Thursday, November 25, 2010

Chronological X-Men - Days of Future Past Part 2 Review

Days of Future Past.

The Uncanny X-Men #143 - Demon

The first part of this issue deals with flashbacks from Uncanny X-Men #96 when the N’garai first appeared and attacked the X-Men. It’s Christmas time at the mansion and everyone has plans but Kitty. Logan is spending time with Mariko Yashida and the rest all have plans of their own – the plans apparently are to surprise Kitty with a visit from her parents as a Chanukah present. Kitty is left at the mansion alone and soon discovers that Storm’s room has been trashed and all of Ororo’s plants are dead. Not long after that she is attacked by one of the N’garai and spends the entire night desperately trying to survive. The demon is smarter than she thinks and can actually keep in step with the young genius; eventually Kitty ends up destroying the demon with the jets from the Blackbird jet – but not after totally destroying the Danger Room, breaking the jet, and leaving the mansion not better off. We do see a little bit of what Scott has been up to, he’s now down in Florida and joins Aleytis “Lee” Forrester (this is the first time she’s in an X-book) and is interested in spending some working with her crew. Personally I liked the issue; it was a nice little stand alone that didn’t really suffer for being a stand alone story. Plus it’s a nice little start to a trial by fire trend of a ‘new’ X-Man having to fight the N’garai.

The Uncanny X-Men #144 – Even In Death …

This issue is a little odd, not so much that it focuses mostly on Scott, but because it just feels odd for me. We see Jock Forrester (Lee’s father) who is having difficulty dealing with the fact that he has cancer and ends up killing himself. It could be just that it struck me as shocking that they showed someone blowing their brains out (not that they showed the bullet entering or exiting, but still) back in the early 80s. This was published before I was born but like other issues of this era I originally read when I was like 5-6, it would have been pretty shocking for me to have seen this then. The rest of the issue is devoted to Lee and Scott battling D’Spayre (first time we see him here) who has assumed the form of Jock and is feeding off of everyone’s tormented mindset. Scott is soon joined by Man-Thing (again, first time we’ve seen him here. Given the fact that D’Spayre can alter people’s perceptions of reality, and that Scott was only a child when it happened it’s hard to tell if they made a mistake by calling Scott and Alex’s mother ‘Anne’ – I don’t know what to make of it because a few panels later they call her ‘Katherine Anne.’

The Uncanny X-Men #145 – Kidnapped!
The Uncanny X-Men #146 – Murderworld!
The Uncanny X-Men #147 – Rogue Storm!

We’ve got a lot going on here so I’ll just start with what we’re dealing with here. Kitty is suffering from a fever which forces her to give her ticket to the ballet to Ororo which forces her to go with Stevie Hunter. I’m still not exactly sure why Ororo doesn’t like Stevie, I’dl ike there to be some real reason and this is all slowly building up to a big reveal but I’m not getting my hopes up – especially since Ororo has been written quite oddly over since around the time that Jean died. Miss Locke ambushes Ororo and Stevie forcing Ororo to use her mutant abilities in front of Stevie. Miss Locke tells them that Arcade has been taken by Dr. Doom and as a result she has kidnapped all of the X-Men’s loved ones to force them into freeing Arcade for her. Between Miss Locke and Mr. Chambers they manage to kidnap Stevie, Moira, John and Elaine Grey, Amanda Sefton, Candy Southern and Illyana Rasputin and are holding them captive in Murderworld. Charles reaches out to former X-Men: Sean, Lorna, Alex and Bobby and recruits them to go to Murderworld to try to free the X-Men’s loved ones while Ororo, Logan, Warren, Kurt and Piotr try to free Arcade from Doom. Charles tries to reach out to Scott but he can’t contact him, Charles suspects that Magneto is somehow involved. Doom captures Kurt, Logan and Piotr and intends to test the limits of their powers and he turns Ororo into a living metallic statue. This doesn’t go over too well with Ororo and her claustrophobia and a massive storm begins to brew outside – the storm is so large that Scott and Lee’s ship gets capsized and the two of them wash up on an island. Scott ends up unable to contain his powers and Lee sees them for the first time. There are a few things about this story which seem a bit off. How was Amanda captured? She would be the hardest to take out of the bunch considering her magical powers. Why is Lorna no longer struggling with her powers? Before the strength level seemed to fluctuate a lot, now she’s having no problems with them… did she learn to use them on her own or does the Shi-ar costume (that she wore when Eric the Red brainwashed her) she is still wearing have anything to do with it? If Scott’s eyebeams are so powerful that only his ruby quartz glasses/visor can contain his powers how the hell does a cloth blindfold keep them at bay? Why does the spelling of Lee’s name change every issue (when they were both written by the same writer) from Aleytys to Aleytis? There are just a lot of unanswered questions and mistakes that make this storyline as a whole a bit odd. I'm sure if you look at these three issues and read them alone that it would be a better story, but it's hard to look at everything else that was going on at that time with the X-Men (and how for example almost at the same time Doom was off battling Dazzler in her own book) without it detracting from the story.

Dazzler #5 – Tell Joey I Love Him!

Alison finally wakes up in the hospital after being injured in her recent battle with Doom. We do see her supporting cast: Harry, Lancelot, Cassandra; we get more ‘guest stars’ with the inclusion of Beast and Johnny Storm (we sort of get Ali’s father Carter, Enchantress, Doom and Nightmare, but this happens when Alison is dreaming so it doesn’t really count;) and finally we get a few new characters: Dr. Paul Jansen – who treats Alison’s injuries and the two end up going out for brunch afterwards, Mrs. Cartelli who is a patient sharing a room with Alison, Joey Cartelli – the Blue Shield (his first appearance), Bo Barrigan and his henchmen. The hard thing about this issue was that it’s both equally good and bad. I loved how they write Alison this issue and the plot in general – but I really didn’t need to have scenes with Nurse Collins judging Alison and looking down on her because she’s an artist, or scenes where she talks about how she disapproves of Alison’s make up, or how at the end of the issue she didn’t approve of Alison dating Paul. It kind of felt like someone was writing Veronica from the Archie comics and she was judging Betty who was trying to be a superhero. It is just odd, but the battle and action scenes, and Alison trying to reconnect Joey with his dying mother were all good.

The Uncanny X-Men #143 – Demon: A
The Uncanny X-Men #144 – Even In Death …: C
The Uncanny X-Men #145 – Kidnapped!: B
The Uncanny X-Men #146 – Murderworld!: A
The Uncanny X-Men #147 – Rogue Storm!: B
Dazzler #5 – Tell Joey I Love Him!: B

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chronological X-Men - Days of Future Past Part 1 Review

Days of Future Past.

