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Thursday, January 8, 2015

X-aminations in January 2015...and Beyond!


After one more quiet week to give me a bit of a breather as I adjust to fatherhood, we dive right back into the regular grind with Uncanny X-Men #253, and the ensuing six months will feature some of the X-books' biggest moments, as we hit the 90s, and they hit back hard: Jim Lee fills in again on X-Men and helps transform Psylocke into a ninja warrior, Rob Liefeld becomes the new New Mutants artist and shortly thereafter introduces Cable, and just as summer comes upon us, Gambit makes his first appearance (and, maybe, just maybe, Excalibur's Cross Time Caper will come to an end).  

Also, after a series of annual and increasingly-expanding X-Men crossover storylines, culminating in the mostly-linewide "Inferno", 1990 sees the first such crossover to be spearheaded by the Avengers rather than the X-Men, "Acts of Vengeance", which we'll start examining in February. I haven't decided exactly which tie-ins I'll be looking at yet (and the story as a whole is much looser than even "Inferno", with little in the way of a central narrative to follow), but my plan is to cover only the ones with a significant connection to the X-books in some way (ie the Cosmic Spider-Man stuff, because Sebastian Shaw and Sentinels, or the Captain America/Magneto issues, because Magneto).

As always, sound off in the comments about anything I may have missed or that you'd like to see covered in future installments. Also, I still haven't decided on a title for the section discussing Liefeld's art.

January 7th: Wolverine: The Jungle Adventure

January 14th: Classic X-Men #41-42

On Sale August 1989
January 21st: Uncanny X-Men #253
January 22nd: New Mutants #82
January 23rd: X-Factor #47

January 28th: Uncanny X-Men #254
January 29th: Excalibur #15
January 30th: Wolverine #17

On Sale September 1989
February 4th: Uncanny X-Men #255
February 5th: New Mutants #83
February 6th: X-Factor #48

February 11th: "Acts of Vengeance" Tie-ins Part 1
February 12th: Excalibur #16
February 13th: Wolverine #18

On Sale October 1989
February 18th: Uncanny X-Men #256
February 19th: New Mutants #84
February 20th: X-Factor #49

February 25th: "Acts of Vengeance" Tie-ins Part 2
February 26th: Excalibur #17
February 27th: Wolverine #19

On Sale November 1989
March 4th: Uncanny X-Men #257
March 5th: New Mutants #85
March 6th: X-Factor #50

March 11th: "Acts of Vengeance" Tie-ins Part 3
March 12th: Excalibur #18
March 13th: Wolverine #20

On Sale December 1989
March 18th: Uncanny X-Men #258
March 19th: New Mutants #86
March 20th: X-Factor #51

March 25th: "Acts of Vengeance" Tie-ins Part 4
March 26th: Excalibur #19
March 27th: Wolverine #21

On Sale January 1990 
April 1st: Alpha Flight #87-90
April 2nd: New Mutants #87
April 3rd: X-Factor #52

April 8th: Uncanny X-Men #259
April 9th: Excalibur #20
April 10th: Wolverine #22

On Sale February 1990 
April 15th: Uncanny X-Men #260
April 16th: New Mutants #88
April 17th: X-Factor #53

April 22nd: Marvel Comics Presents #48-50 (Wolverine story)
April 23rd: Excalibur #21
April 24th: Wolverine #23

On Sale March 1990
April 29th: Uncanny X-Men #261
April 30th: New Mutants #89
May 1st: X-Factor #54

May 6th: Incredible Hulk #369
May 7th: Excalibur #22
May 8th: Wolverine #24

On Sale April 1990
May 13th: Uncanny X-Men #262
May 14th: New Mutants #90
May 15th: X-Factor #55

May 20th: Spotlight on the Starjammers #1-2
May 21st: Excalibur #23
May 22nd: Wolverine #25

On Sale May 1990 
May 27th: Uncanny X-Men #263
May 28th: New Mutants #91
May 29th: X-Factor #56

June 3rd: Uncanny X-Men #264
June 4th: Excalibur #24
June 5th: Wolverine #26-#27

On Sale June 1990
June 10th: Uncanny X-Men #265
June 11th: New Mutants #92
June 12th: X-Factor #57

June 17th: Uncanny X-Men #266
June 18th: Excalibur #25
June 19th: Wolverine #28

June 24th: New Mutants Summer Special #1
June 25th: Excalibur #26
June 26th: Wolverine #29

21 comments:

  1. "Jim Lee fills in again on X-Men and helps transform Psylocke into a ninja warrior"

    But before that, we have Mutant Massacre 2.0: Muir Island Bugaloo to look forward to...

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  2. I love how recognizable the Marvel villains' feet are. I guess it could be much harder to tell the heroes apart, with their Captain America boots.

