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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #225

"False Dawn!"
January 1988

In a Nutshell 
The X-Men battle Freedom Force in Dallas. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Marc Silvestri
Inker: Dan Green
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Edinburgh, a recovering Colossus sketches the X-Men, to the amusement of a group of local kids, though a fight quickly breaks out amongst the children regarding whether or not mutants are dangerous. As they run off, Colossus is approached by a mysterious woman who offers to read his palm in exchange for a sketch. When he looks up from his sketch pad, the woman is gone, in her place of a small statute of himself, and when he looks at his drawing, it's of another woman entirely. Elsewhere, the Adversary, still in the form of Naze, arrives in Roma's otherdimensional citadel, where he's imprisoned Roma, the guardian of the Omniverse and the woman whom appeared on Colossus' drawing. With Storm and Forge removed from the board, the Adversary gloats that chaos will finally reign in the universe, though Roma thinks to herself that the game isn't over, and that players exist of whom the Adversary is unaware.


Back in Scotland, Colossus calls the X-Men, motivated by his encounter with Roma to rejoin them. He reaches his sister, and Illyana teleports to Scotland, agreeing to send Colossus to wherever the X-Men are. In Dallas, the X-Men arrive outside Forge's derelict skyscraper. Tracking Storm's scent inside, Wolverine is cut down by Forge's automated defenses, and must be dragged out of the building, where the X-Men find Freedom Force waiting for them. Mystique declares they are going to take the X-Men into custody. A fight breaks out between the two teams, at which point Colossus is dropped into the battle by Illyana. Both Psylocke and Dazzler are knocked out, but the X-Men capture Mystique and flee inside the building to regroup. Just then, a hole appears in the night sky through which sunlight pours, and Destiny cries out that it has begun: the end of the X-Men, and possibly the world.   

Firsts and Other Notables
"Fall of the Mutants" begins this issue, the second linewide X-Men crossover. Following the commercial success of the prototypical "Mutant Massacre", Claremont and Simonson were essentially ordered to do it again, and "Fall of the Mutants" is the result, complete with tie-ins in non-X-books, though the idea of the linewide crossover as we know it is still evolving at this point, as we're not yet at the point where a single narrative is shared across the various titles. Also as was discussed in the posts on issues #200 and #211, and outlined here, "Fall of the Mutants" is another storyline affected by Claremont's inability to use the Alan Moore-created characters from Moore's Captain Britain stories, with the Adversary essentially subbing in for Jim Jaspers and the Fury. 

This issue features the return of Colossus, the first of the Massacre-injured characters to rejoin the team (reportedly, Claremont intended for him to be in Excalibur alongside Nightcrawler, Rachel and Kitty, but realized he was somewhat redundant alongside the super-strong Captain Britain, so he brought him back to X-Men). Colossus' return completes the casting of the "Outback Era" team, as this group of characters will be featured from this point forward until Claremont blows up that status quo in the 250s.

As a result of his injuries, Colossus' default state is now metal, and he is only able to turn back to flesh with tremendous concentration, a status quo that will remain in place until after the character emerges from the Siege Perilous in issue #259.


Roma, daughter of Merlin and current guardian of the Omniverse, appears in this issue, as both a strange woman who meets with Colossus and a prisoner of the Adversary. She was created by Claremont as part of Captain Britain's original UK series and was a fairly integral part of that character's backstory/mythology (she's responsible for giving Captain Britain his powers). She'll remain a player in this storyline (and her interaction with Colossus here will be a plot point later), and Claremont will continue to use her, occasionally in X-Men but more often in Excalibur, moving forward. I believe this is her first appearance in an American comic, but I could be wrong.  


I should have noted this in Incredible Hulk #340, but the X-Men's Blackbird jet pretty much disappears for awhile at this point. They fly it to Dallas, as seen in Incredible Hulk #340, but after "Fall of the Mutants" and their relocation to the Australian outback, the mutant Gateway provides their means of transportation, and the jet won't appear again until after the reorganization of the line in 1991. So presumably, from this point forward, the Blackbird is just hanging out somewhere in Dallas. 

This is Tom Orzechowski's 100th issue lettering the series (and his 61st consecutive issue, stretching back to issue #165), something of a milestone whose acknowledgement is sneaked into the background of a panel by inker Dan Green.


The Chronology Corner
Illyana appears in this issue, between pages of New Mutants #58 (just prior to teleporting the team to Bird-Brain's island).


A Work in Progress
Colossus sketches, and the narration references, Havok battling Juggernaut in issue #218, though he was not present for that story, rejoining the X-Men in issue #219. 

As in Incredible Hulk #340, it is snowing in Dallas, and Rogue points out it was doing the same thing the last time the X-Men were there, in issue #187-188.


Spiral seems familiar to Longshot, something which freaks her out.