Wolverine: Days of Future Past #1 Ill Winds
Wolverine: Days of Future Past #2 Uneasy Alliances
Wolverine: Days of Future Past #3 Chain Reactions

This three part story takes place directly before the events of Uncanny X-Men #141-142 – this issue serves as sort of a prequel as well as a retcon to throw in all the new characters that have appeared long after the original story was first told. The retcon part I’ll deal with first.. the Sentinels are no longer the regular version but they are mass produced versions of Bastion’s Prime Sentinels. Wolverine is off on his quest to find Amiko (although she wasn’t introduced until roughly forty issues after the original Days of Future Past), the story now includes Emma Frost, Synch, Jubilee, Leech, and Psylocke – who has joined Shinobi Shaw and taken up the position of The Red Queen within the new Inner Circle. We see that Pietro, Sam (Cannonball) died along with Kurt and Archangel (which prompts Betsy to go bad and turn traitor.) Something happened on Genosha which is never revealed happened, something so bad that Magneto becomes unhinged if anyone even mentions ‘Genosha’ to him. We see Wanda being tortured by Shinobi and Betsy in order to use her Hex powers to destroy what little is left of civilization so they can take over. Eventually Wanda dies, but not before Magneto is crippled trying to save her. Emma restructures Betsy’s mind and sends her off for ‘rehabilitation’ that will involve her spending time with her brother Brian. The main thing about this story is it shows how and why Magneto joined the few X-Men that are left and how he was crippled – so in that respect it’s a prequel, plus the fact that it happens directly before the events of the main storyline. I haven’t read the Days of Future Past storyline yet so I don’t know how difficult it will be to deal with the retcon aspect when all of these characters that were in this particular miniseries aren’t around and since they don’t exist yet aren’t mentioned at all.

The Uncanny X-Men #141 Days Of Future Past
The Uncanny X-Men #142 Mind Out Of Time!

Alright, we’re in to the main story here… We see a lot of new things, but we get some resolutions as well. Blob meets the new Brotherhood Of Evil Mutants – consisting of Mystique (she had already appeared in Ms. Marvel’s book but this story right here begins her long standing reign of terror in the X-books) the rest of the Brotherhood is made up of Avalanche, Destiny and Pyro – this is the first time they appear anywhere. Mystique plans on killing off Senator Kelly, Moira MacTaggert and Charles Xavier to teach the world to be afraid of mutants. Initially she succeeds which sends the world spiraling into a dark and twisted world where Sentinels rule, mutants are either killed off or kept in concentration camps and the entire world is on the verge of nuclear war. In the future the only ‘X-Men’ that are left are Ororo, Piotr, Kitty – who now goes by Kate and is married to Piotr, the two had children that were at some point murdered by the Sentinels- Magneto – for the first time he is called Magnus, and is crippled, Franklin Richards – the mutant child of Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, and his wife a redheaded telepathic/telekinetic mutant named Rachel. (We know from Wolverine: Days of Future Past that Jubilee, Psylocke, White Queen, Synch and Leech are all still alive too) Logan is alive, and ‘free;’ he’s been feeding Kate pieces of equipment that will disable the collars that cripple their mutant powers which then allows Rachel to send Kate back in time switching her mind with her younger self Kitty. Back in the past the X-Men battle the Brotherhood, only to find themselves evenly matched, Kurt squares off against Mystique and is taken aback by how much they look alike. Mystique doesn’t reveal too much, only that Kurt should seek out his ‘mother’ Margali for the truth. Kate in the past is able to stop Destiny from killing Senator Kelly which drastically changes this future timeline (which is a good thing because by this point in the future Ororo, Logan, Magneto, Franklin and Piotr have all died leaving just Kate/Kitty and Rachel. Kate returns to the future bringing Kitty back to the past with no memory of anything that has happened. Kelly and the newly elected president (we don’t see his face, just a shadowed outline) have teamed up with Sebastian Shaw to contract Henry Peter Gyrich to create a new breed of Sentinels to control mutant kind.

Dazzler #1 So Bright This Star
Dazzler #2 Where Demons Fear To Dwell!

Well… this as published around the same time and mentions of it lead us to believe that it takes place directly after Uncanny X-Men #142. We learn Dazzler’s real name is Alison Blaire, of course considering this is the first issue we get a bunch of new characters: Stevie Wildfire (the owner of the club Alison and Enchantress are auditioning for,) Joseph R. Ercoli (who essentially introduces Alison to her new agent,) Harry S. Osgood – her new agent, Cassandra Ferlenghetti – Harry’s secretary, Alison’s father Judge Carter Blaire, and her Nana. Since Alison appeared in Uncanny X-Men, and is a mutant this is essentially the first X-book spinoff so it’s the first time we see The Enchantress in and X-title. There are a TON of characters in this first story which almost makes this book more of a ‘Team-Up’ title rather than a ‘real’ book. So for guest stars we get: (aside from Enchantress) Human Torch, The Thing, Spider-Man, Angel, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Professor Xavier, Sprite, Storm, Wolverine, Beast, Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron-Man, Wasp, Jarvis and Spider-Man. I’ve got to be honest this is going to be a hard book for me to get through, while I’ve always liked the idea of Dazzler, I’ve never been a fan of what they had done with her character over the years and I think that’s going to drag the book down for me. Part of me hopes I’m just remembering how she was portrayed in the 80s wrong because I was only a child then, but I’m not hopeful that the book will contain anything that will want to make me come back to the book and read the stories over again. I don't mean to bash the book - there are elements that are good but I don't really need to see parts of the book devoted to Alison putting on her make up, or running around on roller skates, or even really talk about how hard it is to sing because she can't get paying gigs, but she doesn't want to quit because it's her passion. Okay sure the struggle with her life choices should be touched on, but they don't need to be brought up every single issue- and unfortunately I think they'll keep it up for a while.

Dazzler #3 The Jewels of Doom!
Dazzler #4 Here Nightmares Abide!

So here we have the second story... Carter Blaire, Allison’s Nana Bella, The Human Torch, The Thing, Cassandra and Harry are all back. We met Lancelot Steele who is acting as Harry’s field representative so I guess that makes him Alison’s manager. We continue the floating in and out of characters from other books which brings us Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, Dr. Arturo Frazen and Dr. Doom. Alison is scheduled to perform at the United Nations benefit concert and she’s so excited about it that she tries one more time to reach out to her father – it doesn’t go well. Of course just before it’s time for Alison to perform as Dazzler comes the Latverian jewels are in the process of being stolen, Alison tries to stop them only to end up being captured by Dr. Doom. Seeking a second Merlin Stone Doom transports Dazzler to the dimension he has tracked it down to in order to use her as a pawn to draw out whoever is guarding the second stone. Allison enters a stand off with her anti-self who feeds off of darkness. Alison outwits her dark self and then has to battle the real guardian of the stone. Thankfully he is also afraid of light and she quickly bests him and takes the stone and is transported back to Doom’s lair. She manages to escape the prison Dom is holding her in and uses her powers to destroy both Merlin Stones, a furious Doom destroys the building, crushing Alison underneath it and when Johnny Storm finds her he can’t revive her. Okay this story was actually more my speed than the first one but the series still has a long way to go before it becomes a good book (in my eyes at least.) One thing I think that the second issue had going for it was I remember having it as a kid. I have distinct memories of the cover, yet I don't remember reading it at all so it did bring back memories of when I was younger (I still hadn't been born when this issue was published but I remember going to the 'Giant Comic Book Warehouse' and spending like 3 hours digging through the back issue boxes with my older brother and finding this one on clearance for 30 cents so I grabbed it up.

