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)
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.