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I’m a bit late this week because I was busy getting caught up on my reviews of Weapon X (and the Weapons of Mutant Destruction crossover) over at Shoot the Breeze Comics.

I have to admit…looking forward to my next review.  Feels like the turning point as we will start the actual Onslaught crossover!

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 X-Men #54 (July 1996)

“Inquiring Minds”
Penciler:  Andy Kubert; Writer:  Mark Waid

cover

Cannonball’s moping a bit…Cyclops tries to give him a pep talk.  But they are interrupted by the entire X-Men team running around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off, scrambling to find Juggernaut.  Cyclops splits them into 3 teams:  Iceman/Beast, Wolverine/Bishop/Gambit, and Cyclops/Cannonball/Storm.

Meanwhile, below the school grounds, Jean leads Juggernaut into the Psi-shielded chamber and she begins to reach into his mind.  Of course, Juggernaut accidentally left the front door open a crack.  Suddenly, Jean notices this and freaks out (just a bit).  She closes the door and this causes Cyclops to notice because suddenly his psychic rapport disappears.  He breaks off from the search to check it out.  Of course this gives Cannonball time to ask Storm why Xavier can’t just find Juggernaut with his mental powers.  (you can’t see me but I’m rolling my eyes here…more details below)

X-Men

Meanwhile, the other groups aren’t finding anything.  Zilch.  Nada.  Nothing.

Cyclops bursts into Xavier’s office to tell him that his psychic rapport with Jean is gone and Xavier can’t sense her either.  Cyclops then tells Xavier that earlier today Jean met Onslaught (that’s right…last issue and Uncanny 334 and this one are all in the same day…Juggernaut sure can make time).  Then, Cyclops notices that Franklin Richards is on Xavier’s computer.  Xavier claims to have no idea why he was reviewing Franklin’s file.  Cyclops then changes the subject (yet again!) to mention that Juggernaut is on the grounds.  Xavier instructs him to deactivate the mansion security and allow Juggernaut closer so that they can confront him outright.

In the chamber, Jean continues to probe Juggernaut’s mind, attempting to break down the barriers to find out the secret about Onslaught.  Meanwhile, left alone once more, Xavier ponders his various failures over the past years, and the horrible state of mutant relations, including mutants murdered in the street and Graydon Creed running for president.  He throws a tantrum, breaking his TV, tossing over his desk, ready to throw his computer…when suddenly, a familiar rainbow washes over the entire room…

Jean suddenly realizes who Onslaught is.  She’s found the answer she was looking for and screams for Juggernaut to run…ONSLAUGHT IS IN THE MANSION!!  So Juggernaut does what he does best…runs.  Runs out of the chamber, and suddenly, the stairs and walls and doors are all distorted and he realizes that Onslaught is in his head.  So he runs to the nearest psychic he knows of that could deal with Onslaught:  Xavier.  He finds Xavier’s office in ruins.  And a red glove (with purple finger tips) grabs him from behind and Juggernaut finds himself face to face with ONSLAUGHT!.  Onslaught chuckles and taunts Juggernaut before ripping the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak out of Juggernaut’s chest.  And then we see that Onslaught and Xavier are one and the same! (seriously…by this point, is anybody really surprised?)

Onslaught

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You know…I’ve loved so many of the stories leading up to Onslaught.  I really have.  More than the Onslaught storyline itself even.  But this…I’m sorry, guys…I really don’t care for this issue.  I mean sure, when I read it, I was in my late teens (18 probably) so still pretty immature and now that I’m…uh…older…I can realize that this issue just had so many glaring problems with it.

First of all, the art.  Now I love Andy Kubert some of the time.  But other times…  some of his body poses are just…weird.  Misshapen.  Almost like Liefeld’s atrocities.  Such as when the X-Men run off in pursuit.  Cyclops there has always bugged me.  The problem is that other parts of this issue are drawn beautifully.  When Juggernaut runs into Xavier’s office?  The expression on his face is priceless.  Kubert captures the panic that Juggernaut must be feeling.  But it’s just so inconsistent.  (plus he completely changes Jean’s outfit from Uncanny #334 prompting the editor to request people try for a no-prize to explain the change)

juggernaut scared
Juggs looks ready to shit his pants…

Second, the story just…wasn’t that good.  Cannonball’s mopey (I’ve really been bugged how they seem to be writing him after leaving X-Force) and seems to know nothing about Juggernaut (I find that hard to believe considering he’s been affiliated with that team since New Mutants #1!).  Jean gets freaked out over the door to the chamber being opened but it’s pointless.  They focus so much on Juggernaut leaving it open a crack, you expected Onslaught to use that to find them but instead they close it the next page.  You could’ve saved a page and closed it immediately and the end result would have been the same.  And finally…was anybody really surprised about the reveal that Xavier was Onslaught?  I mean really?  Anybody?  Bueller?

did however like that Waid paints a picture of almost a split personality Xavier.  We’re never really sure who is talking:  Xavier or Onslaught.  Xavier not knowing how Franklin’s file appeared on the computer and then the arrival of Onslaught catching Xavier off guard even though they’re one and the same?  It was at least enjoyable to watch.

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