UXM #281 - 287 (Aug '91 - April '92)
We're going to start by taking a quick look at the new villain group that will be getting a lot of screentime between Uncanny and the other X-Men line, the Upstarts. They are basically a group of young, mutant villains looking to overtake the Hellfire Club.
We start by going all the way back to X-Factor #67 where we meet Shinobi Shaw for the first time. He's Sebastian Shaw's son.
Shinobi makes a big first impression because he strolls right on the page and kills his dad. I doubt he'll stay dead forever, but I believe he's out of our lives for a good number of years.
We see that Shinobi is making the best of life in his father's shoes and hanging out with his new pal Trevor Fitzroy (who we'll learn much more about later). The Upstarts is a group of young mutants who will be headlined by Shinobi and Fitzroy in Uncanny. We've also seen Matsu'o Tsurayaba (the Hand assasin who put Psylocke in a Japanese ninja body) working with Fenris (twins Andrea and Andreas Von Strucker) in X-Men (as covered in 84: X-Men # 4- 7 (Omega Red)).
There goal of the Upstarts seems to be fluid, but they all want to be leader of the Hellfire Club, which also means that they would win some sort of contest. What is obvious is that this group is forming a very tenuous alliance as they pretty openly challenge and threaten each other.
Speaking of the contest, there is apparently some evil dude named The Gamemaster manipulating the upstarts and getting them all to compete with each other. The Gamemaster appears to be working for some sort of female villain, but let's get real, it's Selene. I honestly don't know if this is just a guess or I've read that someone, but I feel pretty damn confident that's Selene.
281 - 283: A New Look
Plot - Lee (281), Portacio (282 - 283)
Script - Byrne
Pencils - Portacio
We're wasting no time cleaning house! Trevor Fitzroy controls some new types of Sentinels and sends them after the Reavers. He kills all of them except Donald Pierce (at this point) and Lady Deathstrike.
I'm not certain if this is accurate, but it seems to me that the Upstarts would want to kill the Reavers because Donald Pierce used to be a leader of the Hellfire Club. They never say that, so I'm not sure if I'm being overly clever.
Picking up where we left off in X-Men # 4 (as covered in 84: X-Men # 4- 7 (Omega Red), the 5 boring members of the X-Men Gold team (Storm, Jean, Colossus, Iceman, Archangel) go to the Hellfire Club to respond to the White Queen, who we haven't seen in ages. What is she up to?!
We see right off the bat that the White Queen believes there are assassins out to kill her and that's why she asked the X-Men for help. The issue starts with her apprehending one right away and it appears that she has the upper hand, but things go sideways quickly.
Even though Fitzroy looks like he just got off his shift at Hot Topic and is about to go snowboarding, this issues shows that he's the real deal. He shows up and immediately kills two of the Hellions: Beef (Who was apparently introduced during New Warriors?!) and JetStream (the carbon copy of Cannonball).
Pierce is kind of able to escape by coercing Gateway to open up a portal for him and take him to whoever sent them (which is the Hellfire Club), but the Sentinels follow him through the portal as things are about to get even bloodier. The Hellions, Fitzroy, the X-Men, The Hellfire Club, and the sentinels all get into a brawl.
The team makes it home, but without a casualty. The issue ends making us think Jean is dead, but obviously she isn't gonna die again. I mean, come on.
Guys! Guys... See all these Hellios sitting there? I think Fitzroy kills them all. It's kind of confusing, but I've read it a few times and yes, I think he literally murders them all. I was joking about some dude named Beef dying earlier, but now they are all dead. Roulette, Empath, Tarot, Catseye, all of them. Woah. I guess the young Hellions didn't have much of a place anymore after The New Mutants comic ended and they could be used to show us Fitzroy is a cold blooded killer, but this is a bit cray cray. I just looked it up, and yup, they are all dead dead. A few of them might be resurrected or something in like ten years (I don't understand future comics yet) but if they dead for a decade then that means they are truly dead to us now. Damn.
We learn that Fitzroy is a time traveler and he is using his portal to bring a whole bunch of mutant villains from the future back into our past. I wonder if Wesley Snipes and Sylvester Stallone will show up?
The X-Men show up and stop Fitzroy from killing Emma or bringing any other villains back. Oh, and apparently Jean's consciousness is hiding out in Emma's body, or something...
There he is, Timecop himself, Bishop! Bishop and his two buddies come through the portal as a futuristic X-Men vigilante force coming back to catch those crazy time criminals.
They are pretty effective at rounding up the bad guys.
Oh snap! Fitzroy's portals only go 1 way, so that means Bishop is stuck here in his past.
He sees the X-Men and freaks out, apparently he reveres them. We'll soon learn that he's from the Days of Future Past timeline, like far after the point we had seen when the mutants start to fight back.
Jean is put back into her body. Shocker.
Sunshine is super serious about taking over the Upstarts. Or the Hellfire Club. Or winning the vague competition. You know...reasons.
