124 – The Cruelest Planet

Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available at the shop, or contact David to purchase the original.

Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available at the shop, or contact David to purchase the original.

In which everyone dies (or something); every Summers is miserable in their own way; we are pretty done with Nanny and the Orphanmaker; Lady Deathstrike is a surprisingly astute art critic; the X-Men’s digital invisibility does not extend to the White Pages; we venture into slightly less charted territory; Wolverine has a really bad day; and you should totally come hang out with us at Rose City Comic Con!

X-PLAINED:

  • Origins of Lady Deathstrike
  • Jay & Miles at Rose City Comic Con
  • X-Ray party etiquette
  • Uncanny X-Men #248-251
  • The precise inverse of an anticlimax
  • The Siege Perilous (more) (again)
  • Dramatic parallels
  • Summers tragedy disambiguation
  • Jim Lee’s first X-issue
  • The apparent death of Storm (this time)
  • The merged Reavers
  • What it takes for Jay to play a sidescroller
  • An X-band
  • Longshot’s departure
  • A really ineffective rescue
  • Art-critic Deathstrike
  • Administrative assistant Jubilee
  • Zaladane
  • An unconventional approach to genealogy
  • The ickiest method of mind control
  • Dark Claw

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59 comments

  1. XMenXPert says:

    Hey, pre-’90s Jim Lee. I actually prefer his pre-’90s stuff, because his ’90s work, while more technically proficient, had some distinct problems. He tended to sexualize women too much, and also moved too much towards pin-ups at the expense of storytelling. He wasn’t as bad as some artists of the period, but it was still rough. He’s better here.

    Longshot’s departure is weirdly abrupt, and unsatisfying.

    The Savage Land story also feels like it comes out of nowhere. Zaladane is . . . very meh. It’s not that she’s a bad villain, necessarily, she’s just mediocre. And it’s a weird story. And Worm is awful. I am not at all comfortable with him.

    #251 is a great issue. It’s weird and trippy and intense. This really should have been #250. The end of the X-Men is very much anti-climactic, but there’s a lot of excellent stuff. And there’s also Jubilee. Which sets up what is, to me, the absolute best of the Wolverine/teen girl partnerships.

    The upcoming period is definitely an interesting one. It’s probably the strangest period of Claremont’s run. Not all of it works, but there’s still plenty of gold. Again, Logan/Jubilee is the highlight, at least in my eyes.

    I didn’t have a lot of the old X-Men comics growing up. I had a few, here and there, but not many. It was only about 10 years ago that I actually managed to read Claremont’s full run, so I’m no less familiar with what’s coming than I am with what’s already been done. However, I do think what’s coming is so much more convoluted that it’s a lot tougher to really grasp and remember than the stuff up to this point. We’re not far from the ’90s, which is where someone really should have said, “Go home, Continuity, you’re drunk.”

  2. Icon_UK says:

    Ah, so we’re into the Jim Lee era now… this should get… interesting.

    The whole “Hey everyone’s dead” arc was indeed weird, and I had to wonder, at the time, if it was intended to be a longer arc which just got hijacked to make way for the changes to the status quo. The month to month stretch in addition to the weirdness meant that my interest was so low, I don’t think I actually cared.

    Did Wolverine know about Jubilee being there? You’d think with his senses he would have realised there was a stranger there, but I honestly don’t recall if it was ever addressed.

    Hey, it’s Polaris/Malice and her Jem and the Holograms hair! That was… a look, and no mistake.

    Oh, the whole Zala”Dane” /Lorna”Dane” thing is even MORE bloody ridiculous (who knew such a thing was possible?) when you remember that “Dane” isn’t even Lorna’s birth family surname!

    “Dane” was the surname of her ADOPTIVE family and I don’t think we ever knew the name of her birth parents (before Morrison’s “Hey, let’s ignore the fact that her being Magneto’s daughter was only ever a deception in her introductory story in the 60’s and make it canon” meant we knew one, but let’s not go there right now)

    If Angel had been left as a bird guy, would this have lead to a paternity story for Bird Brain in New Mutants?

