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This week in geekdom:  my pulls for today are X-Men Gold #6, Iceman #2, and Weapons of Mutant Destruction #1!

I also bought the third part of Starcraft II.  I know, it’s been over a year since it’s been released, but life just kept getting in the way.  So excited to try it out, but I’m playing back through from the beginning to remind myself of what’s happened.

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 Uncanny X-Men #334 (July 1996)

Dark Horizon
Artist:  Joe Madureira; Writer:  Scott Lobdell

cover

Like a shark swimming towards a prey, the Juggernaut pops his head out of the lake to see where he’s going, then dives back under water, smashing security cameras to ensure that the X-mansion’s alarms aren’t triggered.  Seriously…like a shark.  it’s kind of funny to look at, but I can seriously hear the Jaws theme in my head every time I look at this panel.  In the very same mansion that is just sitting there like a swimmer surrounded by chum, Bishop and Gambit share a tender moment as Bishop seems to be accepting of Gambit as an X-Man…finally…  seriously.  this was still a thing.  it had barely been mentioned since X-Men #8, but it’s still there.  (in two issues, you’ll find out why this was brought up now)  The alarm suddenly goes off (apparently Juggs wasn’t as thorough as he thought) and Bishop and Gambit head off to check it out.

Juggernaut
try and get the jaws theme out of your head now…

In the danger room, Cyclops trains…like Cyclops always does.  His training is interrupted by Jean, but she doesn’t allow him to stop the training scenario, wanting instead to talk inside the room, where they can have absolute privacy.  She tells him about Onslaught (from X-Men #53), but she doesn’t want to go to the Professor.  Not yet.

In Colorado, Archangel and Psylocke attempt to contact the X-Men mansion to warn them of Juggernaut’s arrival.  They’ve both been trying, electronically and telepathically, but to no avail.  Which prompts a trip to Westchester.
In Xavier’s study, Cannonball expresses to Xavier how inadequate he feels alongside the X-Men.  He’s the junior member, and the others seem to much more confident.  But instead of being the fatherly figure Xavier used to be, he tears into Sam, explaining how Sam’s problems are nothing compared to what’s out there and he should basically suck it up and get over it.  Cannonball leaves in a bit of a sour mood.

Gambit and Bishop take a hoverboat (or some sort of futuristic-looking analogue…where DO they get these wonderful toys) onto the lake, checking for what tripped the alarm.  They notice the shape of Juggernaut a split second before he pops out of the water.  The surprise destroys the boat and knocks Bishop for a loop, but Gambit, being more nimble, leaps out of the way and tosses some charged cards.  Juggernaut, of course, laughs them off and responds by first insulting Gambit’s name and accent, and then by flicking Gambit like you would a bug (and he goes skipping across the water like a flat rock).

Juggernaut vs Gambit
like skipping stones…

Jean goes to investigate a strange sound (a thump) at a door and finds Bishop and Gambit deposited on the deck and the Juggernaut towering over her.  He tells her he’s changed but since he didn’t kill them he figures she owes her one.  Jean immediately wraps him in a telekinetic field but he doesn’t resist.  He asks (in his own manner) for help figuring out the secret buried in his subconscious.  He can’t go to Xavier because they’ve always hated each other.  But to prove himself to Jean, Juggernaut removes his helmet, taking away his only protection against her power.
Jean takes him to the one place she believes to be totally safe from all psychic entities:  the chamber in which Xavier hid when he faked his death all those years ago.

Juggernaut and Jean
I don’t even want to imagine what that breath smells like

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I absolutely LOVE me some Madureira.  It’s not for everybody, but he gives a perfect blend of Japanese anime and traditional comic book art.  And his art in this issue is no different.  I mean sure, there’s a few complaints, mainly that he never seems to draw Cannonball with the straps on his costume, and often leaves the straps off Cyclops too…almost like he can’t or won’t draw them.  Still, the art is awesome.

The writing is good.  We get some great inner turmoil with Juggernaut and a fantastic lead-up to his “attack” on the mansion (it also wasn’t even much of an attack…Bishop and Gambit got their asses handed to them which was awesome).  And the dialogue between Juggernaut and Jean is great.

Xavier

Lobdell and Madureira do a good job showing Xavier’s descent into madness, both with his brusqueness with Cannonball and his toying with Cyclops.  It honestly does seem like he’s suffering from some sort of dis-associative disorder, like the real Xavier is trying to fight back to the surface.  Or maybe he’s just stressed out and fed up with his X-Men (you know…in case you haven’t actually read this series before).

And finally, we’re almost there.  Almost to Onslaught.  One more issue to go and then we get to one of the biggest hyped crossovers I can ever remember.

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