Sunday, November 14, 2010

Chronological X-Men - The Phoenix Saga Part 2 Review

The Phoenix Saga!

Marvel Team-Up #53 Nightmare in New Mexico
Marvel Tales #262 Nightmare in New Mexico

This story takes place right after the events of Marvel Team-Up Annual #1, the X-Men and Spiderman are on their way back to New York after dealing with their recent battle only to have find out that The Hulk is fighting Woodgod in The Dead Zone. Charles and Phoenix are too weak to take part in the battle so they head back to the Xavier Institute leaving Banshee to help deliver Spiderman to the battle. It is a little odd that Banshee just drops Spiderman off and then leaves, but I guess that’s good considering it means I don’t have to follow the Hulk plot. Meanwhile the X-Men are shot down by the mysterious Sunstroke of the Desert Dwellers. It’s an all out smash up battle between the X-Men (sans Banshee who is traveling back to them as this is happening, Charles who is still too weak from recent events and Jean who only lasts a few moments before tapping into the power of Phoenix drains her) and at first Sunstroke but he is later joined by Cactus and Butte. Banshee shows up and basically saves the day before Gila the final member of the Desert Dwellers shows up. When all is said and done the X-Men continue to head for home while the Desert Dwellers wait for their master to summon them again.

Iron Fist #15 Enter, The X-Men

Hey it’s a party at a recently dead but not dead girl’s house! The X-Men are now back in town, only recently have landed which is obvious I guess because of the fact that Logan is still wearing Fang’s costume – although this makes no sense when you think about how in Marvel Team-Up he’s back to his regular costume. The X-Men want to celebrate having lived through the recent events out in the middle of the Shi-ar Empire’s homeworld. Of course there’s some misunderstandings when Iron Fist shows up at his friend Misty’s apartment at roughly the same time as Wolverine and each of them think the other is after their respective friends. Soon Kurt and Piotr show up and join the battle. Next to enter the fight is Storm, for quite possibly the most ridiculous reason of all… a plate of potato/egg salad falls on her face. Things are finally worked out and Iron Fist joins Jean’s party just in time to save her from being evicted from her apartment due to all the recent damage. It’s a fun little issue but honestly considering this was the last issue of Iron Fist it was a let down- so many dangling plots and unresolved issues- I can imagine how hard it would have been to swallow for someone who was actually a fan of the book and it’s characters.

The Incredible Hulk and Wolverine #1 At the Sign of the Lion

This is just a standard reprint here of Wolverine’s first appearance. There’s nothing new to cover which is good because I did say that I probably wouldn’t ever re-read this particular story. The new feature is okay for what it is. Logan is itching for some action – I guess the freedom he experienced while battling D’Ken and the Imperial Guard got to him now that he has to show restraint now that he’s back on Earth. It doesn’t take Logan long to find some action because as soon as Hercules shows up at the same bar the two of them get into a huge bar brawl. It was kind of fun to see how ticked off Logan got when Hercules kept taunting him about his height. Eventually the two of them decide that they’re wasting their time and start drinking again. I actually liked this issue, it wasn’t strong enough for it to have been stretched out into a full length storyline, but for what it was it was really good.

Marvel Team-Up #65 Introducing, Captain Britain
Marvel Team-Up #66 Murder World

This is an odd one here because while this is Captain Britain’s first appearance in the ‘American’ Marvel Comics publishing he’s been around in the UK Marvel Comics for a while now. And again while this is his first appearance in the American it’s still not his first appearance in an X-title so I have no idea where or how to categorize this. The same could be said about the ‘Siege Perilous’ which is tied to Captain Britain and later is part of a major X-Men event. It was interesting to see a young and inexperienced version of Brian and I wish that they kept him in this mindset for longer than they did, but there isn’t anything I can do about that. The whole story revolves around Arcade and his assistants Miss Locke and Mr. Chambers being hired to take out Brian Braddock who is believed to be one of fifty people who might be Captain Britain. We see an abridged version of how Brian came into his powers and we actually get the first real appearance of Arcade, Miss Locke and Mr. Chambers on any side of the pond, and since this is the first time we see Arcade this is by default the first time that we see Murderworld which is sort of Arcade’s playground. I liked the issues and I was glad that it was a two-parter. Normally I don’t like crossovers because this early in the game it’s with books that aren’t X-titles so I have no idea what’s going on in the mythology of the other half of the team up but considering this was the first time we see Captain Britain and Arcade it didn’t matter that I didn’t know what was going on in Peter Parker’s life because the whole aspect of the team up involved shaking up the events of their individual lives and starting a new chapter so I didn’t feel like I had been weighed down by some unseen mythology.

(The Uncanny)X-Men #109 Home are the Heroes!
Classic X-Men #16 Dearest Friend

Well it had to happen sooner or later but the X-Men have FINALLY arrived back to the Xavier Institute. The X-Men are all dealing with the recent events in their own way: Scott is brooding, Jean is telling her parents all about what happened on the space station and how she became Phoenix (I’m assuming that she also is telling them that she’s a mutant too, but since there is no dialogue for this particular scene it’s hard to tell, it could be argued that she’s not telling them about that, just that she died and became Phoenix since it is later retconned that Jean’s parents knew she was a mutant when she was a little girl and Charles came to seal off her telepathic abilities.) Kurt, Moira, Sean and Piotr go on a picnic which is soon crashed by Weapon Alpha (later known as Vindicator and Guardian) who has come to reclaim Wolverine/Weapon X. It was a little odd that Logan says that James Hudson was there when Logan left (what later becomes known as ) Weapon X considering that James didn’t appear at all in Giant-Size X-Men #1. The additional pages show more of James before and after he targets Logan, including a scene between himself and Heather (still not her first official X-Men appearance though) and Lilandra exploring the mansion and learning how to use the shower. The back up story shows us a little of Sean in his teen years when he was growing up with his cousin Tom. We see them battle over Maeve Rourke (which get this.. this is actually her first appearance period, she shows up again later in the 90s and once more in X-Men: First Class, but this was published before either of them happen;) while she’s not a ‘major’ character there are important events that surround her; the first being the more fleshed out feud between Sean and Tom.

(The Uncanny)X-Men #110 The X-Sanction

This is just a filler issue so it’s hard to judge it because only one major event (that we’re supposed to know about right now) happens: Jean rejoins the X-Men. The bulk of the issue is devoted to Mitchell Tanner (Warhawk) breaking into the mansion in order to test the X-Men’s abilities and monitor them for his as yet unknown, unseen boss. We get to see Colosso 2.0, mostly as an excuse to get all the X-Men in the Danger Room long enough for Warhawk to trap them in there. We do get to see something now for the first time that later becomes a recurring staple in the X-Men’s lives when they need some time to unwind; we see the first ever X-Men baseball game. Half the time in the future this is used as a fun little outlet and other times it’s used to just get everybody together long enough for something bad to happen. I really don’t know what to say about this issue, it’s kind of forgettable but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad issue. The whole thing just stinks of ‘filler’ and things that will later be explained. This is just a hard issue for me to rate.

Marvel Team-Up #53 Nightmare in New Mexico: C
Marvel Tales #262 Nightmare in New Mexico: C
Iron Fist #15 Enter, The X-Men: B
The Incredible Hulk and Wolverine #1 At the Sign of the Lion: A
Marvel Team-Up #65 Introducing, Captain Britain: A
Marvel Team-Up #66 Murder World: A
(The Uncanny)X-Men #109 Home are the Heroes!: B
Classic X-Men #16 Dearest Friend: B
(The Uncanny)X-Men #110 The X-Sanction: C

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