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92: X-Cutioner's Song

What’s Covered?

UXM # 294 - UXM 296, X-Factor # 84 - 86, X-Men # 14 - 16, X-Force # 16 - 18

Roster Watch

The Dark Riders

UXM # 294: Cable assassinates Professor X!

Writer - Scott Lobdell

Pencils - Brandon Peterson

Writer - Scott Lobdell

Pencils - Brandon Peterson

Well, things start normal enough. The shit hasn't hit the fan yet. Warren (using an image inducer) is taking Charlotte Jones on a date. As I keep saying, I get that there's a lot of anti Lobdell mojo out there, but so far I like what he's putting down. I think it's great that he goes back to the well and hasn't forgotten about Warren dating Charlotte, even though that thread was left dangling in a different comic line (X-Factor before the transition)

Hahahahahahaha. This plotline is great. Once again, Cyclops is infatuated with Psylocke. I love that his girlfriend is a telepath and there's no hiding anything from her. Also, it's worth noting that their conversation goes back and forth between spoken words and thought bubbles. By this point, Scott is probably used to communicating this way between his time with Jean and his mentor/father Charles Xavier.

I'm also tracking that Jean seems to have far less hesitation with invading people's minds compared to Charles. That's never been explicitly stated, but it's a thread I've been following since my journey started.

Since Lobdell is closing out dangling plot threads (which I appreciate), Bobby lets us know that Opal technically dumped him. We saw at the end of UXM # 291 (covered in 86: UXM #288-293 (Mikhail, Morlocks, and Marriage?!)), that Opal seemed to have feelings for Hiro (The Cyburai ninja working with them) and that his death seemed to shake her feelings for Bobby.

We also see that Bobby is asking Piotr if he needs to talk about the whole heel turn and death of his brother. Piotr, staying in character, prefers to mourn silently. It looks as though we're getting a lot of "sad Colossus."

Continuing to address dangling plot threads, Lobdell does two things that I love here. First, he shows Gambit and Storm having a personal moment. Props to Lobdell for not forgetting that these two spent a lot of time together when Storm was de-aged and that even though they are on separate teams (Gold vs. Blue), their relationship is still strong.

Gambit specifically asks how she's doing after the Forge business (covered in 86: UXM #288-293 (Mikhail, Morlocks, and Marriage?!)) and she gets a little prickly and throws Bella Donna (Gambit's now deceased and estranged wife Bella Donna (covered in 88: X-Men 8 - 11 (Ghost Rider, Shattershot Crossover)) back in his face.

Caliban and 2 other members of the Four Horseman( War and Famine) attack Scott and Jean (Pestilence seems to be missing, without an explanation). I don't believe we've seen the four Horseman together since 48: X-Factor 17 - 26 (Archangel).

War and Famine break off and attack Colossus and Iceman.

Professor X had planned on addressing the masses during a Lila Cheney concert, but Cable (or at least someone with Cable's face) shows up and shoots Charles, attempting assassination!

Warren (on a date with Charlotte) sees "Cable" pull the trigger and immediately attacks him.

Lila cradles the Professor as he lays dying.

X-Factor # 84: X-Force vs. X-Factor

Writer - Peter David

Pencils - Jae Lee

Writer - Peter David

Pencils - Jae Lee

At this point, X-Force is separated from Cable (as covered in 87: X-Force # 6 - 15 (Externals, Domino, Brotherhood) and the team is hiding out at Warpath's decimated reservation. They have seen on TV that Cable killed Professor X and think they have a responsibility to go after him. Sam is their leader for the time being.

Both X-Force and X-Factor (sent by Val Cooper and the Government to bring X-Force in) are investigating Cable. Wolfsbane is thrilled to see that Sam is alive (Sauron casually mentioned to Rahne about killing Sam during the lead up to X-Cutioner's Song.

Tabitha (Boom-Boom) is also thrilled to see her. I absolutely love this stuff. It's one of the best parts of having a shared history with a rich history.

Ooooooooooh. Making out, making out! Last time these two were together, they were...together.

Not surprisingly, Feral gets a little trigger happy and sets off a battle between the two teams. Half of this issue focuses on the two teams fighting.

