Uncanny X-Men #270 – X-Tinction Agenda kicks it off with a bang!

 My posts are back!  I actually enjoy writing and sometimes rambling on so even if nobody reads these things, it’s still kind of fun.  Like talking to myself but without the weird stares from everybody around me.  For those who are new, I’m currently reading through all of my X-Men comics in chronological order (or at least the best I can – it gets really messy once we pass out of the 90’s).  That’s right…all 2000 of them.  After all, there’s Uncanny X-Men, X-Men, New Mutants, X-Force, Alpha Flight, Uncanny X-Force, X-Factor, and the list goes on and on.  I’m not going to post every single issue.  Just an issue here and there, or maybe, in the case of a crossover, every issue in the crossover.  Posting my thoughts on the issue, what I remember when it first came out, and a few scanned images.  These images are scanned by myself, so nothing’s been taken from others.  Also the idea of blogs are pretty new to me and I’m still figuring things out along the way.  You’re welcome to make any suggestions.  I hope you enjoy them!

UXM 270 cover

When I first really started collecting X-Men, X-Tinction Agenda was over and it was a major pain in the rear to get some of these issues.  At the time, Jim Lee was a major star.  He still kind of is, but you have to understand that in the 90’s, anything that he touched was golden and nobody saw it coming so his Uncanny X-Men issues went for a lot of money (I remember #270 going for around $30 which, for a 13 year old kid with no job and only an allowance, that’s a huge amount of money).  So I first read the entire X-Tinction Agenda as a Trade Paper Back.  I had a few of the issues, but the first time I read #270 was in trade form, which wasn’t mainstream in 1990/1991.  The only places I remember finding the collected books were at actual comic book stores.  Couldn’t get them at Barnes and Noble back then.

This issue, dubbed “First Strike” kicks off a much shorter crossover than we had last seen.  Inferno was fantastic, but spread for 4 months and had tie-ins into almost every major Marvel comic.  X-Tinction Agenda was completely self contained in the x-universe, although later on they do show reactions from some others in the Marvel U.  The villains are the Genoshans (we find out fairly early on as they stalk Storm and Jean), but their motivations appear to be simple revenge for the events in the first Genoshan crisis (pre-Inferno).

Storm Jean GreyEven now, Jim Lee is still amazing.  I loved his Jean Grey and did everything I could to get any image he did of her.  This issue started with two old friends reuniting.  Both had believed the other dead for a time.  Jean was believed dead after the Dark Phoenix saga and Storm was believed dead twice (after Fall of the Mutants and again after Uncanny #248).  Claremont was wordy, but his style was perfect for making you really care about these characters.  Plus, to have an issue start out in the danger room was always great.

Funny thing about the danger room:  I read somewhere that the idea of the danger room was more or less laziness.  They figured with the danger room, they could always start the comic off with an action sequence if they ever needed to.  And that’s exactly what was done here.

This was also the issue that returned Storm to the X-Men in the regular series (although she actually returned in 1990’s annual with Gambit).

The other thing I liked about this issue was the inclusion of the New Mutants.  They had been away from the flagship title since the Mutant Massacre story.  Of course, we also got Cable, but I guess it can’t all be good.  This issue features a lot of stryfe between the teams, mostly because up until now, the New Mutants had free reign of the underground parts of the mansion.New MutantsAgain, at the time, I was just thrilled to see my favorite characters drawn by Jim Lee.

This issue slowly builds up as we see Genoshan magistrates keeping an eye on Storm.  They head to the mansion and while the New Mutants and Storm are all enjoying themselves at the lake, the Genoshans attack!  Storm drops Stevie Hunter (remember her?) into the hatch leading to the underground complex, locks it shut, and rushes to save the kids.  Of course that’s when we see that the man leading the Genoshans is Havok, the X-Man who’s been missing since Uncanny #251!

As the New Mutants on the surface fall quickly to the Genoshan onslaught, the remaining mutants, along with the few X-Men below, rush to another exit (since Storm locked the hatch).

Cannonball

Again, it was great seeing Cannonball, who’s long been my favorite, drawn by Jim Lee.  There aren’t many instances of that.

Of course, by the time they get to the surface, it’s too late.  The New Mutants (sans Cable, Cannonball, and Sunspot) have vanished, along with Storm and every single Genoshan.  And readers had to wait for a couple weeks to find out what the heck was going on.  Of course, I just had to wait until I turned the page.  Remember, I was reading this as part of a collected edition.  I know, I know.  I’m a cheater.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this issue, although the overall cross-over is very inconsistent.  The art is really only amazing in the X-Men issues, although to be fair, Liefeld’s art wasn’t the worst part of the cross-over.

As a single issue, I highly recommend this issue.  As a crossover, nostalgia requires that I place it a bit higher, but in reality, there are much better crossovers out there.

So please, let me know what you guys think.  I like writing and rambling on and hope it’s interesting, especially for people that grew up with these as I did.

The Kitty Monologues

I do have twitter, thanks for asking!  I rarely use it but maybe that will change!  Follow me @psychodadcomics

 

I have yet to do a post like this.  I normally just go over comics I’ve been reading, sometimes newer ones, but typically back issues (I’m up to the mid 90’s!  see my latest post here).  But this seems to be such a heated topic that I just wanted to do it.  It came up in a discussion with some friends on Facebook about how many great scenes there are with Kitty and how much she’s often used to rant on social issues or maybe to lay the verbal smack down on somebody in the comic.  In fact, she seems to do it more often (and better) than any other character.  I felt a collection would be nice.  I’ve tried to remember various times when she’s done this but I’ve no doubt forgotten several.  So if you can remember any other great moments of Kitty just dropping the bomb on some poor sap, let me know!

I also have to acknowledge a friend who gave me the name (it was so unintentional that she didn’t even remember giving me the name) that I would use here.  She has a blog over on mahmusecomics and is way too smart for her own good, so check them out (link to one of the articles here).

And now, on to the KITTY MONOLOGUES!

Kitty was often best when she was controversial.  She wasn’t afraid to use “taboo” terms to get her point across.  Sometimes it wasn’t necessarily directed at anybody, but was just a speech.  Sure, a speech to shock, but it was still her on her soap box, making people think.  In New Mutants #45, a young undiscovered mutant at a nearby school to the Xavier teens was bullied by classmates into killing himself.  They may not have known he was a mutant, but they knew he was quiet and weird and they threatened to call X-Factor on him.  He was a mutant.  One with the ability to create light sculptures.  So Kitty spoke at a school assembly and laid into the crowd as only she could.

Kitty Eulogy

Kitty was often also good at staring down racists, sometimes throwing their racism back in their faces.  Again, she wasn’t afraid to use language that was unbecoming a young woman of 14/15 years old,  but she did so effectively (although I have heard arguments that she never should have which is why I love these first two picks – it really gets people revved up).  In Uncanny X-Men #196, she gets in an argument with a group of guys.  She starts out innocently enough, but when one starts accusing her of being a “mutie” (which is a very derogatory name for a mutant) she responds back, asking him if he’s a “nigger”.  Kitty didn’t back down to anybody.

Kitty vs racist

She didn’t always have to use foul language, but she definitely had no problem getting in a racist’s face.  In Uncanny X-Men #210, her brother (in human form) leaps in between an injured Nightcrawler and an angry bunch of racist bar patrons.  Kitty follows suit, confronting the lynch mob and laying waste to their anger and dignity (and in the process, effectively comparing them to Nazi Germany).

