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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #248

"The Cradle Will Fall"
Early September 1989

In a Nutshell 
Longshot quits, Storm dies, and Jim Lee draws the X-Men for the first time.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jim Lee
Inker: Dan Green
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Lord High Executioner: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As the newly reformed Reavers train against a robotic Wolverine, in Australia, Longshot grapples with his lack of memories and decides to leave the team to find himself. The next morning, Nanny and Orphan Maker launch their assault on the X-Men, starting by brainwashing Psylocke into thinking she's a child obedient to Nanny as Orphan Maker captures Havok and Dazzler. With the three X-Men locked into armored suits and their minds regressed to a child-like state by Nanny, they attack Storm and Colossus as Nanny tries to capture Jubilee. She overpowers Nanny, however, and with Storm holding her own against her armored teammates, Nanny decides to retreat.


She and Orphan Maker flee to their ship, pursued by Storm as Colossus frees the rest of the X-Men from their armor. A groggy Havok emerges and, seeing Storm caught in a grappling arm by Nanny's ship, instinctively blasts the ship, sending it crashing to the ground, to the horror of the X-Men. As they scramble to the crash site, Psylocke announces she can't sense any thoughts from Nanny, Orphan Maker or Storm, and as they search the wreckage, they discover Storm's lifeless body.

Firsts and Other Notables
Jim Lee makes his X-Men debut this issue, providing pencil art (inked by regular inker Dan Green). His contribution here is just a one-off fill-in, but he'll return shortly to draw a three issue arc before eventually assuming regular penciling duties on the book as of issue #267. Thanks to being Jim Lee's first issue of X-Men, this quickly became a highly priced back issue shortly after it was released and well into the 90s; for many years, the only copy I had was the much cheaper second printing (with a gold background instead of purple), until I was able to snag a first printing at a con for cheap, well after the tumult over the issue had died down.

Longshot leaves the X-Men this issue, deciding that he needs to discover who he is and try to reclaim his lost memories in order to be part of the team, a decision that is, somewhat oddly, spelled out via a dream shared between Storm and Longshot via Gateway. Apparently, there were plans around this time for a Longshot ongoing series (written by Ann Nocenti and drawn by Art Adams) that would feature Longshot trying to regain his memories, and Claremont wrote the character out of this book to accommodate that. Of course, that series never came to fruition, and Longshot more or less falls into comic book limbo after this issue, making a few appearances here and there through the years before eventually becoming a regular, for a time, in Exiles and later still, Peter David's second X-Factor run.


Storm dies this issue. Except not really. We'll eventually learn that she was captured by Nanny off panel during this issue, after which her memory was wiped and her body reduced to a child-like state, with the body of Storm seen at the end of this issue a Life Model Decoy left by Nanny to make the X-Men believe Storm was dead. While that all sounds terribly convoluted and the result of numerous retcons, that appears to have been Claremont's plan all along: while Storm won't return to adulthood and rejoin the team until issue #273 or regain her memories until issue #267, Claremont will begin teasing her return with the debut of Kid Storm relatively soon, in issue #253.


The reconstituted Reavers make their first full appearance this issue, comprised of Bonebreaker, Skullbuster& Pretty Boy (from the Reavers gang defeated by the X-Men in issue #229), Lady Deathstrike, former Hellfire Club mercs Cole, Macon & Reese, and Donald Pierce.


Similarly following on from last issue, Nanny and the Orphan Maker pop up to "save" the X-Men from the Reavers. Nanny's plan involves reducing the X-Men to a childhood state and brainwashing them into following her, as she's done with previous mutant children. As a hint to her intentions and the ultimate revelation regarding Storm's survival, she tells Orphan Maker she has a way around the fact the X-Men aren't children.


Like Storm, Nanny and the Orphan Maker are seemingly destroyed by Havok's blast at the end of this issue. They'll turn up again around the time that Storm's condition is revealed.

In Longshot's dream, Ricochet Rita is at one point depicted as having six arms (hers, Dazzler's, and Rogue's) before morphing into Spiral, an accidental reference to the eventual reveal that Spiral is Rita's future self.


As it did the previous summer, the series begins bi-weekly publication as of this issue, running for the next three months. 

A Work in Progress
As a hand-waving explanation for why the X-Men never seemed terribly concerned with Longshot's lack of memory prior to joining the team, Storm tells him they always treated him on his terms, basically saying he didn't care so they didn't care.