Oh, snap! We learn that the 4 (3) Horseman are actually reporting into Mr. Sinister at the moment. Crazy balls!

We learn that "Cable" not only shot Charles, but he infected him with a technovirus, similar to what Warlock used to infect people with.

X-Men # 14: Apocalypse hits the snooze button

Writer - Fabian Nicieza

Pencils - Andy Kubert

Writer - Fabian Nicieza

Pencils - Andy Kubert

This is a cool pin-up showing all the characters brought together. We've got both X-Men Blue and Gold working with Val Cooper and X-Factor.

So we see here that Mr. Sinister (who commanded the 4(3) Horseman) captured Scott and Jean and trades them to Reaper and Forearm (of MLF, working for Stryfe) in exchange for Summers family DNA samples.

Ok, so first I know from my own knowledge that Mr. Sinister is a geneticist. We've kind of seen that with the Marauders continuing to be cloned and brought back to life. We've also seen that he's obsessed with Scott and his family (hence him cloning Jean in the form of Madelyn, as learned during Inferno).

Here's what I don't get. Why would he trade the actual Scott Summers for Scott's DNA. You've got the whole dude right there!!! Why?! I'll tell you why...the plot didn't want Sinister to be the chief villain.

So the Dark Riders (formerly referred to as The Riders of the Storm last time we saw them: 74: X-Factor 63 - 68 (Baby Nathan sent to Future) have awakened Apocalypse. He's pissed because he's not yet fully cooked. This totally reminds me of a scene from the first Underworld movie, and since this comic came our first, I guess that means the movie might have stolen the concept from here.

Regardless, the Dark Riders tell Apocalypse that his 4(3) Horseman are out fighting in his name and he needs to wake up to slap someone around.

Enter: Nathan Dayspring, AKA Cable. Cable comes back from the future (lol) and it's time for him to have his coffee and read the newspaper. He'll soon learn that he killed Professor X!

Cool pin-up of the X-Force team as they are about to take on both X-Factor and X-Men.

X-Force # 16: X-Men & X-Factor vs. X-Force

Writer - Fabian Nicieza

Pencils - Greg Capullo

Writer - Fabian Niceiza

Pencils - Greg Capullo

Cool depiction of X-Force fighting the X-Men and X-Factor.

So this is really interesting. If you recall, during Fall Angels (covered here) Jamie Madrox and Theresa Cassidy (Siryn) had a romantic relationship, but then we learned during the X-Factor re-launch (covered here) that the Jamie appearing in that comic was a rogue duplicate. So here we see that Siryn thinks they had a relationship, but Jamie seems to not know what she's talking about.

The 4 (3) Horseman are still attacking the X-Men Gold team (which Beast is temporarily joining since he knows the 4 (3) Horseman from his time with X-Factor.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sinister shows up at the Mansion and is met by Jubilee and Bishop (who surprisingly has a small part to play in this event).

I love this. After Cable drinks his coffee, he grabs every gun in his armory and sets out to war.

We've seen the MLF, 4 Horseman, Mr. Sinister, Apocalypse, and the Dark Riders...but it's Stryfe who is the central villain of this story, as we now learn.

UXM # 295: Apocalypse vs. X-Men Gold

Writer - Scott Lobdell

Pencils - Brandon Peterson

Writer - Scott Lobdell

Pencils - Brandon Peterson

X-Force lost the battle and is put in the danger room, which is being used as a temporary jail. They've also been sentenced to 2 weeks time in an X-Men uniform.

Also, Jubilee barges in and starts tearing them a new one. Obviously she never met them and assumes the worst about them. Pretty on point for her.

The X-Men Gold team (not sure if they are still calling themselves that) is taking on a weakened Apocalypse.

So Stryfe is now the one holding Jean and Scott. He immediately begins torturing Jean and then he starts talking to her like she's a baby. Curious, hmmmmm. I wonder what that's about.

Val Cooper is explaining that very little is known about Stryfe. They don't yet know that he shares Cable's face.