Wolverine: Days of Future Past #1 Ill Winds: A
Wolverine: Days of Future Past #2 Uneasy Alliances: B
Wolverine: Days of Future Past #3 Chain Reactions: A
The Uncanny X-Men #141 Days Of Future Past: A
The Uncanny X-Men #142Mind Out Of Time!: A
Dazzler #1 So Bright This Star: C
Dazzler #2 Where Demons Fear To Dwell!: B
Dazzler #3 The Jewels of Doom!: B
Dazzler #4 Here Nightmares Abide!: A

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chronological X-Men - Wendigo Review

Wendigo – short, sweet and to the point.

 The Uncanny X-Men #139 … Something Wicked This Way Comes!

Okay we get a few new things here, first of all we see the first appearance of Heather MacNeil Hudson, who is married to James Hudson and we also meet a woman named Stevie Hunter. Warren is officially back with the X-Men now, and Kitty has joined the team. Charles wants to give her the codename Ariel but that doesn’t go over well with Kitty and she decides on Sprite instead. Ororo takes Kitty off to dance classes so she can have some sense of a regular life. Stevie and Ororo don’t seem to get along well, but I don’t know if anything will ever come of that. Logan returns to Canada to deal with the fact that the Canadian government is after him. He takes Kurt along with him and after they spend some time with Heather Kurt learns Wolverine’s real name. Logan, Kurt and the remaining members of Alpha Flight (half of the team is busy off book fighting someone else): Vindicator, Snowbird and Shaman team up to fight Wendigo who has taken a woman and a baby after apparently killing a man and reducing a boy to a catatonic state. The issue ends with Kurt being ambushed by Wendigo. I don’t know what to think about this particular story… it is nice to see the things switched up a bit and focus on different characters but it did feel a little odd. Especially since Ororo’s attitude has completely changed since the issue before.

The Uncanny X-Men #140 Rage!

This issue picks up right where the last one left off. Kurt is struggling to get away from Wendigo, Kitty is still in dance classes, Stevie and Ororo still don’t get along…. Kitty tells Ororo how much fun she has using her powers, which doesn’t go over well with Ororo because she’s afraid that someone will see Kitty using her powers. Piotr and Warren bond a bit but other than that we don’t see too much of any of the X-Men who are still in the US. Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Vindicator, Shaman and Snowbird hunt the Wendigo in the woods and eventually track him down. Logan beats the beast into a bloody pulp but it doesn’t end up being enough which forces Snowbird to transform into a real wolverine and give in to it’s animal instincts and wound the Wendigo enough to leave him unconscious long enough for shaman to perform a spell that will turn him back into a human being. The issue ends with Logan being cleared and no longer hunted by the Canadian government (according to Vindicator,) Wendigo (who is now simply Georges Baptiste) being taken to prison and the government pulling the plug on Alpha Flight forcing the team to disband. Finally we see Blob escape from the maximum security prison he has been in ever since he was taken into custody (I’m assuming that it was when the Mutants were rounded up when the Sentinel program was briefly reinstated (some 50+ issues ago but who knows for sure….) after his lawyer gives him a device that will destroy the cell. The lawyer tells Blob that if he can escape the prison he will officially be accepted into the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

 The Uncanny X-Men #139 … Something Wicked This Way Comes!: B
The Uncanny X-Men #140 Rage!: B

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chronological X-Men - The Dark Phoenix Saga Part 3 Review

The Dark Phoenix Saga!

 Uncanny X-Men Annual #4 Nightcrawler’s Inferno

Well this issue borrows heavily from La Divina Commedia, so it’s basically Dante’s Inferno X-Men style. We do get some things cleared up here – not that they needed being cleared up, because by this point things that I’m aware of haven’t yet happened. Kurt celebrates his 21st birthday which is odd because the new team is supposed to be older age wise than the first team and Jean was 24, yet Kurt is 21? Anyway this issue takes place directly after Scott leaves the team so it’s still part of The Dark Phoenix Saga. Kitty is struggling to find her place at the Institute – so that only helps to ‘date’ this story. We see Margali Szardos for the first time and learn of ‘The Winding Way’ both of which play larger roles much farther down the line. We learn that Margali had a biological son Stefan and daughter Jimaine in addition to taking in Kurt as a baby. Stefan had become corrupt and in a heated battle with Kurt Stefan ended up breaking his neck and Kurt takes the blame for his death. We find out that all of this happens prior to Charles finding Kurt, and that’s why the villagers were chasing Kurt. It turns out that Jimaine is actually Amanda Sefton – the girl Kurt has been dating. They explain the reason why Kurt couldn’t recognize her was because she had used a spell to mask her identity. One thing that isn’t explained though is why Charles couldn’t sense that Amanda wasn’t who she had claimed to be. Granted he didn’t have much interaction with her (or any on panel at all) but Jean did, she should have been able to tell even without the additional power of Phoenix. Another thing that seems odd is that Margali mentions finding a newborn Kurt who was laying next to his dying biological mother.. granted this gets retconned out when they reveal that Mystique is Kurt’s mother.

What If? #27 What If The Phoenix Had Not Died?

Well this is interesting, mostly because part of this ‘What If’ stems from the original end to The Dark Phoenix Saga in which Jean doesn’t commit suicide but instead is basically lobotomized by the Shi-ar. Jean stays with the X-Men, struggling with her place within the team (so is Kitty, who since Jean is alive Ororo has a friendship with her instead of her friendship with Kitty) eventually becoming the person who runs the danger room programs and sort of acts as the teams pilot. The team goes off to battle Galactus and his herald Terrax the Tamer. Jean witnesses Scott get hurt and that unleashes Phoenix yet again. She depowers Terrax and is offered the position of Gelactus’ new herald she turns him down and the team returns to Earth. Jean struggles with her power and eventually ventures out into space and starts feeding off of asteroids eventually working her way up to a small star. Meanwhile Kitty has been spending all her time with Charles and the two form a close bond – especially when Charles begins to suffer bouts of illness, during a monitoring exercise Kitty and Charles watch Jean feed off of the star and kitty confronts Phoenix when she returns to Earth. This is where it all goes to hell… Phoenix quickly turns to Dark Phoenix when confronted with what just happened and incinerates Kitty in front of the X-Men’s eyes. Next Dark Phoenix destroys Charles’ mind leaving his body nothing but a vegetable, she telekinetically crushes Warren’s skull, buries Ororo alive, crushes Bobby, sets Kurt on fire, uses Logan’s claws to puncture Piotr’s heart and then burns Logan to death,  she also incinerates Lorna, she uses Scott’s powers to kill Alex. Finally she uses her powers to kill Scott but that proves too much for Jean and she regains control over Phoenix and in her grief destroys the entire world.

