X-Men (vol. 2) #40

XM 40 cvr

“The Killing Time” – Legion Quest part 2

January 1995
Erik Lensherr...not yet Magneto!
Erik Lensherr…not yet Magneto!

I haven’t been as diligent in posting these as I’d like, so I apologize.  I’m going to get back to posting at least one a week, but this week I’m kicking off my resurgence by posting two!  Check out the next part to this review here!

It’s hard to remember this issue as something special.  I really just remember it as another chapter in an amazing cross-over that would lead into an even more amazing cross-over.  And that’s part of the problem.  What can I really say about this issue?  It’s not that this issue was terribly blah, but I run into two problems:  (1) This issue came out two weeks after the last chapter and so my memories of this are hard to differentiate from Uncanny #320 and (2) this issue isn’t all that much better than Uncanny #320 and it doesn’t really stand out very well.

Jean after battling Legion
Jean after battling Legion

SYNOPSIS

The story starts with Professor Xavier in an old-fashioned wheelchair.  We quickly learn that he is talking to a younger Magneto and that this Xavier isn’t crippled.  They discuss having only recently met and their growing friendship.  Hey!  wait-a-minute!  This is in the past!  in Israel!  Those sneaky writers!

Turns out both Xavier and Magneto are working in a hospital and Mags seems to be some sort of orderly who stops in to check on a recent amnesia patient:  Legion.

Back in the present day, Archangel and Rogue arrive on the scene of the X-Men’s ill-fated battle and find an unconscious Jean, half-buried in the sand.  He quickly returns with her to base-camp where Xavier, Cyclops, Beast, Gambit, and Dr. Haller (Legion’s mom) are waiting.  They quickly administer medical treatment to Jean, but she suddenly wakes up and explains what they were facing with Legion and what happened to the X-Men.

Back in Israel’s past, the four X-Men trapped there (Storm, Iceman, Psylocke, and Bishop) discuss what to do and they reveal that they have also been amnesiac (apparently, time travel makes you forget things…who knew?) but they do know that they are friends and have weird powers.

Back in the present, at a supposedly empty X-Mansion, Sabretooth, stuck in the Danger Room’s detention program, is fiddling with the electronics to try and break out.  Of course, turns out that he isn’t alone and Wolverine is there to break up their fun.  Honestly, I didn’t read the follow up to this scene for years, but it is fantastic and leads to Sabretooth getting his brain skewered.  Check out Wolverine #90 some time.  I may even include it later on in these blogs, but it’s not planned for now.

Back to the past (yes, this is very irritating to keep having to type that), Magneto, trying to care for Legion, is suddenly assaulted by Legion’s telepathy, out of control, bringing up horrible memories of the Nazi concentration camps and the murder of Magneto’s wife.  Magneto lashes out with his own power and runs from the room.  He runs to find Xavier and Gabrielle Haller (remember we’re in the past) and explains that he thinks he found one of those individuals he and Xavier had been discussing a few days before.  Xavier and Magneto rush back to the room only to find Legion now engulfed in flames (remember, his powers include pyrokinetics).

In the present, Cable and Domino show up (makes sense considering Cable is the X-Men’s resident time traveler).  Moments later, the X-Men receive a holographic message from Lilandra of the Shi’ar, informing them that whatever is happening in the past has created destruction across countless worlds.  When asked how Lilandra knew this, she revealed that the Watchers told her directly.  bum-bum-BUM! (that’s my ominous music).

Wolverine guarding the henhouse.
Wolverine guarding the henhouse.

THOUGHTS/SARCASM/SNIDE COMMENTS

Once again, the pros and cons.  Once again, the pros outweigh the cons.

PROS:

  • The artwork.  Andy Kubert sometimes has problems with people pending in a way they shouldn’t be able to, but this issue was him at the top of his game.  The artwork in this issue is gorgeous (admittedly, it’s the inking and coloring, not just Kubert’s work).  Kubert really brought his A-game for this and the subsequent cross-over.
  • The history.  This one’s a bit difficult for me to explain.  When it first came out, I didn’t necessarily appreciate the differences but once I picked up and read Uncanny X-Men #161, I really enjoyed the contrast.  See, #161 explained how Xavier had first met both Gabrielle Haller and Magneto.  The events in this issue take place in the middle of the events of #161 and essentially supersede it because Legion’s traveling to the past has created a new timeline.  It’s fun for me to see the divergence (no, not that horrible movie).
  • Wolverine.  Okay, okay.  so I’m admittedly not the biggest fan of Wolverine.  He has been overused the majority of my X-Men life and it really got bad at the end of the nineties.  And he only has a single scene in this issue.  So why is he in the pros of this issue?  It’s not because he’s barely in it.  It’s because that one scene is completely badass and leads perfectly into one of the best fights you’ll read.  As I mentioned, I didn’t read it for years.  Not sure why.  But it was a fun issue and I highly recommend it.
  • The Ending.  Once again, just a single scene leaves you breathless.  Lilandra appears with a warning and when asked where she got her information, a massive group of the cosmic beings known as the Watchers appear behind her, lending weight to her warning.  Seeing that just gave me chills.  It still does.  Makes me want to pick up the next issue.  Which, of course, will come soon.

CONS:

  • The action.  Or rather, maybe I should say “the lack of…”.  This issue was a little short on the action scenes.  With a long cross-over, I don’t mind the slow issues, but this was a 4-part cross-over and it would have been nice if it had led into the next phase with a major bang.
  • Legion’s haircut.  Seriously…if you thought he looked weird before, wait until you see him with normal hair.

Overall, this issue was definitely worthwhile, even if it was a bit slow.

Not sure why Domino is flying...
Not sure why Domino is flying…

FAVORITE QUOTES

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Erik Lensherr:  “It just seems, Charles, that I’ve always had a… way… with things made out of metal.”

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Beast:  “I assure you, Gambit, of two things:  one, Scotty’s facade of cool diffidence regarding his wife’s condition is merely that, and two, I’m still your fearless leader in the field.”

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Erik Lensherr:  “What in the name of God are you?!?  What are you doing to me?!?  Who are you to remind me of all I’ve lost?!  ANIMAL!!”

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Lilandra:  “Shall we simply say, my soul-mate, that it would be best for us to listen when the whispering words of warning come straight from the mouths of the Watchers?!”

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Watchers

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