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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #171

"Rogue
July 1983

In a Nutshell 
Rogue joins the X-Men.

Scripter: Chris Claremont
Guest Penciler: Walt Simonson 
Finisher: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
In the Morlock Tunnels, Storm orders the Morlocks to cease their attacks on people living above ground. A recovering Callisto tells Storm she intends to reclaim her place as leader of the Morlocks, and Storm tells Callisto not to push her luck. In Alaska, Madelyne awakens from a recurring nightmare and tells Scott that years ago she was the sole survivor of a plane crash. Scott realizes the crash occurred on the same day as Jean Grey's death. In Massachusetts, Carol Danvers visits her parents, while in New York, Professor X continues his physical therapy. Sensing someone at the door, he telepathically sends Colossus to greet their guest. Colossus opens the door to find Rogue waiting.


Rogue insists that she's come seeking Professor X's help. Xavier sends the outraged X-Men away as he examines Rogue. To blow off some steam, the X-Men engage in a Danger Room session, but Illyana accidentally calls up a holographic image of Limbo, which causes her to freak out and attack Kitty. Snapping out of it, Illyana explains that seeing Belasco forced her to remember her time in Limbo. Later, Professor X gathers the X-Men and, much to their outrage, announces that he's offered Rogue a place at the school and on the X-Men as a probationary member. Just then, Carol arrives and upon seeing Rogue, punches her through the mansion's roof. Colossus separates the two women, and Professor X chides the X-Men for refusing to help Rogue, saying they have a chance to give her a better life. The X-Men reluctantly agree, but while Carol understands what Xavier is doing, she refuses to accept it, and blasts off into space. That night, Storm wanders the grounds, torn between her desire to leave the team and reclaim her self and her obligations to the team, wondering who she'll ultimately become: Ororo or Storm. 

Firsts and Other Notables
Rogue joins the X-Men as of this issue, kicking off a long run in which she'll be a mainstay in the book for years to come (a couple prolonged absences aside), leading to her becoming a fan favorite and, thanks to her inclusion in both the animated series and the feature films, a well known character outside the comic book-reading audience. She comes to Xavier because sharing her mind with Carol Danver's is driving her insane and because her mutant power has gone out of control, preventing her from touching anyone. We'll eventually see that has been the case since her power first manifested, and though Xavier promises to help her, we'll also see that Rogue spends a very long time unable to control her power.

 
Walt Simonson, husband of editor Louise Jones, fills in as penciller. I'm a big fan of his art, which we saw on display in the Teen Titans crossover and will come to know well during his X-Factor run, but his work here isn't quite as strong, though it may just be suffering in direct comparison to Smith's usual work.

We learn that Maddie was the sole survivor of a plane crash which occurred the same day that Jean Grey died; Claremont intended for this to be yet another coincidence, but "Inferno" will tie this detail into Maddie's "official" origin.


Illyana's Soulsword appears for the first time. It goes unnamed, and we don't learn anything about it other than the fact that it can cut Kitty when she's phased, but it's there. It's also suggested that Illyana has been repressing memories of her time in Limbo, and that she now remembers that time more vividly.  


The cover repeats the "Welcome to the X-Men, hope you survive the experience" dialogue first seen when Kitty joined the team in issue #139.

Not surprisingly, considering I did most of my X-Men back issue hunting during the 90s, this was always a particularly pricey issue at a time when Rogue's popularity was arguably at its highest. I first read the story thanks to the X-Men Classic reprint, and it wasn't until "Rogue-mania" calmed down a bit that I was able to get a hold of the original issue for a price I was comfortable paying.  

A Work in Progress
The issue opens with Storm asserting her authority over the Morlocks and ordering them to stop attacking people on the surface, further reminding us that she could just command the Morlocks to come live at the mansion...


Nightcrawler has noticed the profound changes occurring in Storm.


Carol Danvers visits her parents, but while Professor X has managed to restore many of her memories, she longer has the emotional attachments to those memories she once did.


Professor X is still undergoing physical therapy as he attempts to walk, and I realized that all the scenes of Xavier and Lilandra making out make me uncomfortable, like I'm walking in on my parents kissing...

It's established that Professor X can't read Rogue's mind due to the conflicting thoughts therein.

Storm struggles with the fact that her recent changes are making her a better leader, but that she doesn't like who she is becoming as a result.


