I’m still learning how and when to use twitter (@psychodadcomics) but follow me there to see my new comic picks up (almost) every Wednesday.

It’s been…holy crap.  It’s been a month since my last posting.  I’ve finally moved into a house, so dealing with packing, raising two kids, and working full time, I haven’t had time to post these.  But now I’m moved in, computer is set up, and my geek den is all ready:  book shelves full of comic trades, Star Wars Legos, X-Men action figures (no, I will NOT give you my full name and address).  Still unpacking, but that’s manageable.

I’m going to try and do these a couple times a week and slow down to a single issue a post.  Maybe give a little more per issue.

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X-Men #53 (June 1996)

 

False Fronts
Artist:  Andy Kubert; Writer:  Mark Waid

cover

Jean strolls through Salem Center, heading to buy some new clothes, talking to a few people along the way who say vastly different things than what they are thinking.  But once in the changing room, she is yanked into the astral plane, both physically and psychically by ONSLAUGHT!

Onslaught
He sure knows how to make an entrance.

Onslaught reveals to Jean that he knows all about Professor Xavier’s dream.  He’s almost full of contempt for the dream, choosing to show the duplicity of normal people by showing the police officer, store clerk, and bystander who are all witness to Jean’s disappearance, none of which are actually concerned for her, but instead annoyed that this happened to them.  As Onslaught and Jean “fly” away, Onslaught fires an energy blast at the people, appearing to destroy them, but it is only a wish fulfillment, as the blast was an illusion.

He takes them on a flight, searching for the proof of man’s hypocrisy, to check out the Creed Presidential campaign (no, not the arch enemy of Wolverine with permanent cat breath Creed, but rather the vicious killer, the politician).  Jean declares that not a single one is a hypocrite here…they all share a hatred for mutants.  Onslaught shows her that she is wrong, though, as he opens up the mind of one of the staffers who doesn’t actually care about Creed’s campaign message…only that Creed becomes president so that this one staffer can be the strings behind the power.  Of course this is no surprise to Jean as she actively blocks out background thoughts of even friends because she knows not everybody speaks their mind.

revelations
Xavier takes creepy to a whole new level

Of course, Onslaught takes this as the perfect time to show her the duplicity of those closest to her, revealing that he knows all about the Xavier school.  They dive deeply into Xavier’s own mind as he sits at his desk.  Jean takes the lead, to show her the trust and openness she has with her mentor, including the time he trusted her when he had to fake his own death.  But Onslaught knows better.  He knows that Xavier has secrets and shows her his inner monologue when he declared that he loved Jean…and not as a parent.
That freaks Jean out (and well it should!).  She scrambles back, losing control as Onslaught laughs above her.  She hopes it’s a trick.  As she confronts Onslaught, he reveals why he’s approached her:  he wants her as his consort.  Of course, that sends Jean into a frenzy, manifesting the Phoenix bird on a astral plane, attacking Onslaught, demanding once again he tell her who he is.  Onslaught, however, crushes the Phoenix avatar and declares:  “I am a god.  and to those who do not worship me, I am an angry god.”
Then he leaves her where he found her, in the dressing room, with one word etched in blue fire on her forehead:  Onslaught.

Jean - onslaught
Know my name…

Of course there are a few other things that happen in this story…  the real Beast held prisoner in chains, in a dark, damp dungeon, drinking water from a dispenser like a household pet rabbit (sorry…daughter has a new rabbit and that’s what sprung to mind).  Unfortunately, in his eagerness to drink, he breaks the dispenser and water spills onto the floor, but as it drains, it reveals a trap door…a possible way out.
Elsewhere, the shadows in the loft of Elizabeth and Warren begin to coalesce.  They form a giant blob of a shape until finally, the Juggernaut smashes through.  He’s completely disoriented but he knows he has a secret to tell (didn’t Madonna do a song about that) and can’t quite put it to words.  So he figures the X-Mansion is the best place to go.  Of course, he walks right through the wall of Angel’s house which is on the cliff and falls all the way to the ground, creating a nice crater.  Then he dusts himself off and starts the walk to the mansion.

Juggernaut
He sure knows how to make an exit.

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So first of all, I have to get something off my “chest”.  When I first read this issue, I had never read the X-Men from the 60’s.  Maybe a few of the “redone” issues titled “Professor Xavier and the X-Men” but they sure as hell left this little tidbit out.  Xavier was IN LOVE with Jean?  Seriously?  How creepy is that?!  I thought this was just a trick of Onslaught’s or maybe some weird retcon, but no…IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED IN THE COMICS!  I was actually stunned when I found out.

Overall, as is most of the lead-up to Onslaught, this issue is actually pretty good.  Not much action and a lot of dialogue (which I know some people hate) but it’s some pretty good verbal sparring and the climax, when Onslaught crushes the Phoenix, is fantastic.  Sure, Onslaught as a cross-over may have failed, but the writers leading up to it did a great job of bringing him in as a truly epic villain.

This issue also gives a good glimpse into Onslaught’s power (which while cool, I think ultimately backed the writers into a corner…how do you stop somebody who can both trash Juggernaut and beat Jean on the psi-plane?)  He doesn’t just pull Jean’s mind onto the astral plane.  He pulls her whole.  damn.  body.

Andy Kubert is also in top form here.  Often, his art bugs me, with people bent in ridiculous poses, but here he’s on his A-game.  Plus, he really does draw a good Onslaught.

 

onslaught 2
…I am an angry god.
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