Crimson Commando is apparently capable of mentally existing without being perceived.


I Love the 80s
The Scottish kids talking to Colossus say he's not American because he sounds like neither JR Ewing or Max Headroom. Voting for Thatcher is also considered an insult.


Colossus tries to call the X-Men from a pay phone in a phone booth.

Artistic AchievementsThere's a great sequence of panels showing Blob falling from on high to land atop the crippled Wolverine.


Later, in a genuinely hilarious moment, Blob is motivated to move when Wolverine is finally able to pop his claws into his butt.


The Best There is at What He Does
In another neat detail, Longshot is unable to carry Wolverine, as Longshot's hollow bones can't take the strain of Wolverine's metal ones. Also, Wolverine will spend the rest of this issue and parts of the next unable to move as a result of these injuries, as his healing factor takes time to get him back to normal; for whatever reason, this is the moment I always think of whenever I'm reminded of how ridiculously overpowered Wolverine's healing factor becomes in later years.   


Human/Mutant Relations
The Scottish children have heard of X-Factor, and claim they are the real heroes. 


Mutants. Deeds. Etc. 
Claremont arguably cribs Simonson's "know mutants by their deeds" idea when he has Colossus fly into a rage when he can't work a phone, destroying the booth, then wonder if that's perhaps why mutants are so feared and hated.


For Sale
"Pele is king of the soccer field. To be king of your kitchen, use Crestfield wax paper.".


There's also a double page ad for Konami Nintendo games in this issue.


Teebore's Take
And with that, "Fall of the Mutants" officially begins. If "Mutant Massacre" was the first linewide crossover that, while prototypical, laid the foundation for future crossovers, "Fall of the Mutants" is the next step in that evolution, though it still remains, in form and structure, very different from the crossovers of the future. "Crossover", in fact, is something of a misnomer, as the three X-titles don't actually directly cross over with one another, but rather each tell their own three-part story with "The Fall of the Mutants" slapped on the cover (that cover branding representing a marketing improvement on the label-less "Mutant Massacre").

This follows on from "Mutant Massacre", though at least that story had a central event (the massacre of the Morlock) to unite the books, even if the characters didn't interact directly with one another. With "FoM", the inter-title connection is more thematic (bad things happening to mutants), with literal crossovers restrained to minor elements (like the X-Men showing up on TV, watched by X-Factor). It's a bit of a copout when the word "crossover" is tossed around, especially to modern audiences more familiar than they'd like to be with the mechanics of these things, but in the context of the time, it's an interesting exercise in the evolution of the still-novel linewide crossover.

As for this issue, the first part of Uncanny X-Men's contributions to "Fall of the Mutants" and the beginning of the payoff to long-simmering Adversary story, things start off relatively quiet. The book is divided in half, nearly evenly, with the first half doing the business of reintegrating Colossus into the book, establishing his new status quo and mindset in the wake of the last crossover, while the second half shows the X-Men in Dallas and drops them into a pretty well-executed battle with the newly beefed up and legally-empowered Freedom Force, as the Adversary, thinking he's won, looms in the background.

The structure is a further indication of the still-prototypical nature of the crossover, as it devotes its first dozen pages to, essentially, a character study while spending the rest of its pages on a fight with villains who aren't even the main adversary (pun intended) of the storyline. It's an indication that Claremont is fitting the crossover, such as it is, to his narrative, and not vice-versa, an approach that, despite the lack of traditional crossover formality, should nonetheless be appreciated.

Next Issue
Tomorrow, the New Mutants "battle" the Animator in New Mutants #59, and Friday, X-Factor battles Death in X-Factor #24. Next week, all hell breaks loose in Dallas, in Uncanny X-Men #226.

36 comments:

  1. Oh look, a phone booth in shards.

    Before Jason gets here to complain about it, the J.R. Ewing thing is completely allowed here too. Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman did an awesome book, Good Omens, in 1990ish and there too an evil nun positioned in rural England had hard time believing that the intended-adopted-father-of-the-antichrist Mr. Young was American because he was, quote, nothing like J.R. Ewing or Blake Carrington.

    Well he wasn't either and there was an unfortunate mix-up with things, but the important bit is that back in the late 80s/early 90s we Euros had a pretty sound picture of what an American gentleman should be like. They come in a room, walk straight to the side table and pour themselves a whiskey and then say nasty things to people.

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  2. @Teemu: Oh look, a phone booth in shards.

    I thought of you when I saw it!

    Before Jason gets here to complain about it, the J.R. Ewing thing is completely allowed here too.

    Yeah, I didn't have a problem with it here.

    And Good Omens is an awesome book.

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  3. "Yuir Dad voted for Thatcher!"

