Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chronological X-Men - Part 14 Review

A series of tales so damn well hidden even the X-Men don’t remember having them.

X-Men: The Hidden Years #1 Once More the Savage Land
X-Men: The Hidden Years #2 The Ghost and the Darkness
X-Men: The Hidden Years #3 On Wings of Angels
X-Men: The Hidden Years #4 Escape to Oblivion

This particular series covers some of the gaps in the time line that happened when the original X-Men series was cancelled and became a reprint book. This is going to be a hard one to gage because while it does take place within the mythos that it was written after all of these things happened so while some characters show up for the first time it isn’t technically their first appearances but due to the existence of this book it has been retconned into their first appearances.  A few major things happen here- Bobby takes Charles’ ‘lies’ very seriously and ends up quitting the X-Men; Lorna has her first try at a codename ‘Magnetrix,’ but that doesn’t go over too well. In an attempt to recap the events that happened in the X-Men series we get multiple returns: Magneto (who turns out to not have died at all and is trying to use the people of the Savage Land as a way to make him achieve immortality,) The Changeling, Ka-Zar (but this is within the main story,) Sunfire, Grotesk, Mesmero, Living Pharaoh/Living Monolith, Sentinels, Larry Trask, Sauron, Lorelei, The Z’Nox, The Hulk, Amphibius, Zelda, Vera, Candy (who has learned of Warren being a mutant as well as the identities of Charles Xavier and the X-Men,) and Ka-Zar’s pet Zabu. We get a few new characters, such as a sub race of the Savage Land natives calling themselves the Nuh’Ghari; who have been mutated through prolonged exposure to a volcano; out of that race we get to know a few of them better than others and they are Nhu’abdar and Avia, we get a few former slaves as well: Linak and Sakaa. I didn’t really care for the idea of Magneto being able to use astral projection but given how primitive the Savage Land and it’s people are it would make sense that Magneto would use anything he could to gain an advantage over the people.

X-Men: The Hidden Years #5 Riders on the Storm
X-Men: The Hidden Years #6 Behold A Goddess Rising..!
X-Men: The Hidden Years #7 Power Play

See this is what is a little weird about when they shoehorn things in, for example in this story we meet Ororo Munroe and learn that she met a portion of the X-Men before she actually joined the team. Now the thing that doesn’t really work with this is the fact that there are future events that happen that because they were written before The Hidden Years means that there are no mentions of these events (because even though the Hidden Years takes place before things like The Phoenix Saga and Giant Sized X-Men, they were written well after the fact.) We see a few more plot lines continue such as Warren and Avia getting separated from The X-Men and Magneto and getting captured by a fishing crew, Bobby suffers a bout of amnesia but still manages to wash up on the shores of the Savage Land and is taken in by Karl Lykos. Lorna drops the Magnetrix codename she was trying out and Candy goes to the Xavier Institute and informs Charles that she knows Warren is a mutant and that she knows all about Charles, his abilities and the X-Men. This issue introduces us to Deluge, a mutant who has taken control of a storm Ororo conjured up recently (which explains the massive storm that prevented Bobby from originally reaching The Savage Land) and Ororo, Jean, Hank and an unconscious Scott manage to stop him and destroy him. Ororo leaves, returning once again to her village where she is treated like a Goddess and Jean informs Hank and Scott (who has woken up due to the recent telepathic and telekinetic prodding of Jean) that Charles knew about Ororo’s existence previously.

X-Men: The Hidden Years #8 Shadow On The Stars
X-Men: The Hidden Years #9 Dark Destiny

The Fantastic Four: Crystal (who is pinch hitting for Sue because she has taken time off from the team due to having just given birth to her son,) Human Torch, Mr. Fantastic and the Thing all arrive at the Xavier Institute looking for the X-Men’s help in an attempt to stop the Z’Nox for good. Of course that means we get a bunch of flashbacks to catch everything up, but that’s almost beside the point. We learn that Reed Richards has sent his wife Sue and their newborn son Franklin off to visit Agatha Harkness in an attempt to keep them safe while the FF and the X-Men are off planet. The fate of Avia and Warren grows even dimmer when the captain of the fishing boat sells them to a mysterious man known only as Kreuger. Candy and Charles are still looking for Warren (although Candy is more desperate in the search than Charles is) and Charles begins to show strange side effects of the ray the X-Men used on him to revive him from his coma. Now for possibly the most important thing of all: outside of the Fantastic Four’s ship there is a strange Phoenix shaped being watching the progress only moments before Jean becomes engulfed in flames and attacks everyone on board (including killing Hank!) Of course this turns out to be Jean blacking out and never have happened, but this sets up the coming Phoenix Saga, but it implies that The Phoenix Force had not only previously met Jean (in this issue) but continues to search her out the next time Jean is in space. The issue ends with the FF and Jean, Scott and Hank returning to Earth just as a Sentinel hovers over a young girl named Ashley Martin.

X-Men: The Hidden Years #10 Home Is Where The Hurt Is….
X-Men: The Hidden Years #11 Destroy All Mutants!

Charles takes Jean to Muir Island to be examined by Moira MacTaggert because of the strange events that happened to Jean in space. This actually beings to deepen a growing rift between the peculiarly acting Charles and Jean because Charles insists on once again lying to the rest of the X-Men by telling them that they went somewhere other than Muir Island. Candy, Magneto, Amphibius, Karl Lykos, Aviva, Ashley Martin (and her mother) are all back along with Hank’s mother Edna. This issue sort of implies that Jean and Moira know each other, which I guess makes sense because during the run of Professor Xavier and the X-Men Moira was shoe-horned in to continuity- this is even more supported by the fact that Moira and Charles did not agree on if they should seek out Ororo Munroe and recruit her for the X-Men and in this series we learn that Jean knows that Charles is well aware of Ororo. Kreuger and his band of mutants (one of which gets a name this time because it’s his first actual appearance: Remiped) have sold Avia and Warren to the remaining members of the original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (Blob, Unus and mastermind) and contacts Blob once again when he captures Cyclops, Candy (whom he believes to actually be Marvel Girl) and Marvel Girl (who is using her original X-Men blue and yellow uniform) after they track Kreuger down attempting to locate Angel and Avia. Charles and Hank go to meet Ashley only to be ambushed by the lone remaining Sentinel and they are almost destroyed by the robot but Ashley saves them by making the Sentinel destroy itself- which kind of implies that Ashley either has magnetic powers or the generic ability to control machines. Bobby continues his time in the Savage Land and as his memory starts to return Karl can no longer keep his urges at bay and ends up feeding off of Bobby’s mutant powers and once again transforms into Sauron meanwhile Havok, Lorna and Ka-Zar begin searching the Savage Land for Bobby.

X-Men: The Hidden Years #1 Once More the Savage Land: B
X-Men: The Hidden Years #2 The Ghost and the Darkness: B
X-Men: The Hidden Years #3 On Wings of Angels: A
X-Men: The Hidden Years #4 Escape to Oblivion: A
X-Men: The Hidden Years #5 Riders on the Storm: A-
X-Men: The Hidden Years #6 Behold A Goddess Rising..!: A-
X-Men: The Hidden Years #7 Power Play: A
X-Men: The Hidden Years #8 Shadow On The Stars: A
X-Men: The Hidden Years #9 Dark Destiny: A
X-Men: The Hidden Years #10 Home Is Where The Hurt Is….: B
X-Men: The Hidden Years #11 Destroy All Mutants!: B

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