    • TheSam says:

      I’m wondering whether this was sort of following the relatively recent (at the time) Avengers storyline where the team had disbanded. About a year after this issue, the Fantastic Four will have an all extreme 90s lineup for a story. I don’t know whether there was a concerted effort by Marvel to do this sort of thing or whether it was a case of writers saying “I kind of liked this other story, so let me do my take on it.”

      Psylocke taking off her armor to go for a quick swim near an enemy stronghold is something that just bothers me. I understand the “what happened is disgusting and I want to cleanse myself” aspect, but trying to get rid of metaphorical filth with real water under this situation may be one of the dumbest things I’ve seen a character do.

  3. pawpaw5771 says:

    It’s going to be fascinating listening to the podcast going forward. More fascinating, I mean. The cutoff for issues I had read over and over and over again growing up was Uncanny #209, New Mutants #44, and X-Factor #9. So I completely get what the X-perts mean by “less well charted territory”. The episodes that have covered content after my cutoff have remained entertaining as hell, so I expect the podcast will remain just as entertaining going forward!

    • Esgaldil says:

      Yeah, we entered my uncharted territory a while ago, right around the start of X-Factor, and it’s a very different show when that happens. I feel so lost in here, I’m worried I might be eaten by a grue.

  4. Toby Fathom says:

    First, that was probably one of your better episodes in a while, if not ever. But I also need help.

    I want your advice on hair. Halloween is coming up, and I basically use this as an excuse to do hair stuff (for instance, I dyed my hair black as a part of a costume last year). I have decided that I want to do Alan Davis hair this year. Where do you think I can find diy instructions, or if that is t possible, what do I ask for in a hair salon? Also, what character should I use? I’m thinking either Doug Ramsey or Captain Britain, but are there any other men in the marvel universe (or multiverse, I’m not picky) with notably swoopy hair?

    • Icon_UK says:

      Doug and Brian are both good choices as exemplars of Davis swoopy hair (and I’d love to see a Cypher cosplay), but for a somewhat lesser known character (if you’re keen on going for a male) from Clan Destine we have Rory Destine, the Crimson Crusader (who is a teenage redhead, if that might be closer to your own hair colour than Doug’s blond, and who wears a full costume including a cape if you’d enjoy that.

  5. Tetra says:

    “Ostrich dinosaurs”. Aren’t they just flightless pterodactyls? Does the “punch pterodactyls always” thing still apply to them?

  6. Icon_UK says:

    Okay, I have a No Prize solution for Lorna’s weird power shift (though it’s a convoluted one that needs the bullshit-ometer to be turned up to 11).

    Lorna’s latent powers never developed naturally (other than the green hair) but only manifested when Magneto shoved her into his “Mutant Energy Stimulator” back in the Neal Adams run and she emerged as Mutant Mistress of Magnetism (and he was the power source for that machine IIRC).

    So it’s possible that her apparently natural magnetic powers were merely the result of Magneto’s powers overlaying her own potential for super-buffness. She never grew strong or invulnerable because the magnetic powers Magento forced onto her genetic structure repressed them and she became a magnetic manipulator instead.

    So Zaladane didn’t steal Lorna’s powers as such, she stole the powers that Magneto gave Lorna, and thus freed up the now mutant-power-ready Lorna to develop her innate powers of strength.

    Now, there is still their familial relationship being unlikely, _unless_ Zaladane had put herself through something similar to the process Magento put Lorna through in the hope of gaining powers, and as a result they are sort of sisters in the sense their genes were similarly realigned by Magneto’s machines, except of course Lorna got an echo of Magneto’s powers and Zaladane got bupkiss because big M wasn’t powering the machine that time. But Zaladane _was_ able to leech Lorna’s overlaid powers when she had the chance.