Nanny notes that the X-Men have become harder and less heroic since becoming "legends".


She also confirms she can't see the X-Men on her equipment, though when she later adds some components from the X-Men's computers to her own, she is able to view them (as the X-Men can view themselves via the town's computers).


In a little bit of Silvestri-esque cheesecake, Nanny captures Psylocke while she swims in the underground cave beneath the X-Men's base, wearing the same negligee thing she was seen wearing under her armor in issue #239.


Dazzler is colored especially tan in this issue, as in recent past issues.

Colossus notes that the X-Men's supplies seem to be diminishing faster than they consume them, the first on panel recognition of Jubilee's presence in the town by the X-Men.

Jubilee herself pops up in this issue and escapes from Nanny. She's wearing the hodgepodge costume she cobbled together in X-Men Annual #13.


Her rocket pack damaged by Jubilee's firework's, Nanny gets stuck on her back, unable to get up or roll over under own power, a comedic circumstance that further undermines the threat of the villain.


I Love the 80sThe cover of this issue features an increasingly-rare dialogue bubble. 

For Sale
There's a half page ad for an Indiana Jones phone game, promoting Last Crusade, something which sounds like it'd have to work pretty hard to be worth the expense of playing it.


The back cover features an ad for Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda cereal. I remember getting that as a kid. Shockingly, "fruit" and "berry" don't taste all that different when it comes to flavored cereal.


Teebore's Take
This issue is notable for being Jim Lee's introduction to the X-Men, and while for now it's just a one-off fill-in and his style is still developing (it's not quite yet what most people associate with Jim Lee's art), there's no denying the impact the man will have on the X-Men. In terms of his artistic contributions (for an entire generation of fans, the costumes he'll design for the team are the default looks for many of the characters, including, thanks to the animated series' adoption of those costumes, many fans who have never picked up a comic book), his desire to return the book to a more traditional format after years of experimentation by Claremont (and the incredible popularity of his art, which gives editorial the impetus to side with Lee's plot desires over Claremont's, eventually leading, in part, to the exodus of the man who made the X-Men what they are), and the perfect storm that was the popularity of the X-Men combined with the popularity of Lee's art combined with the burgeoning speculator market that led to X-Men (vol. 2) #1 becoming the best-selling comic book of all time, the argument could be made that Jim Lee is most significant X-Men artist since John Byrne.

But all of that is still in the future. For now, we have the continuing dissolution of the team to deal with, and this issue carts off two more members. While it's not Claremont's fault the ongoing series he wrote him out to accommodate never came to fruition, Longshot's disappearance from the book in this issue is still disappointing, coming as it does mostly off panel and with no one (especially Dazzler) given much of a chance to react to it beyond a quick line of dialogue.

Storm's death is obviously meant to be the bigger deal, and while it's clear that readers at the time were meant to assume she is dead, perhaps the biggest red herring that things are not as they seem is the fact that her death comes about at the hands of Nanny and the Orphan Maker, weak sauce villains appearing in Uncanny for the first time. Even ignoring what's coming, it's hard to buy that anyone would believe they'd be the ones to permanently kill off one of the series longest-tenured and significant characters. But while Storm's "death" may not be all that it appears to be, her absence from the book will be long lasting. That, along with Jim Lee's debut, makes this issue highly significant to the book's future in both the long and short terms.

Next Issue
Tomorrow, the New Mutants are in Asgard in New Mutants #79, followed on Friday by X-Factor #44. Next week, the X-Men head to the Savage Land in Uncanny X-Men #249.

25 comments:

  1. I re-bought this issue last week and read it for the first time in years. I have to admit, I enjoyed it. I remembered hating it when I read it as a teenager. I was pretty mad that Lee's first issue featured Nanny and Orphan Maker. This time I thought the whole thing was kind of fun. Lee's art isn't quite up to what it's going to become, but it's still pretty fantastic and you can see what's coming. I even thought he did a good job with Nanny's thankless design.

    My only real complaint about the issue is what you brought up in the review about Longshot's exit from the team. It's a really confusing and anticlimactic way to write the character out. The X-Men don't even seem to care to much about it much. Claremont uses dreams and hallucinations to liven up plot points a few more times, but I think this one really fails to get the point across well.