What If? #33 What If The Phoenix Had Not Died?

This ‘what if’ also comes from the original plot of Phoenix not committing suicide but instead had been lobotomized. However unlike the story before this one we see yet another scenario. This time Scott stays with the X-Men, only he divides his time with his new wife Jean. Jean hasn’t been doing well at all, she feels as if part of her soul had been ripped from her and relives the time she ate a star leading to the deaths of over five billion people. This leads Jean to a suicide attempt that fails, partly because Scott stops her and partly because Magneto crashes their honeymoon and takes Jean to Asteroid M. He tempts Jean with the offer to bring back her powers as Phoenix. While the X-Men battle Magneto Jean almost gives in to temptation but destroys his machine. Later back on Earth Jean returns to the mansion only to find it empty, and shortly after she is confronted by Mastermind who wants his revenge on Jean. Only it’s not Mastermind it is in fact the Shadow King who has sensed that The Phoenix Force will be more than enough to sustain him. He kills Jean and takes her newborn daughter Rachel.  The physical death of Jean’s body leads her to discover that she isn’t Jean at all; she is in fact Phoenix and always has been. She goes to the underwater location where she had stored the real Jean’s body. Afraid that Phoenix will lose Scott forever she simply wishes that she didn’t exist and Jean dies.

What If? #34 What If Phoenix Rose Again?

While this story basically picks up right where the last issue left off it could also stand as a singular issue given the basis of this series. Phoenix battles Shadow King who now possesses an aged version of her daughter Rachel who also contains the Phoenix Force. Phoenix finds that her own ability cannot work against her daughter because she is a ‘chosen heir.’ Phoenix changes her tactics and focuses strictly on Shadow King and expels him from Rachel’s body. After de-aging Rachel Phoenix finds that Mastermind has killed himself rather than have to fight Phoenix again. Phoenix and Rachel return to the mansion only to be surprised by all the X-Men, she lies to Scott about what happened. Phoenix struggles to be as human as possible; Robert Kelly is elected president and begins his anti-mutant hysteria. Phoenix mind wipes the president and forces him to take a pro-mutant stance. Shortly after Kelly is assassinated on live TV, this leads to the reinstatement of the Sentinels who have been programmed to kill all super heroes – mutant or not. While the super powered population shrinks Rachel begins to have memories of what happened when she was possessed by the Shadow King and had to fight her mother and tells Logan about it. Logan goes to confront ‘Jean’ and after becoming enraged Phoenix reveals her true self. It turns out this was all a set up between Scott and Logan and after being ‘outted’ Phoenix leaves seemingly for good. The mansion becomes a haven for all mutants while the world is falling apart. The Sentinels soon ambush the mansion and kill several mutants in the process, after going on the run Phoenix arrives yet again and works out a plan where she will destroy all of the Sentinels with the X-Men’s help. Once destroyed Phoenix asks Destiny what her possible futures hold, once Destiny reveals that all of the paths of Phoenix’s future lead to death and destruction Phoenix leaves for the deep end of space wondering if it would be best if she had just allowed Jean to die.

Marvel Treasury Edition #27 Joyride Into Jeopardy!

The final leg of this journey is a brief back up feature in the Marvel Treasury Edition showing Warren just before he rejoins the X-Men. This isn’t really anything major, and it’s not supposed to be. He’s flying around and is attacked by a man who lost everything he had once Warren’s father shut down his company. It’s just a quick battle, there’s not room for much of anything considering it is only six pages long so before you can even get really into it the story is over. While I probably never will read this particular story again I wouldn’t be opposed to them going back and telling an extended version of this tale. With it being as short as it is it suffers from of a case of ‘what it lacks in plot it makes up for in lack of plot;’ this could easily be fixed by fleshing it out and making it a bit longer. Personally I wouldn't have chosen to close out this storyline with this particular story, but it is the final time we see Warren before he rejoins the X-Men so this is the only place that it would have fit.

Uncanny X-Men Annual #4 Nightcrawler’s Inferno: B
What If? #27 What If The Phoenix Had Not Died?: A
What If? #33 What If The Phoenix Had Not Died?: A
What If? #34 What If Phoenix Rose Again?: A
Marvel Treasury Edition #27 Joyride Into Jeopardy!: C

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chronological X-Men - The Dark Phoenix Saga Part 2 Review

The Dark Phoenix Saga!

The Uncanny X-Men #136 Child of Light and Darkness!
Classic X-Men #42 When Dreams Are Dust

There are so few back stories left for this set so I’ll just start with this one and get it out of the way. We have the continuing adventures of Scott in the orphanage – Scott, Robyn Hanover and Mr. Sinister (as himself, Administrator Pearson and Nate) are all back and we meet two of Robyn’s friends: Rick and Trish Bogart. Robyn takes Scott to a nearby airfield to watch a show only it ends badly when Scott starts to have flashes of what happened to him as a young child. Rick and Trish want to adopt Scott, but they also want to have him find any living family connections he might have – naturally Mr. Sinister has them killed – which leads Scott to believe that they just abandoned him. After a confrontation with Sinister Robyn begins to act differently; the same night Scott has a nightmare and sort of runs into Charles and Jean. This is just a continuation of the retcon where Charles met Jean as a young child and bound her telepathic powers because she couldn’t control them. So with this we get to see Charles try to teach Jean how to use her powers. The main story shows Lilandra and her council trying to decide what they will do about Phoenix now that she has turned evil. Jean returns to Earth and to her childhood home where she struggles with what she has done and how difficult it is for her to feel her parents’ emotions. We meet Jean’s sister Sarah Grey and learn that she has two children. Beast creates a device that he thinks can contain Jean’s powers long enough for them to stop her. A battle on the Grey’s lawn leads to Logan almost killing Jean after she destroys Hank’s device but he falters. Charles shows up (thanks to Warren) and battles Jean on the astral plane – with Jean’s help the two of them are able to separate Jean’s mind from The Phoenix Force and leave her depowered to her Marvel Girl level of abilities. Just as the battle ends the X-Men vanish in a cloud of light, leaving Jean’s family to wonder if their daughter is even alive. The only real problem I had with this issue was the fact that Warren just suddenly appeared, granted Charles had to be there but Warren was kind of pointless.