    Lorna’s genes are, however, still susceptible to magnetic abilities and when Zaladane was eventually killed, the powers returned naturally to Lorna, overlaying and cancelling out her super-buff powers again.

    And as for the name thing? Well Zaladane only appeared a couple of years after Lorna debuted, and perhaps, on coming across Magneto’s Savage Land equipment, “Zala” found and used his notes in the folder labelled “L. Dane” and after using them on her self, took the name as part of her own… Zaladane, who has magnetic power potential, and enough altered genetic code in her to make her seem to be Lorna’s half sister, both the result of Magneto.

    Whew! How’d I do? 🙂

    • Esgaldil says:

      No-Prize!

    • Esgaldil says:

      Alternatively, Lorna is super-buff from Jim Lee drawing her. It just occurred to me – I know Lee was new to the mutant books at this point, and I wonder if he might have just made the honest mistake of thinking she was a female Doc Samson, and Claremont rolled with it in the Marvel Style.

      • Art says:

        Marc Silvestri drew big hair/big muscle Lorna, so blame him.

        Jim Lee only drew one issue in this run, and that’s the Nanny/Orphan Maker one. Silvestri will leave soon, and X-Men will have a fairly abysmal run of artists for about a dozen issues before Lee comes back.

    • Art says:

      With regards to the Z Dane/L Dane connection, in 254, Moira and Lorna have a discussion:

      Moira: The critical genetic elements [for magnetic powers] still exist, but only as a latent potential, that might manifest itself in your descendants. The active ability, from what you told me, must have been absorbed by the self-proclaimed empress of the Savage Land, Zaladane.

      Lorna: Who also claims to be my long-lost sister — and isn’t that a royal crock!

      Moira: Actually, she’d *have* to be, lass, to pull this off. No other way the genetic structure would be compatible. Of course, that also means the process is probably reversible.

      ***
      So the sisters thing seems to be genuinely intended by Claremont.

      One other thing, Lorna’s bulking up is usually accompanied by the people around her becoming very mean and aggressive. It’s seen in the Savage Land, and a few other upcoming issues. No idea what Claremont’s plan with all this was, but I think other writers put it down to a manifestation of Malice, which Shadow King was able to use to hype his powers even more.

  7. Stephen Conway says:

    As anti-climactic as #250 is, it has one of my favourite comic panels ever. The first panel of the final page has Ka-Zar having this conversation with Havok:

    Ka-Zar: Pardon my asking, but aren’t you X-Men supposed to be dead?
    Havok: What of it?
    Ka-Zar: Hey, no problem, I was dead myself once. Shot in the head, y’know, it was no picnic. But I got better.

    It’s like the perfect summing up of the revolving door of death in comics.

    • CitizenX says:

      I love the flow of Claremont’s dialogue in this era, coupled with Tom Orzekowski’s word balloons. I haven’t seen anything that compares to it since, in his or anyone else’s work. I started reading X-Men regularly with issue 253, and picked up this issue and 252 shortly after that. To me, the attraction of this storyline is that it’s so outside of what was going on in superhero comics at the time. Claremont had been feeding us dangling plot threads and hints of things to come for a while now, but here he’s truly playing a long game – the reformation of the X-Men against all odds. I brought into it every step of the way. I loved the issues dealing with individual characters like Dazzler and Colossus. I loved all the time spent behind the scenes with all the bickering and in-fighting amongst the Reavers. The shame of it all is that the X-Men had become a franchise, and that these stories weren’t marketable as an animated series. The long game didn’t pay off, the storyline wouldn’t be resolved, and the X-Men were so successful that it ultimately didn’t matter who was writing the books at this point.

  8. Thomas says:

    I remember reading 251 and it just being chilling. I’d never experienced anything like that in comics at the time. A team faced with certain defeat basically committing suicide. If only the reset of their personalities had been as good. The darkening of Besty before the hand is a detail I’d forgotten.