    I'd assume it's intentional with Claremont being British, but that'd definitely be an insult in Scotland. The Conservatives have traditionally struggled in Scotland, and that dramatically worsened under Thatcher. Indeed, it's an issue considering the current debate about Scottish independence - it's been suggested that the Conservatives are quite keen for Scotland to gain independence since they'd lose the least votes of all the major parties.

    From what I gather (it's a little before my time, but my sister was a big fan) Max Headroom was a bigger hit over here than it was in America.

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  4. "Before Jason gets here to complain about it, the J.R. Ewing thing is completely allowed here too."

    I was on your side, dude. I was defending the Dallas references.

    On Roma: Oddly enough, I don't think Claremont uses her at all in Excalibur. Certainly not as much as in Uncanny. It's when Alan Davis comes on as writer with issue 42 that Roma comes back. (At least, that's my recollection.)

    Also of note: Though she first appeared in the Claremont-penned first appearance of Captain Britain, I don't think Claremont named her. She was just a floating figure in the sky alongside Merlin (who possibly also isn't named by Claremont initially). It's a later writer of the Cap strips who brings those guys back and names them as Merlin and Roma.

    Just a bit of trivia. :)

    "So presumably, from this point forward, the Blackbird is just hanging out somewhere in Dallas. "

    **** Meanwhile, the Blackbird DOES feature in Claremont's Excalibur. After its final appearance around this time ( I never noticed that its final appearance was in the Hulk issue -- crazy!) ... the next time we see it is in Excalibur 8 or 9, when Nightcrawler shanghai's it for Excalibur's use. That's why when Xavier steals it in Uncanny 278, he's stealing it from a hangar in the UK.

    (Although actually it's kind of a meaningless status-quo change ... right after Excalibur acquires the plane, they get stuck in the cross-time caper, so they never use the jet again, from what I recall, before Claremont has Xavier steal it back.)

    In a fun touch, Nightcrawler steals the Blackbird from the "Lockheed Aircraft Corporation," a real-life organization who -- presumably -- found it abandoned in Dallas at some point in the interim between that issue and this one.

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  5. Here we go! The Uncanny issues of Fall of the Mutants are in my top ten X-Men stories of all time (maybe top five). It's funny that reading the issue this week, I noticed the same thing you did about the first half of the issue being a quiet character study of Colossus. I never really noticed that before this reading because I always think "EPIC" when I think of these issues. Of course, the fight with Freedom Force picks up the pace considerably and just has so many cool moments. (Wolverine vs. the Blob being the highlight).

    Roma is a really neat, otherworldly character, even if it does seem odd to just drop her into the X-Men mythos with no real explanation to American readers of who she is. And I'm always a sucker for the "characters are pieces on a chessboard" trope. I think Claremont was smart to try to bring in the Captain Britain stuff to try to introduce it to America, because a lot of it is great and reprints just weren't as available back then.

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  6. Not my favorite. It reminds me of the cover of # 208, but I liked that one much, much better.

    "Fall of the Mutants" is another storyline affected by Claremont's inability to use the Alan Moore-created characters from Moore's Captain Britain stories, with the Adversary essentially subbing in for Jim Jaspers and the Fury."

    I wonder what CC's original plans for the Adversary would have been...

    "Colossus' default state is now metal, and he is only able to turn back to flesh with tremendous concentration"

    I wonder why CC introduced this, since he doesn't really do anything with it. I mean, he at least brings up the post Mutant Massacre changes to Nightcrawler and Kitty, but with Colossus, it never really becomes a plot point or anything. Maybe Silvestri just preferred drawing Peter in his armored form, and CC adapted?

    "Spiral seems familiar to Longshot, something which freaks her out."

    And something CC would never get around to explaining why, either.

    "Crimson Commando is apparently capable of mentally existing without being perceived."

    Rather convenient FF have a guy like this on their team while the X-men have a telepath, no? ;)

    Speaking of FF, I do believe this is the last time the X-men fight them, and also the last time we see their full current membership roster here in Uncanny.

    "Later, in a genuinely hilarious moment, Blob is motivated to move when Wolverine is finally able to pop his claws into his butt."

    And is Colossus about to spout a Claremontism in the next panel as well? ;)

    Yeah, this really isn't much of a crossover in the traditional sense. It's more "Big status quo changing events happen to all 3 mutant teams at the same time!!!"

    And this is a good start to the X-men's contribution to the "crossover". Claremont does tie up much of his recent threads rather nicely during these 3 issues...the Adversary subplot, Storm's character arc, the shift in FF from villains to government agents, the X-men going from heroes to outlaws (and back to heroes again by the end), the rise in mutant hatred, Storm's Plan Omega...it all culminates rather nicely in these 3 issues.