The Uncanny X-Men #137 The Fate of The Phoenix!
Classic X-Men #43 Flights of Angels

Umm there’s a whole lot going on here and for the first time we meet The Watcher, The Recorder, R’kill (Skrull Empress) and The Supreme Intelligence of the Kree. Since Lilandra has become ruler the Imperial Guard’s line up has changed a bit, it now consists of: Earthquake, Gladiator, Hussar, Manta, Oracle, Smasher, Starbolt, and WarStar (C’cll and B’nee.) But given the fact that there was so much going on the last time we saw the Imperial Guard it’s possible that they were always members and the ‘new’ people are just now being featured. Charles requests a duel between the Shi-ar and the X-Men to determine the fate of Jean Grey. If the X-Men win Jean goes free, if the Imperial Guard win Jean belongs to the Shi-ar and her fate is up to them. The team is allowed one night to rest before their battle and all are left to wonder if fighting for Jean’s life is the right thing to do. The next day the X-Men (Hank and Warren included) and the Imperial Guard are transported to the moon for their battle. One by one the X-Men fall until Jean and Scott are the only ones left. Scott is wounded and Jean freaks out once again unleashing the Phoenix Force. Ultimately Jean ends up using the X-Men to battle her enough to keep her power from increasing and when there’s just a fraction of it left she triggers an ancient weapon on the moon which shoots and kills her effectively allowing Jean to commit suicide. I like this issue but it just feels off – Jean had this planned out all along? So she knew exactly how the X-Men would break up, that all of them would fall, that Scott would get hurt, that Phoenix would rise again, that the X-Men would then reappear and successfully fight her off long enough to use up all of her newly returned and weakened powers, beat her back enough so that she can’t kill them, yet is strong enough to use her powers to set off a weapon that was placed on the moon long ago – that no one knew was there – and that the weapon would be strong enough to kill her? Umm… since when can Jean predict the future? The back up feature shows Jean and a construction worker that turns out to be none other than Death himself. He tells her that everything happened was pre-ordained and that Jean and The Phoenix Force (this is the first time it’s called that) were always one and the same and that Jean always was and always will be both life and death. Jean reflects on her life and relives the death of her childhood friend Annie Richardson – witnessing that is what triggered her powers to begin with, but that hasn’t officially been established as of yet. We see Jean in a white version of the Phoenix costume – which isn’t something that’s dealt with again until well into the 2000s. And we also see The Phoenix Force returning to Earth looking for Jean, and instead finding something else – Madelyne Pryor in a container in Mr. Sinister’s lab and breathes life into her. I love the back up story because it ties in Madelyne and she’s always been in my top three favorite X-Men related characters of all time.

The Uncanny X-Men #138 Elegy
Classic X-Men #44 Her First and Last

Well okay, a few things to note here…. Jean’s tombstone shows that she was born in 1956 – she’s 24 when she died but other than that it’s hard to figure things out because she’s died and come back so many times it’s almost impossible to tell how old she is. The story is basically a giant recap of every issue of the X-Men so far – all told through Scott’s perspective while everyone is at Jean’s funeral. They did leave out White Queen’s image from the flash backs but we get a new character in the way of Sara’s husband Paul Bailey. The issue ends with Scott leaving the X-Men and Kitty sitting on the doorsteps of the mansion ready to start her new life. The back up feature in Classic is actually the very last back up story within the series. This time they focus on Rogue growing up and Mystique and Destiny raising her. Rogue is going through all of her teenage angst and desperately wanting to be normal and wanting to kiss somebody. The feature was alright for what it was, but to close out the features with that story it doesn’t seem appropriate especially when it follows the issue with Jean having conversations with Death.

Phoenix: The Untold Story #1 The Fate Of The Phoenix!

Remember when I said that the end of The Dark Phoenix Saga didn’t really make that much sense? Well it turns out there’s a reason why, Jean was never supposed to die! Originally the plan was to have the X-Men be defeated by the Imperial Guard only instead of the extra battle between Jean and the X-Men and jean’s suicide Lilandra returns everyone to her ship and uses her scientists to lobotomize Jean and completely alter her brain functions so she can no longer even access her powers at all. Jean was then going to stay with the X-Men and deal with the fact that she can no longer use any of her powers and has to live with the fact that she murdered over five billion people. Jean would eventually be taken by Magneto who would offer to restore her powers and Jean would once again be tempted by The Phoenix Force. There were other ideas too but none of them ever got more established than this one. The editors thought it was too easy to have Jean not have to suffer any consequences for her actions so instead they opted to let her die a hero rather than live as a victim. I don’t know where I stand with this one because I’ve always liked Madelyne a lot more than Jean so I wouldn’t have liked the idea of Jean living because everything that would have happened with her (Inferno, becoming the Goblin Queen, having Nate … etc) would have been used for Jean once she became corrupted once more by The Phoenix Force. However I don’t like the idea of Jean dying because she keeps coming back, it gets used as a plot device too frequently. They write themselves into a corner, Jean dies, they mess up a storyline, Jean dies, they can completely and utterly trash her character… well it’s okay Jean dies.

The Uncanny X-Men #136 Child of Light and Darkness!: A
Classic X-Men #42 When Dreams Are Dust: C
The Uncanny X-Men #137 The Fate of The Phoenix!: B
Classic X-Men #43 Flights of Angels: A
The Uncanny X-Men #138 Elegy: B
Classic X-Men #44 Her First and Last: D
Phoenix: The Untold Story #1 The Fate Of The Phoenix!: A

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chronological X-Men - The Dark Phoenix Saga Part 1 Review

The Dark Phoenix Saga!

The Uncanny X-Men #132 And Hellfire Is Their Name!
Classic X-Men #38 Strangers On A Lift

The back up story is passable but one I could have done without. It’s trying to hard to be Hitchcockian, Alison making her way in an elevator with flickering power, and then through a parking garage all the while she’s afraid for her life because of a rather large and creepy man (who looks a bit like Alfred Hitchcock) poses as the elevator operator but in reality he turns out to be a filmmaker who is using this idea of terrorizing women as a way of studying the process of fear for a film that he’s making. The main issue has the X-Men going after The Hellfire Club in full force. First the team visits Angel (who is still dating Candy Southern) to learn what they can about the Hellfire Club since both Warren and Candy are members. Charles is left behind at Angel’s home and he doesn’t like it, especially considering he can’t create a psychic link between himself and the X-Men like he used to. Kurt and Logan take to the sewers underneath the Hellfire Club in an attempt to sneak into the building as well as create a future distraction if it is needed. Piotr, Ororo, Jean and Scott go in through the front posing as party guests. It doesn’t take Jean long to fall under Jason Wyngarde’s sway and get drawn even further into this alternate past life that he has created for her. Jean has now fully fallen under his power and takes the title The Black Queen and joins The Inner Circle to take down the X-Men. For the first time we see the Inner Circle (almost) in full force with Harry Leland as the Black Bishop, Donald Pierce as the White Bishop, Sebastian Shaw as the Black King and Jason Wyngarde who officially doesn’t have a title. We also see Shaw’s personal aide and while she’s not named in this issue it is wildly accepted that this is the first canonical appearance of Tessa. Kitty is nowhere to be seen so I assume that she was left at her parents until they officially say that she can join the school. One thing I did find odd was despite the fact that the Inner Circle knows all of the X-Men’s secret identities it is a little odd that they didn’t go with Warren (who had already publically revealed that he is Angel) and Candy considering they are both legacy members even though they aren’t active participants.