    So can anyone help me here with the his weird recollection I had. Was there not a subplot or foreshadowing that Maddie’s (let’s say) personality had surfaced in the computers of the outback? I swear I remember that detail and I’d always assumed that is where the note and flowers came from. I just didn’t have time for a re-read this time plus I remember Carey retconning this into Danger.

    • TheSam says:

      There was some subplot with the Outback computers, but they were soon left behind and forgotten. I believe that Madelyne mentioned that they were unusually easy to use, plus they could also detect the X-men when they were otherwise invisible to electronics. I want to say that they were also not as helpful to the Reavers, so there seemed to be some sort of intelligence/personality behind them.

      Looking back at it, I might make a guess that since something about Gateway’s sacred land was mentioned by the Reavers in their first appearance, perhaps it was a manifestation of Gateway’s non-portal making powers. After all, he didn’t like cooperating with the Reavers and liked the X-men.

      • Thomas says:

        Yeah that Maddie’s stuff really sounds right. Thank you.

      • Icon_UK says:

        I remember Maddie commenting on the computers being very easy to use too, which I must confess I did feel at the time was some sort of a cop-out to give her, as the non-powered, former-pilot-who-now-didn’t-even-have-access-to-a-plane, something plot-useful to do whilst stuck in the Outback.

        (I also like to think that when not being demonically corrupted she was also getting addicted to Australian daytime soap operas like Neighbours)

      • Gary says:

        The computers in the Reaver-town are specifically exempted from the mechanical inability to see the X-Men by Roma at the end of UXM 229. “You may be seen by the naked eye — and by the devices of this place, your new home — but that is all.”

  9. PG says:

    I just want to say that Miles’ dad and I picked pretty much the same place as a jumping off point. I realize now why I lost interest, it’s really confusing and reading it again feels like it’s going in a few directions at once.

    • Sol says:

      Me too. I read scattered issues after this, but it wouldn’t be until Grant Morrison’s run that I bought a full year’s worth of an X-men title again.

      Also, this arc puts a capstone on why I regard the Australian era as a complete failure. I was never happy with the set up for it, because hiding in the Outback is completely against the standard X-men remit of being a shining heroic example of mutantkind for all the world to see and mutants to flock to. And by not telling their friends, students, and/or former teammates where they have gone or even that they are alive, they are breaking the strong relationships that were another key facet of the team. But at the start, it at least seemed like Storm articulated a good reason to do so: by getting out of their enemies’ view they free themselves up to be proactive again.

      But what did they do with this new freedom? Absolutely nothing! They don’t suddenly become proactive. They just hide in the desert and wait for things to happen to them, same as before, only minus like half the things that used to make them big damned heroes. Then a bunch of stuff that makes no sense happens, and confronted with visions of their deaths, they don’t make a heroic last stand again. They just commit mystical suicide. WTF?

      • Icon_UK says:

        Gotta agree, I’ve never held the Australian era in high regard because it seemed to be based on them choosing to hide from the world, much moreso than when they were hidden away in Xavier’s mutants-only school.

        It didn’t even feel a successful implementation of their Plan Omega because though the X-Men were “dead”, it still left their families and the likes of the New Mutants MORE vulnerable at the School because the villains were just as plentiful and just as anti-mutant.

        On the other hand, I’ve been really enjoying seeing it through Jay and Miles’ more positive perceptions. I may not like it myself, but I can see why they did and that’s half the fun of this podcast. 🙂

  10. RaikoLives says:

    Wait wait wait. Jamie Madrox CAN’T be the “Best 5 Mutants to get high with” since he’s not a mutant, right? He’s something else, if I remember my Peter David second run on X-Factor right. I keep thinking external, but I don’t think that’s it. His powers manifested VERY young, unlike most mutants.

    Actually, all the ones I can think of as having very early power manifestations are in X-Factor. Madrox, Polaris and Havok. There’s probably others (Nightcrawler’s colouration and tail MIGHT count?) but it’s weird to think my favourite team is “The Team” when it comes to early mutant (or in Jamie’s case Non Mutant) powers.

