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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

X-aminations in July...and Beyond!


Here's a look at what will be covered in X-aminations next month, as well as a rough outline for the rest of the year. Any quibbles with the proposed order or suggestions for issues I may have overlooked, let me know in the comments.

Appropriately enough, we spend the rest of the summer dealing with "Inferno", then move on to a surprising amount of Havok-centric stories followed by Claremont's dissolution of the X-Men through the fall, such that by year's end, there won't even be a team of X-Men in X-Men! The fall also sees double coverage of Wolverine, as Marvel decided to bump up his series to bi-weekly shipping in the summer along with Uncanny X-Men, and I couldn't think of a better way to deal with it than doing two Wolverine issues per post.

On Sale August 1988
July 2nd: Uncanny X-Men #239
July 3rd: New Mutants #70
July 4th: X-Factor #35

On Sale September 1988
July 8th: X-Terminators #1-4
July 9th: Uncanny X-Men #240 
July 10th: New Mutants #71
July 11th: X-Factor #36 

July 16th: "Inferno" Tie-ins Part 1: Power Pack #42-43, Amazing Spider-Man #311, Fantastic Four #322, Avengers #298-#299, Daredevil #262, Spectacular Spider-Man #146 
July 17th:  Excalibur #4
July 18th: Wolverine #3

On Sale October 1988
July 23rd: Uncanny X-Men #241
July 24th: New Mutants #72
July 25th: X-Factor #37

July 30th: "Inferno" Tie-ins Part 2: Fantastic Four #323, Web of Spider-Man #47, Amazing Spider-Man #312, Daredevil #263, Avengers #300, Spectacular Spider-Man #147
July 31st: Excalibur #5
August 1st: Wolverine #4

On Sale November 1988
August 6th: Uncanny X-Men #242
August 7th: New Mutants #73
August 8th: X-Factor #38

August 13th: "Inferno" Tie-ins Part 3: Web of Spider-Man #48, Fantastic Four #324, Power Pack #44, Amazing Spider-Man #313, Spectacular Spider-Man #148
August 14th: Excalibur #6
August 15th: Wolverine #5

On Sale December 1988

August 20th: Uncanny X-Men #243
August 21st: New Mutants #74
August 22nd: X-Factor #39

August 27th: "Inferno" Tie-ins Part 4: Daredevil #265 & The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak & Dagger #4
August 28th: Excalibur #7
August 29th: Wolverine #6

On Sale January 1989
September 3rd: Uncanny X-Men #244
September 4th: New Mutants #75
September 5th: X-Factor #40

September 10th: Marvel Comics Presents #17-24 (Cyclops story)
September 11th: Excalibur #8
September 12th: Wolverine #7

On Sale February 1989
September 17th: Uncanny X-Men #245
September 18th: New Mutants #76
September 19th: X-Factor #41

September 24th: X-Men Annual #13
September 25th: Excalibur #9
September 26th: Wolverine #8

October 1st: Marvel Comics Presents #24-31 (Havok story)
October 2nd: New Mutants Annual #5
October 3rd: Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown #1-4

On Sale March 1989
October 8th: Uncanny X-Men #246
October 9th: New Mutants #77
October 10th: X-Factor #42

October 15th: Punisher War Journal #6-7
October 16th: Excalibur #10
October 17th: Wolverine #9

October 22nd: Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem
October 23rd: X-Factor Annual #4

On Sale April 1989
October 29th: Uncanny X-Men #247
October 30th: New Mutants #78
October 31st: X-Factor #43

November 5th: Daredevil #269
November 6th: Excalibur #11
November 7th: Wolverine #10

On Sale May 1989
November 12th: Uncanny X-Men #248
November 13th: New Mutants #79
November 14th: X-Factor #44

November 19th: Excalibur #12
November 20th: Wolverine #11
November 21st: Wolverine #12

On Sale June 1989
November 26th: Uncanny X-Men #249
November 27th: New Mutants #80
November 28th: X-Factor #45

December 3rd: Uncanny X-Men #250
December 4th: Excalibur #13
December 5th: Wolverine #13-14

