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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #227

"The Belly of the Beast!"
March 1988

In a Nutshell 
The X-Men die in order to defeat the Adversary. 

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

Plot
Inside the lobby of Eagle Plaza, the X-Men find themselves beset by both demons and Viet Cong soldiers. As Neal Conan records and broadcasts their actions, Madelyne comes across an image from the past: a young Forge casting a spell, powered by the souls of the dead soldiers around him, which calls forth demons to destroy the Viet Cong. High above in Roma's Starlight Citadel, the Adversary gloats to the captive Roma, Forge and Storm. Psylocke senses the real Forge in the citadel and Rogue tries to fly to it, but is rebuffed by fierce winds. However, trusting to his hollow bones and luck, the X-Men use Longshot as a kite, and he manages to sail over the winds, dragging the rest of the X-Men and Neal behind him. Reaching the citadel, Rogue absorbs a measure of the Adversary's power and sorcerous abilities. Just then, Colossus, who as Roma's ringer was not accounted for by the Adversary, flies into the Adversary, his organic steel body shredding the Adversary's outer form, severely weakening him. Rogue then opens a portal, and the X-Men combine their powers to force the Adversary through it.


However, Forge reveals that in order to seal the gateway, he must recreate the spell that opened it in the first place, the spell he cast in Vietnam, and for that he needs nine souls, freely given. The X-Men and Maddie volunteer. As Storm says goodbye to Forge, Maddie records a message for Scott, telling him to find their son. Forge then casts his spell, killing the X-Men and locking away the Adversary. On Muir Isle, Kitty watches the footage from Dallas as Nightcrawler awakens from his coma. In Dallas, Forge and Neal emerge from the ruins of Eagle Plaza, and Mystique declares Forge a murderer. However, in her citadel, Roma resurrects the X-Men, and as reward for their sacrifice, offers to send them to any place, any time. However, with the world believing them to be dead, the X-Men decide to maintain that ruse, to better protect their loved ones and give them greater freedom to act, just as they once had planned. Roma salutes them, saying that as great of heroes as they were, they have now become legends.   

Firsts and Other Notables
The X-Men all die in this issue, fulfilling Destiny's prophecy as they willingly give their lives so that Forge can cast a spell to lock away the Adversary. In a literal deus ex machina, they are then resurrected by Roma shortly thereafter, as thanks for their sacrifice, though Roma is clear that they did technically die (a distinction that Wolverine hilariously could care less about).


"Plan Omega", Storm's somewhat dubious idea of faking the X-Men's deaths in order to better protect their loved ones and give them more freedom to strike at their enemies (last referenced in issue #219, though that codename was only previously used in New Mutants #51), is referenced as the X-Men decide to keep their resurrection a secret and let the world continue to believe they're dead, essentially having carried out the plan unintentionally.


A future issue of Excalibur will reveal that Roma wanted the world to believe the X-Men had died so that the members of Excalibur would come together to form that team. 

The Adversary is defeated in this issue and seemingly locked away, though Roma notes that he cannot ever be defeated entirely as the universe needs some element of chaos to survive. The Adversary will next pop up during Howard Mackie's less-than-stellar X-Factor run in the 90s. 

Forge's big secret, hinted at in previous issues, is revealed: in Vietnam, after the members of his squad were killed by the Viet Cong, he used his magical abilities to open a portal and summon demons to kill the Viet Cong, after which he called in an air strike to destroy the demons and the evidence of his actions. It was this act that led Forge to give up his magical heritage, and it was through this portal that the Adversary came. Bbecause Forge used the souls of nine dead soldiers to open the portal, he is required to use nine more souls to seal it again completely. 

Before Forge begins his spell, Maddie speaks directly to Scott, telling him she loves him and imploring him to find his son. Footage of this message will feature heavily in future issues of X-Factor, and serves as the method by which Cyclops learns his son is still alive.


Kitty Pryde is seen watching the footage of the X-Men in Dallas from Muir Island, and Nightcrawler awakens from the coma he's been in since "Mutant Massacre" just after the X-Men die. We'll see both of them next in Excalibur Special Edition #1 (though Kitty technically appears in New Mutants #65 between this issue and that one).


A Work in Progress
Neal, introducing the X-Men, says that Havok is aptly named for his ability to fire "focused, coherent energy plasma". I'm not sure that follows...