    • Icon_UK says:

      Kurt’s non-human appearance would definitely count as an X-gene mutation.

      There would also Selene (whose life-leeching powers kicked in at birth), Franklin Richards (of course), both Artie and Leech (who both seem sort of young).

      I thought Havok had the exact opposite problem, his powers didn’t manifest until he was much older than most, in his case after he’d graduated college (But not finished his thesis of course because… well… Alex Summers) and kidnapped by the Living Monolith chap.

      Of course, being the X-Men, I’m sure there’s a retcon or two (or nine) that changed that. 🙂

      • RaikoLives says:

        Yeah the X-Factor MINUS 1/2 (yes, Minus One Half because… comics) issue has Havok as a little kid, not long after being shuffled away from Scott to a new foster family, being watched by Sinister (BECAUSE OF COURSE) and killing a dude by accident with his very early manifestation of powers, which Sinister then wipes from Alex’s memories (BECAUSE OF COURSE) and dampens his powers (BECAUSE OF COURSE) which is why they didn’t manifest (again) till much later in his life. It was a moment of supreme stress, much like in Lorna’s case (when she killed her parents – her birth mother and step-dad, technically – while they were arguing – in a plane!).

      • Seangreyson says:

        So Alex was in grad school, gets kidnapped by the Living Monolith, exposed to weird ancient Egyptian/alien tech and he couldn’t manage to put together a valid thesis out of that information. An archeology grad student would kill for that kind of access.

        I’m not sure it’s a problem of Alex’s life getting in the way. I think he’s just really bad at being a grad student. Hell even if his specialty isn’t Egypt before that, just swap out!

    • XMenXPert says:

      According to Damian Tryp, Madrox is a “Changeling” or “Killcrop.” Though Tryp may not be the most trustworthy source, and it’s never been referenced by anyone else.

      • RaikoLives says:

        SO MUCH of Peter David’s stuff never gets picked up by anyone else. It SUCKS. Rictor and Shatterstar’s open/poly relationship anyone?! The slow decline of the X-line has had some high profile casualties, but the toll on the B and C listers has been absolutely catastrophic.

        Disclaimer – Peter David’s X-Factor runs are my favourite X-books, so you can tell I feel for the “little guys”.

        • XMenXPert says:

          On the other hand, Peter David never referenced the Killcrop stuff again, either, so I think that’s one of those things everyone just decided was too weird to be a good idea. It’s a significant shift in the understanding of mutants, coupled with a really stupid name. (Killcrop?! Really, PAD?) So, yeah, not sad that got dropped.

          With Rictor and Shatterstar, the problem isn’t writers not picking up PAD’s stuff, the problem is Rictor and Shatterstar being C-list X-Men. I don’t mean that as a bash against them, it just means there’s a lot less rush to use them. Writers want to use the big-name X-Men, and their own personal favourites of the smaller ones. And with so few X-titles running, there’s just so many characters who get left on the sidelines.

          • Esgaldil says:

            C-List X-man doesn’t really mean anything, though. Beast was a C-List X-Man before Morrison, Kitty was a C-List X-Man before Whedon. I don’t think it’s a conspiracy against David (except to the extent that he’s not Claremont), but any writer certainly could have picked up Rictor and/or Shatterstar and made them work, and chose not to, so the problem is as simple as writers not picking up (some of) David’s stuff.

            • Icon_UK says:

              Not sure I’d say Kitty was ever a C-Lister. She’d retired from the business, (and had a deliberate arc about it) but had been the primary character in the MekaniX mini-series the year before Astonishing came out.

            • XMenXPert says:

              Beast was one of the Original X-Men, he was never C-list. Kitty was one of Claremont’s main characters, she was never C-list, either. They’re both classic characters. Ones who immediately come to mind when people think of the X-Men. They may fall out of use for brief periods, but they’re always going to be characters that writers return to.

              Rictor and Shatterstar, unfortunately, don’t have that, and probably never will.