Kitty vs bar part 1

Kitty vs bar part 2

It wasn’t always racism or regular folk Kitty would bring down.  Sometimes it would be literal gods.  Sure, often nothing could hurt her, but these guys could, no matter if she phased.  But Kitty didn’t care.  If they were threatening her friends or just all around bullies, they better beware of Shadowcat!  In Uncanny X-Men annual #9, she confronted the Norse god of Mischief, Loki, as he was set to destroy the X-Men and New Mutants.  She seemed powerless in front of such an imposing figure, but her words saved the mutants’ lives as it reminded Loki who was in charge.

Kitty vs Loki

Of course even Loki’s powers paled in comparison to the Beyonder.  Only Rachel Summers (aka Phoenix) stood any chance.  But as we see in Uncanny X-Men #203, that didn’t stop Kitty.  When it became evident that the Beyonder was just toying with the X-Men, making them realize their futility in the universe, Kitty called him on his shit and her rallying cry allowed Rachel to force the Beyonder away.

Kitty vs Beyonder

But the great thing about Kitty is she didn’t just stand up to bullies and bad guys and racists.  She stood up to her teammates.  As Professor Dumbledore said, “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”  Standing up to your friends and your family isn’t easy at 15 years old.  But in Uncanny X-Men #179, when the X-Men rushed in to save her from a fate she chose for herself, she had to stop them cold, reminding them that she must fix her own mistakes.

Kitty at Morlocks 1Kitty at Morlocks 2

And even years later, she would find herself needing to stand up to her friends and family.  These were the people who essentially raised her.  She was the young woman she turned out to be because of what they taught her in values.  But when she saw that they were wrong and had handled a situation horribly and were no longer dependable, she broke ties, letting them know in epic fashion in X-Men:  Battle of the Atom #2.

quit jean grey school

Kitty has given us some of the best speeches to make us think.  More than any other character.  I’m certain that she will give us more (especially with her finally leading her own team of X-Men in the upcoming X-Men:  Gold series).  And I can’t wait.

If I’ve missed any (and I’m certain I have), please, let me know.  Also, what are your favorite verbal thrashings from Kitty?  I will gather them together and most likely make a part 2 of this.  Hell, I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of Excalibur.

Thus endeth part 1 of the Kitty Monologues!

X-Men: The Return of Heavy Metal!

So apparently, my twitter account (@psychodadcomics) works!  I don’t feel so out of touch with you young people! I feel so hip!

I saw Logan over the weekend and it was a fantastic movie.  Definitely a different feel from the previous movies.  It was amazing and sad but a fitting end to Jackman’s outing as Wolverine.  A large part of it was due to Daphne’s portrayal of X-23/Laura.  Great movie!

And now, on to the comics.

Uncanny X-Men #325 (October 1995)

When I first read this issue…I loved it.  Great art (I love Joe Mad’s art) and great storytelling as Colossus returns to the team with Callisto and Storm leads the X-Men to battle Marrow and Gene Nation as Marrow holds civilians hostage with a bomb tied to her heart and a timer.  Only way to stop the bomb is to stop her heart.  Which Storm does.  the problem?  This story had been done before, waaaay back in Uncanny X-Men #169-170.  So this was basically a recycled story and honestly…Kind of lost respect for Lobdell.

X-Factor #115 (October 1995)

At the time this issue came out, I wasn’t really following X-Factor.  All of these X-Factor issues I picked up after the fact.  And holy crap was I missing out!  This particular story was fantastic.  It was what I loved about the X-Men at the time (and what has been truly missing out for years in the current titles).  They weren’t fighting some big baddie.  I mean yes, one was brewing, but for the most part, this issue involved Cyclops and Havok having a heart to heart (and a great off the pages bar fight), Mystique and Forge connecting over Destiny’s death, the slow emergence of an old Adversary, and the tease of the Dark Beast (from Age of Apocalypse) plotting something.  Plus, Epting’s art was phenomenal.

X-Men annual ’95 (October 1995)

This “annual” (of sorts – they stopped calling them annuals for a time) suffered from the problem many other annuals had.  The art was a little “blah”.  Boring and not very entertaining to look at.  It wasn’t terrible.  Just…well, see my “blah” answer.  But we do get to see a little bit of humanity in Mr. Sinister as Genesis and the Dark Riders confront a part of Sinister’s past and Phoenix and Beast get caught in the middle.

X-Men #45 (October 1995)

I love some of Adam Kubert’s artwork.  I say “some” because sometimes he just draws people in the most unrealistic and uncomfortable poses, but in this issue, with the colors, the inking, and everything, he’s at probably his best.  Coupled with a bit more hints dropped about Gambit’s past (we find out that he worked for Mr. Sinister) and Rogue officially leaves the team and Iceman returns, makes for a definitely enjoyable issue.

Uncanny X-Men #326 (November 1995)

Joe Mad and Scott Lobdell bring a fantastic story here, leading up to Sabretooth’s return (and attempted murder of Psylocke).  The art is beautiful and we get to see just how mean a person Gambit can be (remember that most of the time he’s written as a charmer but here…he’s vengeful).  After returning to the mansion from X-Men 45, Gambit decides to force Sabretooth to remember all of his victims.  I don’t know how many of them had been addressed in earlier issues, but seeing some of the innocents killed by Sabretooth is terrifying.  At the end, Sabretooth claims to not remember any of them (remember, he’s still suffering from brain trauma) but as the lights go out, he repeats one phrase:  “Oops”.  I wonder if Sabretooth would have recovered if Gambit hadn’t pushed him like this.

X-Factor #116 (November 1995)

I’m conflicted on this issue.  Mostly because I couldn’t care less about Wild Child.  Epting’s art is enjoyable and it’s great to see some guest appearances from Alpha Flight as the multiple-personality disorder affected Aurora shows up to pursue Wild Child, now a member of X-Factor.  Northstar and Puck pursue and the rest of X-Factor get involved.  it’s not really some good guy vs good guy battle, instead focusing on who knows best on how to help Aurora.  Ultimately, she leaves with Northstar and Puck, leaving a heartbroken Wild Child.  Elsewhere, we’re treated to Dark Beast commanding Random as it’s clearly building up to something.

Cable #26-28 (December 1995 – February 1996)

By Jeph Loeb, Rob Haynes, Randy Green, Ian Churchill, and Wilfred

The story opens on Genosha as Jenny Ransome and Phillip Moreau flee Magistrates as they meet with Mr. Sinister (who, in a quick line, reveals that the Genoshan mutate process was based on his own work).  Then, Cable and Domino show up from the future (Cable #25) and beat the crap out of some magistrates and join up with Ransome and Moreau.  The four return to the resistance’s headquarters and Domino and Cable agree to help out.  Unfortunately, they are interrupted by the Genoshan press gang.  A massive battle ensues.

The battle goes back and forth, but ultimately Cable is the deciding factor and when the press gang escapes, Cable prevents Pipeline from teleporting himself out.  Moreau then reveals that “Essex” has been providing them with information about who is really behind the government attacks and had hinted that Moreau’s father didn’t actually create the Mutate bonding process.  Of course, a quick cutaway hints to us that it was the Sugar Man (remember him from AoA?).  Cable forces Pipeline to teleport all 5 of them to the site where Essex advised them the process was created.  Mr. Sinister quietly and discreetly watches as they enter the complex that confirms their suspicions:  the original Genegineer did NOT create the mutate bonding process.