    Also, Wilson Fisk wears the same pants as Hulk. He probably buys en masse and passes them on to Hulk when they get ripped up against Spidey or DD or someone.

    The clothes shop that had them in the recent Wolverine issue had probably bought a looted batch of them stolen by someone very clearly not knowing who they are messing with.

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  3. I would love to see you cover the Classic X-men backup stories as part of this. I have them all but have only looked at a few of them.

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  4. "I would love to see you cover the Classic X-men backup stories as part of this. I have them all but have only looked at a few of them."

    I second this, although I more than understand if it's a workload you don't feel like tackling. Still, seeing your take on the handling of the Big Fat Phoenix Retcon and the backstory of the Hellfire Club in these would be interesting.

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  5. Magneto also pops up in an AMAZING SPIDER-MAN issue that you may want to look at. Now that I think about it, three of the four ASM AoV issues are mutant related, with Shaw appearing in the Hulk story, too. The only one with no X-influence is the Graviton issue. And I don't believe you need to worry about anything from the sister titles this time through, though, as Gerry Conway stuck with non X-villains for his AoV material.

    Also, don't forget that Magneto plays a big role in Byrne's AVENGERS WEST COAST AoV stories (and a little beyond, too). Marvel was really pushing the "reverted" Magneto at this time!

    Teemu -- "...Wilson Fisk wears the same pants as Hulk."

    This is terrific, and something I Never thought about. I love it.

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  6. @wwk5d: But before that, we have Mutant Massacre 2.0: Muir Island Bugaloo to look forward to...

    Heh. And poor Sunder gets caught in both...

    @Teemu: I guess it could be much harder to tell the heroes apart, with their Captain America boots.

    You could probably get away with Cap, Spidey, Iron Man (metal), Human Torch (fiery), Hulk (green & massive), Daredevil (all red), and maybe Thor and Wolverine if you included the knees.

    @Anonymous & Mela: I would love to see you cover the Classic X-men backup stories as part of this. I have them all but have only looked at a few of them.

    I've stayed away from them (with the exception of the upcoming Cyclops' backup story) mostly for two reasons. One, I've never been terrible sure when the best time to cover them would be. In and around the issues the reprints of they originally followed (which is how Jason Powell covered them) doesn't quite fit my mandate of reading the X-books (mostly) in the order they were published, whereas reading them alongside the issues which shared the stands with the respective issues of Classic X-Men felt like too much of a disruption to ongoing narrative of the non-reprint titles.

    Two, and more significantly, I have a serious case of internet envy when it comes to Jason's reviews of those stories. He did a great job writing about them, and as, for the most part, I didn't really gain an appreciation for them *until* I read his reviews (I'd read them before, but never given them much thought), I feared I wouldn't have much to say about them that he didn't already say better.

    All that said, should I ever actually find a way to release an X-aminations book, I'd consider writing reviews of them for inclusion in that book as an enticement for people to buy something they can otherwise read for free on the internet.

    So if either of you have a rich relative who owns a publishing company, shoot me an email! :)

    @Matt: Also, don't forget that Magneto plays a big role in Byrne's AVENGERS WEST COAST AoV stories (and a little beyond, too).

    Offhand, I know for sure I'll cover the ASM issues (probably even the Graviton one) and the AWC issues, plus Magneto's appearances in Captain America and the Thor tie-ins (because of Juggernaut and the debut of the New Warriors, who end up having something of a history with the New Mutants/X-Force).

    There might be more, but I haven't looked at a full list of the tie-ins yet (those are just the ones I can think of from memory). At some point in the near future I'll take a look and see if there's any others that warrant coverage.

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    1. If you need a West Coast Avengers brush up, I'm your guy! Or a guest reviewer too, I still love and Christ my complete run!

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  7. // Also, I still haven't decided on a title for the section discussing Liefeld's art. //

    Somebody piped up with Robbed, which isn't bad. I remain partial to 501 Genes, having vivid memories of that Levi's commercial directed by Spike Lee, but I concede that it's perhaps too tangential in not using Liefeld's name at all.

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  8. So I'm guessing that's an errant autocorrect for "cherish" — but I totally want to start using it.

    "Dude, I really Christ that old Wolfman/Pérez Titans run."
    "Same here! Do you read any current stuff, though? Fraction & Aja on Hawkeye is pretty sweet."
    "Oh, yeah. Sad it's ending. I've been like Christing that to the stigmata, man."

    I look forward to your letters.

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  9. Man, it's crazy to think that this blog is up to the 90's already (Or maybe it hasn't sunk in that I've been reading every entry for about 3 years now). It's no small task to write reviews of every X-related book throughout the years, and I commend you for your hard work.