              • Esgaldil says:

                Hank and Kitty were each mostly out of the X-Men for nearly twenty years (1972 – 1991 and 1986 – 2004), so that’s stretching the definition of “brief periods”. If Shatterstar had come back ten or fifteen years ago to widespread acclaim, it might seem in hindsight that they were always going to come back to him (and of course they still might).

                I’m certainly not trying to disparage Hank and Kitty by calling them C-Listers, they’re two of my favourite X-Men, I was trying to give credit to Whedon and Morrison, who reinvented them in ways that felt true to their roots, and did so in ways that inspired the writers and artists that came after them (including Whedon relative to Morrison’s Beast). One thing appreciate about the X-Men is what a deep bench it has, so that it can reinvent itself over the years.

                • Icon_UK says:

                  Kitty was not in the X-Men, but she was in Excalibur, a primary X-title, from 1988 to 1998, and went back to the X-Men straight after that group dissolved, so I think you might be using an overly narrow definition of “out of the X-Men”

                  • Esgaldil says:

                    I think we’re getting further away from the main point, which is that Killcrop is a silly idea with an even sillier name. (I assume Garth was Changeling at the time, and Marvel felt mild legal pressure not to give anything that name, because come on, it’s the better name by a mile)

  11. David says:

    Two things:

    As for the Zaladane/Lorna Dane thing, when I was a kid, I assumed that Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan were brothers, for a similar reason – I mean, why ELSE would the two most famous people in the world be Michael J.?

    Second, I SOOOOOOOOOO agree 150% about Havok and his speeches, both here and in Uncanny Avengers. I’ve been an “M-Day speech defender,” NOT because I agree with it, but because I buy SO HARD that Alex Summers would say it. It’s the perfect intersection of mutant passing privilege, regular-ol’-good-looking-middle-class-white-guy-privilege, and Alex Summers’ own psychology. While it could be that Remender agrees with that speech, that’s not my concern. As a reader, what I care about most is whether it seems in character, and these two speeches are SO Alex Summers.

    • Icon_UK says:

      I think that Havok’s speech (Which may be valid for him personally) would work better as part of a debate or discourse, rather than as a publicly issued statement of intent for the frankly disastrous “unity team” which no one on that team was allowed to disagree with.

      But given that this was also the series which had the Wasp berating Rogue for not trusting Wanda, because “[Wanda] is family, a _real_ Avenger” after Rogue had had to actually kill Grim Reaper to save Wanda’s life, as well as Wasp being unbelievably hypocritical in berating the X-Men for their attitudes towards humans, whilst at the same time releasing a line of unauthorised fashions based on the X-Men costumes (including Cyclops) that she would make a profit from (As opposed to encouraging or working with actual mutant designers (Like the murdered Jumbo Carnation had been)), I have to say I think the general tone of Uncanny Avengers was messed up.

      • RaikoLives says:

        Much of it is down to Remender. He’s a vastly overrated writer and his name on a book spells ALMOST as quick a “do not buy” as Greg Land does, for me.

        • Zachary Adams says:

          I actually like a lot of his creator-owned stuff, but his work for hire tends to really annoy me. Captain America and X-Force are definitely better than Uncanny Avengers/Axis/Rage of Ultron, his Atom arc, etc. but I’m still happy to see him stay at Image forever.

  12. Dan says:

    I’m really happy to hear Jay say they’re looking forward to Gambit’s appearance, even if only for his team-up with Storm. He’s my favorite character – has been for over 20 years – and I’ve been counting down to when he’d finally start showing up somewhat regularly (which admittedly will still be awhile). Based on the reaction he’s gotten on the show in the past, I was a little nervous.

  13. Brandon Nicholas says:

    It’s interesting that this is the era of Claremont most people are unfamiliar with. For me, it’s the era that introduced me to him, and remains my favorite Claremont era. If you loved/hated the buildup to Inferno, the buildup to the Muir Island Saga is ten times worse.