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  2. This issue was a testament to Claremont's fondness for Mind Control. Especially of Psylocke, as he used her over the years as a foil to the team, having one of her weaknesses being vulnerable to mental domination.
    Here she basically goes after the team again, once Nanny has her.
    I've never really understood how Nannny was even able to find them unless she had some connection to the Reavers.

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  3. So, it's Jim Lee's first issue and Claremont's favorite character gets killed. Portentous.

    Thanks to being Jim Lee's first issue of X-Men, this quickly became a highly priced back issue shortly after it was released and well into the 90s

    Funny that. The collector bubble became a parody of itself when everyone and their aunt flocked to buy the #1 issues in order for to them become one day as expensive as Amazing Fantasy #15 and Fantastic Four #1 had been at that time, breaking all sales records and ensuring there would always be mint-condition items readily available and thusly unable to fetch any remarcable price. In the same time these same aspiring collectors were skinned for some early harbinger issues for the 90's that had been published only few years earlier. A real 101 on supply and demand. Tell me, how did the classic Claremont&Byrne issues fare price-wise at this time?

    Also, for all what Claremont achieved, I find it insulting and belittling that the one achievement they often deem importantest to mention next to his name is the alt-cover trickery-fueled record sales numbers of adjectiveless #1 by Claremont/Lee. It's the goddamn great stories why we should read and buy this stuff, right? They should introduce him as the creator of (a list of characters here) or the author of (some favorite storylines/issues of the person doing the introduction). Oh how he would grimace when I or Teebore would mention The Age Undreamed of there!

    But no. Chris Claremont, "the other part of the famed Lee/Claremont creative team, albeit the one that couldn't keep up while the other continued his celebrated work as the creative dynamo on the X-Men", it is. "Tell me, Mr. Claremont, how much would you want to have been the one that came up with Gambit and Jubilee, the most popular X-Men?"

    Longshot's disappearance from the book in this issue is still disappointing

    I wonder if it was a conscious thing that the X-Men seemed to care as little as the readers of his departure. I know to me it was a 'meh'. There never was any meat really on those hollow bird bones of his. The Siege Perilous would probably have just spitten him back out.

    The cover of this issue features an increasingly-rare dialogue bubble.

    Doubly as hilarious in Finland where the local publisher Semic had at that time adopted a logo that had a dialogue bubble stating "Just for fun" coming from the classic company name text logo. The logo laying on the bottom side of the cover, that was one hilariously disturbing dialogue.

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  4. "As the newly reformed Reavers train against a robotic Wolverine"

    I'm surprised they weren't doing that at Murderworld...then again, them training against a Wolverine/X-men team would raise suspicions with Arcade.

    "a decision that is, somewhat oddly, spelled out via a dream shared between Storm and Longshot via Gateway"

    The lack of a proper good-bye scene between him and Dazzler is rather puzzling.

    "While that all sounds terribly convoluted and the result of numerous retcons"

    You have to admit, prior to her return in #253, her "death" is sold rather well. Despite what you write about the lameness of the villains, I do remember being shocked by it (and by what was happening to the team overall) at the time.

    "Colossus notes that the X-Men's supplies seem to be diminishing faster than they consume them, the first on panel recognition of Jubilee's presence in the town by the X-Men."

    Good thing Wolverine has been gone for the last 3 issues or so. You'd think he'd have picked up her scent in the pantry/kitchen at some point.

    "I've never really understood how Nannny was even able to find them unless she had some connection to the Reavers."

    Well, she was covertly spying on the Reavers, so through them, she probably had access to all of their current data on the X-men.

    We're now off on one of the more interesting eras of the team's history. I guess we can call this the beginning of the end?

    I wonder what CC would have done with Longshot had he been able to keep him around. Also, since CC probably knew in advance Longshot had to be written out, I do also wonder if his reasons for leaving might have been a last-minute change, maybe? If they were planning on killing off Dazzler, as originally planned, that might have been a stronger reason for him leaving. Or maybe he still would've gone through the SP anyway. But still.

    We're really entering a period with lots of behind the scenes shenanigans, dropped plot points, and what ifs.

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  5. wwk5d: You have to admit, prior to her return in #253, her "death" is sold rather well. Despite what you write about the lameness of the villains, I do remember being shocked by it (and by what was happening to the team overall) at the time.

    Again I have to second that. Unlike Jean Grey's death which to me always was an item of backstory, these things happening "real time" and "now", with the next issue yet waiting to be published, there was just no knowing what will happen next, no future perspective to look from where Storm is alive.