    The only sore point is Roma being plopped in here without any explanation. If you had the Captain Britan series, it may have been cool to see here, but as a kid, I was so confused as to the heck this woman with pointy ears who seemed to be dressed in a bedsheet was. Maybe if CC had shown her prior to this, in the place of some of the redundant stuff with Storm and Naze/Adverdary, it would have been less jarring. But, a minor quibble, it doesn't really ruin the overall impact of the story.

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  7. Whoops! Meant to say, not my favorite cover in my first sentence...

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  8. @Jason: I was on your side, dude. I was defending the Dallas references.

    I was afraid you were going to change sides after ominously mentioning having to wait for #225 if there is an out-of-blue J.R. reference, and decided to pull out your fang beforehand. ;)

    As for the story itself, there should be no reason why I wouldn't just insanely love about picking up years old storyline and ramping up the speed to take it to the finale, with Freedom Force around, but I have always found myself left a bit cold by it. Looking at it now it really is an awesome piece.

    It may be partly because Silvestri and I didn't fully click, partly because Fall of the Mutants hype was missing from the local publishing and to me it was just a story among others and mostly because of the two-year publicational hiatus right before it. I really feel robbed now, because it might have been totally different had the store come to me in a neverending chain of stories like the X-Men should be.

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  9. I'll be honest with you - how Wolverine dispatches the Blob in this fight is my single favorite Wolverine moment. It even beats out the recent "stabbing a zombie clown in the face with his claws sticking through a cream pie" of recent years.

    And something CC would never get around to explaining why, either.

    I think CC read the Longshot miniseries, was as confused about it as I was, and could tell there was some relationship between Longshot & Spiral but couldn't figure out what because that series made no sense. So it was vague hint time. (And as much as people rag on Louise Simonson, I can find works to like by her. I have yet to do that with Ann Nocenti, whose work is baffling at best.)

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  10. Not even the first part of her Daredevil run? That was some really good stuff.

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  11. About Longshot/Spiral, who was it that revealed Spiral to be the future version of Ricochet Rita distorted and tortured by Mojo if not CC? There's that one dream sequence scene by CC where the ladies of Longshot (Dazzler/Rogue/Rita) fuse together to form six-armed Spiral, isn't that a heavy hint at least?

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  12. I believe it was Fabian Nicieza during the "Shattershot" crossover in the early 90s.

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  13. @Bigfatheart: From what I gather (it's a little before my time, but my sister was a big fan) Max Headroom was a bigger hit over here than it was in America.

    Max Headroom was a bit before my time, so I could be wrong, but I think you're right - he's remembered in the US mainly as a cultural curiosity these days, moreso than a cultural icon, even of the 80s.

    @Jason: It's when Alan Davis comes on as writer with issue 42 that Roma comes back. (At least, that's my recollection.)

    Your recollection is better than mine - I know Roma shows up in Excalibu at some point, but it could very well be in the Davis-only issues.

    the next time we see it is in Excalibur 8 or 9, when Nightcrawler shanghai's it for Excalibur's use. That's why when Xavier steals it in Uncanny 278, he's stealing it from a hangar in the UK.

    Ah, that makes sense. I've always wondered about that bit in #278. Pretty neat that Claremont made a point of keeping track of it, especially since it wasn't used much in the intervening years.

    In a fun touch, Nightcrawler steals the Blackbird from the "Lockheed Aircraft Corporation"

    Lockheed used to have a manufacturing plant just down the road from my office (it closed a few years ago), and I'd occasionally think of the Blackbird when I'd drive by.

    @Jeff: And I'm always a sucker for the "characters are pieces on a chessboard" trope.

    Me too. It's a visual device I never tire of.

    @wwk5d: I wonder why CC introduced this, since he doesn't really do anything with it.

    It becomes a minor plot point a couple of times (in issue #227, again in #231, and then sometime during the Outback era where Colossus' metal skin gets so hot he starts burning his sketchpad when he touches it), but it's certainly never a big deal. In addition to Silvestri's possible preference, it's also a visual representation of the change in Colossus' character. The massacre hardened all the X-Men, especially Colossus, who was driven to kill, so his inability to easily change back to flesh as a result of the injuries he sustained during the massacre represent the way he and the rest of the X-Men have been changed by the massacre: they have to have a tough, armored exterior now, and it's harder to open up and be vulnerable.

    Speaking of FF, I do believe this is the last time the X-men fight them, and also the last time we see their full current membership roster here in Uncanny.

    Technically, I think they still fight a little bit next issue before teaming up, but this is definitely the last straight-forward tussle between them, and the last time the whole gang appears in Uncanny.

    @Mela: And as much as people rag on Louise Simonson, I can find works to like by her. I have yet to do that with Ann Nocenti, whose work is baffling at best.

    I've admittedly read very little of Nocenti's work (including only sparse pieces of her Daredevil run), but what I have read I can't say I've enjoyed terribly much.