Unfortunately, their discovery sets off a timer (and of course all timers lead to an explosion).  Through thought bubbles we do see that Sinister confirms that Sugar Man’s experiments were indeed based on his work and was the second such time.  Sugar Man confronts Cable (calls him “Nate Grey”). Cable battles him, but his telepathy is useless against Sugar Man.  As Sugar Man flees, Moreau confronts him and gets the explanation that Phillip’s father made an arrangement with Sugar Man to create the process which was based on Sinister’s work in the Age of Apocalypse.  Sugar Man then flees once again, this time grabbing Phillip and teleporting away.  As the core meltdown gets closer, Jenny Ransome and Pipeline teleport away to inform the other Genoshans what they discovered and Cable and Domino manage to enter the shutdown code in time.  Sinister finally reveals himself to thank them for getting Sugar Man to flee.  He then teleports them back home.

This arc was the first I remember of any of the retcons the company did that were due to the Age of Apocalypse characters.  Essentially, Sugar Man was one of two villains who had teleported into the past through the M’kraan crystal and as it turns out Sugar Man was the true brains behind the mutate process (which had led to both the first Genoshan crisis in Uncanny 235-238 and the X-Tinction Agenda cross-over).  Unlike the Dark Beast who had manufactured the creation of the Morlocks, this reveal didn’t feel that natural.  But still, I love the Sugar Man as a villain, so it was nice to see him return.  I also love most things with Sinister and to see him in the background was fantastic.

The art, unfortunately, is very inconsistent and most is sub par.  Ian Churchill handles most of the middle issue, and his art is phenomenal except that all of a sudden, the scrawny Phillip Moreau from Uncanny X-Men 236 is now some buff military guy.  It’s hard to swallow, but it’s really my only complaint about Churchill’s work.  But the other issues were lacking in a lot of details.  it wasn’t necessarily boring, but it just seemed like a poorly drawn cartoon.

It’s still a fun arc.  Gives us some neat little extras to add to the X-Men mythos and building into future stories (tying in both to X-Man and X-Factor which is nice).  Definitely worth a read.

X-Men #47 (December 1995)

This marks one of my earliest issues affected by my basement flood years back.  I still haven’t replaced #46.  At least my only valuable issue lost was X-Factor #6 (which I have since replaced).  Seeing the X-Babies return was fun, even if it was a fairly pointless story.  I loved watching Gambit and Bishop fight amongst themselves while they tried to keep a young Gambit, Bishop, Cyclops, Archangel, and Rogue alive.  Jean and Iceman get to babysit a young Storm and Iceman.  Cyclops’ speech impediment is hilarious.  And seeing Dazzler finally return at the very end of the issue was icing on the cake (and not nearly enough of her).

Generation X #10-11 (December 1995 – January 1996)

You know…i never thought I’d say this, but I actually miss Bachalo on this title.  He’s never been my favorite artist, but at least his style seemed appropriate and was better than the poor art that was plaguing Generation X ever since a few issues prior.  These two were no different.  At least we got to see the return of Omega Red as he tries to kill the students who are tracking him after Banshee is struck down by a mystery assailant.

Excalibur #92 (December 1995)

The art was “iffy”.  A bit distorted, not terribly exciting in most parts and seemed to lack details, but honestly, this is one story where I don’t notice the art too much because the story is so enjoyable.  It’s actually rather sad to see Colossus fall so far as he arrives at Muir Island, sees Kitty kissing Pete Wisdom, and proceeds to beat Wisdom within an inch of his life in a jealous rage.  The verbal lashing by Nightcrawler and Colossus’ sheepish look speaks volumes and when Kitty confronts him?  damn. (and the artist did a great job conveying the anger in Nightcrawler, the desperation of Colossus, and the disappointment in Kitty)

FINAL THOUGHTS

It’s funny.  this series of books didn’t originally end with Excalibur #92.  It ended with an issue of Wolverine but I cut it short so I could actually wrap it up (don’t worry, I’ll still include the last two stories).  But it ended rather well.  Started with Colossus showing back up in Uncanny for his first reunion with his team since 21 issues prior and ended with Colossus reuniting with his earliest love in the X-Men, Kitty.

During this time, I was reading only the two X-Men titles, Cable, and X-Man.  but when I went back to pick up X-Factor and Excalibur issues (mind you I haven’t collected all those issues, but I’ve got a good set) I discovered amazing art and some great stories and some great minor plot points that are building to something bigger (hint…Onslaught).

Of course it still contained some duds…Generation X is still lackluster.  Weird stories and worse art.  But hey, they can’t all be winners.

X-Men: From Dream Nails to Fairies!

I think I have a twitter account (@psychodadcomics).  Join me as I continue my ridiculous trek to read all of my X-Men related comics!  I have no life.

Hopefully I can actually get this one out in a timely fashion…I’ve been neglectful.  But I want to get through as many of these as possible because in May I’ll be moving.  Which means that probably for mid-April through mid-June, no more reviews.  I know, I know…sad faces, all of you (all 6 of you).

I explained what I’m doing here.  Might want to take a look.  or don’t.  that’s up to you.  These are in order of how I am reading them.  Unless the X-Men show up in the title, or it’s a tie-in to an X-Men story, I won’t include them.

Excalibur #88-#90 (August – October 1995)  “Dream Nails Trilogy”

ex88-cvr
Regardless of what I think of the trilogy, this cover is awesome!

By Warren Ellis, Larry Stroman, Darrick Gross, Ken Lashley, Jeff Moy, Carlos Pacheco, and David Williams.

There’s three separate plot lines going through this trilogy.  The first involves Pete Wisdom and Kitty Pryde, investigating the death of one of Wisdom’s friends/colleagues.  This is mostly about Wisdom finding out that Kitty isn’t exactly as green as he thought she was and Kitty finding out Wisdom isn’t as carefree as she thought.  it ends with them making out on Excalibur’s jet on the way home, despite them having a 10 year age difference (that’s not me interjecting my own personal views…it’s a view they both share through inner monologues and a concern for both of them, but they obviously get past it).  Wisdom also manages to get revenge on his friend’s killer (some leader in Black Air) and Kitty discovers that Black Air has all sorts of aliens in their basement, including some generic alien called “the Uncreated” who then boast to being the ones who killed god (I really wish I could express a good eye roll here).

uncreated
seriously…the “uncreated”?

Rory Campbell is also trying to “cure” Spoor of his homicidal tendencies.  But to do so, he puts Spoor and himself in a room with lasers designed to target aggressive moves.  To ensure he isn’t affected by Spoor’s range inducing pheromones, Rory takes a mood stabilizer.  He then proceeds to berate Spoor and psychologically abuse Spoor by pointing out his dad killed his mom and just all around making Spoor feel like shit.  Unfortunately, Spoor is more cunning than anyone gave him credit for and manages to keep Rory in there until Rory runs out of stabilizers.  Rory looses his temper and moves to strike Spoor and one of the lasers cuts of Rory’s leg (this leaves him one step closer to him becoming Ahab).

rory-vs-spoor
Best.  Scene.  Ever.  Or at least in this trilogy.