    Also, this is when we get Psylocke turning into her current form, and I have so, so many problems with it.

  14. LAndrew says:

    I think I’d be more on board with this issue if we hadn’t just done “The X-Men are DEEEAAAAD” in Fall of the Mutants (which was about 25 issues ago, but because the book’s been bi-monthly here and there it feels like a lot shorter time frame) and the next 25 issues are. . .well, pretty torpid. Even when Jim Lee gets on the book and it feels like things should be building to this reunion and the band is back together and it never quite . . .does, if that makes sense.

    Is Zaladane’s peak being the level 1 boss in the X-Men game for the Sega Genesis? I feel like it probably is.

  15. Scott says:

    (Crap, I meant to post in this thread, not that there’s anything wrong with the image thread):

    That Lady Deathstrike analysis of Colossus’ art as everything was going to hell really sort of stuck with me long after all of this, and I ended up thinking about it during other storylines where Colossus either takes a temporary antagonist turn or does something very self-destructive (like deliberately killing himself to cure the Legacy virus).

    As much as I love both Colossus and Claremont, he’s probably the X-man who got the least development (in the sense of character growth) under him. Under writers in the future, there’s this regular return to Colossus getting into this sort of twisted state, and he makes very bad decisions when he is in a situation where he feels helpless to fix things. I don’t know if it’s intentional on the part of other writers, but it always inevitably makes me come back to that analysis of him.

    I imagine the real reason behind it was to make us feel as though Peter is actually better off after he goes through the Siege Perilous and becomes an artist, and there was no other real long-term plan behind it. To me that makes it even more interesting.

  16. David says:

    I suspect the reason this feels like such an anticlimax is that Claremont wanted the whole Australia arc to be a slow burn toward the team falling apart, but couldn’t treat the status quo as being as bleak for them as he wanted to (Inferno notwithstanding). The chain of events in these issues reads much better if the attacks from these C-list villains were the last straw on the X-Camel’s back, rather than taking the team’s breakdown from zero to 60 all of a sudden.

  17. Zachary Adams says:

    I am 90% certain that 249 was my first post-70s issue of X-Men (I had seen Pryde of the X-Men and gone looking for Cyclops since he was my favorite in that, so I was reading X-Factor first. And I got super decrepit copies of the Factor Three arc for like $3.50 an issue first, too.) In hindsight, it’s a really insane jumping on point. I’ve said before that the period from Fall of the Mutants to Muir Island feels a lot longer than it actually is, and this week is definitely reinforcing that for me.

  18. Aaron Coggins says:

    Me and a couple buddies did our own version of the Amalgam Universe A couple months back, and while discussing it, we hit on a really key difference between Wolverine and Batman that makes an amalgamation between them a really bad idea. Batman is defined by his past, whereas Wolverine is defined by his lack of a past.

    • Icon_UK says:

      An interesting take on it. I could sort of see a connection insasmuch as the amount of punishment Batman takes without actually keeling over (seriously, read the 90’s Batman and he goes through more cracked ribs than a very clumsy barbecue) a healing factor is practically implied.

      I like the defined by/lacking a past comparison, though from another angle both Logan and Bruce are also defined by their lack of family bonds in their past, oth are emotionally adrift, Bruce through tragedy and Logan through amnesia. So they both tend to adopt and construct their own families, which become ultra-important to them, though they sometimes have trouble admitting it.

      That and their tendency to take on spunky teen sidekicks of course (never more blatant than Jim Lee’s Jubilee design being a complete riff on classic Robin, with even the “R” being swapped out for the logo for the Jubilee Line of the London Underground 🙂 )

  19. Icon_UK says:

    I might have missed a bit, but at the start Jay says they’ve changed their maind about characters disappearing for events in their separate titles and will discuss it later, but I don’t think it’s brought up again

  20. Paul says:

    From a publishing sense I wonder if it’s worth noting that at the same time the team was Disassembled (!) the book was in a 15 issues a year format? I know the cover dates aren’t all that accurate but the first issue of the X-Tinction Agenda has a cover date one year on from 251’s. So the 20 issues looks like a long gap of no team but was only about a bit over a year before the team came together again.