    @Teemu: here's that one dream sequence scene by CC where the ladies of Longshot (Dazzler/Rogue/Rita) fuse together to form six-armed Spiral, isn't that a heavy hint at least?

    In retrospect, yeah, it sure seems that way, though as wwk5d mentioned, it was Nicieza who established the whole "Spiral is Rita" thing. It's possible he got the idea from that Claremont sequence, or that the Spira/Rita thing was Claremont's intent all along. Then again, Claremont could have been hinting at something else entirely, like a past romantic relationship between Longshot and Spiral entirely independent of Rita (since, at the time, Rita wasn't anymore connected to Spiral than Dazzler or Rogue).

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  14. Colossus stuck in his metal form wouldn't be so odd if Claremont didn't do the exact same thing with Kitty being stuck permenantly out-of-phase. Basically the same thing happened to them as a result of the same fight, but for completely different reasons.

    Anyway -- did anyone else have this computer game? I played it a lot when it first came out. It's basically "Fall of the Mutants: The Video Game." You run around battling Freedom Force, dinosaurs, barbarians, etc. I think I made it to Roma's palace, but I don't believe I ever beat the Adversary.

    "So presumably, from this point forward, the Blackbird is just hanging out somewhere in Dallas."

    I wrote out pretty much exactly what Jason wrote about the plane. And much of the same about Roma, for that matter. How can two gentlemen so obviously in sync on some things be so far apart on the subjects of Bob Harras and Peter David's lame jokes?

    "This is Tom Orzechowski's 100th issue lettering the series (and his 61st consecutive issue, stretching back to issue #165), something of a milestone whose acknowledgement is sneaked into the background of a panel by inker Dan Green."

    Why wouldn't it be Orzechowski himself? Or has Green said that he did it? I always assumed that all those types of things -- graffitti, store signs, etc. -- were usually done by the letterer rather than the artists. I could be wrong, though. But I think I got the idea from the fact that in the nineties, signage was usually done with computer fonts.

    "Crimson Commando is apparently capable of mentally existing without being perceived."

    That's a really cool ability, and though the science -- a term used loosely when relating to telepathy -- seems a bit dodgy, I love his explanation for how its possible.

    " It's a bit of a copout when the word "crossover" is tossed around..."

    Which is why I actually tend to prefer today's term of "event" instead. I'm not a fan of the endless annual events themselves, but I like calling them events rather than crossovers. As John Byrne has noted, in his typically prickly way, "crossover" is used way too often to mean the wrong thing. A crossover, he says, is when characters literally cross over into each others' titles for a single story between multiple books. Captain America showing up in an issue of Amazing Spider-Man is not a crossover. It's a guest appearance. But Cap showing up in Spidey's series for part one of a two-parter concluded in a Cap issue guest-starring Spidey is a crossover.

    Likewise, "Fall of the Mutants" is not a crossover. It's an event. "X-Tinction Agenda" is a crossover, because it's a multi-part story across different books, featuring characters from those series joining forces and interacting in each other's titles.

    That's how I look at it, anyway.

    ===========================================

    Teemu & Jason -- It was I who thought Peter David's Dallas reference was lame. It read like the character -- was it Havok? -- had been hanging onto that one for a while and was just waiting for the right moment to drop it into a conversation. It didn't seem natural.

    The kids here, on the other hand, are genuinely funny.

    Jason -- "On Roma:"

    Yes, having read all that stuff last summer, I can confirm that everything you say is true. Claremont barely uses Roma. He has Saturnyne act as her go-to in most situations. Davis is the one who really brings her back to the fore. I believe it was Larry Leiber and Gary Friedrich who revealed Merlin's name and that Roma was his daughther, but I don't think her name was given at that point, either. It may have been Moore and Davis who finally named her. But I'm not positive about that.

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  15. "he's remembered in the US mainly as a cultural curiosity these days, moreso than a cultural icon, even of the 80s. "

    There was definitely some Max-mania going on in America -- but yeah, very short-lived. It was probably one year -- I'm thinking 1986 -- that he was everywhere. Then he was gone.

    I had Headroom fever as a child, I will admit.

    "Lockheed used to have a manufacturing plant just down the road from my office (it closed a few years ago), and I'd occasionally think of the Blackbird when I'd drive by. "

    Sweeeet!

    ""Spiral seems familiar to Longshot, something which freaks her out." --And something CC would never get around to explaining why, either."

    What needed explaining? She's familiar to him because they know each other. They interacted in the LONGSHOT miniseries.

    "I've admittedly read very little of Nocenti's work (including only sparse pieces of her Daredevil run), but what I have read I can't say I've enjoyed terribly much. "

    Just curious: What have you read? Like WW said, her Daredevil stuff is really her best stuff. I also like her backups in Classic X-Men with John Bolton. Oh! And her Colossus serial in MCP 10-17.

