(The Uncanny)X-Men #101 Like A Phoenix, From the Ashes!
Classic X-Men #9 The Gift
The X-Men return to Earth crashing in the water and Jean suddenly rises from the water in a brand new costume and screams that she is ‘Phoenix’ (so we get the first appearance of Phoenix II here) before passing out and falling back into the water. The additional pages show the X-Men leaving as Ororo masks their getaway through fog and Peter Corbeau covers for them telling everyone that only he survived the crash and the crew he left with (the X-Men in disguise) all perished. The one thing that I really don’t like and honestly it’s some hate that I’ve got left over from the old X-Men Animated Series where even before Jean transformed into Phoenix she would just randomly pass out and faint. I couldn’t stand that, and I know that it happens a lot while ‘Jean’ is Phoenix but I’m not looking forward to that at all. The back up story actually takes place in the middle of the main story while Jean is critical condition in a coma. Kurt spies a boy out walking around in the late hours of the night/early hours of the morning. They bond and Kurt teaches him how to juggle in an attempt to get Daniel to open up about what is going on. They each have a profound effect on each other, so much so that Kurt shows Daniel who he really is without the image inducer. It’s a little odd because in the end the boy dies and it gets iffy because Kurt was speaking with the boy when he was really dead. So was Daniel a mutant himself, or was he a ghost who was seeking out Kurt who was going through a crisis of faith? You could argue either because Daniel tells Kurt that Jean will indeed be fine (and ultimately she was.) With Jean now awake, Charles insists that the X-Men go on vacation while Scott, Moira and Charles himself stay behind. The newer members of the team go off to Sean’s newly inherited castle only to find an ambush waiting thanks to Sean’s cousin Black Tom Cassidy and The Juggernaut.
(The Uncanny)X-Men #102 Who Will Stop The Juggernaut?
Classic X-Men #10 Tag, Sucker!
We learn a few new things in the battle over Cassidy Keep; we see Kurt first use his ability to blend into shadows, we officially learn of Ororo’s claustrophobia, we learn that Sean was once an Interpol agent and a series of flashbacks show us David and N’Dare Munroe, Ororo’s parents. We learn that her father was a journalist while her mother was a real African Princess, so while over the years we learn that Ororo isn’t indeed a Goddess she is at the very least nobility. We also see her young days as a thief where she worked for Achmed El-Gibar. The additional pages show us Charles being driven even more insane than he already thinks he is when he keeps seeing the armored alien and he confides in Moira that he feels his powers are driving him insane. The editing of the story clears up a few things to make the characters not so ‘dated’ because in the original story it established that Ororo was born in 1951 which would make her 59 now- so obviously they needed to cut that part out. The back up story shows Logan wandering around New York unwillingly playing a game of tag with Sabertooth, the story was alright but I could have done without ever reading it. It doesn’t help that I’m not entirely sure where this story is supposed to take place. Does it happen roughly the same time Kurt is wandering the city with Daniel, or does it happen shortly after Logan joins the team but before Jean becomes Phoenix, or does it happen after the X-Men return from Cassidy Keep?
(The Uncanny)X-Men #103 The Fall of The Tower
Classic X-Men #11 Hope
Oh.. okay.. Cassidy Keep is full of Leprechauns, one of which works for Sean. Yeah, okay… moving right along then. We learn that Black Tom and Juggernaut were sought out by Eric the Red in an attempt to take the X-Men down to keep the ‘Princess’ from reaching them. We get our first look at Emperor D’Ken who has sort of contracted Eric the Red to make sure Princess Neramani doesn’t arrive on Earth. D’Ken is none too pleased that BlackTom and Juggernaut fail, but Eric tells him that he has already made arrangements with the X-Men’s oldest foe (so obviously Magneto) to take a crack at them next. The additional pages show the armored alien continuing to reach out to Charles which drives him deeper into madness. It doesn’t help that Charles can feel Ororo’s pain and gets into a huge fight with Scott trying to get him to take down Juggernaut only to have Scott refuse to leave Jean’s side. I’ve got to admit, I’m not a big fan of the back up story. We see Ororo in England, which means that the story could take place before the X-Men return to the states, or it could have been set in an entirely different timeframe. Storm meets Phil Halloran, a writer who is contemplating taking his own life because he just doesn’t have passion when it comes to writing anymore. There’s a killer at large who has been targeting women, and goes after Ororo who is in turn saved by Phil. It’s a story that tries to be too powerful and relevant for my tastes, plus it doesn’t fit in with the current storyline and for it to have happened so soon after the Kurt and Daniel story makes it redundant. It just is and honestly I really didn’t like it in context, out of context it might be better, but it doesn’t belong set around this timeline.