Colossus is forced to transform back into flesh and blood in order the X-Men to get into Roma's citadel, an act which takes considerable effort.


Both Longshot's knives and Colossus cause significant harm to the Adversary, as they care comprised of "cold iron".


Colossus' attack causes the Adversary to shed his Naze skin, appearing in his demon form for the first time.


Forge gathers the X-Men's souls into a star and hurls it at the Adversary; a similar star design will become a logo of sorts for the X-Men during the upcoming Outback Era.


When Roma resurrects the X-Men, Dazzler thankfully returns without Destiny's mask stuck to her face by a magic knife.

Claremontisms
Longshot and his hollow bones are used as a kite to get the X-Men past the hurricane force winds surrounding Roma's citadel.


Human/Mutant Relations
With Neal on hand and recording, the entire world is able to see the X-Men's fight against the Adversary and their ultimate sacrifice.


Madelyne, being interviewed by Neal, asks where it says you need to be a mutant to believe in the X-Men's goal, then echoes Martin Luther King Jr.


For Sale
"Mutant Massacre" had full page ads for Jim Shooter's big "New Universe" line of comics. A year later, Shooter is gone and the line was limping along, with this issue running a half page ad for a New Universe storyline that hoped to bump up sales. It didn't, and the line was axed shortly thereafter. 


Teebore's Take
As with the double-sized second chapters of "Fall of the Mutants", the third parts are similarly themed across the three titles: each is responsible for establishing a new direction for its respective series moving forward. Claremont has, in the past, depicted the X-Men as sci-fi superheroes, as agents of political change, and as revolutionary outlaws fighting against political institutions that would destroy them. With this issue, in the wake of the X-Men's "deaths" and the unintentional institution of Storm's "Plan Omega", he begins their newest phase: the X-Men as legends.

It's an idea that has been somewhat explored before (the X-Men have never been as public a group of superheroes as the Avengers and Fantastic Four, often existing in the eyes of the public as urban legends), but Claremont will take it farther, and with the onset of the book's "Outback Era", he will move the team further than ever away from the traditional superhero model, utilizing new villains and exploring, shaking up and eventually deconstructing the very idea of a team book. It leads to some genuinely good, crazy, ambitious, awful and intriguing stories, the stage for which is set by this issue.

But beyond the look forward, this issue is a rousing conclusion to X-Men's portion of "Fall of the Mutants". After the onslaught of cool moments, big and small, and the relative chaos of rent timelines and team-ups last issue, the X-Men are back in the spotlight for this one, but the cool moments keep coming, from Longshot the human kite to the payoff of Roma setting up Colossus as a ringer to the teamwork used to keep the Adversary at bay before Forge casts his spell to the heartfelt goodbye message Maddie records for Cyclops. The end result is an issue that is both fun and epic, as concerned with character as with action. It's an appropriate ending to a storyline that not only paid off a subplot that had been lingering some forty odd issues, but also put to an end the general miasma of the book following "Mutant Massacre" while it set up the next chapter in the story of the X-Men. 

Next Issue
Tomorrow, the New Mutants deal with the fallout of Doug's death in New Mutants #61 followed on Friday by a new start for X-Factor in X-Factor #26. Next week, we begin the "Fall of the Mutants" wrap-up with Captain America #339 & Daredevil #252.

28 comments:

  1. Nigthcrawler awakens from the coma he's been in since "Mutant Massacre" just after the X-Men die.

    You know you've been reading too much Claremont when you refer post-Mutant Massacre Kurt Wagner as "Nighcrawler" because being bedridden he can't quite crawl at the moment.

    Yes. Sorry. Already second typo jab for me.

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  2. I definitely prefer Davis' depiction of Roma. He gave her a look and design which was both otherworldy and yet regal at the same time. Silvestri...just draws a pointy eared woman draped in a bedsheet. Which, naturally, shows off a lot of skin.

    I always liked this cover, it's one of my favorites from the Silvestri era.

    ""Plan Omega", Storm's somewhat dubious idea of faking the X-Men's deaths in order to better protect their loved ones and give them more freedom to strike at their enemies"

    Which only really included the Brood and the Marauders, right? And it only took them 20-something issues to do ;)

    "We'll see both of them next in Excalibur Special Edition #1"

    Isn't this the last time we see these 2 in the pages of Uncanny for a long, long time? at least until the Lobdell era, no?