The Uncanny X-Men #133 Wolverine: Alone!
Classic X-Men #39 Brigg’s Revenge

The back up story clearly takes place before the whole Dark Phoenix Saga because Ororo says that Jean is at the mansion. The whole story was kind of out of character Ororo is in the city and runs into a man who is also a mutant (although at the time she doesn’t know that.) He tries to make contact with her but she blows him off for a better looking man, this sets off Billy – the man following her, and he goes back to the mansion with her and fights Ororo, Logan and Piotr forcing Ororo to choose which one of them dies. She does struggle with this but ultimately she chooses Logan because she thinks he has a better chance of survival than Piotr. Ororo being shallow is out of character and it feels like they did that on purpose to force the aspect of her learning her lesson not to judge people on everyone.  Umm… where to start with the main issue here… basically Kurt, Scott, Ororo have all been kidnapped, Jean has been corrupted and is now the Black Queen (I still have no idea why ‘evil’ Jean has a mole on her face;) and Logan is the only one left and he begins to battle his way to his friends. Scott uses his psychic bond with Jean (that was established off panel last issue) to travel to the astral plane to try to reach Jean. Mastermind/Wyngarde  is waiting for him though and the two of them quickly enter into an old fashioned sword fight. Scott holds his own for a while but is ultimately defeated by Wyngarde and his astral form is killed. The issue ends with Logan still trying to reach the X-Men, Jean is still evil and Scott is laying on the floor not breathing. We do see a little bit of Moira and Sean on Muir Isle and Moira is none too happy with the results of the tests Jean recently took turned out, and we also see Charles struggle with the fact that he still cannot connect with the X-Men.

The Uncanny X-Men #134 Too Late, The Heroes!
Classic X-Men #40 Fundamental Imbalance

We have yet another back up story that basically isn’t required at all. There is no clear timeframe this story fits in – it could be before The Dark Phoenix Saga or it could happen afterwards. Kurt is out in the city and his mini Cerebro device leads him to a crippled young girl who Kurt believes has mutant abilities similar to his own (only without the fur and teleportation.) Kurt is drawn in by street performers because it reminds him of his time in the circus. This is a little out of place because he speaks of his foster brother’s death caused a rift between himself and his foster mother which led to him leaving the circus. This is odd because it has been established that Kurt left because the new owner forced him to work in the freak show and pulled him off of his high wire act. It’s odd because this story references a retcon that hasn’t even happened yet (but it will soon.) The main issue shows us the final showdown between the X-Men and The Inner Circle. Scott has survived his death on the astral plane and Jean watching Scott die ended up having the opposite effect than what Wyngarde wanted. He intended for Scott’s death to sever the last tie to humanity that Jean had, instead it only broke the bond he had developed with her. Scott frees the other X-Men and they all have at it. Jean faces off against Wyngarde and shows him the full power of The Phoenix Force which leaves him shattered (possibly beyond repair) but that is unknown to the team at the time. The X-Men escape and on the return back to Angel’s home Jean ends up losing total control of The Phoenix Force and becomes Dark Phoenix – uttering the same words she did when she first became Phoenix. Beast is in the Avengers mansion and gets a police call saying that the X-Men have attacked the Hellfire Club, he decides to delete that message and take care of the situation himself.

The Uncanny X-Men #135 Dark Phoenix
Classic X-Men #41 Little Boy, Lost!

Well I did all the other issues starting with the back up story so I might as well do it for this issue too. We get to see a bit of Scott’s history in the orphanage he grew up in. We see Scott struggle with nightmares of his parents ‘death’ and we meet Dr. Robyn Hanover who is desperately trying to reach out to Scott. We meet the orphanage’s bully Toby who is picking on a young kid named Nate. Scott steps in several times to save Nate and after the last time we see Toby at night visited by Mr. Sinister (so yet another first appearance before the actual first appearance.) The next day Toby is on the roof of the orphanage and Nate is down below telling Scott that it would be a big deal if Toby jumps and dies. This doesn’t go over well with Scott and he tries and fails to save Toby. Dr. Hanover tries to comfort Scott but is distracted by this frightening feeling she gets when Nate stares her down at the end of the issue. The main issue… man it’s getting real. We see Silver Surfer for the first time in these pages, he feels drawn to Dark Phoenix when they briefly encounter each other. Mr. Fantastic, the Thing, Spider-Man and Dr. Strange all briefly show up, we see the first appearance of Senator Robert Kelly (which is kind of odd that it took this long to see him considering that the party at the Hellfire Club in the past few issues was for him, he had been named before but this is the first time we actually see him.) We see Dr. Corbeau, Lilandra, Araki all again, and we see Sebastian Shaw suggest to Senator Kelly that he bring back the Sentinel program. The X-Men, and Hank try their best to calm Jean down but she takes them out one by one before taking off deep into space. She creates a stargate of her very own which shunts her closer to the Shi-ar Empire, only it takes more of her energy than she expected and she replenishes it by devouring an entire star which leads to the death and destruction of over five billion people and the entire D’Bari planet. Lilandra reveals that she had always feared that something like this would happen with The Phoenix and now she has to figure out a way to deal with it, while back on Earth Scott can feel Jean’s joy at the destruction of D’Bari and how ‘hungry’ she is. So much is going on with this whole storyline it’s hard to comment on the individual issues but man this was probably my favorite storyline I’ve read so far, and I’m not even halfway through the arch!

The Uncanny X-Men #132 And Hellfire Is Their Name!: A
Classic X-Men #38 Strangers On A Lift: D
The Uncanny X-Men #133 Wolverine: Alone!: A
Classic X-Men #39 Brigg’s Revenge: D
The Uncanny X-Men #134 Too Late, The Heroes!: A
Classic X-Men #40 Fundamental Imbalance: F
The Uncanny X-Men #135 Dark Phoenix: A
Classic X-Men #41 Little Boy, Lost!: C

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chronological X-Men - Proteus Part 2 Review