    Perhaps there was also a little fanboy inside the, well little fanboy, subconsciously waiting the important Jean Grey death of our generation to happen. Re-animator was as crappy a villain as they come, but Doug's dead too nevertheless. Plus, it wasn't the villains, but the reckless use of Havok's powers that killed her. Had Claremont been seeking to make a point of that, it would been done well I think.

    Had I at this point have read the cliffhanger-ending issues where Cyclops was stated to have been telepathically killed by Wyngarde only to see him rise up in the next issue, or Colossus being pierced by a spear and killed only to have Sikorsky patch him up just in time in the next issue, I might have thought that the next issue would show her too being alive, only to be more shocked to see a funeral scene instead. (yes they did bury Wolverine too in Meltdown, but 1) Wolverine, 2) I had no knowledge of Meltdown even existing)

    Even when kid Ororo surfaced at the Mississippi banks in Cairo, I still felt the real Storm was as genuinely dead as she ever was, and in my incoherent perplexion might have thought that some radiation from Siege Perilous or Storm's official status as the appointed holder of it effected on her partial return in some sort of Peri...lai...sed form. Remember, still at this point no one had been seen to return from Siege Perilous (well actually in our X-book both Kid Ororo and Betsy showing up at Hand island happened in the same issue, but...).

    We give plenty of credit for Marvel of this time for the courage to write the breakout character out from the series for continuity control, but one also has to acknowledge that his smell...ing ability being around would have broken many of the plot elements. "It's not her. *lights cigar* The scent's wrong." So it's kind of a necessitated thing also.

    I still claim Wolverine so knew Jubes was there. He's probably humoredly thinking if the brats have yet managed to find the brat in the compound while driving his jeep to the Australian village, fatally failing to think over the other, obvious thing.

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  6. // Dazzler is colored especially tan in this issue, as in recent past issues. //

    I'm holding out for a cover blurb that reads "In This Issue -- An X-Man™ Is Diagnosed with Skin Cancer!!!"

    // The next morning, Nanny and Orphan Maker launch their assault on the X-Men //

    I've been waiting at least since Inferno for someone, anyone, to mention that Orphan-Maker and Colossus are both named Peter (in one case Anglicized, of course). Even with them in direct battle this issue, nothing. I wouldn't find it remarkable if comics — fiction in general, really — didn't usually make it a point to ensure that names weren't duplicated within a group of characters likely to interact, regardless of how that defies the odds in reality. I guess Weezie didn't think beyond the immediate X-Factor cast when naming him.

    // a decision that is, somewhat oddly, spelled out via a dream shared between Storm and Longshot via Gateway //

    I think "somewhat oddly" is... an understatement.

    // Storm tells him they always treated him on his terms, basically saying he didn't care so they didn't care. //

    I can't help but appreciate the tremendous balls it took to write that, because Longshot really was just there. My problem of not having a good handle as a reader on most of the X-Men in this group remains, however, and I don't know if it's intrinsic to this run or just a result of reading my personal Golden and Silver Ages of X-Men so many times over the years while coming to this stuff cold, after the fact, and it being an era of Marvel that I generally find dismissible (in terms of my personal taste/memories if not necessarily historical perspective).

    // Nanny's plan involves reducing the X-Men to a childhood state and brainwashing them into following her //

    I've gathered from what you wrote and the fact that we see them emerge from Nanny's armor suits as adults that she only regressed their minds, making the sequence of panels in which Elizabeth turns into a child as she emerges from the water just a visual metaphor. Having read that Storm is physically turned into a child made me take that literally. I enjoyed the visuals in Nanny's ship of the X-Men that you excerpted, by the way, as we see the team first as they look now, then the same characters — half of them, anyway, thanks to the panel composition — in their previous costumes, and finally the group in civilian garb likely meant to represent their even younger selves and continue the visual regression.

    // with the body of Storm seen at the end of this issue a Life Model Decoy left by Nanny to make the X-Men believe Storm was dead //

    I don't place much stock in revelations like Storm's apparent death that come in a final-panel cliffhanger, so without the knowledge of future events I have from the conversation here and the general context of hindsight I would've been waiting for a shoe to drop in the next issue — been surprised that she actually had apparently died, too, since that's not the way these cliffhangers usually play out. The cover's even the only place they refer to Havok as having killed her. We just get a quick dramatic shot of the X-Men finding Storm's limp body amidst the wreckage at the end of the story itself. And we all know that covers, to put it mildly, often cheat, as even this one does by depicting the X-Men in costume.