    "When Roma resurrects the X-Men, Dazzler thankfully returns without Destiny's mask stuck to her face by a magic knife."

    Somewhere, in some alternate universe, Dazzler was resurrected with the mask and magic knife still attached. Hilarity ensued.

    A good end to FOTM, and like X-factor, it tied up a bunch of loose ends and plot threads rather nicely. I almost wish this had been CC swan song. It would have been a good point for him to walk away from the title and maybe have someone else take it from here. Of course, given how "hot" both the title and he were at that point, I doubt anyone at Marvel would have entertained the idea for long. And the issue of Maddy's origin and the Marauders aside, CC pretty much did tie up everything he needed to. The new status quo would have been a good starting off point for a new writer, and CC could have focused more on Excaliber, or at least done Excaliber and returned to New Mutants and put that title back on track. Ah well.

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  3. The moment that made this issue for me was always Mystique's reaction to Forge & Forge alone walking out of the plaza. First she's confused, and then when it dawns on her what's happened, she just screams "Murderer!" at him again & again. I've always found it chilling.

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  4. Claremont does the "Iron vs. Magic" thing more than once, doesn't he? Is this some kind of folklore or something? It seems like an odd choice to make arbitrarily.

    wwk5d -- "Isn't this the last time we see these 2 in the pages of Uncanny for a long, long time? at least until the Lobdell era, no?"

    Pretty sure you're right, with the possible exception of an occasional flashback. I believe Nightcrawler returns to Uncanny to guest-star in issue 300, and Kitty shows up just a couple months later for the lead-up to "Fatal Attractions".

    The X-Men, however, post X-Men #1, have a couple guest appearances in Excalibur prior to that. One drawn by a young Joe Madureira!

    wwk5d -- "I almost wish this had been CC swan song. It would have been a good point for him to walk away from the title and maybe have someone else take it from here."

    I tend to agree with this. It just feels like a natural stopping point, and, as I've noted before, the remainder of the run doesn't do a lot for me. I like some of the stories, but but the cast and concept are so far from what the X-Men used to be, and Claremont's writing tics get so overly noticeable, that I could easily live without the issues.

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  5. @Matt: Claremont does the "Iron vs. Magic" thing more than once, doesn't he? Is this some kind of folklore or something? It seems like an odd choice to make arbitrarily.

    Yes, you can't magic iron. There's a reason horseshoes are kept above doors: iron keeps some sorts of evil entering and in rural communities back in the day horseshoes were the most handily available iron thing.

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  6. I love those last two pages with Roma. The whole "...because now you are legends!" speech is one of my absolute favorite bits of Claremont dialogue.

    I also really like art in the close-ups the X-Men have while talking with Neal Conan. Silvestri does some great work on Longshot's bemused smile and Maddie's face when she's talking wistfully about her family. Man, the Madelyn stuff is really sad...

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  7. "Claremont does the "Iron vs. Magic" thing more than once, doesn't he? Is this some kind of folklore or something? It seems like an odd choice to make arbitrarily."

    Other writers have used it as well. Off the top of my head, I remember an issue of Quasar (that guest starred Excaliber) where this was used as well.

    "Pretty sure you're right, with the possible exception of an occasional flashback. I believe Nightcrawler returns to Uncanny to guest-star in issue 300, and Kitty shows up just a couple months later for the lead-up to "Fatal Attractions"."

    That sounds right.

    "The X-Men, however, post X-Men #1, have a couple guest appearances in Excalibur prior to that. One drawn by a young Joe Madureira!"

    Yeah, of the better non-Davis issues of the second Davis run. And Psyclocke also guest stars in a couple of Davis drawn issues.

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  8. @Teemu: Yes. Sorry. Already second typo jab for me.

    Ha! No worries. Thanks for the heads up; I fixed it.

    @wwk5d: Which only really included the Brood and the Marauders, right? And it only took them 20-something issues to do

    And Genosha (sort of), though they get all three done in about 15 issues (with three of those being double-shipped).

    But yeah, the whole "strike at our enemies with impunity" business gets a bit lost post-"Inferno", when Claremont starts his big deconstruction exercise. It's a really a separate era in and of itself.