Meanwhile, Moira spends the entire issue trying to figure out the Legacy Virus (remember that?  the analogy for AIDS that ended up being forgotten until Scott Lobdell wrapped it up with the sacrifice of Colossus?).  She spends several pages, figuring out how it was released to the public that she’s infected, and discussing with Xavier, Douglock, Nightcrawler, and Meggan why it’s such a hard virus to crack and expressing her frustrations.

meggan
At least Meggan is trying to be helpful…

This is one of those stories that was just so…inconstant.  Between the constantly changing artists (of those 7 people listed above, 6 of those were the changing artists and no one artist did the entire book…heck they didn’t even designate a single artist to each plot), the characterization of Pete Wisdom (we only find out he’s a good guy from an exposition from one of his old war buddies – otherwise he’s just your stereotypical bad boys), and the Uncreated (seriously?  that was pointless and silly) it was just a hard trilogy to get into.  and I tried.  REALLY I tried.  I’ve read it several times.  The one shining light was the back and forth between Rory and Spoor.  I thought Ellis nailed this as the two tried to outsmart each other and the one you figured would just be a moron, Spoor, ended up being the more devious of the two.  turns out he’s not just a crap Acolyte.  Spoor’s got some potential.

Generation X #7 (September 1995)

I really want to like Generation X.  I REALLY do.  Bachalo at least seemed to have a hand on these issues but then to surprise us with some of Roger Cruz’s poorest work to date?  Nothing much happens in this issue (which doesn’t bug me since I love Lobdell’s ability to write a heartfelt family issue).  Emma and Banshee bond, Chamber laments over Paige, M seems to have a problem with her child-like artwork, Skin and Synch build a treehouse for Leech and Artie, and Banshee’s family castle disappears.

X-Force #46 (September 1995)

I was never a big fan of Pollina’s art.  I know a lot of you love him, but he just never did anything for me.  This issue involved the return of the Mimic and saw an explosive confrontation between the Askani powered Sunspot and Mimic, resulting in Mimic’s disappearance.  On a side note, this is one of the early indications of the coming of Onslaught.  We also get to see the unhealthy relationship between the dain bramaged Sabretooth and Boom Boom, who is starving for attention.  Of course a naked Wolverine shows up in her bedroom to tell her to stop.  Probably not the best thing for her…

Uncanny X-Men #323-324 (August 1995 – September 1995)

Marvel!  Why must you torture me with more Cruz?  (believe it or not, he’s not one of my most hated artists…just of all the titles at this time he was the most consistently irritating).  At least we started out with Bryan Hitch.  And to be fair, Cruz wasn’t as bad here as he was in the Generation X #7.  Maybe he was just over extended.  We get a little progression in the Psylocke/Gambit drama as we try and figure out what was so horrible inside Gambit’s mind.  Iceman and Rogue continue their escape from reality 9also known as a “road trip”).  Cannonball takes Sabretooth for a walk and then joins his very first X-Men mission.  And the X-Men encounter Gene Nation for the first time.

Wolverine (vol. 2) #95 (November 1995)

Adam Kubert is hard to really pin down if I like or hate.  This issue helps remind me that yeah…I do like him.  It’s also nice to see Guardian and Vindicator who show up to try and ensure Wolverine (who is losing his grip on reality thanks to no adamantium) is safe to allow to wander the streets.  In the end, Wolverine convinces them that yes, he does know what he’s doing.  Plus, we see Cyber “trying out” for the Dark Riders of Apocalypse.

Cable #23-25 (September 1995 – November 1995)

The only thing that bugged me about this arc?  Ian Churchill didn’t draw all of it.  Salvador Larroca took over some duties in 23 and 24 (and was actually not too bad) but Joel Thomas in 25 was a big drop in quality and didn’t seem to fit.  Still, when Churchill did the art, he was at the top of his form and it’s exciting, well drawn, etc.  Cable’s wife, Jenskot, shows up in present day to bring Cable to the future to save the life of young Cable.  Meanwhile Domino is forced to kill Grizzly who was murdering people at the command of Cable’s son.  Domino then gets pulled into the future where Cable leads an excursion to rescue the sentient computer “Professor” from Stryfe which revives young Cable.  Confusing?  maybe.  but it was a good story.

X-Man #7 (September 1995)

I don’t know if it was Marvel’s money problems or what but the switching artists seems a consistent theme during this time.  Steve Skroce is actually really strong here (despite not caring for him in the limited series) and then towards the end we get Phil Hester who is really bland and boring.  You’re killing me, marvel!  We get to see some of the Sugar Man’s schemes to control Nate, Madeline Pryor leaves Nate to join Selene, and a bounty hunter, Rex, stalks him.  All through Paris.

Generation X #8-9 (October 1995-November 1995)

*Sigh*  Dragons, leprechauns and faeries.  oh my.  I mean…what can I saw about these issues.  The kids head to Cassidy Keep and jump into another dimension and find a dragon and leprechauns, including Eamon O’Donnel who last appeared in Uncany X-Men #103.  I will admit that Generation X started off strong with the first 4 issues…but then the most recent 3?  I just want to scream and tear them up.  but at least it gets better after this…

AFTERTHOUGHTS

You know…it’s funny…  we started this read with “the Uncreated” and ended with leprechauns.  Started silly and ended silly (and not in a “Goofy Goober” way).  But in between, got to read Cable which had some of the best art at the time.  Unfortunately, this particular batch was plagued with Cruz (I apologize to all you Cruz fans…he was actually a good artist later on in the title) and other artists who were just plain and un-fun (is that a word?).  But hey, it happens.  At least it’s not Sean Phillips…

My X-Men Reading Order – From Giant-Sized Onward

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Several years ago (can’t remember exact but it was more than 1 and less than 20 if that helps narrow it down…or if anybody actually cares) I decided I wanted to be able to re-read all of my Marvel comics (specifically X-Men) in chronological order.  Not necessarily the order they were released because various titles across the Marvel Universe would have several titles sometimes take place over a few hours and sometimes months could theoretically  pass between issues.  X-Men (vol.2) #1-5 and Uncanny X-Men #281 were a great example of this.  Uncanny #281 doesn’t even take place until after X-Men #5 even though it was released same month as X-Men #1.  When you factor in Alpha Flight and Spider-Man, Avengers, etc., it becomes a real feat.

So I started a spreadsheet.  It’s constantly evolving as new comics are released and as I read back through them and discover that maybe I got things wrong, maybe I finally purchased other issues that filled in certain blanks, maybe some just don’t feel like they fit in where I put them.  I’ve tried to base it on when it’s released but also how long the story seems to take place over.  Sometimes there’s just no reconciling and I have to do the best I can.  Once Morrison took over X-Men, it becomes nearly impossible for a period of time.  And to make matter worse, it’s been probably a year since I’ve really organized these so everything released within the last year or two hasn’t really been read through to adjust.  I’ll get to it…but don’t hold it against me.

I’ve used this spreadsheet to figure out what to read as I do these reviews.  it’s what I’m using going forward, so it might come in handy.  It’s also a great starting point if you want to make your own list.  I’m linking it here.  This order is also very dependent on what comics I own.  Yes, I have Marvel Unlimited, but I don’t feel like going through that, saving pics, etc.  It’s a pain in the ass.  And I am extremely limited on what Generation X titles I own.  and other issues got ruined in a basement flood I had a few years ago (thankfully very few of my Uncanny issues).  So this list isn’t perfect.