It sure looks like Binary punches Rogue into orbit.


I Love the 80s
The date of Maddie's plane crash and Jean's death is given as September 1, 1980, which is when issue #137 went on sale. 

Kitty blames the New Mutants when she misplaces the floppy disks she needs.


"Professor Xavier is a Jerk! The X-Men are Jerks!"
Perhaps in an acknowledgement of how the X-Men treated the Morlocks last issue, Claremont has Professor X (who wasn't able to communicate with the X-Men while they were dealing with the Morlocks) chide the X-Men for refusing to help Rogue, saying they don't get to pick and choose who they help, and using Wolverine as an example of someone they may not have wanted to help but for whom their help has proved beneficial.


Young Love
Scott and Maddie's relationship has progressed to a point where they are now sleeping together (note the shared pajamas, something which flew over my head as a kid). 


Like A Phoenix From the Ashes
Maddie is once again associated with fire.


For Sale
We get a two page ad for our first GI Joe video game.


We also get our first Kool-Aid ad. Oh yeah!


Teebore's Take
Like issue #168, this is another "all subplot/character moment" issue, with Binary punching Rogue into orbit serving as the only bit of traditional superhero action. It isn't as good as issue #168, largely due to the absence of Smith (not that Simonson is awful or anything), but this remains a significant issue in the ongoing X-Men narrative. Of all the plots touched on, the central one is clearly Rogue's arrival and subsequent placement on the team. The impact of Rogue on the book was discussed in part when she first appeared, and this opens the door to her tenure as a long time fan favorite.

Additionally, Claremont furthers the Scott/Maddie relationship, including the introduction of an idea that will retroactively tie-in with the "Inferno" crossover seventy odd issues down the road, and (finally) returns, albeit briefly, to Illyana's ongoing development, introducing her Soulsword and suggesting she now has a greater memory of her time in Limbo, events which will also play a significant role in "Inferno". All of which makes this issue highly significant in retrospect. For now, it remains another sign of how Claremont is growing more and more comfortable with the idea of just hanging out with his characters, and not feeling the need to shoehorn a traditional superhero action/adventure plot into every issue.   

Next Issue
Team America motorcyle-stunts their way through New Mutants #6, followed by a look at Wolverine's first solo miniseries.

21 comments:

  1. PART ONE IN A 2-PART COMMENT

    "Like issue #168, this is another "all subplot/character moment" issue..."

    In a way, this whole run comprising the "From the Ashes" storyline is like that. Some have more action than others, but they're all pretty low-key, one- and two-part adventures. As you noted previously, Claremont is moving away from epic, multi-part story arcs, and this seems to be kind of a transitional period. The title really begins to feel like a soap opera around this time -- which I don't mean as a negative by any means. I've never sought out soaps on my own, but I saw more than my share of "Days of Our Lives" as a child and teen, since my mom watched it religiously, and there is something about that style of storytelling that appeals to me.

    Which, of course, begs the question of just what it is I don't like about the upcoming JR jr. run. I thought it might be the disappearance of the superheroic epics we had seen up to this point, but now I'm not so sure. I guess we'll find out when we get there. Or maybe I'll even change my mind!

    I wonder what fans thought about the arrival of Rogue at the time? Villains reforming and joining super-teams was a Marvel staple going back to Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch, but I'll be curious to see if there are any letters coming up that might let us know how the readership of the time reacted.

    "I first read the story thanks to the X-Men Classic reprint..."

    For me it was in the "From the Ashes" collection. I've never been big on first editions. As long as I can read an issue in some format, It's fine with me. So my X-Men collection consisted of some Marvel Masterworks, several Classic X-Men issues, the "From the Ashes" trade, more X-Men Classic issues, then the main Uncanny series started wherever Classic ended, with trades or other collections of the more expensive stuff mixed in (Gambit's first apperance, the first Jim Lee issues, etc.).

    Nowadays, as I've mentioned before, I'm making an effort to re-buy my whole collection in modern day, nicely colored collected editions (hardcovers whenever available).

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  2. PART TWO IN A 2-PART COMMENT

    "...his work here isn't quite as strong, though it may just be suffering in direct comparison to Smith's usual work."

    I kind of wonder if it's because he's trying to emulate Smith. This doesn't exactly look like typical Simonson to me. Maybe it's just Wiacek, though; it's hard to tell.