    Isn't this the last time we see these 2 in the pages of Uncanny for a long, long time? at least until the Lobdell era, no?

    They won't rejoin until issue #360, but you're right that they at least make some guest appearances during the Lobdell run (Nightcrawler in #300, Kitty in #303, etc.).

    @Mela: I've always found it chilling.

    Me too. I probably should have highlighted it more.

    @Matt: Claremont does the "Iron vs. Magic" thing more than once, doesn't he? Is this some kind of folklore or something?

    As Teemu pointed out, the whole "magic is vulnerable to iron" is a fairly standard fantasy trope that Claremont is appropriating.

    @Jeff: I also really like art in the close-ups the X-Men have while talking with Neal Conan. Silvestri does some great work on Longshot's bemused smile and Maddie's face when she's talking wistfully about her family.

    Indeed. Silvestri doesn't get much credit for it, but he does some strong facial work in this issue, even within his usual style.

    Man, the Madelyn stuff is really sad...

    It is. The stuff just in this issue really makes me feel for her. I have a lot of affection for the character, built mainly on her depiction in this stretch of issues as a woman who's trying to make the most of the very raw deal she's been given.

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  9. @Teebore

    They don't even really "go after" Genosha...they just kind of stumble upon it by accident more than anything. And Genosha wasn't even on their pre-FOTM Plan Omega hitlist. They should have tried to go after the Brood and Marauders as soon as they take over the Reavers camp, but I guess returning Christmas presents was more important...

    "But yeah, the whole "strike at our enemies with impunity" business gets a bit lost post-"Inferno", when Claremont starts his big deconstruction exercise. It's a really a separate era in and of itself."

    I think post-Inferno, CC realized there wasn't anyone for the X-men to "go after" anymore. It seems like he had 2 choices, either return to the pre-FOTM status quo, or de-construct the team...

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  10. @wwk5d: I think post-Inferno, CC realized there wasn't anyone for the X-men to "go after" anymore.

    Good point. The Reavers hadn't reformed, Genosha hadn't yet struck back, Sinister and the Marauders were defeated, Master Mold and Nimrod were gone...

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  11. Can we talk about the Siege Perilous for a second? There are so many weird things about it, starting with the name. Why is it called this? Am I being totally dense? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

    I've always wondered if Claremont is somehow referencing something else here-- i.e., another writer's work?-- since I know that's something he's fond of doing, and it seems like there's a piece of explanation missing. I've always thought it was kind of a cool idea, but it's very out of left field.

    Another question: I meant to bring this up a few issues back, but this cover reminds me. Was an in-story explanation ever given as to why Dazzler is wearing sunglasses? Is it a style choice? Is it just something Silvestri thought was cool?

    Does anyone else think that, with her short haircut, Dazzler is purposely being patterned after Belinda Carlisle?
    http://bit.ly/1ihL4pE

    As to the iron/magic thing-- I know that iron is known for being incompatible with magic, but I wonder if wwk5d upthread is thinking of when Colossus used his metal form to kill Proteus during the Byrne run. Proteus isn't magic, but it's a VERY similar story beat.

    Roma has also pulled a similar trick to this in the past, when she and Merlyn resurrected Captain Britain in his solo series. Moore (I think it's Moore?) sells it a little better than Claremont, with Merlyn painstakingly reconstructing and reassembling CB one body part at a time. In this case I have to agree with Wolverine-- it's really hard to take the whole They Died thing seriously when they're brought back to life a page later.

    All that aside, I really like this issue, and I think it caps an exciting and unpredictable-- if somewhat scattershot-- period for the X-Men.

    As for what comes next, I'm not as big a fan of the Australian X-Men as many are. I like the strangeness of it, but it's so oddly truncated, and I feel like Claremont really overpromises things he doesn't deliver on. (I think that's sort of true of the Massacre/Fall of the Mutants era to some extent too, but at least it has enough momentum that it's easy not to notice.)

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  12. @Ben

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_Perilous

    He's definitely referencing this. But it's appearance here has no real connection to the Arthurian version.

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  13. @Jeff

    Okay now I feel a little dumb-- I thought I'd Googled it in the past but I guess not. And it does make sense for Roma to have a bunch of Arthurian doodads.