There's a lot here I like. First, Sam is pulled out to speak on behalf of the X-Force team, which is spot on. Sam tries to get immunity for the whole team and they shoot him down. It was a nice try. They also don't really need it since the accusations are bogus. They offer him instead a chance to get back his pride and he takes it.

I really like this quote at the end by Havok: "Sam, offering your best is all the professor ever asked of any of us. Or have you forgotten that?"

X-Factor # 85: X-Men Blue vs. the MLF

Writer - Peter David

Pencils - Jae Lee

Writer - Peter David

Pencils - Jae Lee

Cable, Wolverine, and Bishop all converge on the Weapon X program in Canada, looking for clues. They of course skirmish for a while.

Another quote that I love: "I can't be one hundred percent sure he's lying, but I have to be one hundred percent sure. Because if I kill him, then he's 100% dead."

Sam joins Havok's strike team and they find the MLF. I like that we are once again pulling from past relationships. The last time X-Force connected with the MLF, Dragoness was flirting pretty heavily with Sam (he made out with her while he took a key from her). Here she is chastising him again, which I really like. It's just fun, this is why I'm reading all these various issues, to get every morsel of connective fun out of it.

I love that Dragoness is able to mess with Sam, but then three leading ladies from 3 different teams (Storm, Rogue, Polaris) show up and she's like "Oh Shit."

Forearm puts Warren in a chokehold.

This is crazy. While Forearm had Warren distracted, Kamikaze (lol @ that name) was trying to slam into him. So without even realizing it, his wings chops off his head. Ouch!

Lol, did you guys see I used the picture of his bouncing head in his representation above in the MLF team graphic? I cracked myself up with that choice.

Lol, Boom-Boom is freaking out about the head touching her and then she runs off to barf.

Warren is devastated that he just murdered someone. We learned a few issues back that his wings DO NOT have a life of their own, so this is all him. Good job Edward Scissorhands!

Wildside and Gambit go at it. Gambit is knocked out (and will be unconscious for most of the event from here on out), but before Wildside can deliver the killing blow, Quicksilver saves him.

And then while Quicksilver is standing over Gambit, Reaper clunks him over the head. At first I thought Quicksilver was beheaded, which seemed odd that I hadn't heard of that before. He didn't know. If you have a villain with a scyfe, he probably would do that, but no, he just hit him over his head. Then Reaper is about to kill them both as the issues comes to a close. (Don't worry, Psylocke saves them).

X-Men # 15: Stryfe toys with Scott and Jean

Writer - Fabian Nicieza

Pencils - Andy Kubert

Writer - Fabian Niceiza

Pencils - Andy Kubert

Reaper is about to murder Gambit and Quicksilver, but Psylocke shows up and mind blades him.

Rogue knocks Dragoness out. A few comments here.

First of all, apparently her wings are synthetic. Interesting.

Second, I just got around to reading the Cable Limited Series (which I should have read prior to this) and Dragoness is identified as the field leader. That's pretty interesting because her character is growing on me. She was not one of the original members introduced in New Mutants (around the same time as Cable) so I think of her being a secondary member, but I guess not.

Also, what is with heroes choosing to wear a Cyclops like visor? Why do we think it looks cool? Remember when Cypher's graduation costume had that? Like...why?

Ouch, that looks like a rough landing. Broken neck!?

Remember when the MLF broke the Nasty Boys out of jail? (80: XF 71 - 78 (X-Factor Re-Launch) ). Well Thumbelina's brother, Slab, is hanging out with the MLF for now. Cute that these two get a bit of characterization.

I love this too. Rusty (and Skids) are working with the MLF. These panels establish that Rusty is stark raving mad and clearly brainwashed by Stryfe. These moments are one of my favorite parts of this X-Men journey. When I originally read this (30 years ago) I just assumed they had met once or twice. It's crazy to think that Rusty was a HUGE part of X-Factor and to think that he has been relegated to a bit part and working as a villain is a bit surprising.

Also, you can see Boom-Boom having trouble talking. There are a few things I didn't capture in my screenshots. First, she was the only other member of X-Force (other than Sam) to be freed of the danger room jail and allowed to fight. They didn't really explain why, she just showed up, but I'll tell myself it's because she's the next most senior member (even though she's probably the youngest). Also, Boom-Boom got her draw broken in this battle, which will make two characters dealing with broken jaws (Polaris being the other one.)