    I started reading this blog around issue #150, which was my first issue of X-Men and the earliest comic I remember owning. And now it's hitting the 90's, which is giving me crazy nostalgia since I was born in 1986 and got into them when the cartoon debuted on Fox in '92. I'm excited to see your take on the Jim Lee era, as well as further on in the Muir Island Saga when the team gets split into their own books.

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  10. Also, I have to say it's crazy seeing how the team changed from when I started reading this blog around issue #150 till now around #250. This is why I enjoy it when a creator is able to have an extended stay on a book. They know the characters inside and out and can really do some amazing things with them.

    As far as I'm concerned, the All-New characters from 1975 are some of the deepest, most fleshed-out characters in comics, no doubt due to Claremont's long tenure with his creations. After he left it seems like every writer was trying to copy him without adding anything new - Everything became stale, and many of the characters were just never as interesting as they were during Claremont's run.

    Then you have the tone of the book: The team up till #150 was a fairly standard superhero team book. Then around #175 the book became more of a soap opera more focused on character development than fighting. Following the Mutant Massacre the book got REALLY dark and the it was interesting to see the team at their absolute nadir, in hiding in the Australian Outback. The characters were allowed to grow - Cyclops was married and had a kid, and had X-Factor never been created would Jean still be dead and would Scott remain a family man, never returning to the team? Which other characters might've retired and lived happily ever after away from superheroics? Would the New Mutants have eventually become the new X-Men team, replacing all the characters we know and love?

    As much as I loved X-Men vol. 2 #1 and the books and cartoon from that point on, looking back at it I realize it was nothing but a huge step backwards in terms of the development of the book. It was like someone hit a big "RESET" button and made everything all better again (Mansion's re-built, the original 5 are back on the team, Xavier's in a wheelchair again, Magneto's evil again, etc.). Would Xavier's development of the characters have continued as it was if he stayed on? Or was he content with resetting everything and just forgetting a lot of the "disassembling" of the team he did and just continue on as a standard superhero book? He explored these themes in X-Men Forever, but being a standalone continuity and so many years removed from the actual time period depicted in the books, I don't think it's an accurate depiction of what could've been.

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  11. I'd suggest "Because, Liefeld!"

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  12. "I don't think it's an accurate depiction of what could've been."

    It wasn't. There are tons of articles out there where CC detailed some story ideas he would have done had he stayed on the title, and it was nothing like X-men Forever.

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  13. Blam: Somebody piped up with Robbed

    That was me in the late August (and it's fearsome how you can essentially steal person's mental space with a mean one-liner for all this time), but if there is a vote on it, 501 Genes works harshly on so many levels it gotta be it.

    ("uncerya rudeness" says my reCaptcha for the post but I think we all agree it's very necessary indeed)

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  14. I'm seconding Teemu's "501 Genes" suggestion for highlighting those uniquely Liefeldian moments. It's PERFECT.

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  15. Blam's suggestion, Mela, and if my count is right you're in fact fourthing it.

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  16. Ian Miller: After (Claremont) left it seems like every writer was trying to copy him without adding anything new - Everything became stale, and many of the characters were just never as interesting as they were during Claremont's run.

    With villains I would have preferred it that way, but what we got as the very first thing after Claremont left was a kill-orgy of Claremont's deadliest X-villains by the kackling lunatic Trevor Fitzroy and the out-march of the likes of him with incomprehensive powers with equally incomprehensive motivations, playing a game or I don't know for a reward or I don't know.

    Could it be that the fond memories people have of X-cutioner's Song or Age of Apocalypse are partially because of the going-ons on the X-men titles was such an untouchable porridge that anything with a solid plot seems like an improvement? Or was it rather the set of villains: Simonson's Apocalypse, Claremont's Mr Sinister and, hilariously/devastatingly, Liefeld's Stryfe? I mean, you get handed the flagship titles of the X-office, of Marvel even, and get run circles around by Liefeld regarding the villain design.

    (yes, Shinobi Shaw appeared in Claremont-written X-Factor in the alleged death scene of Shaw senior, but how much of that was by editorial mandate, and anyway Claremont at least managed to sell the scene)

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  17. @Blam: I remain partial to 501 Genes, having vivid memories of that Levi's commercial directed by Spike Lee

    501 Genes is pretty fantastic. I too was trying to incorporate the Levi commercials, which just seem like the perfect snapshot of what the industry was like in the early 90s.

    @Paul: If you need a West Coast Avengers brush up, I'm your guy!

    I think I'll be okay, since I'm not devoting a full post to the issues, but I appreciate the offer. And we should talk sometime, see if you might be interested in tackling something else.

    @Ian: Man, it's crazy to think that this blog is up to the 90's already...It's no small task to write reviews of every X-related book throughout the years, and I commend you for your hard work.

    Thanks! I can't believe we've made it this far yet, either. Like you, we're on the cusp of the era of X-Men that is "mine", when I first got into the books, and it feels very weird to be so close to that time.

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