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  7. "I can't help but appreciate the tremendous balls it took to write that, because Longshot really was just there"

    CC did start giving him character work, during Inferno and the issue where Rogue disappears. But it's a shame there was never a chance for him to follow-up on any of that. Then again, maybe CC was relieved Nocenti wanted the character and didn't mind having him taken away?

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  8. Blam: I've gathered from what you wrote and the fact that we see them emerge from Nanny's armor suits as adults that she only regressed their minds, making the sequence of panels in which Elizabeth turns into a child as she emerges from the water just a visual metaphor. Having read that Storm is physically turned into a child made me take that literally.

    It is a visual metaphor. In time we will see a flashback sequence of Storm's de-aging and it involves machinery, wired patches, etc. (or was it the LMD part?) Here Nanny uses only some fairy dust on Betsy, and things that happen happen only symbolically/mentally.

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  9. I won't go so far as to say "good riddance" to Longshot, but I will say that I have always thought he was lame and uninteresting, and a poor fit among the X-Men. The fact that he never returns to the team pretty much supports my opinion, I think.

    This is the beginning of the X-Men getting interesting to me again. I know the "dissolution" really started with the Nimrod/Master Mold story and the departures of Rogue and Dazzler, but I've never much cared for that two-parter. For me, this is basically Chapter One, with the other stuff as an unnecessary prologue.

    I think I mentioned a loooong time ago that, while I still have issues with the X-Men being so non-traditional at this point, I really like what Claremont's doing from a more objective standpoint. It's a really neat experiment, and I like reading about the "non-team" over the next year or two. One month might be a Wolverine story, another might be about Forge and Banshee, or kid Storm, etc. It's almost like an anthology.

    Lastly -- one of my best friends growing up thought this cover's word balloon was like the most hilarious thing ever. We used to play the Marvel Super Heroes RPG regularly, pretty much all the way from 6th grade through college, and pretty much every single time a character was severely wounded or appeared to be dead or what have you, he could always be counted on to trot out, "Why, ______? Why did you kill ______!?" And somehow it never got old.

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  10. "My name's Havok. You want someone to consider the situation before firing with pinpoint accuracy, I'm not your guy."

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  11. Let's not forget all those classic Longshot moments guys. Like that time the X-Men used him as a kite and...um...

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  12. ... doing Dazzler on riverbank while the Inferno pyred around!

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  13. Matt: every single time a character was severely wounded or appeared to be dead

    Ha! They had it factored in the game mechanics, did they? Marvel Super Heroes, ladies and gentlemen!

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  14. While not a classic moment, I always did enjoy that scene during Inferno where Riptide is launching his shuriken against the X-men, and Longshot hops around, catches them all, and throws them back at the Marauders, all with that goofy grin on his face.

    I think Longshot's problem might have been his type of character just didn't fit in with the Dark! Dangerous! Twisted! turn the X-men took post Mutant Massacre. They say Nightcrawler was written because his character was too sunny-happy-go-lucky to fit in with the new status quo. So they replaced him with...a guy with a similar personality.

    In hindsight, maybe CC should have just had Longshot join Excaliber like he originally wanted to. He would have fit in much better there, I think.

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  15. I like the general direction that the book is taking here (how it all ultimately plays out is a different story) and I am also one of the few who liked Storm's regression to adolescence and kinda wished it had lasted longer. But I always hated this issue and feel like it really marks a low point storywise. Even if it was never meant to stick, or to be taken that seriously, it's a little shocking that Claremont "killed" Storm-- of all characters!-- in such a tossed-off and silly way. It feels a bit like a fuck you of sorts. But a fuck you to who? Editorial? Readers? Is it metacommentary? Is he just bored and phoning it in? I don't know but it just feels so tonally off.

    And the fact that Longshot is written out in the same issue in an even MORE offhand way just compounds it. As a reader, at the time, it was sort of like, wait, do they just not give a shit anymore?

    However! The next few issues are some of my favorites! Not the Savage Land arc so much (I have NEVER understood Zaladane), but I love the Muir Island X-Men, teen Storm on the run, some of the Wolverine/Psylocke/Jubilee stuff in theory, and the general sense of chaos/WTFness that's coming up.