284 - 286: Boring story on another planet
Plot - Portacio
Script - Byrne (284-285), Scott Lobdell (286)
Pencils - Portacio
The X-Men are in Asia, time to bring in Japan's most famous mutant, Sunfire. Happens to be sporting a new look here, which hits me in the feels because I remember him wearing this outfit in his Super Hero cards of this era.
So the X-Men get a call that there is some sort of black hole. Sunfire is investigating and then a bunch of fighters come out of the hole shooting.
The X-Men and Sunfire are sucked into the hole.
They are all brought into a new world. Yawn. Apparently all the people are worshipping Piotr, saying that he resembles their Messiah.
The team is separated and Storm, who was alone, was found by a mysterious man who seems to know a lot about Earth.
Archangel is found by a beautiful and assertive queen. We learn something about their being two factions on the planet and being at war, yadda yadda. Can you tell I'm hating this? The only good thing is that this is only a few issues long. It reminds me too much of Judgement War in the X-Factor line (as covered here), which ran for 12 issues.
#286 is somewhat special to me because it's one of the few Uncanny Issues I owned as a kiddo. I don't remember any of this though. I probably bought the issue, read it once, and thought "What the Hell is going on!?" and never brought another issue of Uncanny.
Not for the first time in Uncanny's history, Colossus has primitive & beautiful female's clawing at him. Does he have a sixthsome to top his threesome from his time in the Savage Land? We'll never know, but Jean does barge in annoyed at one point.
Oh boy, the mysterious man with Storm is actually Colossus's older brother, Mikhail. That's the reason why the people thought he resembled their Messiah.
We learn his backstory. Apparently he was an astronaut and ended up getting sucked into this hole, leaving the world to believe him dead. He ended up falling in love with that beautiful queen (or her sister or something), but then used his mutant power to fix some problem and ended up accidentally killing a bunch of people.
I'm sorry my recap is so terrible. I hated this story and I really didn't feel like re-reading it. Trust me, you're not missing much.
As the two factions clash, Mikhail is convinced to use his powers once more.
The X-Men help him.
Hooray, Mikhail closes the hole forever and brings everyone back to Earth.
Meanwhile, Brishop and his two buddies are going around in the past (our present, well actually the 1990's), and capturing those time fugitives. Mostly slaughtering them.
As their fighting, Bishop's two buddies dies. Killed indirectly by Trevor Fitzroy, accelerating their rivalry.
The X-Men don't like how Bishop is indiscriminately killing so they get in a fight.
We see a flash back to Bishop's past (which is our far future) where Bishop talked to the last man to see the X-Men alive. Apparently one of the X-Men betrayed the team, which resulted in them all being killed. The old man is clearly Gambit, and Bishop believes Gambit was the one who betrayed them. This will be an ongoing plot development which will carry into the X-Men comic as well.
And with that, Bishop is the newest member of the X-Men. Remember when Charles did this with Storm? I do like Bishop so this is a cool development.
My Connections and Creators
And here we are, the last 1992 linewide re-launch to cover, and I have to admit, I'm less than enthused. It's like Jim Lee got to pick all of the cool X-Men and Portacio got left with everyone leftover (Storm, Jean, Colossus, Archangel, Iceman). Claremont had turned Storm into one of my favorite characters (second favorite, actually), but she doesn't seem terribly compelling yet. We'll give her time. If you've been following my X-Factor blogs, you'll know that I don't find the original 5 X-Men members too interesting. So having 3/5 team members from that squad isn't great. I like Jean, but I'm nervous to see how compelling she is without Scott and Logan to bounce off of. Archangel certainly got more interesting with his transformation, but he's still in the bottom quarter of my faves. Iceman is ok in small doses. Colossus is alright, but he was always the least interesting X-Man.
In Comic Creators on X-Men, Bob Harras had the following to say about his role in creating the Blue and Gold teams:
"With the new X-Men # 1, my first thought was ‘I just want Jean, Scott, Hank, Bobby and Warren on the team.’”
I really like Portacio's art and I'm open to giving him a chance with the plotting duties here, even though I know it's limited before he leaves to start Image. It's cool to see John Byrne back again. It kind of reminds me of when a couple breaks up and the ex boyfriend immediately starts moving in on his old girlfriend. The minute Claremont left, John Byrne starts showing up again. We hear a lot about how Jim Lee and Whilce Portacio wanted to re-live the glory days and boy do we see it here. The Sentinels are back, Colossus is being worshiped by natives again (and possibly having more threesomes), Xavier is shocking the team by pulling rank and adding controversial team members.
Speaking of new team members, Bishop is officially introduced here. I've always liked Bishop, so we'll see if he is enough to carry this comic. The panels with him in it are by far the most interesting in my opinion. Cool to read his origin as I don't believe I had ever seen it before. We also get a new big villain in Trevor Fitzroy who is clearly blasting onto the scene, showing us how evil he is when he's murdering named characters left and right.
My Rating - 5/10
Next up, we'll keep the moment going with more Uncanny X-Men. Why? Because it actually gets better quick!
Next post - 86: UXM #288-293 (Mikhail, Morlocks, and Marriage?!)
Previous Post - 84: X-Men # 4- 7 (Omega Red)