(The Uncanny)X-Men #104 The Gentleman’s Name is Magneto
Classic X-Men #12 A Fire in the Night
This is the first time Magneto battles the new X-Men which leads to some interesting revelations. We see the Muir Island Mutant Research Facility for the first time and learn just how much Moira gave up to become the Xavier Institute’s ‘housekeeper.’ We learn that this place has held several mutants prisoner, presumably because a regular prison cannot contain them and their powers. We see Jamie Madrox (Multiple Man) who has been in charge since Moira left. Magneto who had been turned into a baby has been re-aged –I guess this could take care of the fact that he should be well over 100 within the current time line, but it’s hard to retcon him too much because of his origin story. We finally get the reveal of the armored alien as being none other than (Princess) Lilandra Neramani; we see the return of John and Elaine Grey who have come to welcome Jean back to her apartment she shares with Misty Knight (it’s hard to keep track of all the retcons, flashbacks, hidden years, shoehorned in events, and additional pages but I think this is the first appearances of Misty within the X-Men title) only for the issue to end with Erik the Red, Havok and Polaris who are still under Erik’s mind control watching Jean through her apartment window. We see The Starjammers for the first time, although not all of them… however we do get Ch’Od, ‘Christopher’ (long story, many twists, turns, and retcons for him too so I won’t get into that now but he is ultimately the character known as Corsair,) and Cr+eee. Magneto fails in his battle with the X-Men but there’s something awakening behind a door labeled ‘Mutant X;’ and the X-men realize that someone is trying to divide them all in order to make Charles vulnerable enough to succumb to an attack. Having figured this out the X-Men now understand that they need to get back to Charles as quickly as possible. The back up story takes place directly after Magneto has been defeated. He has fled to Paris and in a dream we learn exactly how Magneto and his wife Magda’s child Anya died in a fire and how Magda left her husband after the death of their daughter and seeing him murder everyone around their burning home becomes too much for her to deal with. Naturally this means that he wakes up only to find another apartment burning and another mother and child trapped within it. He decides to save them which lays the foundation for him slowly moving away from the ‘evil villain’ to the ‘tragic figure pushed too far’ type of character. We do get to see a photograph or Eric, ‘Gabby’ and Charles back in ‘happier’ times. I don’t like this idea that Eric knew all along that Charles was trying to manipulate him with his mutant powers, I don’t see it actually happening, but I do see how from Magneto’s perspective that would be how he would look at it.
Iron Fist #14 Snowfire
Okay I’ll be the first to admit I know less than next to nothing about Iron Fist (I’m weird, I love the Marvel Universe, but I hate anything not tied to the X-Men at all) so I have no idea what the heck is going on with 90% of this issue. I only know that Iron Fist and Colleen (whoever she is) are tied to Misty Knight who is currently roommates with Jean and that this battle is the first time we ever see Sabertooth – you can’t count the backup feature in the recent Classics book because while it takes place before this issue it hasn’t actually been written yet. Like I said I only read this because it’s the first appearance of Sabertooth and I figured because he’s such a huge figure in the X-Men mythos that I had to read it, plus if I sat through Logan’s introduction in The Incredible Hulk I could sit through this. It was kind of blah for a story, it might be better if I was invested in it at all, but I don’t think I’ll ever reread it, and I’m not looking forward to the next time this character pops up in the X-Men’s time line (unfortunately it’s going to be the very next issue.)
(The Uncanny)X-Men #101 Like A Phoenix, From the Ashes!: B
Classic X-Men #9 The Gift: A
(The Uncanny)X-Men #102 Who Will Stop The Juggernaut?: B
Classic X-Men #10 Tag, Sucker!: D
(The Uncanny)X-Men #104 The Fall of The Tower: B
Classic X-Men #11 Hope: D
(The Uncanny)X-Men #104 The Gentleman’s Name is Magneto: B
Classic X-Men #12 A Fire in the Night: B
Iron Fist #14 Snowfire: F