The Uncanny X-Men #129 God Spare the Child…
Classic X-Men #35 Paper, Not Paper

Okay things are starting to heat up here. The X-Men finally leave Muir Island, only they leave Sean behind to help with Moira. Scott asks Lorna and Alex if they will come back to the team but they refuse so he tries his luck with Jamie who also turns him down. Jean’s flashbacks to ‘her other life’ are coming more frequently and are starting to get harder to snap out of, however she decides for now not to tell any of her friends about it. Charles is now back on Earth at the mansion and after learning of everyone’s survival he steps back up as the leader of the team. This doesn’t go over too well with Logan who ends up storming out, and Scott doesn’t fare much better because Charles basically calls him a failure and tells him he is disappointed in how he has chosen to lead the team in Charles’ absence. Cerebro goes off detecting two new mutants and Charles decides to split the team up to go after each of the emerging mutants. Meanwhile we get the first official appearances of The Hellfire Club, The Inner Circle, and Emma Frost – The White Queen herself. In a shadowed meeting we also meet Harry Leland, Donald Pierce and Sebastian Shaw, but they’ll have their first full on appearances soon enough. In this issue we also see Kitty Pryde and her parents Carmen and Terri for the first time. I find it interesting that according to Kitty she’s only thirteen and a half – this is a little creepy considering that Piotr is well over eighteen and I know eventually the two of them get together. On another note though if this is 1979 and Kitty is 13 ½ which means she was born in 1966 and as of today that would make her 44 years old. Man comic book timelines are screwy. Speaking of screwy there are a few things that don’t really track… why doesn’t Cerebro register Jason Wyngarde or Emma Frost? Why doesn’t Charles recognize Emma as a mutant and a telepath when they briefly encounter each other when they both attempt to recruit Kitty for their ‘schools.’ The issue ends with Emma ambushing  and kidnapping Logan, Ororo and Piotr after the failure of three armored units to kidnap Kitty Pryde. Emma informs a man named Cutler – it will be hard to keep track of anyone in the Hellfire Club since all of the Inner Circle’s henchmen wear the black and red outfits with the expressionless masks – that failure is not something The Hellfire Club will accept and triggers bombs planted within each of the three armored units… well armor. The back up issue shows exactly how Kitty ended up stowing away on Emma’s hovercraft. Again we get some funky art which once again I can excuse because it’s a dreamscape of a thirteen year old girl who just experienced the shock of her life… I do find it a little odd that everyone in Kitty’s dreamscape was female, including a wheelchair bound woman who was clearly supposed to represent Charles. Despite the fact that the Classics cover bills this as part of The Dark Phoenix Saga it is still largely considered to be part of the Proteus storyline because The Dark Phoenix Saga doesn’t officially start until Uncanny X-Men #132 when Jean becomes The Black Queen of The Inner Circle.

The Uncanny X-Men #130 Dazzler
Classic X-Men #36 Outside In

I’m not really sure where the back up story is supposed to fit in but obviously it takes place after the X-Men return to the states. Moira is naturally having trouble moving past the deaths of her son and husband is using all of her previous research to try to find a way to bring Kevin back and give him a peaceful powerless life. The story does clear up a little bit of the confusion with this retcon of her being married. Now it’s clear that Moira married Joe, he was an abusive man to the point where one night he raped her and got her pregnant – I’m assuming that since he knew nothing about the child that this is when she took off for the states and sought out a divorce and met Charles and she leaves him before she starts showing. It helps to flesh out her background and explain why she suddenly left Charles back in the day, but over the years Charles' backstory gets so muddled with that I almost hate this one simply because I know it's only the start of historical retcons yet to come. The main story shows Scott, Kurt and Jean off to find the other mutant that Cerebro discovered – this time it turns out to be a young woman who is a disco singer going by the name Dazzler. We learn that the reason why The Hellfire Club knows so much about the X-Men and how their abilities work is because they used Warhawk to bug the mansion when he attacked them 20 issues ago. Jean is continuing to experience her time slips each one is getting progressively worse, now it’s at te point where they are happening right in front of Scott and it’s getting harder and harder for Jean to snap out of them. Scott and Jean save Alison Blaire (Dazzler) and she agrees to help them rescue Kitty and the rest of the X-Men from Emma Frost.

The Uncanny X-Men #131 Run For Your Life!
Classic X-Men #37 Was Not What Will Be

What the heck, I’ll start with the back up feature again. I didn’t really like it. A lot of it was used to ‘date’ Alison to stress that she character is all about the late 70s and 1980 – I could have done with out it. The other half of it was used to show that Alison isn’t your typical rock star, that she keeps up with current events and can engage in a well spoken debate. Honestly I would rather have had this just be a few additional pages in some story instead of it being an entire back up feature. The big confrontation between the X-Men and Emma frost continues. Alison, Kurt, Jean, Kitty and Scott storm Emma and her troops to free Ororo, Piotr, Logan and Charles. Kitty gets her first interaction with Logan – which will build into him eventually mentoring her, and is smitten with Piotr. Emma faces off against Phoenix in a battle to end, ultimately Emma proves no match for Phoenix and she uses the last reserve of her power to bring down the entire building they are in. At the end everyone is safe and accounted for except for Emma and the X-Men believe that she committed suicide rather than become the X-Men’s prisoners. Back at Kitty’s house Jean uses her abilities to completely wipe out Kitty’s parents memories and create new ones for them in which they are very close to allowing Kitty to join Charles’ school – this doesn’t go over well with Scott and Ororo. Meanwhile Alison decides that her place isn’t with the X-Men and Charles trusts her enough not to reveal any of their secret identities and she departs off on her own adventure and her own title. I do find it just a little bit odd that Jean would go to the lengths of doing that to Kitty's parents, yet she doesn't do anything about the fact that Dazzler knows the identities of the X-Men. And it is a little odd that everyone is so concerned with Jean wiping out people's minds when Charles has done that in the past before for example with Blob and they didn't even bat an eyelash at that.

Amazing Spider-Man #203 Bewitched, Bothered and Be-Dazzled!

Welcome to the pit stop Alison makes before she starts her own title. Dazzler is performing in New York and is chased through the city by a giant ball of light, Spider-Man tries to save her but she wants nothing to do with him. It turns out that the giant ball of light is Lightmaster who has been trapped in a different dimension and is being called back to Earth by Alison’s powers. He plans to use her like a living battery that can keep him on Earth and in power for the rest of his life. Spider-Man interferes and as a result it causes Lightmaster’s device to backfire and instead of using Dazzler as a battery he is now possessing her. The now possessed Dazzler and Spider-Man fight but he quickly gets the upper hand and uses the device once again to separate Dazzler and LIghtmaster and send him back to the light dimension. The problem with this issue is that it is in a main title so a lot of it is devoted to aspects of Peter's life that don't really move the 'mash up' plot along which leads to an all too quick resolution for the plot. We spend a large part of the issue dealing with Alison being chased and then possessed and then in one page Peter solves the problem.

The Uncanny X-Men #129 God Spare the Child…: B
Classic X-Men #35 Paper, Not Paper: D
The Uncanny X-Men #130 Dazzler: A
Classic X-Men #36 Outside In: A
The Uncanny X-Men #131 Run For Your Life!: A
Classic X-Men #37 Was Not What Will Be: D
Amazing Spider-Man #203 Bewitched, Bothered and Be-Dazzled!: B

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chronological X-Men - Proteus Part 1 Review


The Uncanny X-Men #125 There’s Something Awful on Muir Island
Classic X-Men #31 Spigot At The End of The Universe