    I do think Jim Lee's art, even if in its toddler stage, looks great, and so different from everything else at the time. It's so sleek and sexy and flashy; there's something about it that is shiny in an almost literal way. I like Silvestri a ton too, but damn-- Lee's stuff is just so immediately distinctive.

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  16. The same question I had for the last issue applies here too. Even without the benefit of hindsight or modern day cynicism, and even as a more naive youngster, I'm not quite sure I would have bought this as Storm's "official" death had I read this in real time. This first reason is that they spoil the death right there on the freakin cover. Usually when creators want to REALLY kill off a major character, they'd simply mention that SOMEONE died, and keep the actual identity a surprise ("An X-Men dies!" for example).

    The other problem is the cover's implication that Havok killed Storm. That type if thing was almost always a fake-out. At that time there was no way they'd let heroes kill other heroes, even by accident. That would raise my suspicion right there.

    Longshot never really belonged with the X-Men (and especially with this version of the team) and I was suprised that he lasted as long as he did.

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  17. Jonathan Washington: At that time there was no way they'd let heroes kill other heroes, even by accident.

    I don't know... it wasn't too short of that when James Hudson was managing to stop his damaged suit in time from exploding until at the last second Heather entered the room and broke his concentration with fatal consequences.

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  18. "My name's Havok. You want someone to consider the situation before firing with pinpoint accuracy, I'm not your guy."
    It's explained in issue 267 that Alex was still under Nanny's control when he fired the blast, which is why it didn't damage her ship. Peter thought the armored suits were controlling Alex and Ali and didn't realize that Nanny herself was telepathic, so he didn't expect that. Between Maddie being turned into the Goblyn Queen because she didn't recognize S'ym, Zaladane being free to kill dozens because Alex didn't recognize her and this, it's amazing how many disasters under Storm's leadership could have been avoided if she simply had made the team study files on the villains.

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  19. @Teemu: So, it's Jim Lee's first issue and Claremont's favorite character gets killed.

    I don't think Storm is Claremont's favorite character - he's usually said in interviews that was Cyclops, which was one of the reasons he tried to write him out on a happy ending back in the day.

    I suppose Storm could be his favorite amongst the X-Men currently on the roster, though.

    Tell me, how did the classic Claremont&Byrne issues fare price-wise at this time?

    They were pretty high (as high or higher than some of the contemporary hot issues like the first appearances of Rogue and Gambit), due to their being fewer of them out there (low supply) and the issues themselves containing a ton of first appearances and notable events (high demand).

    I find it insulting and belittling that the one achievement they often deem importantest to mention next to his name is the alt-cover trickery-fueled record sales numbers of adjectiveless #1 by Claremont/Lee.

    Well, trickery it may be, but it is the best-selling comic book of all time, and that's noteworthy. It's also a briefer to establish his bonafides in press releases and whatnot that listing off all the characters he created or co-created.

    @wwk5d: If they were planning on killing off Dazzler, as originally planned, that might have been a stronger reason for him leaving.

    That's a good point. It might also explain the lack of proper goodbye between them - as far as CC was concerned, she was gone when Longshot left, so he probably didn't have time to circle back around and work in a big Longshot/Dazzler goodbye. Especially with bi-weekly shipping looming.

    @Blam: I guess Weezie didn't think beyond the immediate X-Factor cast when naming him.

    That'd be my guess, if she thought about it at all...

    Having read that Storm is physically turned into a child made me take that literally.

    It is confusing. The idea, I think, was that Nanny hoodwinks the X-Men, making them mentally act like kids and attack the other X-Men. Once she has all of them under her control, she then begins physically transforming them into children.

    In the course of the issue, the X-Men shook off the mental programming, and it's only over time (off panel) that Nanny is able to transform the captive Storm into a physical child.

    t I would've been waiting for a shoe to drop in the next issue — been surprised that she actually had apparently died, too, since that's not the way these cliffhangers usually play out.

    That's a good point. This kind of end-of-issue death is a stock in trade. It really isn't until next issue, when we get a glimpse of Storm's funeral and it becomes clear, as Teemu suggested, that Sikorsky won't be sweeping in to clone up a body for her.

    "My name's Havok. You want someone to consider the situation before firing with pinpoint accuracy, I'm not your guy."

    Bravo. Bravo. :)

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  20. @Matt: I think I mentioned a loooong time ago that, while I still have issues with the X-Men being so non-traditional at this point, I really like what Claremont's doing from a more objective standpoint.