I’m also going to change how I post these.  I’ve finished Age of Apocalypse and read a bit beyond that, trying to figure out how I wanted to handle these things.  First of all, I’m not going to cover non-X-Men titles (I WILL start covering them once I get up to New Avengers because the Avengers and X-Men become intertwined at that point).  I’m also not going to review every single issue in full.  I mean come on folks…there are about 3100 on my list and I’m up to only about 1070.  But I’ll mention each one and try and mix them up which ones I’m covering.

I hope you enjoy.

X-Men Alpha – The Age of Apocalypse Starts Now!

I’ve had a twitter account for quite some time but haven’t used it much.  But follow me (@psychodadcomics).  I may decide to come into the 21st century with social media.

Okay so it’s been 9+ months since my last blog post (Check out “Watching the Watcher“).  But I had a lot of changes in my personal life and didn’t have the time for these.  But I think I’m back on track.  Got a new scanner.  Rearranged my desk area, and now I have extra time.  So while I could return to checking out those “What If” issues, I really want to continue with the trip down memory lane.  So let’s go to one of the most iconic stories that everybody who collected comics in the 90’s remembers.  It’s also one of those that makes me feel REALLY old because I was still in high school when this came out.

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X-Men Alpha

“Beginnings…”

February 1995

it’s hard to really pinpoint what the 90’s X-Men is best known for.  Some people might claim Jim Lee, some people might claim heroes with big pockets.  Others might cite the explosion of amazing artists or the massive amount of cross-overs.

And yet others would refer to a single, X-Men-wide cross-over.  One that started with a single death in the past, that changed everything (I did a review of all of the Legion Quest issues starting here).  All of the X-Men titles during this time were completely re-imagined.  New titles sprang up and a completely new world was formed, dwarfing anything that has ever happened before and everything that has happened since (except, maybe, the recent Secret Wars arc and even then, it was much more coherent back then).

Age of Apocalypse is probably the most referenced cross-over ever.  Most writers don’t bring up events that happened in Inferno, or events from X-Tinction Agenda, or X-Cutioner’s Song.  But Age of Apocalypse created such a diverse universe, as diverse as the regular 616, that was deeper than anything before or since.  So years later, those who read it still remember it very well.

So I’m going to do something a bit different with these reviews.  This saga lasted 4 months and there’s no way I’m going to do a review for every single issue.  Instead I’m going to review each title, but I won’t go into as much depth for each issue.  Hope you guys enjoy.

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Meet the New X-Men!

SYNOPSIS

A stranger (to the reader, not just to others in the book) is climbing up a pile of dead bodies.  There has been years of “cullings”, an attempted genocide of the human race.  The humans had tried to evacuate before the cullings, but some had remained behind and paid the price.  Suddenly, a little girl comes running, stumbling over the bodies, screaming and in tears.  She runs into this stranger and hugs onto him hoping that he will save her.  An explosion heralds the arrival of her pursuers.  The leader of the emerald armored soldiers is identified as Unus (Unus the untouchable).  The child, simply for being human, has earned a death sentence, but the stranger has also earned one for helping her.  Unus uses his forcefield offensively (which is pretty cool because in 616 he was pretty useless as a villain), but the energy is seemingly absorbed by the stranger (can you guess who this stranger is, yet?).  Lord Unus (seriously…he is referred to as “Lord”) declares that the traitor must be killed, but before one of the Infinites (those are the food soldiers) can attack, they are interrupted…

…By Magneto and is X-Men.  Sabretooth and Wild Child lead the charge.  Roge, with super strength, hammers into the Infinites and Nightcrawler watches her back.  Morph (he’s a throwback to a really old character who died – The Changeling) joins in and Storm unleashes on them.  Finally, Unus decides he’s had enough and gets to Magneto and aims a non-metal gun right at the X-Men’s leader’s head, point blank.  Surely, Mags is dead?

Nope!

Suddenly, Unus’ body freezes and becomes so cold that his body crumbles under its own weight.  These aren’t the X-Men we’re used to.  These ones kill if necessary.

Magneto, however, isn’t thrilled with the victory.  He can only take a stroll, head held low, over the charred bodies of hundreds of humans.  He laments to Quicksilver how mutant domination had once been his goal, but for the death of the greatest man he had ever known:  Charles Xavier.

Blink (another brief character in the 616 world) shows up and advises Magneto that Sabretooth’s questioning of the survivor (the man the Infinites were trying to kill) isn’t going so well.  Magneto returns to the group and lowers the stranger’s hood to reveal a familiar face.  Bishop and Magneto stare at each other for a minute when suddenly Bishop attacks in a frenzy, screaming that everything is Magneto’s fault.  Tired of the babbling, Magneto slows Bishop’s blood just enough to put him to sleep.  They carry him off.

Elsewhere, we’re treated to a scene showing us how more of our beloved characters are changed in this dystopian future.  Beast is gleefully torturing the Blob who is screaming “Your hurting me!”.  Beast even comments how he takes delight in these horrible experiments.  Suddenly, the Blob breaks free and attacks Beast.  Havok shows up and interrupts firing a plasma bolt into Blob’s shoulder.  Blob responds by tossing Beast into Havok and leaping at them.  They are saved by a one-eyed Cyclops who blasts Blob away.  Cyclops clearly doesn’t take joy in what he had to do, however, as he scolds Beast for continuing the illegal experimentation.  Havok, jumps in, clearly upset at his life having been saved by his brother.  He starts yelling in Cyclops’ face when suddenly they are broken up by their adoptive “father”, Mister Sinister (yup…even in an alternate timeline, Sinister is still obsessed with the Summers).  Sinister leaves Havok to clean up the mess and heads off with his “favorite” Summers.

As they stroll through the stronghold, Sinister appears to ramble.  He announces his intent to leave and mentions something about leaving a mess.  They are facing armageddon and Sinister seems genuinely sorry that he has failed to prepare Cyclops for the coming conflict.  Sinister leaves, and Cyclops is left pondering his words.

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Apocalypse!

Elsewhere, we are introduced to other classic characters.  Angel runs a nightclub with a familiar singer…but only if you’ve read the miniseries Meltdown:  Scarlett!  Karma announces an uninvited guest.  Gambit shows up in the shadows, requesting a meeting with Magneto.  Angel agrees, but is wary, worried about who might be watching.  Unfortunately, Sebastian Shaw IS watching above.

At a particular mansion in Westchester County, Rogue steps into a room with the robot Nanny (remember her from way back when?).  Nanny steps away to reveal Rogue’s child.  Magneto enters the room, revealing that he is the father.  The logistics of this seriously drive me nuts.  After putting their son to bed, and Rogue lamenting how she is unable to touch her own son, they turn their attention to the stranger, Bishop.  Bishop once again accuses Magneto of crimes, but when he invokes the name of Charles Xavier, Magneto’s had enough.  He drops Bishop with a bolt of energy (again…not sure how this happens).  He turns to Rogue.  Their only option is to enter Bishop’s mind, but they have no telepath.  They have only one option.