    I still don't really get the connection beyond the name, but then again I (clearly) could use some brushing up on my King Arthur. Maybe it makes more sense if you know the legend.

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  14. // Neal, introducing the X-Men, says that Havok is aptly named for his ability to fire "focused, coherent energy plasma". I'm not sure that follows... //

    I had the same reaction. 8^P

    Do we know how much of what's in these past three issues of all the X-titles was planned before another crossover was requested? 'Cause Fall of the Mutants really wasn't one, just major stuff happening in each of the series. We got Hodge and the Right in New Mutants, but they didn't actually appear in X-Factor during the concurrent issues, and Uncanny X-Men stood on its own.

    Covers for the past few issues have been signed by the artists "Silvestri ÷ G". While I'm sure the symbol is supposed to be read as a stylized "plus" it's impossible not to see it as the "divided by" sign.

    I think someone might've brought this up earlier, but this issue's cover drives home clearly that — since Colossus isn't wearing a costume yet and he wasn't on the team for the last while anyway — nobody in the group is wearing red. The X-Men have a very muted collection of outfits. Half of them really don't even wear recognizably "superhero" gear.

    Is Forge's time in Viet Nam still referenced, or is he like Reed Richards and Ben Grimm, who probably now served in Gulf War I at the earliest instead of World War II?

    How did Forge and Storm end up captive with Roma? Last we saw they were headed back to their own Earth from that other one.

    I find the hollow-boned Longshot acting as a kite to be drawn to the citadel in the sky dubious at best, but even with his luck powers there's just no way it works with ten people trailing him, especially since one of them is Wolverine.

    This is the second time in two issues, I think, that somebody asks "Where do we go from here?"

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  15. As far as folklore about "cold iron" warding off or countering magic/spirits/faeries goes, I highly recommend the Hellboy stories in the one-shot The Corpse and the Iron Shoes, collected in the trade paperback The Chained Coffin and Others.

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  16. @Ben: I've always wondered if Claremont is somehow referencing something else here-- i.e., another writer's work?-- since I know that's something he's fond of doing

    Just to add on to Jeff's link, I'll say that Claremont also used the term in his early Captain Britain stories (in the first issue, IIRC). It wasn't quite the same thing (there, the term applied more to the realm from which Merlin and Roma hailed), but it's obviously a term/legend Claremont has some affinity for, and he's at least consistent in having it linked to Roma.

    Was an in-story explanation ever given as to why Dazzler is wearing sunglasses? Is it a style choice? Is it just something Silvestri thought was cool?

    Not to my knowledge. I'd guess Silvestri just thought it looked cool.

    I like the strangeness of it, but it's so oddly truncated, and I feel like Claremont really overpromises things he doesn't deliver on

    As we'll see, I'm fairly mixed on it as well, especially if we extend it all the way to "X-Tinction Agenda". I love the post-"FotM" to "Inferno" stuff, while the post-"Inferno" material is much more of a mixed bag and issues #259-267 contain some of my least favorite Claremont comics ever.

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  17. @Blam: Do we know how much of what's in these past three issues of all the X-titles was planned before another crossover was requested?

    I don't, but I wish I did. At the very least, I have to hope that the trigger had been pulled on Bird-Brain before it was decided his story would form the foundation of New Mutants' contribution to the "crossover".

    The X-Men have a very muted collection of outfits. Half of them really don't even wear recognizably "superhero" gear.

    Whether that was Silvestri acting on instructions from Claremont or just a happy accident, it's fitting, as this marks the period of time in which Claremont takes the X-Men the furthest he ever will/has from the traditional superhero model. It's not quite the "here's some leather pants and a ribbed shirt" anti-costume look of Morrison's X-Men, but it's probably the closest you could get to that in 1988.

    Is Forge's time in Viet Nam still referenced, or is he like Reed Richards and Ben Grimm, who probably now served in Gulf War I at the earliest instead of World War II?

    I honestly can't remember the last time Forge's time in Vietnam was referenced, period, whether directly as occurring in Vietnam, a vague Southeast Asian conflict, or time-slid to a more current war.

    It probably got brought up during the Adversary's return in Mackie's X-Factor (when Forge was a member of the team), but I've frankly blocked most of that out of my memory. After that, I'm pretty sure the whole "Forge in Vietnam" detail is more ignored/forgotten than retconned.