    "We learn that Maddie was the sole survivor of a plane crash which occurred the same day that Jean Grey died..."

    This is the coincidence that breaks the camel's back, for me. Others have commented in recent weeks about the absurdity of Cyclops meeting and falling in love with a Jean Grey lookalike, but in the soap operatic world of comics, I can accept that. But tying a traumatic incident into Madelyne's past on the exact same day Jean had died is just too much. There had to be a payoff for that, whether Claremont liked it or not, and eventually, though not by his choice, there was.

    "The issue opens with Storm asserting her authority over the Morlocks..."

    Holy cow, that looks like even more Morlocks than Paul Smith drew! They can't all be mutants, can they? I like to imagine that some of them are just deformed or outcast humans. It's easier on my brain that way.

    "The date of Maddie's plane crash and Jean's death is given as September 1, 1980, which is when issue #137 went on sale."

    It's a nice touch, but it also messes with "Marvel Time" since there's no way three years had passed for the X-Men in this timeframe! Kitty was 13 1/2 when we met her, and she just turned 14 recently (though that chronology doesn't really work either... narration aside, the way I have it worked out, Kitty had to have been 13 exactly when she first appeared).

    Not to re-tread ground we've covered before, but I just have to say that Claremont's inclination to use real ages and dates doesn't work because he kind of half-asses it. He needed to either commit, all in, and keep careful track of these things, or just forget about it and let everything be timeless, as in most other Marvel comics. Even if he'd just worked out a formula, something like every four years of publication equals one year for the X-Men, it could've worked.

    "(note the shared pajamas, something which flew over my head as a kid)"

    Me too! I only caught that just a few years ago when flipping through "From the Ashes".

    "We get a two page ad for our first GI Joe video game."

    I never played it, but I love the artwork in that ad. G.I. Joe is another favorite of mine, as I'm sure I've mentioned before. I wish someone would do an "X-Aminations"-style series for Hama's original run.

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  3. @Matt: Some have more action than others, but they're all pretty low-key, one- and two-part adventures.

    Thinking about this issue, I actually noticed a pretty distinct pattern to the portion of the Claremont/Smith run collected in "From the Ashes": it's comprised of three sets of a standalone "subplot/development" issue followed by a two parter (#168 followed by the Morlock story, #171 followed by the Japan story, #174 with the double-sized #175 serving as the final "two-parter"). Not sure if that was intentional or, if so, why, but I thought it was kind of neat.

    I saw more than my share of "Days of Our Lives" as a child and teen, since my mom watched it religiously

    For my mom, it was General Hospital, so that was the soap I watched as a kid, but I definitely agree there's something about that storytelling style that appeals/influences me.

    I wonder what fans thought about the arrival of Rogue at the time?

    Good question. On the one hand, I feel like she had a pretty low profile as a villain (her few appearances here and in Dazzler comprising most of her page time as a villain), but on the other hand she was almost always presented as a pretty unrepentant villain, whereas Hawkeye, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch all had an air of reluctance about them, even by Silver Age standards.

    As long as I can read an issue in some format, It's fine with me.

    For the most part, I've adopted that attitude (for example, I no longer feel compelled to own single issues and a trade collection of those issues, with a few exceptions), though I do still have the goal of acquiring a complete run of original issues of Uncanny and Avengers.

    There had to be a payoff for that, whether Claremont liked it or not

    Yeah, that reads too much like a plot point and not enough like a vague hint to not expect a pay off at some point. He definitely crosses the line from "tease" to "all right, this has to lead to something".

    I like to imagine that some of them are just deformed or outcast humans. It's easier on my brain that way.

    Similarly, I just chalk it up to artistic license and just pretend not all those Morlocks are there :)

    It's a nice touch, but it also messes with "Marvel Time" since there's no way three years had passed for the X-Men in this timeframe!

    Exactly. All the more reason to ignore that plot point entirely. :)

    I wish someone would do an "X-Aminations"-style series for Hama's original run.

    Don't think I haven't thought about it...

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  4. @Matt: "This is the coincidence that breaks the camel's back, for me...tying a traumatic incident into Madelyne's past on the exact same day Jean had died is just too much. There had to be a payoff for that, whether Claremont liked it or not..."