    If neither of those things works for you, then Nocenti is indeed probably not your cup of tea. She's definitely not for everyone. (I maintain she is an underappreciated comicbook genius, but I realize that's a minority opinion.)

    "at the time, Rita wasn't anymore connected to Spiral than Dazzler or Rogue). "

    That's key, to me, that Claremont wasn't intending a Rita-is-Spiral reveal. I take it as just a bit of visual metaphor, Longshot's three romantic interests merging into one (Claremont does the same trick with Wolverine's three ladies in Uncanny X-Men 258). Then they become Spiral, who already kind of IS three girls in one. I've never tried to pick apart all the metaphorical implications, but the idea that Rita and Spiral are the same person doesn't really work for me as an interpretation of that scene.

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  16. "Colossus stuck in his metal form wouldn't be so odd if Claremont didn't do the exact same thing with Kitty being stuck permenantly out-of-phase. Basically the same thing happened to them as a result of the same fight, but for completely different reasons."

    Claremont was hinting here that Peter and Kitty are the same person.

    :)

    Personally, I think that bit works much better with Colossus, where it is a good metaphor for his character, AND it's kind of horrifying to imagine. Kitty being out of phase it just weird to me, in logistics if nothing else. (If she has to concentrate to stay solid, how does she stay solid while sleeping?)

    "How can two gentlemen so obviously in sync on some things be so far apart on the subjects of Bob Harras and Peter David's lame jokes?"

    :) And on the subject of music described in prose! Truly, it is a question for the ages.

    " It read like the character -- was it Havok? -- had been hanging onto that one for a while and was just waiting for the right moment to drop it into a conversation. It didn't seem natural."

    I agree, but that's why I liked it. It was Dazzler, not Havok, and it didn't seem unreasonable for Ali to make a forced pop-cultural reference.

    " I believe it was Larry Leiber and Gary Friedrich who revealed Merlin's name and that Roma was his daughther, but I don't think her name was given at that point, either. It may have been Moore and Davis who finally named her. But I'm not positive about that."

    That's interesting. Yeah, you could be right, I might be remembering the name "Roma" coming out in those early strips by Leiber/Friedrich when it really wasn't there at all. Sometimes it's hard to track "firsts" in comics, when you come this stuff late and unchronologically like we all did.

    Anyone else ever occasionally wish they could wipe their X-memories and just read everything in chronological order? Imagine reading that leprechaun issue of X-Men and being totally excited to finally learn that Wolverine's real name is "Logan."

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  17. @Jason: Anyone else ever occasionally wish they could wipe their X-memories and just read everything in chronological order? Imagine reading that leprechaun issue of X-Men and being totally excited to finally learn that Wolverine's real name is "Logan."

    Oh dear god no, that would be like stealing a childhood off a kid, and I'm the kid!

    Also, the period piece feel might be a bit off-putting compared to having first read them back in (closer) the day. "What is this "disco" they're going in to, and what are these glass boxes of communicative nature they keep ripping in pieces?"

    Also, to have one's memory wiped in order to read about Wolverine's early history? Is there a word that fuses together 'irony' and 'redundancy'? :D

    Also, was that partly a statement about the current day fan fiction they do about "James Howlett"? ;)

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  18. Jason -- "Anyone else ever occasionally wish they could wipe their X-memories and just read everything in chronological order?"

    I've wished that about lots of things, but the early "All-New, All-Different X-Men" era is definitely one of the big ones for me. I've even had that exact thought because of the leprechaun scene. Other things for which I've had the same wish would be Roger Stern's Spider-Man and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

    But ideally I would like to be able to get back my original memories afterward if the new ones aren't as good. Certain things are very much tied to my age, my mindset, and where I was when I read or saw them for the first time, and I wouldn't want to lose that entirely.

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  19. @Matt: Why wouldn't it be Orzechowski himself? Or has Green said that he did it?

    I've just always heard it said that it was Green, though admittedly I've never heard that sourced from either one.

    Likewise, "Fall of the Mutants" is not a crossover. It's an event. "X-Tinction Agenda" is a crossover, because it's a multi-part story across different books, featuring characters from those series joining forces and interacting in each other's titles.

    Well said. Another way I've sometimes looked at is "crossover" (the normal kind of "part 1 in this comic, part 2 in that comic" crossovers), "Crossover" (something like X-Tinction Agenda, where it involved mutltiple titles within a line) and "event" (a series of Crossovers, usually anchored by a central miniseries or series of one-shots).

    @Jason: What needed explaining?

    *Why* it freaks Spiral out that she seems familiar to Longshot. If it was just "hey, I know her" and she gave some cryptic response like "Indeed you do", it's just a case of them interacting in the past, and Longshot not remembering her.