On Sale July 1989
December 10th: Uncanny X-Men #251
December 11th: New Mutants #81
December 12th: X-Factor #46

December 17th: Uncanny X-Men #252
December 18th: Excalibur #14
December 19th: Wolverine #15-16

On Sale August 1989
December 24th: Uncanny X-Men #253
December 25th: New Mutants #82
December 26th: X-Factor #47

December 31st: Marvel Comics Presents #31-38 (Excalibur story)
January 1st: Wolverine: Jungle Adventure

22 comments:

  1. Ooh, "Inferno" tie-ins! I love Gerry Conway's work on SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN and WEB OF SPIDER-MAN around this time. Look forward to seeing you touch on them, however briefly.

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  2. And I think we've pinpointed when the X-Line finally got out of hand.

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  3. Wow... I guess I'm not surprised that spinoffs and crossovers proliferate at this point, but I am impressed that they slot so well in the "alternate" weeks when X-Men isn't biweekly (even if you had to hammer them a bit).

    // by year's end, there won't even be a team of X-Men in X-Men //

    That did happen at least once before, during the short period where the original members went their separate ways at Fred Duncan's urging for safety in lack of numbers. I don't know if this breakup made any more sense or not.

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  4. "I think we've pinpointed when the X-Line finally got out of hand."

    I'm not sure this is where it gets out of hand. I think this is where it officially becomes Marvel's flagship franchise. Before, during Mutant Massacre and Fall of the Mutants, they only seemed to cross over into a handful of titles (most of which were either written by Simonson or Ann Nocenti). Now even Marvel's other "big" franchises like the Spider and Avengers titles have to acknowledge what's happening in the X-universe.

    As for the 5 main titles themselves, CC is writing 3 of them, and Simonson is writing the other 2. I'd say we're still a couple of years away before it gets really out of hand.

    This ad definitely does pinpoint for me when Silvestri's art loses it's balance between cartoony fun and cheesecake t&a, and pole vaults into embarrassing t&a. I mean, compare the way the men and women are posed on that ad...especially Jean!

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  5. I guess the Damage Control issue really isn't an Inferno tie-in, despite the corner indicator ("Inferno Continues Here!... Interminably").

    I kind of agree with wwk5d that this is where X-Men becomes Marvel's flagship & that the relatively small creative crew running it kept it from getting too unwieldy. Maybe it's nostalgia talking because I was a teenager reading in the 90s, but I always felt like the books weren't a total continuity mess until after "Age of Apocalypse", when the editors decided they wanted to re-write every script with crayon. I can understand if it's pegged earlier, though.

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  6. I agree with Mela. The X-Men franchise, while big, was pretty tight on inter-series continuity all the way up to and through "Age of Apocalypse". I'm sure Jason will have a friendly comment on this point, but I believe credit goes mainly to Bob Harras in that regard. I won't speak right now to the quality of the stories from that era (though I like most of them), but purely from the standpoint of continuity and cohesiveness between titles, I believe Harras's (stranglingly) strong "hands-on" editorial approach probably helped to keep the books in line. Once he moved up the ladder to become EiC, during the run up to "Onslaught", is where the continuity really started to unravel.

    And yet that year or so between AoA and "Onslaught" is one of my all-time favorite X-Men eras. Nostalgia is a strange thing.

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  7. All right, you guys convinced me the line isn't out of control yet. I will say during the 90s I just read X-Men with the occasional Uncanny thrown in and didn't feel like I was missing out on too much. But looking at Teebore's schedule this month, 5-7 interconnected titles (if we're counting MCP) is still a lot to me.

    And yet that year or so between AoA and "Onslaught" is one of my all-time favorite X-Men eras. Nostalgia is a strange thing.

    Man, that era, especially once Nicieza left, caused me to drop out as a regular reader until Morrison's run.

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  8. Jeff -- "Man, that era, especially once Nicieza left, caused me to drop out as a regular reader until Morrison's run."