    Damn...you stole my comment. I will add this though. I think it should have turned out that Maddie was just a figment of Scott’s imagination. He met her while away from everyone else and none of the X-Men have interacted with her. I think it could work. Upon realizing he's gone off the deep end it would enable Scott to give Jean a proper good bye...if only for himself. But I'm sure the whole thing would be retconned to be the work of Mastermind or Mr. Sinister or something.

    Anyway...I think Professor X chastising the X-Men for not accepting Rogue is a bit of a jerk move. She did steal Carol's powers and memories. How accepting of her would should they be to start?

    "The issue opens with Storm asserting her authority over the Morlocks and ordering them to stop attacking people on the surface, further reminding us that she could just command the Morlocks to come live at the mansion..."

    To me the solution was to have most of the Morlocks go to the mansion. You could have some decide of their own free will to stay underground. And just because the Morlocks are in the mansion doesn't mean they have to be featured in the book.

    I wonder if Claremont had a hard time wrapping his head around the idea of characters being literal X-Men in the Marvel Universe but not being a main character in the comic or even thought of as X-Men in the minds of the readers. Maybe I'm overthinking things.

    "To blow off some steam, the X-Men engage in a Danger Room session, but Illyana accidentally calls up a holographic image of Limbo, which causes her to freak out and attack Kitty."

    A Danger Room session goes awry? I'm shocked, SHOCKED I say!

    What would we get if the Danger Room and Holodeck mated and had offspring? (I know...I know...Skynet.)

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  5. @Dr. Bitz: I think it could work.

    It could, though the X-Men will meet Maddie shortly. Of course, it could just ALL be blamed on Mastermind or whatever, which is why it could still work.

    I think Professor X chastising the X-Men for not accepting Rogue is a bit of a jerk move.

    "Accepting" is maybe the wrong word. He chastises them for refusing to help Rogue. He never says they need to be friends or anything.

    To me the solution was to have most of the Morlocks go to the mansion. You could have some decide of their own free will to stay underground.

    Yeah, that would have at least made the X-Men not look like complete dicks.


    A Danger Room session goes awry? I'm shocked, SHOCKED I say!


    Frankly, I think Professor X programs it that way on purpose.

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  6. @Teebore: Yeah, obviously once they come back from Alaska and meet the rest of the X-Men it wouldn't work.

    I'm just saying if this was the storyline:

    Scott goes up to Alaska and gets away from everything. He meets a woman who looks like Jean (and has all sorts of Jean coincidences associated with her). They grow closer and fall in love. He finds out she actually isn't real but a figment of his imagination born from the repressed emotions and guilt about what happened to Jean. Scott sorts it all out, maybe he gives the imaginary Jean clone a fond goodbye, and moves on. He leaves Alaska and hopefully closes this chapter of his life.

    I think that story could work.

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  7. @Dr. Bitz:I think that story could work.

    The only problem is the lack of angst. ;)

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  8. @Teebore: Oh...there would be angst. I just left that out since I figured it's assumed to be in any story that contains Cyclops in it.

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  9. @Dr. Bitz: I just left that out since I figured it's assumed to be in any story that contains Cyclops in it.

    Touche.

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  10. The introduction of Rogue to the team, which would lead to the Claremontism most closely associated in my mind with why I stopped reading X books. Soon, if not already in this issue, Rogue will think to herself at least once per issue, "Ah cain't touch anyone, or else mah powers that ah cain't control will steal their powers/minds/lives." I would hit that thought balloon and every time I'd wish someone would whip up a "Naked Gun"-style full body condom so Rogue could finally get "touched" if y'all know what ah mean.

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  11. @Anonymous:The introduction of Rogue to the team, which would lead to the Claremontism most closely associated in my mind with why I stopped reading X books.

    Yeah, Rogue definitely contributes more than her fair share of Claremontisms, what with the phonetic accent and powers-based exposition, though I don't think it gets really bad until later in his run, and then especially after he leaves the book and everyone that follows just tries to duplicate what Claremont did with little of the charm when it comes to stuff like that.

    (Looking ahead, the most irritating character, Claremontisms-wise, for me, is Gambit, who is pretty much just a walking, talking Claremontism (though in Claremont's defense, he kind of intentionally created him to be that)).

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  12. I'm not gonna get to read or post comments tonight, but, to paraphrase the immortal Gloria Gaynor, I will subscribe.