    I'm with you. The non-team era includes some of my least favorite issues of Claremont's X-Men, but also some really good ones too, and even while I subjectively don't like some of the stuff that happens, I do objectively really appreciate what he's trying to do, and why he's doing it.

    @Jeff: Let's not forget all those classic Longshot moments guys. Like that time the X-Men used him as a kite and...um...

    I'm also partial to when he danced around the lasers in Forge's lobby to rescue Wolverine during FotM.

    But your point stands. Not a lot of great Longshot moments.

    @Ben: The next few issues are some of my favorites! Not the Savage Land arc so much

    I am also not much of fan of the upcoming Savage Land two-parter, but I do like everything else in "Dissolution" quite a bit.

    @Anonymous: it's amazing how many disasters under Storm's leadership could have been avoided if she simply had made the team study files on the villains.

    Ha! Especially since they've got a great computer system to help with that.

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  21. Teebore: Well, trickery it may be, but it is the best-selling comic book of all time, and that's noteworthy. It's also a briefer to establish his bonafides in press releases and whatnot that listing off all the characters he created or co-created.

    That is true, but I'd rather they would summarize Claremont's career by a creator achievement rather than a salesman one. Especially as very little of the profits from the sales actually went to his way, and considering the whole shebackle how things had come to the point that Claremont had to write that very book as the starter for his (then) last X-Men story. I don't know how he feels about the matter, and I'm not saying he's necessarily opposed to holding the record, but there may be a measure of sourness in it. 16 years worth of Uncanny X-Men, turning barely breathing franchise into... everything, and what everybody seem to want talk about is that one issue of adjectiveless, the milestone of Moj... ImeanMarvel really going for quantity instead of quality.

    At least, I don't see X-Men: Into the Void being filmed anytime soon. Nicholas Gage as Mikhail Rasputin!

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  22. @Teemu: Especially as very little of the profits from the sales actually went to his way, and considering the whole shebackle how things had come to the point that Claremont had to write that very book as the starter for his (then) last X-Men story.

    I won't pretend that Marvel didn't keep every penny they legally could for themselves and/or that Claremont got what he deserved, but from what I've read, it sounds like Claremont made out pretty well via royalties on that issue. I'm pretty sure he's said something to the effect that Adjectiveless X-Men #1 bought him his house.

    I think he's also said that by the time the new series was getting bandied about, he was pretty sure he was leaving, but stuck around just because everyone figured that book was going to be huge, and it would make for a nice pension.

    So he at least got some value out of the new series for himself, which is something.

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  23. Wasn't aware of any of that really, Teeb. If that was the case, I'm willing to throw a full one-eighty on my thoughts on the book and wouldn't really mind had they done a couple of more alt covers even. Also, for a hack job done for money, not too shabby, not too shabby at all. Thank you for those tidbits, Teebore, I feel now the universe is a bit more better place. Genuinely, no sarcasm. ;)

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  24. Yeah, the best-selling guys seemed to make very nice livings at Marvel from the mid-eighties to early-mid-nineties. As Teebore says, X-MEN #1 supposedly bought Claremont a house. He had previously used X-MEN royalties to buy an airplane, according to Jim Shooter. John Romita, Jr. drove a BMW in the eighties (also according to Shooter).

    Most of that is hearsay, but we do know for a fact, according to John Byrne's 1999 deposition and statements given under oath in the Marv Wolfman v. Marvel case, that Byrne made somewhere around $5-6 million dollars from Marvel over the years. I think he's said that ALPHA FLIGHT #1 alone made him $500 grand. And he still gets big royalties from Marvel, even though he hasn't worked for them in over a decade, having recently disclosed that he received a six figure check for the FANTASTIC FOUR BY JOHN BYRNE OMNIBUS volume 1.

    Claremont wasn't getting an artist's page rate along with his writer's rate, but he must certainly have been making fairly comparable money, given how many characters he created who went on to become mainstays in the nineties (when Marvel should still have been paying him royalties for their massively overprinted appearances even if he wasn't writing them).

    Also in the nineties, I know that Fabian Nicieza has said his time on X-MEN paid for his daughter's college education. And I believe the Image guys were all doing pretty well monetarily even before they left Marvel.

    Apparently it was a really good time to be a best-selling creator on the highest-profile books at Marvel!

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  25. Storm is so crap and overrated if you ask me

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