Elsewhere, the horsemen of Apocalypse are called by their master.  One horseman is missing:  Mikhail Rasputin (yes…brother to Colossus).  Ultimately, not a lot happens in this scene but we are introduced to the horsemen as well as to this universe’s Apocalypse!  We also learn about an uneasy truce with the humans which Apocalypse is intending to break, resulting in a war that will allow only the fittest to survive (glad to see that in any universe Apocalypse still spreads the same silly concept).

Once again the scene shifts, giving us a view of Wolverine and Jean Grey, traversing the ruined streets to meet the Human High Council in Europe, comprised, at least, of Moira McTaggart (her last name is Trask and she’s married to Bolivar) as well as a lobotomized Emma Frost.  Wolverine and Jean share a passionate kiss before accepting their next mission.

Back at the mansion, Rogue moves toward Bishop to try and absorb his memories.  Suddenly a backlash occurs which floods Magneto with memories of a different universe.  Gambit shows up to break things up only to discover that Magneto invited him here for a mission.  In fact, Magneto has a larger plan at work, even though it may destroy everything he knows.

Across the galaxy, a giant wave of crystal speeds towards Earth, completely unnoticed by the war torn world.

havok

THOUGHTS/REVIEWS/SNIDE COMMENTS

Since I’m taking a look at this 20+ years later (^%&* I’m old) it’s hard not to look at this with a certain sense of nostalgia coloring my perceptions.  I mean, this issue was just so awesome, from the narration, to the shiny, smooth, and reflective cover (granted mine has a few dings over the years but still in pretty good shape) to even the glossy interior pages which were a relatively new concept at this time, to even Roger Cruz’s often over the top jawlines.  Was there something about this I didn’t like?  sure.  but that involves nitpicking the hell out of it.

PROS:

  • The build-up and suspense.  The book opens with us knowing absolutely nothing about what to expect.  All we knew was that Xavier was dead in the past and the present had been changed.  But this was before the internet ruined all surprises for us.  And this issue handles it beautifully, the way few comics ever do since.  As we see Bishop climbing over bodies, the new takes on the X-Men characters, and the exploration of this new world, everything about this issue builds it up slowly and leaves us wanting more.
  • Beast/Havok/Cyclops.  I have to admit.  although Factor X wasn’t my favorite of the spin-offs, I absolutely loved the new take on the sibling rivalry with the Beast playing up Havok’s jealousy to further his own ends.  and this issue introduces us to the animosity between the brothers perfectly.
  • Sinister.  Sorry…MISTER Sinister.  He’s taken almost a father figure interest in the brothers and it honestly scares me but also intrigues me.  Does he actually care about them?  Are they just a means to an end?  Obviously, without Xavier there to rescue Scott from the orphanage, it makes sense that Sinister would have had more a hand in raising the X-Men’s leader, but to actually see this makes me want to know more.
  • The X-Men.  These are clearly not Xavier’s X-Men.  They are far more ruthless and have Sabretooth on their side?!  I mean sure, Sabretooth is a good guy in the current comics, but back in the 90’s it was an insane concept.  And then Iceman even kills Unus the Untouchable during the battle.  I was enamored as each of the X-Men flung themselves into battle (even Wildchild from Alpha flight which was a total surprise).

CONS:

  • The Artwork.  This is really reaching…but I’m not a huge fan of Roger Cruz.  He draws his women disproportionate almost to a comical degree (similar to Rob Liefeld) and everybody always has really weird chins and mouths.  But to be fair, Cruz is in top form this issue and it’s not much of a complaint.
  • The Continuity.  This is again just a minor complaint and really only factors in once you read some of the tie-in issues.  And it’s seriously something I can get past (if I recall correctly the biggest goof was Nightcrawler leaving to find his mom and when Gambit shows up.

How about you guys?  Did you read this when it first came out or years later?  Does it hold up?  I’ll return with Astonishing X-Men (I promise it won’t take my another 9 months).

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Rogue puts her son to bed…with a creepy variant of a famous prayer

FAVORITE QUOTES

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Rogue:  “Do any of y’all recognize the stranger?”

Magneto:  “Only for what he is, Rogue:  like ourselves, a mutant persecuted and hunted by his own kind.”

*****************************************************

Mr. Sinister:  “Lads, haven’t I raised you better than this?  Will the Summers brothers ever get along?”

*****************************************************

Apocalypse:  “Does it matter?  What care I for the fate of the masses?  Whether four or four billion fall in the days and weeks to come, the strongest, and the fittest, will survive.  And they will form the army of tomorrow.”

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Watching the Watcher 1: Hell on Earth

 

 

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You know, it’s hard to know where to start when you’ve been gone awhile.  I could lead off with a joke, but trust me…it’d come across as lame.  I’m not that funny.

So yeah, it’s been awhile.  I really enjoyed doing these for awhile but then life got the better of me, my comics were buried under other junk in my basement and it just became too much of a hassle to get to them.  Then once I finally cleaned everything up (which was hampered by a flood [my comics were fine]) my scanner broke so…no more images of comics.

until finally, I replaced my printer/scanner, and ta da!  New reviews.

So first, if you haven’t seen any of my past reviews, I encourage you to take a trip down memory lane and check them out.  2 years ago, I started on this site with X-Tinction Agenda and there’s several reviews from there up to Legion Quest.

And I promise I will continue on with my reading through the X-Men universe.  I fully intend to continue with Age of Apocalypse.

But for now, I wanted to try something a bit different.  I was trying to explain what a particular “What If…?” issue was about (for those of you who don’t know what a What if is, check out below) and realized what a great idea it would be to review X-Men related What if issues and simultaneously review the issues they spun off from.

I may not be able to do these in any particular order, because some of the comics I simply do not own.  But I’ll do my best and hope that they are enjoyable.

So with that, I give you a new series:  Watching the Watcher! (or…”Where Did it All go Wrong?“)

watcher

So for those of you who are relatively new to comics, the Watcher was a character who had been around since early Fantastic Four issues, but in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, he was the “star” of 2 volumes of comics called “What If…?”  He was a cosmic-level being (on par with Galactus) and part of a race of beings whose duty was simply to observe and never interfere.  As part of his “watching”, he examined a events that occurred in the regular Marvel universe (what is typically dubbed “616”) and took a single point that diverged to create a new world.  Something didn’t go quite right and things ended up usually very different from the world we know and love.  Often they involved at least one death and sometimes even involved the end of the world.  Literally.  I can think of 3 off the top of my head that ended up with the entire human race dying.

Ironically, this series is what got me hooked on the X-Men to begin with.  A friend showed me this issue and it was so incredibly dark and horrible and made me want to read more about the characters that were barely in the book.  I wanted to know more because my limited understanding made me think that “Inferno” was an actual person.

That’s right…  I’m going to tackle “What If…?” vol. 2 # 6:  “What if…the X-Men Lost Inferno” (seriously, I thought they lost Inferno like a parent might lose a kid).

If you want to check out the specific issues the timeline diverged from, check out New Mutants #73 and Uncanny X-Men #242.

 

So for those of you who don’t know, Inferno was a storyline that centered around a place called Limbo where Colossus’ little sister, Magik, reigned supreme.  Eventually, though, Limbo turned against her and spilled out into the real world.  The X-Men and X-Factor (the original five X-Men) both attempted to combat it, but it was made difficult due to Cyclops’ wife, Madeline Pryor (aka the Goblin Queen), falling under the demonic influence.  To make matters worse, the X-men fought X-Factor due to a combination of demonic influence, misunderstandings, and Madeline Pryor’s manipulations.