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  13. @Anonymous
    The introduction of Rogue to the team, which would lead to the Claremontism most closely associated in my mind with why I stopped reading X books


    I still don't think it's as bad as Psylocke's "...using my psychic knife, the sum total of my telekinesis!" garbage. Did Lobdell keep that going? I don't remember. It was awful, though.

    Rogue's early southern belle thing was a bit silly, but I'll admit, some of her lines would make me chuckle from time to time. She became a good character to pair with Wolverine and was mostly tolerable until she started her "But Remy, AH CAIN'T!" crap. As bad as Cannonball ever was.

    @Teebore
    (Looking ahead, the most irritating character, Claremontisms-wise, for me, is Gambit, who is pretty much just a walking, talking Claremontism (though in Claremont's defense, he kind of intentionally created him to be that)).


    Actually, I think Gambit's first year or so was pretty damn solid. I look at him and Bishop (whom I've already talked about) as being two of the biggest missed opportunities in modern X-Men history. They could have gone ANYWHERE with those two guys and instead let them fester in dull, complacent roles for over a decade. Gambit's early accent was pretty minimal if I remember, a "dis" here and a "dat" there, maybe some random French to go along with it. But he didn't talk much and I thought he was a genuinely fascinating character. Probably because it seemed glaringly obvious that he was a bad guy (and this was long before Bishop came along and said as much). When he wasn't a bad guy, well, yeah, then he didn't do much of anything besides hit on Rogue and give us really boring Thieves Guild stories. The animated series is the only reason he's still around today, I promise.

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  14. I'm a big fan of his art, which we saw on display in the Teen Titans crossover and will come to know well during his X-Factor run, but his work here isn't quite as strong, though it may just be suffering in direct comparison to Smith's usual work.

    While I admire Simonson as a veteran of the industry, a great storyteller, and a nice guy, I have to admit that I find his figures awkward almost as often as I find them enjoyable. I not only frequently could apply both terms to different figures in the same piece, the cover to #171 being a prime example, I can sometimes apply them to the same figure. And by this point Simonson had a tendency (an inconsistent one) to give his women very thick thighs — like, wider than their heads — something noticeable in our earlier reread of X-Men / Titans as well, and jarring given the comparatively lithe proportions of their torsos. I definitely enjoyed his work on Thor and later Orion more for his signature style than despite it, but overall I preferred his earlier work on Manhunter and the classic Batman tale "The Cape & Cowl Deathtrap" in Detective Comics.

    We learn that Maddie was the sole survivor of a plane crash which occurred the same day that Jean Grey died

    Claremont should've just written her saying "September 1st of last year" or somesuch. I know it might've been narratively iffy to not mention the exact date, but we do get Scott's explicit thought bubble making the connection, and it's a little weird that they're sticking to that much time having passed since Jean died — as I see Matt's also pointed out, reading the comments since I wrote this — even though Kitty's only gone from 13½ to 14.

    The issue opens with Storm asserting her authority over the Morlocks and ordering them to stop attacking people on the surface

    And it's almost as if this takes place right after the previous issue. Only Storm and Nightcrawler are in the tunnels, with the rest of the X-Men apparently back at the mansion, yet there really can't have been much time elapsed since #170 for practical reasons, because you don't wait too long to tell a shadow society of superpowered misanthropes "Stop attacking people!" — but none of what follows feels practical, anyway. "Wanna come with? No? Really? As you were, then, but no preying on humans — further instructions when I remember to care about you. Mmmkay toodles!"

    The date of Maddie's plane crash and Jean's death is given as September 1, 1980, which is when issue #137 went on sale.

    September was the issue's cover date, actually; the on-sale date was, per Mike's Amazing World, June 17th, 1980. I knew that September couldn't be right because I distinctly recall picking up #137 off the spinner rack at Bar-Val in Wildwood, NJ, but by then we'd moved to Philadelphia and mostly only spent summers back in Wildwood at my grandparents'.

    note the shared pajamas, something which flew over my head as a kid

    I didn't see it this way in context rereading the issue, but in that panel as excerpted in your post it looks like Maddie, in clownishly large pants, is sitting in a naked Scott's lap, his skinny legs daintily crossed.

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  15. "Rogue" thoughts...

    And we thought there were a lot of Morlocks before. Look at those crowd scenes! (I see that Matt agrees.)