I’ll start with the back up feature here. It’s one of those stories that could either fit within the pages of the main issue, or it could happen either before or after the current storyline. Charles isn’t fitting in too well on Lilandra’s homeworld and it’s making him restless. Lilandra suggests that he spends time with Chakra the Shi-ar’s plumber. It’s a little odd because Charles who always boasts about equality and treating people the same but now he’s acting like being a plumber is the worst thing that could ever happen to someone. It was kind of a middle ground story, not good, not bad yet it still holds potential to be read again. The main story is pretty good but clearly some time has passed. Beast visits the mansion and is surprised to run into all of the X-Men that he thought were dead, Sean is still suffering from the damage to his throat and decides to leave the team at least until his powers return. Lilandra is dealing with issues in the Shi-ar galaxy and Charles is suffering homesickness and is basically still moping around about not being treated fairly among Lilandra’s court. All that changes when he sees how Jean saved the universe, she’s so powerful now that it actually scares him enough into feeling like he needs to return to Earth. Mastermind reveals that he is officially working for the Hellfire Club and wants to turn Jean into his Black Queen – we also see through a series of flashbacks how Mastermind has been working his way into Jean’s life over the past few months, a lot of this is explained in recent back up stories of ‘Classic.’ Magneto still recovering from his battle with the X-Men on Asteroid M and is severely missing his wife Magda. The two major things that happen are Moira discovers that there is something wrong behind the door marked ‘Mutant X,’ which will lead us into our current story. The second thing is Jean appears to be spending time in another life where she was a noble woman – the first flash lasts just long enough for Jean to succumb to an ambush. Jamie and Alex go to investigate but Lorna decides to answer the phone in case it’s Charles, Hank or the Avengers calling because she thinks that they’ll need whoever it is help taking down whoever was strong enough to scare Phoenix like that. It turns out to be the X-Men and Lorna is ambushed while talking to Scott.

The Uncanny X-Men #126 How Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth…!
Classic X-Men #32 Shreds of Humanity

The X-Men arrive on Muir Island to a brief confrontation because Alex doesn’t know the X-Men are really alive. Jean is still having flashbacks of another life, only they are getting progressively worse. This time she’s with her husband (Mastermind) and for sport they are hunting a human – thankfully she snaps out of it before she actually has to kill the man. Jamie creates a large amount of dupes in order to search the island faster only one of them becomes possessed by Mutant X who is jumping from body to body draining them of their lives leaving nothing more of them than a mummified corpse when he jumps to the next body. We learn that Mutant X is in fact Moira’s son, which I guess could explain why she abruptly cut things off with Charles in the past. Given that Mutant X essentially kills everyone he possesses and he has taken one of Jamie’s dupes this is the first time Jamie actually ‘dies.’ The back up feature for this issue takes place in the middle of the battle between Logan, Kurt and Mutant X (now possessing a cop) who has decided to take the name Proteus. It focuses on Proteus’ using his reality warping ability to basically torture Logan and take advantage of how Logan relies on his healing factor so much so that he has gotten to the point where he enjoys being hurt. I really wasn’t feeling the art here, but considering it is supposed to be sort of like a dreamscape I can ignore it. This is one of the few times the weird art style actually works for the story, but I've noticed recently the quality of the art in relation to the actual story being presented is starting to decline, and that's not something that I'm loving.

The Uncanny X-Men #127 The Quality of Hatred!
Classic X-Men #33 So Good It Hurts

The back up story here takes place shortly after the X-Men split up last issue (so before the battle between Logan, Kurt, Ororo and Proteus.) Alex and Lorna are looking for Moira’s son but Alex keeps getting pulled into these visions of a darker world where both he and Lorna are getting hurt. He claims that this is because of how afraid he is of the fact that if he and Lorna ever go back to the X-Men that they will die, and then he switches to this idea that he can’t separate the feelings of how if their relationship ends it’s like death for him. Personally I think that Alex is just too close to Proteus and has succumbed to his reality altering powers than Alex having panic attacks and creating this whole dark world all on his own. It’s easier for me to just over look the fact that Alex and Proteus haven’t had any contact yet than it is to accept that Alex is doing this all on his own. This is the first time we see Joe Mactaggert – Moira’s husband and father of their son Kevin (Proteus.) I’m not sure I’ve got the time line right but it seems that Joe and Moira were together (it turns out he’s a real abusive little man,) she goes to the states and meets and falls in love with Charles. Charles gets drafted and Moira tries to get a divorce from her husband only he doesn’t go along with it and soon after Charles has left she discovers that she is pregnant. Knowing that it can’t be Charles she decides to end their engagement in the Dear John letter she wrote him and then went back to Muir Island to raise Joe’s baby. Anyway, enough exposition… Moira goes to warn Joe, it doesn’t go well and Proteus ends up possessing his father and threatens to kill Moira if the X-Men choose to follow them.

The Uncanny X-Men #128 The Action of the Tiger!
Classic X-Men #34 Double Negative

This issue ends the main storyline here. Joe is dead because Kevin possessed him. The X-Men struggle through a heated battle, which isn’t going well considering every time Proteus uses his powers he grows stronger. It doesn’t make it any easier considering that all of the X-Men that aren’t metal based (metal is the only thing that can hurt or even kill Kevin.) The X-Men work to force Kevin to use up Joe’s body faster than he normally would, one by one the X-Men use their abilities on him until the only one left is Piotr. By this point Kevin is without a body, desperate and near death he tries to take possession of Piotr only to be surprised when he transforms into Colossus. By this point Kevin is so badly damaged that one punch actually managed to kill him. This is a big thing because for the first time a villain doesn’t die as a result of his own actions but instead is essentially killed by the X-Men. Granted with a villain that can kill anyone he comes within physical contact with there are very few ways that he can be dealt with but it’s still a shock because it’s something totally different than Logan using his claws to kill some random henchman. The backup story shows a typical night at the Hellfire Club and the members of its Inner Circle. Emma and Jason engage in a game of chess on the astral plane, the two of them are so evenly matched that the only way to end the game is with both of their ‘deaths.’ I don’t really care for the server girl and Emma’s talk with her about sexism.. it wasn’t really needed – I would much rather have had them spend those pages showing us more of Emma and Jason’s duel.

Marvel Team-Up #89 Shoot Out Over Center Ring

This time Kurt and Spider-Man team up. Nothing real spectacular here, Kurt meets Amanda at the airport and the encounter Miss Locke near one of Arcade’s private jets. They stow away in the trunk of the man that was meeting Miss Locke and find out that he has hired someone to murder Spider-Man. It turns out that all of this leads back to the circus and Kurt pretends to be Spider-Man to draw out the shooter. Umm okay the issue was good, but there were too many weird things that started to add up. Kurt was taken in by the circus and was sort of raised as Amanda’s foster sister, yet none of this is revealed yet – this could just be a case of me knowing too much too soon so I can over look that. But then it gets worse when Kurt runs into the man who was running the circus he was a part of, the guy remembers Kurt but makes no mention of knowing Amanda. So it seems to me that eventually Kurt and Amanda knowing each other as children and being raised together will be a retcon the writers will deal with later on. This was a good issue, but it would have been a lot better if I didn’t know about Amanda’s future events.

The Uncanny X-Men #125 There’s Something Awful on Muir Island: A
Classic X-Men #31Spigot At The End of The Universe: C
The Uncanny X-Men #126 How Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth…!: A
Classic X-Men #32 Shreds of Humanity: B
The Uncanny X-Men #127 The Quality of Hatred!: A
Classic X-Men #33 So Good It Hurts: F
The Uncanny X-Men #128 The Action of the Tiger!: A
Classic X-Men #34 Double Negative: B
Marvel Team-Up #89 Shoot Out Over Center Ring: C