    I did miss Nicieza, as I had always enjoyed his X-MEN more than Lobdell's UNCANNY -- but the Onslaught mystery, the appearances of the AoA characters in the main universe, Cannonball graduating to the X-Men, Wolverine back with the team, the resolution of the "Sabretooth in the Mansion" storyline -- and the art of Joe Madureira, to boot -- I ate it all up. I loved the early GENERATION X, too, up to around #25 or so.

    However I never read X-FORCE, CABLE, WOLVERINE, X-MAN, etc., so I'm really only talking about the core X-books and GEN-X here.

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  9. However I never read X-FORCE, CABLE, WOLVERINE, X-MAN, etc., so I'm really only talking about the core X-books and GEN-X here.

    I never read the satellite titles either and I strangely have no regrets about that!

    I guess Onslaught was really what did it for me, because I stuck with the titles up through the end of the Sabretooth plot, which I still enjoy, and then gave up on the crossover almost immediately. Although X-Men #48 and #49 were the first issues of a core series that looked so bad to me I put them back on the shelf instead of buying them. (That's the Fatale/Sugar Man/Dark Beast plot with terrible fill in art.)

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  10. Man, just reading that list of titles and issue numbers gives me a wash of nostalgia. This is so entirely my rose-tinted wheelhouse.

    "I'm sure Jason will have a friendly comment on this point, but I believe credit goes mainly to Bob Harras in that regard."

    Continuity was tight, 'tis true, and I'd agree that Harras deserves the credit.

    Also, "Inferno" has a bad reputation because the entire Marvel line had an "Inferno" tag on it for three months running, but really it wasn't *that* sprawling a story. The main story only ran through the X-titles, and everything else was just other heroes reacting to the demon invasion of New York. You didn't have to read, for example, the nine issues of Spidey fighting demons in order to follow "Inferno."

    From the accounts I've read, the massive sprawl wasn't even as marketing-driven as people like to cynically assume. It was mostly Marvel's freelance writers thinking that the demons-in-New-York set-up sounded fun, so they jumped on board with their series.

    Bottom line: "Inferno" was awesome.



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  11. I agree, "Inferno" was an example of a line-wide event done well. The main story was in the X-books, and the other series were just offered the chance to run with the "demons in NYC" premise. "Acts of Vengenace" ran much the same way, but with the core action taking place in the Avengers titles. Otherwise it was just an open invitation for writers to pit their characters against villains they might not otherwise have fought.

    (And, as I noted above, the Gerry Conway-written Spider-Man chapters of both events are some of my favorite Spidey comics of all!)

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  12. As all us reasonable people seem to love Inferno, where does the hate and bad reputation come from? Some silly kiddos jumping into comics later on, and being forced to read crappy 90's events and x-overs pour it all on the one that started it all?

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  13. ...I didn't love Inferno. I liked it, but I didn't love it.

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  14. I didn't realize there was hate for Inferno, either. As a kid collecting in the 90s, I think my friends and I talked about it more than Mutant Massacre or Fall of the Mutants. It's got a LOT of ramifications for the line.

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  15. Oh shut up, wwk5d, and join the rest of us in playing with matches.

    To me Inferno always was where most (hah, yes) of the long-running arcs were solved and something totally new was built on the ashes after it. Of course, saying good-bye to the 80's Uncanny X-Men and the related world fit poorly to my Bronze Age sensibilities.

    Which is actually a terrible thing suggesting that Bob Harras was right in demanding return for the school environment and Chris Claremont didn't know how to write the X-Men. It's just that... the Uncanny X-Men starts the 90's like they had a calendar, with Jan/90 bringing in Asian ninja Betsy and it does soon take a turn for worse. And at the same time, those early Jim Lee issues are beautiful classics, Madripoor Knights standing head above the rest... Is that what they could have been doing through the whole of the 90's, had they had the senses to put capable writers to work with the Image drawers, rather than chase them off with pitchforks so that plot didn't get in the way of the pretty poses?

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  16. A person can still be funny without being rude.

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  17. As an Inferno-hater, I can tell you that a large part of the hate has to do with the way Maddie was treated.

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  18. That so was not my intention, wwk5d, and I apologize my poor choice of expression.