    How did Forge and Storm end up captive with Roma? Last we saw they were headed back to their own Earth from that other one.

    It could have been made more clear, but basically the Adversary grabbed them when they returned to Earth (it's what he was leaving to do at the end of last issue, after he blew up Eagle Plaza).

    I find the hollow-boned Longshot acting as a kite to be drawn to the citadel in the sky dubious at best, but even with his luck powers there's just no way it works with ten people trailing him, especially since one of them is Wolverine.

    Dr. Bitz and I were discussing this offline yesterday (he found it even more dubious than you did). The best explanation I could come up with is that Longshot is really just pulling Rogue along behind him, and since she's flying, she's kinda weightless, and because she's super-strong, she then carries the other X-Men behind her, so Longshot is really just pulling Rogue along, and since she can fly, it's not like he's dragging her full weight behind him.

    So basically, Longshot is just using his luck to find a way through the wind, leading the way for Rogue, who then drags the rest of the X-Men behind her. Obviously, most of that flies in the face of basic physics, but I don't think it's *that* much more of a stretch than Colossus turning his skin to metal or Cyclops not snapping his neck when he blasts a wall.

    This is the second time in two issues, I think, that somebody asks "Where do we go from here?"

    Cue the music! Buffy and Spike, exit stage left.

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  18. "They should have tried to go after the Brood and Marauders as soon as they take over the Reavers camp, but I guess returning Christmas presents was more important..."
    Claremont explained that they WERE using a search program to try to track down the Marauders. As for the Brood, uh...

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  19. We will be seeing lots of Colossus steel vs. magic thing in the near future. Baba Yaga gets her share soon enough and then Colossus himself will be pointing out he's not quite as consumed by Inferno as his fellow X-Men are.

    Kind of makes one wonder why Kulan Gath didn't seem to have much problem regarding Colossus with his spell and the shadow creatures in Eagle Plaza got him bound like the rest of them, didn't they?

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  20. @Teebore: // it's fitting, as this marks the period of time in which Claremont takes the X-Men the furthest he ever will/has from the traditional superhero model //

    For me the strangest part is that Wolverine's costume is arguably the "superheroiest" one of all, when his characterization within the X-Men, at least once, was the least so. Havok's outfit isn't as traditional, and while that headgear is pretty singular he genuinely needs the suit to help control his powers from what I recall. Dazzler has the emblem and the primary colors, giving Wolverine's getup a run for the title, but she doesn't have a mask apart from those sunglasses; on the flip side, her identity is public so she doesn't need a mask, and you wouldn't think she'd need a costume either except for fulfilling the old trope of superheroes in colorful skintight costumes.

    I went back to the end of #226 and still think a scene (or caption/dialogue) of Naze grabbing up Storm and Forge is totally missing — it's way more inference, after the fact, than implication on the page — but okay.

    Your explanation for the kite thing is definitely worthy of a No-Prize. I could see them all riding the wind once they were aloft, but as Colossus himself shows on the page there's no way they'd get off the ground in the first place. Longshot lifting Rogue and her then carrying the rest works for me.

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  21. And so we come to the end of Season 9, which began with the X-Men coming home from the Secret Wars TV Movie, encountering Rachel, Forge, Selene, Kulan Gath and Nimrod, saw the 'mid-season finale' of the arrest and trial of Magneto by Mystique's Freedom Force, and Professor X and Cyclops leaving the show, paving the way for the slow attrition of cast members to be replaced by newcomers throughout the back half of the season during the Mutant Massacre, advancing the season long big-bad arc of the "Adversary" culminating in the Fall of the Mutants, and an entirely new status quo going into Season 10.

    You'll notice going forward that the seasons often share the same construction: with the mid-season finale changing the cast or setting up a spin-off (indeed this happened in Season 8 with the Brood War and subsequent creation of the New Mutants) and a long arc ending in a change to the status quo.

    I'm ignoring the O. Z. Chase issue, unless I somehow slot it into its place in the 'official' continuity, tho as I'm sure will be discussed, it's pointless filler and could easily be dismissed.

    One of these days I may actually start a blog that goes trough these "seasons" as distinct "episodes" and stop taking up space here.