  21. Ben says:

    I think the teamless era of X-Men has a lot going for it.

    – The next few issues, with the Muir Island X-Men, are some of my favorites in the whole series. It’s a totally different direction for the book, makes the universe feel really huge, and gives a sense that really anything can happen. Claremont seems to be building up steam for the first time in awhile. If I’d been reading these as they were published, I think I would have been really excited.

    – The Psylocke arc obviously has a lot of issues– on top of the many problems attendant to Betsy’s transformation, there’s also the fact that the story makes not a ton of sense– but it has so much energy, and obviously it looks great. And again, it gives the impression that big, unexpected things are happening, and that it’s all going somewhere crazy.

    – The Storm/Gambit/Shadow King storyline is genuinely scary and atmospheric, even if it looks horrendous. I know not everyone likes Kid Storm (or “L’il Ro” as Claremont inexplicably insisted on calling her later) but I think it’s an interesting direction to take the character. Especially since I think Storm’s development kind of ended with Fall of the Mutants. And Gambit is actually cool at this point!

    It’s sucks that there’s so much bad mixed in with the good. The fact that there’s no real regular artist for so long hurts a lot, especially considering how crappy most of the fill-in artists are.

    And Claremont throws away a lot of the momentum he’d built up in the first few storylines with stuff that feels really boring and meandering– in particular the Morlock stuff, the Forge stuff, and to some extent the Dazzler and Colossus stories.

    Finally, although I know it’s probably not Claremont’s fault, I think this run really suffers from the fact that it feels so truncated. All of the sudden there’s this rush to reset the status quo and all the interesting stuff gets dropped or hastily concluded. Nothing really ends up going anywhere and it ends up all seeming like a big waste.

    (Incidentally, aside from the art problems, these are a lot of the exact same complaints I have about the Australia era.)

    Still, I have a lot of affection for the teamless phase, and it will be fun to hear you guys talk about it. Sad, though, that it’s really the extended swan song for the Claremont era. After that, there’s a lot less I’ll be looking forward to. (The notable exception being Alan Davis’s Excalibur.)

  22. Damien Whiter says:

    Hearing you talk about Archangel becoming a real angel made me think of the fantastic story by Ann Nocenti and David Mazzuchelli in Marvel Fanfare back in the day where an old lady mistakes Warren for a real angel. It’s super cool.

    By the way my spellcheck wants to change Nocenti to Niceness and Mazzuchelli to Jazzy Hello!

  23. Kosmic says:

    Just to make some things clear. Lorna Dane/Polaris was born with the magnetic power. It was stated that her power was dormant until Mesmero awoke her power and named her the Queen of mutants.

    Beside, this was also stated in X-factor #243 when her powers first manifested (at the age of 3) during the plain crash that she accidentally caused that she was in fact, born with these powers. She was born with these powers and was not transfer from Magneto to Lorna. Magneto had Mastermind to erase her memory so she won’t remember her tragedy and this caused her not to remember that she has powers. So pretty much her powers were dormant.

  24. Gary says:

    RE: Gateway

    He appears to be some kind of holy man (UXM 229, the instant we meet him, the Reavers threaten to destroy his holy place, condemning his people in their afterlife). The dreamtime powers, I presumed, stemmed from that, rather than a mutation.

    That also is my rationale for why he brings back the X-Men from the Savage Land when he does: he has been threatened by the Reavers. I can easily picture the Reavers threatening, Gateway not caving, and Pierce being smarmily magnanimous (“It is not an easy thing. Let him consider. We will return in one hour. If he does not return the X-Men then…”). That also explains why the Reavers are not right there when the X-Men arrive. They’ve gone back to the town to wait for Pierce’s deadline. Gateway gives them what they demand, but while they are furthest away, buying the X-Men time to act.

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