    But the normally-composed Spiral freaks out, saying he suspects but that she'll kill him before he learns the truth. Suspects what? What truth? That they fought once before? That seems less of a deal than Spiral's reaction suggests.

    What have you read?

    Dribs and drabs of her Daredevil work, none of which (aside from #238) was awful but very little of which made much of an impression on me (I love the JRjr art later in her run), though as I said, I've never read it in full so that probably doesn't help.

    Longshot, of course, which gets by on the strength of the art, and the Classic X-Men backups (which are hit or miss for me, though that's true of some of the Claremont ones too). That's about it, that I can recall. I haven't the MCP Colossus story yet, but I will.

    Like I said, I don't *hate* her work, there's just been very little of what I've read of it that's made me say, "wow, I really like this!".

    Kitty being out of phase it just weird to me, in logistics if nothing else. (If she has to concentrate to stay solid, how does she stay solid while sleeping?)

    That's the part that always bugs me too.

    Anyone else ever occasionally wish they could wipe their X-memories and just read everything in chronological order?

    Yes, though like Matt, I'd want the option to go back and re-implant my original memories. :)



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  20. At her best, Ann Nocenti writes plots and characters that meld psychological horror with commentary about the real world. She looks deeply into what makes her characters tick and puts them in situations in which they are totally disarmed. Daredevil is near-helpless against Typhoid Mary, has to deal with bickering Inhumans while navigating a unique hell, has to shut down a villainous father but in doing so damages his son, etc. Longshot is trapped in the Marvel universe with no idea how to navigate it. The Inhumans royal family is torn apart over what to do with a baby that could destroy them. The story in which Daredevil encounters Mephistopheles at a bar is one of my favorite.

    At her worse, Nocenti writes stories that are incoherent, preachy, or both.

    I agree with Jason that she's underrated. Her Daredevil run can be genuinely unsettling. I wish she had done more work in her heyday, but I'm glad we got what we did.

    - Mike Loughlin

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  21. Pg. 1: Are Longshot, Psylocke, and Dazzler really "Peter Rasputin's dearest friends"?

    Pg. 5: The graffiti also includes what I think says "Mekons" (a British-American rock band) and "Hopey + Maggie" (of Love and Rockets fame).

    Pg. 9: I never knew The Human League was so anti-mutant. Now I feel bad for grooving to "Don't You Want Me" and "Fascination" back in the day.

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  22. Didn't Max Headroom originate in the UK? I think he/it was bigger there than here in the US partly because there was just more of it over there.

    @Jason: // Anyone else ever occasionally wish they could wipe their X-memories and just read everything in chronological order?/ /

    My first new issue was #98, as I've written about in comments here and in a blogpost when Teebore covered it. So I was there from near the start of the All-New, All-Different team, although I didn't become a dedicated reader until about #108 and even then it was easy to miss issues as a kid relying mostly on spinner racks or lifts to the comics shop. On the one hand the first usage of "Logan" in #102 didn't really register with me since it was my second or third issue and I had no idea Wolverine's name was a secret, yet on the other hand I did have some inkling about him being mysterious because in #98 it was clear that the team members didn't know each other very well and there was that line where Banshee's shocked to see that Wolverine's claws are a part of him.

    The point being that I've wished that about many things but not about X-Men, I guess, and also that apparently I'm old.

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  23. Max Headroom's Matt Frewer later played the mad scientist Russel Tresh in the Generation X tv movie. And there's your pointless x-over for the day.
    - mortsleam

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  24. @Mike: At her worse, Nocenti writes stories that are incoherent, preachy, or both.

    That seems to be what I've found, but like I've said, I haven't read all (or much) of her DD run. Sounds like I should check it out sometime.

    Blam: Are Longshot, Psylocke, and Dazzler really "Peter Rasputin's dearest friends"?

    Indeed. He's barely met the first two. And Havok, for that matter. Chalk that up to the same thinking that dropped Havok into Colossus' remembrance of the Juggernaut battle in #218, I suppose.

    @mortsleam: Max Headroom's Matt Frewer later played the mad scientist Russel Tresh in the Generation X tv movie

    I've never actually seen that movie, yet it's my first point of reference for Frewer. Well, that and National Lampoon's Senior Trip.

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  25. "Indeed. He's barely met the first two. And Havok, for that matter. Chalk that up to the same thinking that dropped Havok into Colossus' remembrance of the Juggernaut battle in #218, I suppose."