Cable, Bishop, and Wolverine are now working together, which is a fun little pairing. Three established badasses.

So Stryfe is again treating his captives, Scott and Jean, like babies. This is very curious...

Apocalypse's Dark Riders, who are sworn to serve the most evolutionary advanced/elite, is easily dispatched by Stryfe. We see that he is a true force to be reckoned with. Since he is a clone of Cable (or vice versa?) we know he has telepathic and telekinetic abilities, which he puts to task multiple times throughout the event.

X-Force # 17: Apocalypse beaten by Stryfe

Writer - Fabian Nicieza

Pencils - Greg Capullo

Writer - Fabian Nicieza

Pencils - Greg Capullo

Stryfe easily beats down Apocalypse, which is really big deal. Apocalypse has been set up to be the strongest mutant around. I think this does a good job to establish that Stryfe is the real deal, but also gives Apocalypse an out by showing clearly that he is weak at the moment and not at this peak.

I'm going to be honest, I kind of forget where my knowledge is coming from when it comes to Apocalypse. Did I just read about something? Did I already know from the animated series. Did I find out in some comics that I haven't covered yet in the blog. I'm sorry, I forgot. Here's what I do know...

Stryfe and Cable are both from a future 2 thousand years in the future where Apocalypse runs the world. So Stryfe attacking and beating Apocalypse here carries a lot of weight because Stryfe probably spent his whole life in his shadow.

Also, this sword first showed up in the first Cable miniseries, Blood and Metal. Even though that 2 issue series is a good setup for this event, I am going to cover it in the near future along with the solo Cable series which fired up after this event. I'm tentatively planning on including Deadpool's Limited Series as well. The sword is one of many Apocalypse-themed artifacts that Stryfe had been collecting.

After defeating Apoc, the Dark Rider submit to Stryfe as their new leader, since he is clearly the top of the evolutionary ladder.

This issue starts setting a lot of canon into place for Cable and Stryfe. We learn that in Cable's future, everything is run by the "High Lords of New Canaan." This means that Apocalypse is one of the high lords (Externals), which makes sense with him living forever. The rebellion is the Clan Chosen, which Cable is a part of. I believe the Askani is connected to this group too, but I haven't seen a lot of direct connection here explaining this.

Apparently, in the future timeline, Stryfe has worked outside of these two ruling groups and established his own power base.

So it seems as though Stryfe is trying to stop the high lord ascension and Cable is trying to control it.

More here between Siryn and M.M. Apparently Jamie has a vague memory of their relationship, but it technically wasn't him dating her. Pretty interesting. There's a lot of red meat on the bone here with this character and this power. A lot of interesting ways to explore this power.

Quicksilver and Rogue are unconscious. Rogue is blinded and Boom-Boom's jaw is broken. Also, why is Stevie colored in white. Oopsie!

Apocalypse shows up at the mansion and offers that the X-Men should work with him.

UXM # 296: Scott and Jean plan their escape

Writer - Scott Lobdell

Pencils - Brandon Peterson

Writer - Scott Lobdell

Pencils - Brandon Peterson

Cyclops is pretending Jean is dead to help them escape, which they do.

Jean was faking her death (not cool, knowing her history, but I guess that makes it more believable).

This does make me a second to appreciate that they are established as THE power couple, even though it doesn't seem that long ago that Scott was with Madelyn and Jean wasn't even around.

A cool little synopsis from Bishop.

So Stryfe set up this elaborate setup with a baby being taken over by a technovirus and seeing what Scott and Jean do. This is looking really familiar...Why would Stryfe be doing this.

So apparently Stryfe assumed Scott and Jean would let the baby die and escape without him.

This was a moment that took me out of the comic a bit. Seriously? I get that he thinks they were bad parents, but he really thought they would let a baby die? Man, he's twisted.