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  19. "As all us reasonable people seem to love Inferno, where does the hate and bad reputation come from?"

    I have heard four points, two of them already mentioned by others: the culmination of Maddie Pryor's character assassination, the presence of Mr. Sinister as a key player, the rushed desire to wrap up Illyana's character arc, and the sheer volume of non-X-book tie-ins (hence, the blurb on Damage Control that always makes me smile).

    I will challenge the Mr. Sinister complaint, since this is really the first story where he's a major player and the complaints all stem from after the era where he was ridiculously overexposed. The rest are all valid - hell, the sheer determination to shoe-horn a happy ending onto Illyana's story in New Mutants is one of the most annoying things I've ever read (quick re-enactment: "What just happens?" "Who cares? Let's hug this cute six-year-old we just rescued!"). And Maddie being treated like a humanoid knock-off handbag is just needlessly harsh, even if Claremont tries to make her a still-tragic figure.

    All that said, I really enjoy Inferno despite these complaints. The art, the character pieces, the overall non-stop nature of the plot - it was the rare crossover where there isn't a lag or a moment where character A takes over book B from its stars (witness the X-Cutioner's Song issue of X-Factor where Peter David was forced to write a story about Cable, Wolverine, & Bishop instead of one about X-Factor). So I'll acknowledge it has problems but always recommend it.

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  20. Thanks you Mela of the excellent recap of the reasons. I can see the criticisms, yes, but having read it when it came out I of course strongly oppose the portion that mirrors Inferno against later (non-Claremont) 90's crossovers.

    The saving grace in Maddie's character assassination is that Claremont seems to be one if the bigger opponents of them forcing him to do it. Though, like Gwen Stacy, she could have left town to have a job elsewhere or something. Then again, having all the teen boys complain against making Maddie an evil girl in skimpy outfit is a massive success on Claremont's part that totally kind of justifies that Inferno plot is what it is. The sheer insult of it kind of reads as a meta-message against them undoing the greatest X-Men story ever by bringing Jean back... and then doing Phoenix over and over again like they were on a butte or something.

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  21. I don't know if you would consider it but there were two What If issues that followed Inferno - issues 6 and 37. There are a lot of X-Men issues in What If, it would be really cool if you covered those too, I don't know if your at all interested in that series though.

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  22. @Blam: That did happen at least once before, during the short period where the original members went their separate ways at Fred Duncan's urging for safety in lack of numbers. I don't know if this breakup made any more sense or not.

    It made more sense, and at least lasted longer, but if it resulted in better stories, that's probably just because of the era the stories were published in and not the stories themselves.

    @Mela: I guess the Damage Control issue really isn't an Inferno tie-in, despite the corner indicator

    Yeah, I looked it up, and it actually came out well after "Inferno" was released. The cover gag aside, I don't think it tied in with the story much at all.

    @Jeff: I will say during the 90s I just read X-Men with the occasional Uncanny thrown in and didn't feel like I was missing out on too much. But looking at Teebore's schedule this month, 5-7 interconnected titles (if we're counting MCP) is still a lot to me.

    I would argue the titles are no more interconnected in this era than they were in the mid 90s (which is to say, sometimes they were, sometimes they weren't).

    I mean, the MCP stories especially are hardly required reading in terms of the overall narrative; the Colossus story was fine, but it didn't really add anything to the mythos, and I've gone most of my life w/o reading the MCP stories and not feeling like I'm missing out on anything.

    @Scott: There are a lot of X-Men issues in What If, it would be really cool if you covered those too, I don't know if your at all interested in that series though.

    I've read a lot of the X-related What If? issues through the years (though certainly not all), and as is the case with most but the earliest issues, they all seem to fall into one of two categories:

    1. Everyone dies
    2. Things are different, but in the end, the same ending as in the "unaltered" story comes about.

    Couple that with generally lackluster art, and I've never really felt compelled to cover them in great detail.

    That said, I wouldn't be opposed to covering the occasional issue, especially if I need something to fill a spot on a given week. But I can't commit to doing every X-related What If? story. There's just not enough there there for me to justify the time.

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