    I would use the season overview as a tool to fix some issues with the flow of the stories, such as seeding the Adversary as the 'big bad' throughout the season, not completely dropping Forge for some 15 episodes, getting Storm to Africa a bit earlier, and tightening up the continuity around the Asgard crossovers with Alpha Flight and the New Mutants. Also, I'd make more clear exactly what's happening between Wolverine and Rachel, how the X-Men got back to the mansion, and how their search for her is interrupted by the Mojo stories and the arrival of Longshot (and perhaps showing what he's up to during the massacre?) One thing I wouldn't have to change is the growing sense of dread during the back half, as Sinister and the Marauders destroy the group and Freedom Force set themselves up as the 'Official' mutant group. Some of the best work by Claremont during this era. Can't wait to see what happens in Season Ten!

    -- mortsleam

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  22. mortsleam, I would gladly read your X-MEN: THE TV SERIES blog, if it ever comes to pass. Would you split every "season" into a set of 22 hour-long episodes, like most network programs? If so, I'd be curious to see how you rearrange things to make it all work for TV.

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  23. Thanks for the vote of confidence Matt. I've been playing around with it for, oh about as long as Teebore's been doing this blog, working out the timelines, figuring out season finales, and whatnot. I kinda lost the plot (along with the creators) around about Manifest Destiny tho.

    The short version is yes, every season is around 22 episodes, with a couple "specials" every so often.

    The silver age issues would work out to one episode per issue (with a lot of extra character work added by no doubt talented screenwriters) but by the Claremont era, a typical two-issue story would be condensed into one episode (or a four-parter into a two-parter, etc...) One of these days I'll find the time to actually blog about this.

    - mortsleam

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  24. @Teemu: Kind of makes one wonder why Kulan Gath didn't seem to have much problem regarding Colossus with his spell and the shadow creatures in Eagle Plaza got him bound like the rest of them, didn't they?

    Good question. My No-Prize-y explanation: ancient magic and alien magic aren't as vulnerable.

    @Blam: Havok's outfit isn't as traditional, and while that headgear is pretty singular he genuinely needs the suit to help control his powers from what I recall.

    He does, and the helmet will quickly disappear (from what I've read, Silvestri hated it so more often than not, Havok goes sans helmet.

    I went back to the end of #226 and still think a scene (or caption/dialogue) of Naze grabbing up Storm and Forge is totally missing — it's way more inference, after the fact, than implication on the page — but okay.

    You're absolutely right: another panel or line of dialogue would have been nice, and it definitely relies on inference after the fact to make sense.

    @Mortsleam: One of these days I may actually start a blog that goes trough these "seasons" as distinct "episodes" and stop taking up space here.

    You write it, I'll read it. And help pimp it, for what that's worth.

    But that doesn't mean you get to stop hanging around here. :)

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  25. @Teebore: My No-Prize-y explanation: ancient magic and alien magic aren't as vulnerable.

    Wait... were the shadow creatures Dire Wraith magic? I thought they were Adversary magic pushing through after the Dire Wraith had already been beaten, getting through to the world because Naze (or a Wraith in Naze's form?) ruined it for everyone in Forge's Aerie. Adversary was very much like those shadow creatures in his final form.

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  26. @Teemu: Wait... were the shadow creatures Dire Wraith magic?

    Pretty sure they were - the Adversary just took control of Naze's form in that issue, and that was about it. Otherwise, everything else came from the Dire Wraiths.

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  27. I wasn't the biggest fan of the whole death/resurrection motif, with the X-Men in the role of the Christ figure. Claremont's gone there before, of course, most notably with Jean Grey...interesting that he gives her clone the chance to engage in conspicuous self-sacrifice, too, even quoting Dr. King.

    Of course, Colossus paraphrases Spock earlier...

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  28. Something about this issue I just noticed:

    When the X-Men discover past-Forge's crime -- summoning demons with energy from the souls of his dead friends -- it's Madelyne who first discovers it. And, as anyone would be, she's shocked and horrified.

    Fast forward one year -- literally twelve issues after this one -- and we're kicking off Inferno, which features our canonical second-favorite redhead going off the rails and trying to do the same thing herself, just with a much bigger playground. The irony would be amusing if it weren't so damned sad.

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