    That can be consistent with how CC has presented the team. He made points like that throughout his run, that even if they weren't all that close or knew each other well, something about being in the "family" of X-men was a certain bond they shared. One example was during the Dark Phoenix Saga, when the X-men arrive at Warren's home. The narrator says (in true CC fashion) that even though Angel barely knows the (then) new members of the team, they were in some ways, closer to him than his own family (which isn't saying much, given Warren's own family). Of course, not everyone felt that way, Havok being a good example, but then again most of the people Havok did know were gone from the team at that point anyway...

    Is it cheesy? Sure. But for Colossus to feel that is a bit consistent with the way CC had been writing the characters.

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  26. @Blam:

    Hopey + Maggie = good fucking catch. Would never have noticed that but I'm going to count it as a crossover.

    (I would say the only crossover but I wouldn't be surprised if one of the Hernandez's had snuck an X-Men cameo somewhere into the margins.)

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  27. @Blam:

    Hopey + Maggie = good fucking catch. Would never have noticed that but I'm going to count it as a crossover.

    (I would say the only crossover but I wouldn't be surprised if one of the Hernandez's had snuck an X-Men cameo somewhere into the margins.)

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  28. What an odd cover, even beyond that speedo Pete is wearing. Usually when there is a big team vs team battle they set like vs. like (ie Namor v Aquaman), but there is nothing like that going on. I suppose Blob makes sense going head to head against Colossus. Wolvie is a stretch paired against Stonewall, but Dazzler matched with Mystique and Rogue paired with Spiral make no sense.

    I suppose though that the two teams really are nothing alike. The X-Men have 2 pretty powerful long-distance fighers (Dazzler and Havok), superior muscle (Colossus and Rogue) an unkillable Canadian and a really lucky alien. Most importantly they have a pretty decent telepath in Betsy. Rogue of course can take almost anyone's power.

    FF is really underpowered on paper besides Spiral who at this point could probably beat everyone by herself. Pyro and Avalanche are the only long distance fighters and are fairly limited in what they can do. Everyone else is a hand-to-hand fighter. In theory Destiny could be almost as useful as Betsy, but in comics Precogs are always useless.

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  29. I do think CC does a credible job of using FF in this issue (and generally has in the past as well). Unlike, say, when the Reavers attack Muir Island, and then he really ends up artificially stacking the odds in their favor, almost comically, to make them more effective and dangerous.

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  30. Um, odds in whose favor, the Reavers' or the FF's, wwk5d? If Reavers, then it's really only a continuation of the Marauder-introduced theme of a full-blown kill-attack being very effective on unsuspecting victims (poor Morlocks the second time!). If FF, they do get a PLENTY of help from the plethora of mutants on the island, like Polaris, Forge, Amanda Sefton, while one-on-one situations between Reavers and FFers end up badly for Stonewall and Avalanche and anyway the Reavers withdraw after their first casualty.

    They didn't have Spiral on the Muir Island, if I remember correctly?

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  31. (and yes I know Amanda Sefton is not mutant, but it's already days past of the future in 2013, and being a sister or a girlfriend of a mutant is going to get you categorized at least as an "A" and it's Amanda we are talking about here, and anyway the Sentinels weren't so picky either. Welcome to the 21st century.)

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  32. The odds were definitely written in the Reavers favor. You have Amanda Sefton who was useless against the Reavers due to the iron in their bodies, you have Polaris no longer having her magnetic powers against the Reavers which would have made the fight much better in the X-men/FF's favor, you had Spiral missing from that fight, you had Legion working behind the scenes to help out the Marauders (allowing Sunder to be killed, snuffing out Pyro's flame, knocking out Banshee and Polaris thus removing them from the fight), giving the Reavers magic bullets to turn the ground under the Blob into quicksand (that last one must have inspired a few scenes in Schism)...mileage varies, but that's how I always saw the fight. The Reavers were really propped up in those issues...

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  33. I know Psylocke got a flash from her barely-mentioned precognition, but I never bought the Reavers as a credible treat to the X-Men even after Storm was "dead", Longshot disappeared and Wolvie elsewhere.

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  34. Can Colossus bleed when in his organic-steel form? Are his internal organs flesh? What about his eyeballs, do they turn to organic-steel?

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  35. Reese -- "Can Colossus bleed when in his organic-steel form? Are his internal organs flesh? What about his eyeballs, do they turn to organic-steel?"

    Well, we know that he doesn't need to eat or breathe in his steel form, so something certainly happens to his organs. I assume something happens to his eyes as well since they lose their pupils in the armored state.

    If I recall, he doesn't bleed, but there was an issue where someone with extra-sensory powers -- Magneto? -- saw him losing "energy" through cracks in his steel form. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? Was it during "Mutant Massacre"?

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  36. @Matt: If I recall, he doesn't bleed, but there was an issue where someone with extra-sensory powers -- Magneto? -- saw him losing "energy" through cracks in his steel form. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? Was it during "Mutant Massacre"?

    Happened exactly as you remember, in UXM 212.

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