    I've never loved this cover, but seeing it now I like it more than I remember. Mostly what I'm down on is the white background, although Colossus is too galumphing for my taste; he's not a Thing- or Hulk-like brute. I like Storm; I really like Rogue and the arc of Storm's lightning bolt, which both have a Ditko look to me — and what surprises me is that in my mind's eye Rogue looks terrible. One weird bit, though: Rogue's left hand looks like a right hand.

    First I thought that Storm had that purple vest, I guess Callisto's, on instead of her cape; then it seems like she has it on with her cape, which looks even stranger. Then it's gone again. Then it's over one shoulder.

    Peter: "He addressed me as Colossus. That indicates an element of danger." [next panel] "I had best shift into my armored form."

    "It is a shame that, being a telepath, the Professor did not see fit to equip the front door of his mansion with a peephole."

    Kitty wants to hit something, and so the team heads to the Danger Room — where Kitty remains in the control booth with Illyana.

    I mostly like that page of Storm (viewable here) in her attic residence a lot. The overall composition is nice, only problem being that the perfect stacking of the vertical panels on the left-hand side and their corresponding horizontal panels divides the page "wrong" in terms of the gutters intersecting too cleanly — one of the two tiers should either have its single-vertical / double-horizontal layout switched or at least have a vertical panel of different width than the one above/below it. All the other choices are really good, though ("Gee, Brian," says Walt Simonson, "Thanks for approving!"); the shots are nicely divided in distance, the raincloud looks cool, the silhouette is great, and in addition to just being a neat composition choice the close-up of Storm's face through the plant leaves is a lovely piece or drawing, albeit one that's rather out of place in the issue, looking in fact to me oddly like the later work of Chris Sprouse, as does Rogue on the cover.

    I appreciate that Storm is supposed to be overreacting a bit to Xavier as part of her whole subplot, but her point is sound. Taking in Rogue as a student is one thing; given her past, however, and perhaps even more to the point her current state of crisis, it doesn't make sense to have her on the X-Men strike team even as a "probationary" member.

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  16. @Matt: I wonder what fans thought about the arrival of Rogue at the time

    Speaking for myself, I remember sort-of going, "Who?" I didn't see Avengers Annual #10 'til way later, and I think in this period I was still putting together back issues from the second Cockrum run, having sort-of dropped out in that time combined with just not being able to get new issues regularly until Paul Smith's arrival made me take notice, so I might not even have seen her previous X-Men appearance in that Pentagon story.

    Although to be honest I remember getting this very issue as a (fairly recent) back issue too, although I know that starting next issue I got the series every month until I quit with #200. I wasn't unfamiliar with Rogue when I read this issue, then, just with how she joined the team, but I was unfamiliar with her come #172. The lack of Wolverine and Paul Smith were both disappointing when I did read #171; it felt a bit like a throwback to the post-Byrne fill-in issues, despite actually being a major plot push.

    Now that I think about it, being more of a DC guy in general, I suspect that in addition to the lovely art what got me to really commit to X-Men was realizing that it was the Marvel equivalent of New Teen Titans; I realize that that sounds kind-of ass backwards, and I had picked up a fair amount of issues from #98 through #138 off the racks, but Marvels were just dark enough, too-continued enough, and generally unfamiliar enough (a vicious circle, of course) to woo me away from DC until the 1980s, when I started to appreciate them for exactly those reasons. I hit adolescence just as superhero comics had another growth spurt into at least what passed for maturity in the genre at the time, Miller and Moore taking the baton from O'Neil & Adams in a way, and the independents were on the rise too.

    @Dr.Bitz: I think it should have turned out that Maddie was just a figment of Scott’s imagination. He met her while away from everyone else and none of the X-Men have interacted with her. I think it could work. Upon realizing he's gone off the deep end it would enable Scott to give Jean a proper good bye...if only for himself.

    That actually would've been great. Of course it doesn't work once she meets the X-Men (well, Claremont or even someone later could've made her a psychic manifestation in true X-Men style), but I like what you wrote up in a later comment. Maybe Jean could've even had a hand in this, implanting the whole scenario in Scott's mind the moment she died to help him deal with his grief when he was ready to let go, which itself only works until Jean's brought back.

    VW: cobside — Standing by an ear of corn.

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  17. thanks to her inclusion in both the animated series and the feature films, a well known character outside the comic book-reading audience.

