X-Men here on her behalf.
The Starjammers, including Xavier and Lilandra show up, however I'm not sure where Carol (Binary) is.
Deathbird not expecting the Starjammers. Jubilee realizes that her vines are immune to her powers, but she can use her powers to free Wolverine, which sends him in a battle with Deathbird.
Deathbird ends up beating Wolverine (we're reminded that he's still not a full strength, something that will be waived away during the re-launch) and he ends up being torn through with a spear.
Look at this battle scene between the X-Men, Starjammers, and the Imperial Guard (still loyal to Deathbird).
We've been seeing that this guy "The Warlord" has been with the Starjammers kicking ass and he is revealed as Professor Xavier.
This marks the official return of Lilandra to the throne of the Shi'ar Empire!
This could be a happy moment, but not all is as it seems.
Gambit and Jubilee sneak off and are watching Gladiator, Xavier, and Deathbird from a secret location.
Gladiator appears to be brainwashed by Xavier and is holding Deathbird.
Yo! Xavier is evil or something! Gladiator pulls off Deathbird's wings! Crazy!
Gambit, showing his true colors as a hero, breaks out and attacks Gladiator, realizing that Deathbird is the victim here who deserves help.
Storm notices that Wolverine seems to be acting weird. What does he sense?
Wolverine goes berserk and kills Xavier!
Psylocke responds by giving Logan her psychic knife.
Lila busts Deathbird free and they escape.
Eventually the truth comes out. A bunch of key characters here are actually war skrulls in disguise. The Starjammers and Xavier for sure and they seem to be able to take the powers of the person they are replacing, allowing the fake Xavier to take over the minds of some, like Guardian and Lilandra herself.
We see that most of the X-Men are held hostage, Psylocke is being mind controlled, and Jubilee is going to be added to this creepy web.
Storm, Banshee, Forge, and other are out in space working with Deathbird trying to make things right.
Fake Xavier confronts real Xavier.
The free X-Men take over the Skrull Starjammers.
In a cool little attack, Gambit uses the entire deck to attack Guardian (who is mind controlled at the moment).
Eventually the Skrull are defeated, and Lilandra points out that they were able to be successful because of the civil war between sisters. In an incredibly thin plot point, Deathbird claims that she was growing to hate being Empress and is happy to let Lilandra run the galaxy again. This really seems out of character for her, but I guess she's getting a little redemption arc here.
Xavier connects minds and realizes that the Shadow King is the "big bad" back home and he needs to leave Lilandra and come home once and for all. This sets us up for his return and for him to once again be leading the X-Men for the line-wide re-launch.
While all this was going on in space, another equally important story was unfolding in the Savage Land. We're introduced to the idea that Zaldayne has been setting up a bunch of structures around the world, getting ready to amplify her new magnetic energy to take over or destroy the world.
Our heroes for this story will be Rogue who is powerless and still in the Savage Land, Magneto who is going bad and used to rule here and of course Ka-Zar because he has to show up if you're in the Savage Land. All beautifully drawn, of course.
Zaldayne sends her mutate army after Magneto, ironically the same creatures Magneto created way back in X-Men # 62.
Magneto is quick to dispatch and then torture the creatures, however Rogue argues for him to spare them. She is operating as his conscience and for now he listens to her.
Rogue still doesn't have her power back.
There is some AMAZING character work in this arc. Magneto is the narrator throughout. Here he is talking about he notices the same zeal in Zaldayne that he used to feel. He's not sure anymore who is right, but he does know that she would do damage to mutants that he is sworn to protect if he does nothing, so he will stop her.
Woah. What's this. Some romance brewing between Rogue and Magneto. I'm going to make a bunch of snarky comments here. First, "they were both villains." Second, "they've both become rather sexy with Rogue going from an ugly older villain to a younger sex thang and Magnus becoming daddy Magneto." Third, they are both rocking the grey hair." Fourth, who is the other he is claims to be pledged to? Lee Forrester? It's been so long since we've seen her, why even bring her up now?
Zaldayne gets the upper hand in their first duel.
Rogue and Ka-Zar battle.
Nick Fury and Shield show up to even the odds.
There is a Soviet with Fury who's son died on the soviet ship that Magneto killed (covered in 13: UXM 149 - 153 (It’s Kitty’s World and We’re all Just Living in it) ).
More closeness between these two.
Rogue's belief in Magneto gives him strength and he decides to work with Shield and trust again.
Look at this badass art as Magneto is flying with Shield. Unfortunately, the Soviet operative decides to fire on Magneto from the chopper right before Zaldayne shows up, creating a shitshow and removing any trust Magneto had.
Magneto is captured and tortured by Zaldayne. I believe she is trying to steal his powers too, but she is failing due to his strong will. He is reliving all of his painful memories.
Rogue gets her powers back. Thank God. I was not in the mood for another prolonged powerless character.
Zaldayne is defeated and Magneto is trying to decide whether he kills her or not.
Rogue tries hard to talk him out of it.
She tries very hard.
She fails. He notes that he is not Charles Xavier. He kills Zaldayne and seals his fate, heading back down the path of the villain. I really think Claremont has done a beautiful job with Magneto as the reluctant villain. Every time he tries to do something right, people turn on him.
Magneto flies off on his own.
My Connections and Creators
I'm going to come right out and say that I absolutely LOVED these issues. #273 has been added to one of my all time favorite issues because it's just so fun seeing the three team's at peace with each other, talking about the future. Also, the combination of Chris Claremont and Jim Lee is just so unforgettable with both the Savage Land and Space Xavier storylines being incredible.
Let's start by talking about the creative teams. Issue 273 is a love letter to the X desk. I'm not entirely sure of the story behind this, but it looks as though almost every artist who's been on the series over the years came back to do a few pages. This is Claremont's last issue as the solo writer and he uses it to stake his claim about the other series, which I'll get into with the individual synopsis below. Starting with #274, Jim Lee and Claremont are writing together.
This set of issues is really broken down into three parts. The first part is Issue 273 where we have the best classic slow issue ever. We spent the last few years with the team's being separate, and even the X-Men themselves have been disbanded for quite some time. Everyone came back together but were fighting at a breakneck pace during X-Tinction Agenda. This issue served to slow down after the big event, have character moments that have been much needed, and re-focus on the future. I could sit there all day and watch Storm and Jean have wine. Archangel and Cannonball practicing how to fly and fight in the danger room, sign me up! Cable arguing about why he should lead them all, take my money!
The rest of the issues are broken down into the other two parts. The first part focuses on Xavier's re-entrance back to the series. The X-Men go into space and witness an end to the Lilandra/Deathbird spat (which started all the way back during the Brood Saga covered in 14: UXM 154 - 166 (The Brood Saga)). The other main issue focuses on Magneto and Rogue in the Savage Land faces off against Zaldayne (another thread that's been dangling since #250, covered in 62: UXM 244- 250 (Jubilee and Lost X-Men)).
My Rating - 10/10
Next up we'll follow the last few X-Factor plots featuring the original squad, including the art that sends baby Nathan into the future (eventually creating Cable as we know him).
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