In a realllllly cool sequence, there are a bunch of panels with Cable, Wolverine, and Bishop sitting around trying to figure out where Scott and Jean could be. Well each scene we saw Wolverine carving something in a table. It turns out that he was drawing the moon! He figures out that Jean has been trying to reach him and now they suspect that they are both on the moon.

And yup, they are on the moon. As they successfully escape, they are pulled out into airless space. I love this as a callback to a similar scene in UXM #199 where Banshee, Jean, and Wolverine escape from the Sentinels, only to find themselves in space. This took place shortly before Jean died and arose as the Phoenix, as covered in 4: UXM# 97 - 101 (Sentinels and a Phoenix Sighting!)

X-Factor # 86: Apocalypse saves Professor X

Writer - Peter David

Pencils - Jae Lee

Writer - Peter David

Pencils - Jae Lee

The rest of the X-Men also figure out that they need to head to the moon so Havok assembles his strike squad.

Jean and Scott are saved by Stryfe, who continues to play games with them.

Jean can tell that there is something more sinister and personal going on here.

It's time for me to call it out, because Jean basically figures it out here. Stryfe believes himself to be Scott and Madelyn's son, Nathan. This is a bit confusing to me because I thought Cable was their child...but this is clearly leading us to believe that Stryfe is the son and Cable is the clone. This is an incentive for me to keep reading on!

Apocalypse is able to cure Professor X! He basically forces all of the virus out of Charles and into himself, and then he is able to eject the virus from himself and eradicate it. This is a bit weird, but I'll roll with it.

X-Men # 16: Heroes vs. the Dark Riders on the moon

Writer - Fabian Nicieza

Pencils - Andy Kubert

Wolverine, Bishop, and Cable (beautifully drawn) go solo to the moon and are quickly overrun by the Dark Riders. All hope looks lost...

Until Havok's attack team, plus Apocalypse, shows up.

OMG, I love this. Sam is bitter and sassy as all hell and I can't get enough of it. This is VERY real. Of course Sam wouldn't be able to focus on the mission. Of course he would be pissed and demand answers right away. Sam was boring in New Mutants, but man is he growing on me in this X-Force era.

And now the pieces are in place for the final battle. Stryfe has Scott and Jean on display, protected behind a TK barrier.

There are a lot of random images, but I'm really not sure why they are showing Colossus fighting with Professor X. I mean...that just seems the most random, right!?

I'm really digging the art though. Andy Kubert gets two thumbs up from me. Is he a Jim Lee clone? Don't know, don't care.

X-Force # 18: The Final Countdown

Writer - Fabian Nicieza

Pencils - Greg Capullo

More cool art.

Stryfe seems to know exactly what's happening and Cable has no clue.

According to Stryfe, Cable is the clone.

Cable expresses how I feel.

Cable vs. Stryfe.

Stryfe points out that he is more machine than man, and therefore not a real person. He is making some decent points. What's happening here!?

Charles wakes up a little loopy, yelling about Scott and Jean.

After being defeated by Stryfe, Warren has a chance to deal the killing blow, but instead he shows him pity. I'm taking this as the final chapter in Archangel's angst about what was done to him.

I love this. So Stryfe's TK shield only let through people with Summers DNA. That means Scott, Cable, and Stryfe can get through. But he forgot that Havok is a Summers too, so he sneaks by and then uses his radiation power to fry the eff out of Stryfe.

After spending so much of this event assuming Cable was the bad guy, he sacrifices himself here to save Scott, Jean, and the rest of the heroes. Both of them disappear and are believed to be dead. I know Cable comes back shortly in his Solo comic, but I genuinely don't know what's in store for Stryfe. We're entering the point where I either stopped reading as a kid, or my memory is getting very fuzzy.

So here Scott says that they needed to sacrifice him a second time. So he's finally figured out that one of them was his son, Nathan. But which one? This comic is clearly making us think that Stryfe was the real one! I'm so confused!

Mr. Sinister's Summers DNA was empty. This is why you should have kept the real thing, you moron!

UXM # 297: The Aftermath

Writer - Scott Lobdell

Pencils - Brandon Peterson

This issue is an epilogue of sorts, zeroing in on a few characters and giving us a little character moments with them. Noticeably, it's the characters who didn't get a lot of attention during the event.