The Inferno cross over spanned through 3 main titles but its effects could be felt across most of the Marvel Universe, including X-Men’s sister title, Excalibur.  However, the main story would run through New Mutants, Uncanny X-Men, and X-Factor.

Overall, Inferno is a fantastic cross-over and one of my favorites of all time.  It included heartbreak (Magik reverted to a child, and Madeline Pryor died) and also included redemption (Cyclops rediscovered his lost infant son and Magik finally rid herself of her demonic persona).  The art was mostly good (except for X-Factor) and we finally got some great backstory to Madeline and Cyclops (thanks to the involvement of Sinister).  We also got some amazing battles, including a rematch between the Marauders and the X-Men, as well as between the X-Men and X-Factor (culminating with a nasty snowball fight).

The X-Men and X-Factor, while they weren’t battling each other, were fighting to save Madeline and young Nathan Christopher (hers and Cyclops’ baby) from the evil mutant N’astirh.  The New Mutants were fighting to save Magik from herself, as well as from N’astirh’s partner-in-crime, S’ym.  The battle reached a fevered pitch in New Mutants when Magik, who had given in to her demonic nature, was confronted with her younger self (Limbo gets really confusing).  As demons rained down on Manhattan, she decided the only way to win was to make the ultimate sacrifice to close the portal.  She threw her soul sword back to Limbo, which created a magical wind to drag the majority of demons back with it to Limbo, including S’ym.  Magik was left a discarded shell, her armor lifeless.  But amazingly, the child Magik (I guess we can call her Illyana at this point) was left inside the armor, untouched by the horrors of Limbo.  The friend of the New Mutants had been lost, but an innocent child had been saved.

soul sword

Meanwhile, Madeline Pryor pit brother against brother and friend against friend, as the Uncanny X-Men fought X-Factor, the original five X-Men, in an effort to save Madeline and her infant son.  Unfortunately, Madeline had been seduced by the demon N’astirh and they both conspired to kill her son to permanently open a portal to Limbo and change earth into a demon realm.  So the battle raged on, with Havok joining the Goblin Queen as her newly anointed Goblin Prince and N’astirh becoming even more powerful thanks to his exposure to the Transmode Virus (it’s the virus that gives Warlock over in the New Mutants his ability to change shape).  Eventually, the X-Men and X-Factor combined their powers to defeat N’astirh but the demonic influence remained as the Goblin Queen still lived.  The Inferno story line continued with the X-Men and X-Factor saving the day (and Cyclops’ son), Madeline died, Sinister showed up and revealed Cyclops’ past at the orphanage, and the X-Mansion got destroyed (wasn’t the first time, wouldn’t be the last).

N'astirh destroyed

However, somewhere along the lines, things changed.  See, Limbo is a place where time goes all screwy and various timelines occur there all at the same time.  So when Magik sends her Soulsword back to Limbo and it drags S’ym back, they end up at different places and times and so no big deal.  Limbo’s a big place and without the Soulsword, S’ym’s power is pretty limited.  He’s not much more than just a nasty bruiser.

But…what if things went just a little bit different?

What if, S’ym and the Soulsword ended up at the same time and place in Limbo?

Well, then S’ym would easily be able to wield the sword and with no Magik to contest him, he uses it to return to Manhattan, just in time to see N’astirh die at the hands of the mutants.  Of course this time, as the mutants flee the destruction, S’ym and the Goblin Queen combine their forces to kill both groups.  Wolverine manages to save Jean but it’s only temporary.  Madeline catches them both and immediately kills Jean.  S’ym, however, convinces Madeline to spare Wolverine and they would use him.

X-Men

With nobody left to oppose them, Madeline carries forth her original plan:  to sacrifice her infant son.  With a swipe from the Soulsword, she accomplishes this task and the portal to Limbo is left permanently opened.

Limbo reigns on earth with most of the heroes of the world dead.  A few are enslaved.  Wolverine works for babies.  No, seriously.  That’s how they pay him.  They give him newborn babies to EAT.  I still can’t believe the CCA let them get away with things in this issue!

Wolverine

A handful of heroes are left behind to combat the wave of demons that have swept across the planet.  Captain America, Thor, She-Hulk, Human Torch, and Spider-Man are just a few.  Kitty Pryde, longtime friend of Wolverine, ex-member of the X-Men, and current member of Excalibur is another.  Several mystics, including Dr. Strange, are attempting to use their powers to combat the “Inferno”.  Dr. Strange then brings back another source of power:  Rachel Summers, aka Phoenix and teammate of Kitty.  She had been trapped as a mannequin.  Seriously, Inferno was screwed up.

Unfortunately, the demons find out about this pitiful little band and attack (turns out the Hulk is also demonic).  Everybody but Torch, Kitty, Strange, Baron Mordo, and Phoenix are killed in the escape.  Strange decides that the best be is for Rachel to summon the full Phoenix force to cleanse the planet.  Unfortunately, he’d only just started when the demons attack again (at least this time it was without the Hulk).  Turns out Baron Mordo is a traitorous prick even during the end of the world.  The Torch is the first to fall during the assault.  As Rachel summons the Phoenix, she must battle Madeline for control.

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Kitty, in an effort to buy them some time, distracts Wolverine but pays for it with her life. This seems to snap Wolverine out of his haze as he then impales Baron Mordo (who, in a predictable fashion, had just struck down S’ym).  Mordo takes Wolverine with him in death as he burns every bit of flesh off of the mutants’ bones, leaving behind an adamantium skeleton.  Rachel becomes distracted at her friends’ deaths and she is knocked away by Madeline.  However, before Madeline can bring the Phoenix force to bear on her enemies, she is killed by S’ym, who is controlling Wolverine’s bones.  Rachel/Phoenix then sends the power over the entire earth, burning away the demon presence from every part of the globe.  Rachel and Dr. Strange are the only heroes to survive, but at least humanity lives on, even if it is reduced to a primitive state.

Part of me loves the idea of seeing an alternate reality where things go so horribly wrong.  I may be morbid, but I loved watching so many heroes die because it shows you just how on the edge they live.  It adds an air of danger to the main universe because let’s face it:  nobody dies in comics.  It’s fun seeing just one event that causes things to go to shit.

This issue isn’t perfect.  Havok is killed with the X-Men, but by this point he had joined Madeline.  Kitty and Phoenix are alive but no mention of the rest of Excalibur.  And where the heck are the New Mutants?  It would have been nice to see a bit more representation or at least some explanation where they all had gone.

Also, it is revealed that Alicia Storm (married to the Human Torch) is pregnant as she gives birth after all of the demon horde was burned away.  This, however, was made impossible after a retcon in the 616 universe revealed her to be a Skrull.  Still, at the time of this issue, the birth was totally plausible.

Otherwise, this issue is near perfect as far as What If’s go.  it’s fast paced, fairly accurate to the source material, and only relies on a single difference (there are some that only work if you change 2 or 3 things which I think defeats the purpose of the series).  The art is enjoyable, and it’s a dark, DARK issue.

