Uncanny X-Men #320

UXM 320 cvr

“The Son Rises in the East” – Legion Quest part 1

January 1995
Storm cuts loose
Storm cuts loose

Let me give you a little background of what I’ve been doing here.  I have re-read my X-Men titles starting from Giant-Sized X-Men #1 a couple times.  It’s quite an undertaking.  So I decided to start blogging a few issues here and there as I make my journey again.  However, this time through, I didn’t really start blogging them until X-Factor annual #1 (don’t ask why I started with that dismal excuse for a book – it’s just dumb luck that I landed with that story).  But when I did start reviewing them and knew that I would blog, I knew there were two particular events that I would look forward to the most.  The first was the Mutant Massacre (maybe I’ll re-blog them here at some point down the line).  The second was the Legion Quest/Age of Apocalypse (I view them as a complete story).

And so I’m pretty psyched to finally be here.  Age of Apocalypse was the pinnacle of 90’s storytelling and Legion Quest led into it perfectly.

Legion

SYNOPSIS

This issue kicks it off with a bang.  Five X-Men (Storm, Jean, Iceman, Bishop, and Psylocke) are battling an uber-powered Legion in the desert and not having much luck.  Even as Storm batters him with lightning and winds, Iceman and Psylocke take shelter behind an ice-shield.  Storm reminisces about how arrogant they were, thinking to take on Legion with little preparation.

Through a flash-back, we learn that the five X-Men arrived in Israel to help out Xavier’s old girlfriend Gabrielle Haller.  After pleasantries are exchanged, the X-Men are advised that the Israeli army is licking its wounds after attempting to attack a giant black dome in the desert.  Gabrielle then explains that the dome was created by Legion and that he is no longer a schizophrenic.  Rather, his mind has been healed and this has given him a ridiculous amount of power.  The X-Men agree to go in and try and bring Legion down instead of the Israeli’s option of Nuclear weapons.

Back in the middle of the battle, Storm continues her assault, finally attracting Legion’s attention (seriously…despite the power being thrown at him, he was just ignoring the X-Men).  He grabs hold of her with his powers and immediately they vanish, much to the shock of the other X-Men.

Storm reappears somewhere else.  Based on Legion’s explanation, Storm determines that she is witnessing the scene that killed her parents and left her with claustrophobia.  She rushes to stop the plane from crashing into her parents’ building but suddenly Legion teleports her away again.  They arrive back in modern day Israel.  Legion reveals that it was an experiment in time travel, that they really had returned to the past to when Storm’s parents had died.  He rambles on a bit more when Bishop launches himself at the mad demi-god.  Legion easily swats away Bishop, but it was only a trick as Iceman and Jean both attack Legion together, finally knocking him down.

Given a brief moment of respite, Storm thinks back to Legion’s supposedly incoherent rambling when they first entered the dome.  Suddenly, she realizes what Legion’s plan is:  to go back in time to try and fix his father’s dream (I’m sure most of you know that Legion is Xavier’s son).  Storm immediately orders Psylocke to psychically link to Bishop.  Suddenly, Legion opens a portal in the sky and Legion and all of the X-Men save one are pulled through.  Only Jean’s telekinesis keeps her on the ground and in the present.  Jean, her energy drained, sends out a telepathic warning to Xavier before she collapses in the sand.

Light years away, Lilandra of the Shi’ar sleeps soundly until an unconscious Gladiator crashes through her window.  He sees Jahft, the guardian of the M’kraan Cyrstal, advising that something has happened that will cause the end of everything.

And here we thought "M" meant "mutant".
And here we thought “M” meant “mutant”.

THOUGHTS/SARCASM/SNIDE COMMENTS

So I’m going to try to do something a little bit different.  Don’t like it?  Well, tough!  (wait…no, that isn’t right).  What I mean is:  let me know.  I’m always looking for ways to improve, things that can make these more worthwhile.  So for now, I’m going to list the pros and cons of the issue before I get on to remembering when this came out.

PROS:

  • The artwork.  Roger Cruz is another artist who, like Bachalo, seemed to get worse as he went along.  He ended up doing work for Image and I really do think Liefeld ended up rubbing off on him.  But in this particular issue, he was at the top of his game.  so much so, that it’s barely recognizable as his work if you base it on his later stuff.
  • The action.  This entire issue plays out like one long TV action packed episode, with only a handful of down-time to fill the reader in as to what’s happening.  It’s intense and enjoyable.
  • Legion.  I love seeing him back in action, even if he was supposedly dead at the end of X-Factor #70.  Who really stays dead in Marvel, anyways?  Well…Jean actually does considering she’s been dead now for over 10 years…  But he’s enjoyable as he battles the X-men and rambles on.  Claremont originally described Legion as autistic and it really does come across at points in this issue (the constant rambling, the singular mindset).  Of course, it could just be that’s how a typical villain is sometimes written, but I’d like to think Lobdell was paying attention to this.
  • Gladiator gets his ass handed to him.  I just enjoy seeing Gladiator taken down a notch whenever possible.

CONS:

  • Jahft.  To be honest, this is more of a con now that I’ve read his original appearance.  He was defeated, causing another guardian to take his place.  Seems to me that he wasn’t some unique guardian, he was simply the one who nobody had defeated until the X-Men.  I get that the second guardian would have been too big, but I think too much emphasis is placed on the little guy.  He was essentially a robot.

Seriously…that was it.  I really enjoyed this issue and I still enjoy it today.  This was the start to a series that had been advertised for months in the American Entertainment ads as the death of Xavier.  It’s funny, because when he died this time around, nobody saw it coming, but back then they advertised it like crazy.  Of course, it was a planned temporary death, but still.

Interestingly enough, I also have two copies of his issue.  I have one that instead of the UPC in the lower right corner, there is a solid gold bar and in the upper left, it says Wizard.  It came polybagged inside an old issue of Wizard.  Man…I miss Wizard…  Of course, for you young’ns, Wizard was what was known as a mag-a-zine.  It’s what us old folks used to read before comicbookresources.com.

x-men

FAVORITE QUOTES

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Iceman:  “Hey – good plan!  We’ll just leap out heroically!  Oh, wait – I left my anti-sand blast ray in my other suit!”

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Gabrielle Haller:  “In short, X-Men, my son is a god.”

Storm:  “Worse…a wrathful one.”

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Legion:  “Nice maneuver.  What does the M stand for, Bishop?  ‘Moron’?  ‘Madman’?”

Iceman:  “Misdirection.”

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Lilandra:  “Stop speaking in riddles, guardian!  You have been entrusted to protect the M’Kraan Crystal, the nexus of all realities!  What could possibly possess you to abandon so sacred a post?”

Jahf:  “Nothing, my queen, save the end of all that is.”

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Jahf

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