    On this rainy Saturday here in Vermont, my son was watching the first few episodes of the animated "Wolverine and the X-Men", which I have never seen.

    I commented to my wife that I thought it was interesting that they kept the Rogue/Wolverine dynamic from the movies and not the Kitty/Wolverine relationship (I will admit I said "from the way it really was" for which my son gave me LOTS of grief)...she had no idea what I was talking about...she only "knows" the movie version...

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  18. @Dan: She became a good character to pair with Wolverine and was mostly tolerable until she started her "But Remy, AH CAIN'T!" crap.

    Yeah, once the whole "forbidden romance" with Gambit started, I lost a lot of interest in the character. Though almost all of that comes post-Claremont.

    Actually, I think Gambit's first year or so was pretty damn solid.

    Like Rogue, most of his excesses which bug me came post-Claremont as well, but there was a bit more of it than there was with Rogue (in part because he was with the team more than Rogue was prior to Claremont's departure). But most of my problems with Gambit come from the fact that for awhile there, EVERYONE loved him (helped in part by the animated series) and thought he was the KEWLEST THING EVAH. And while I liked the power and the air of mystery, I never loved the character to that extent, and always felt like he was a poor man's Wolverine. And then the intense fan love just got me liking him less and less.

    @Blam: Claremont should've just written her saying "September 1st of last year" or somesuch.

    Yeah, that would have been the easy way to sidestep the "real time" issue.

    because you don't wait too long to tell a shadow society of superpowered misanthropes "Stop attacking people!"

    Yeah, I figure the X-Men left to get Kitty back to the mansion, then Storm and Nightcrawler went back so Storm could issue her ultimatum. Then again, Kitty shows no signs of her illness in this issue, so maybe more time has passed, and Storm really did wait that long to order the Morlocks to cease their attacks, which would still not be the most irresponsible thing she did in her tenure as Morlocks leader.

    September was the issue's cover date, actually; the on-sale date was, per Mike's Amazing World, June 17th, 1980.

    Yeah, I meant cover date. I seem to just slip in "on sale" without thinking...

    "It is a shame that, being a telepath, the Professor did not see fit to equip the front door of his mansion with a peephole."

    "It's also a shame that, being a telepath, he couldn't just explicitly tell me who to expect, instead of leaving me to make assumptions based on how he addressed me."

    Kitty wants to hit something, and so the team heads to the Danger Room — where Kitty remains in the control booth with Illyana.it doesn't make sense to have her on the X-Men strike team even as a "probationary" member.

    Yeah, I can see accepting her at the school, agreeing to help her etc. But sticking her on the team right away only makes sense when you take the conventions of the genre into account (no one wants to see Rogue studying and not hitting super-villains).

    @Mock: she had no idea what I was talking about...she only "knows" the movie version...

    Which is both a little sad and really awesome - at least some versions of these stories are known to a wider audience!

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  19. Teebore -- "But sticking her on the team right away only makes sense when you take the conventions of the genre into account..."

    And even then it's a little iffy, given how long writers were known to draw out subplots around this time. Claremont could've easily brought Rogue to the X-Men in this issue with a plan to have her as a supporting cast member for maybe a year or so before moving her onto the team.

    I was about to say that it's kind of strange that he didn't, but it occurred to me that he pretty much always did it this way. For all the long-brewing subplots he's known for, introducing someone with the intention to eventually put them on the team has never really been something he's done. Looking ahead -- Psylocke, Longshot, Dazzler, and Havok all pretty much join in the very issue where they first show up. Rachel is about the only one who has some "set-up" appearances first, and even then, there aren't many of them.

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  20. I was about to say that it's kind of strange that he didn't, but it occurred to me that he pretty much always did it this way

    Good point. Rachel gets a fair number of issues before she joins the team (even if she's hanging out with them and doing stuff), and Psylocke gets a couple annuals before she officially joins, I suppose, but for the most part, Claremont doesn't seem too interested in easing someone new onto the team. Heck, while there's a fair number of issues between her first appearance and joining the team, Claremont does the same thing with Kitty; her second appearance after her first has her joining the team.

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  21. That is absolutely fantastic panel where massive Colossus opens the door and tiny Rogue almost disappears in the foreground, giving the reader the feel like he/she was there him-/herself looking help for problems that ensued from sucking Carol Danvers. It really sets up that Rogue here is the one you're expected to be rooting for.

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