We catch up with Rogue who is blind at the moment and getting some alone time on the roof.

Gambit shows up to provide some company, but Rogue tries to push him away. He says his feelings for her are the reason he's there.

Rogue says that more than anything, she wishes someone could hold her and tell her everything is going to be fine. After hearing this, Gambit leaves her...

And comes back with a blanket...and tells her that everything is 'gon be fine, chere. Awwww. This is a good moment. Good job Lobdell, you're still doing well in my book!

So after being cured by the technovirus, the Professor can walk again. He knows it won't last long. Jubilee and him have a nice moment as they go ice skating together.

Jubilee pays him one of those compliments that comes with a slap across the face at the same time.

Charles can tell that his legs are growing weak and so it's time for him to leave.

Come on, this is beautiful! Is someone cutting an onion! I must have something in my eye. After re-reading this section, I added this moment to my top ten list. You'll see it when I get to 1995 and do another favorites post, like I did here through 1990.

My Connections

So here we are, the X-Cutioner's Song. From what I understand, this event gets a lot of hate, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I could understand people getting angry about it at the time though, hoping for clear answers and only getting more questions. This event certainly wasn't perfect, as they clearly tried to throw every villain against the wall and see who stuck (Apocalypse, Stryfe, Mr. Sinister, the Dark Riders, the MLF, and the 4 Horseman all show up). Eventually Stryfe separates himself from the crowd and this quickly becomes a Cable and Stryfe story, which I'm down with.


You have to give it to the X Office. They managed to throw together an event immediately after losing so much talent. This is a post-Image world and it's time to take a look at how the X-Office is doing. They lost Jim Lee (artist and plotter of X-Men), Whilce Portacio (artist and plotter of Uncanny X-Men), Rob Leifeld (artist and plotter of X-Force), and Marc Silvestri (former X-Men and recent Wolverine penciler).

We are left with Fabian Nicieza in charge of both X-Force and X-Men. I think he's good, but not great. A solid 6 or 7. A better storyteller than Leifeld (that's good for X-Force) but not as good as Jim Lee or the immortal Chris Claremont. Andy Kubert (the penciler for X-Men) is pretty damn good. He certainly helps me stomach the loss of Jim Lee. Greg Capullo (the penciler for X-Force) is doing an adequate job. Leifeld had better pinups, but his overall quality seems to be better. I guess this means I think X-Force is in a better place but X-Men has taken a step back. We'll see how that changes over time.

Peter David is stepping in on X-Factor. He isn't even trying to make this title like the others, clearly going for more of a comedic approach. I'm down with it considering I am really liking each of the characters. This title wasn't really impacted by the Image exodus as Louise Simonson had stepped away prior to the Image guys coming on board and David has always been more of an outsider. It's funny that I'm noticing that, considering this event was actually the main reason that David would quickly quit the comic. He hated being forced to adapt to the event, but I'll cover that more in my next X-Factor blog when he officially has his last comic. The art is pretty atrocious. Jae Lee does an admirable job in these issues, but the typical art (Stroman) is pretty bad. In face, I hate it. Luckily the comic is clearly a bit off on purpose and I guess I'm down with that.

Scott Lobdell is in charge of Uncanny and I think he stays on from this point on for years. You're probably sick of hearing me say this, and I will go into detail a lot during the synopsis, but there is a LOT of Lobdell hate out there, but so far I am REALLY enjoying his work. He really seems to understand the rich X-Men history and constantly goes back to the well to make connections to the new story. As someone who is reading it all in order, I appreciate this immensely. He also seems to be good at writing touching character moments, which I also appreciate. I'm a fan of the new artist, Brandon Peterson too.

Character Beats

The thing I love the most is all the character interactions. This brings all the team's together and it's reference city! One of my favorite quotes from Alex to Sam: "Sam, offering your best is all the professor ever asked of any of us. Or have you forgotten that?" Good stuff!

Another quote that I love: "I can't be one hundred percent sure he's lying, but I have to be one hundred percent sure. Because if I kill him, then he's 100% dead." That's pure Peter David there (Wolvie talking).

My Rating - 7/10


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