Overall, Inferno was a great series and this What If was a great “what if”.  Granted, nostalgia is influencing my decision since this was what inspired me to collect X-Men, but I’d like to think my opinion wouldn’t change.  It was really a fun issue…as long as you don’t mind your favorites dying.  Cause there’s a lot of dying in this issue.

ending

Old Man Logan #2 – Over the Wall and Through the Woods

Old Man Logan #2

Old Man Logan 2 cvr

Release Date:  June 17, 2015

Battleworld

The original Old Man Logan was gratuitous, no doubt about it.  It was obviously a story with one purpose:  to give Wolverine/Logan a chance to do what he always seemed to hint at – kill lots of people in gruesome ways.  Not that there was anything wrong with that.  Watching him decapitate the Red Skull with Captain America’s shield was fantastic.  But it was a tragic story right off the bat.  The world had gone to shit, all his friends were dead, and even in this world, the new friends would die or betray him, and his family was killed – murdered brutally by the Hulk gang.

This arc isn’t quite as…”graphic”…but it’s definitely headed in a direction I like.  Other than X-Tinction Agenda, this is the only Battleworld issue I really enjoy at the moment, and this one has me drooling for the next issue.  I made the trip all the way across town, on my lunch hour, to pick up this one issue and I wasn’t disappointed.  Sure, there are some things I can nitpick, but just as issue #1, the rest of the story is so well told and so enjoyable, that I’m wiling to overlook things.

Logan v Thor

SYNOPSIS

Okay…so remember that wall that Logan started climbing at the end of the last issue?  No?  Well then go check out my review (or get your ass to a comic shop and actually start picking up these issues).  Anywho…  Logan gets to the top of the wall and finds himself staring out at a world in the distance that is completely different from his own.  He’s completely confused (not realizing as the reader does that he is seeing one of the bordering worlds in Battleworld – giving the impression that each world is, in fact, a separate reality, separated only by a giant wall).  Unfortunately, if you’ve been following Secret Wars, you know that the Thors are around to prevent people from crossing over into different realities.  And one of the Thors shows up.

Whoever this Thor is, it gives Logan a single warning to return to his reality, but Logan is dumbfounded by this character wearing a dead man’s outfit (remember…Logan’s Thor died with the rest of the heroes).  Due to the non-compliance, it calls down a massive bolt of lightning and fries Logan which tosses him right off the wall…and into one of the other realities.  Seriously.  If the Thors’ jobs are to prevent this, then this Thor should be fired.  Logan’s body (seriously…it got torn apart by the electricity) drops into a forest (now do you get the title?) and lands hard on the ground after crashing through several branches.  The Thor follows, just to make sure Logan is dead.  The Thor searches, but cannot find Logan, even when she walks right by where he is hiding (that’s right…he ain’t dead).  Ultimately, she gives up the search and flies off.

Logan finally gets to his feet only to have a Tiger stumble across him.  The Tiger attacks and Logan is forced (he actually really did not want to) to kill the beast.  No sooner does he toss the dead tiger to the ground then a familiar face shows up.  Sabretooth emerges from the brush.  And it’s not a pleasant visit.  Sabretooth reveals himself as a Horseman (that’s right…of the Apocalypse…I really did start shuddering with anticipation at this revelation) and prepares to have himself some Filet Logan, rare.  But before he can attack, blasts of energy lance out, striking them both.  Sabretooth shouts back about Logan being his to kill.

Once again, thought, lightning interrupts Logan.  This time, however, it strikes down Sabretooth and the soldiers who were firing.  Logan looks up and sees a familiar figure hovering.  This figure lands in a crowd of four others.  Storm, Iceman, Colossus, Dazzler, and Nightcrawler all take a look at Logan, commenting how he looks like someone’s dad.  Suddenly, Logan passes out.  Whether its from his wounds or from the shock of seeing his friends who he killed years ago, it’s hard to say.

Let me interrupt by explaining something.  This wasn’t any ordinary Storm, etc.  They were clearly dressed as they were in Age of Apocalypse.  Now I’m not sure if this will have any impact on the AoA Battleworld story out later this summer, but still.  It was ^$%&ing awesome to see.

Some time later, Logan wakes up in what is, to him, a familiar setting.  As he walks through the halls, a disembodied voice talks to him, tells him he’s safe.  There’s a picture of Logan’s group of original X-Men (the All New, All Different ones).  Logan turns to see Emma Frost.  Not the old one that died last issue, but a younger Emma Frost.  Turns out, they’re in Logan’s head and the scenery is simply a happy memory.  Emma goes through Logan’s memories, including ones after the death of the X-Men.  Of course, she’s confused as well because it’s events that she knows never happened and this Logan is also older than he should be.  But with his promise to behave, Emma allows him to wake up.

Logan opens his eyes to see Storm, Rogue, Magneto, Iceman, Colossus, Blink, and Emma, all watching him.  Before he can even try to explain anything, the wall explodes and in the rubble stands Abyss (at least I think it is), Sabretooth, and Mister Sinister (or, as Sabretooth calls him, Essex).  Apparently, Sabretooth tracked Logan here.  In rage, Magneto, with a simple gesture, tosses Logan through the wall and into the rain and rubble outside.  Logan, completely confused by what he has witnessed, fumbles around only to stumble upon APOCALYPSE.

X-Men

THOUGHTS/REVIEWS/SNIDE COMMENTS

This issue was worth the wait and worth the drive.  I’m not even a big fan of Wolverine after the over saturation of the last couple decades, but this issue was so enjoyable, especially Logan.  Sure, the final scene of the issue was fantastic, but it’s Logan’s reactions to seeing all the memories of his world, but as living, breathing souls and trying to cope with facing the friends and family he slaughtered (even if it was under Mysterio’s control).

PROS:

  • Battleworld.  I love how Bendis reminds us that it’s not just Logan in his own little world.  It’s part of a patchwork of worlds.  The sight from on top of the world is amazing which leads me into the next pro…
  • The art.  It’s not just Andrea Sorrentino’s pencils which, I will admit, are amazing.  The coloring is fantastic as well.  Combined, they make for some amazing visuals, such as the Thor dropping from the sky and the view from the top of the wall.
  • Inner Turmoil.  Bendis does a fantastic job, just in the actions and Logan’s dialogue, of showing us the struggle Logan is having.  He no longer relishes violence and what he’s done in the past still weighs heavily on him.  He struggles killing the tiger, even trying to talk it down.  He is shaken up by seeing his friends alive and well and in their prime.  Even seeing someone dressed as Thor is noticeably disturbing to him.  He keeps hoping it’s all a dream.  And I love it.  It brings back the depth that has been missing for 20 years.

CONS:

  • Overused Cliché.  Seriously, Bendis.  I’m talking directly to you now.  It was cute when you brought it back.  It seemed to drop in at just the right moments.  But now?  Now it’s just tired.  I read it and there’s just no surprise or wonder left in me.  Please stop.  Stop with “To me, my X-Men.”

Outside of the core series, this is the best Battleworld issue yet.  And true to form, I’m left eagerly awaiting the next issue.  Will it remain on top?  Who knows.  I’m hoping that each issue is better than the last and I’ve got high hopes for the Age of Apocalypse series (and I have to wonder if it will spin off of this issue), but this one is definitely turning out to be a gem.

Logan v Apocalypse