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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #253

"Storm Warnings!"
Late November 1989

In a Nutshell 
A young Storm turns up in Illinois, Polaris comes to Muir Isle, and Forge begins searching for the X-Men. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: Marc Silvestri & Steve Leialoha
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Boss: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In flood-ravaged Cairo, Illinois, an unconscious young African-American girl is found at a levee by Jacob Reisz, the local FBI station chief. She is taken to the hospital just as the storm breaks. In Australia, the Reavers search for Wolverine and Jubilee. Back in Cairo, Dr. Shen and her colleagues discover the young girl doesn't appear on any of their instruments, leading Shen to believe she's a mutant. On Muir Isle, Moira MacTaggert argues with Magneto, then sends Callisto to seal off the remnants of Xavier's mansion. In Australia, Pierce, having accepted that Wolverine has somehow escaped, questions Lady Deathstrike on his possible destinations. Back on Muir Isle, Banshee hears a distress call from a freighter caught in a storm in the Atlantic, and when he flies out to help, he rescues Lorna Dane from the sinking ship, where the entire crew had turned murderous fighting over her.


Meanwhile, at Excalibur's lighthouse, Amanda Sefton arrives looking to make amends with Nightcrawler, but is met instead by Brigadier Stuart, who tells her Excalibur has gone missing. In Yellowstone, a meditating Forge slips into a vision in which he meets Amahl Farouk, who is holding Storm in a cage. As Forge watches, Storm grows younger. Farouk tries to possess Forge until Forge punches him with his bionic hand. Forge wakes up, his hand destroyed, but suddenly knowing that Storm is alive, but in danger. In Cairo, a seemingly-deceased Jacob Reisz answers Dr. Shen's call about the young mutant girl, and he agrees to handle the situation personally. In Australia, Pierce tells the Reavers he's decided Muir Isle is Wolverine's most likely source of safe harbor, so he wants the island leveled, every mutant found there slaughtered, and most importantly, for they represent the biggest threat to his ambitions, Banshee and Moira killed.

Firsts and Other Notables
Kid Storm makes her first appearance in this issue, popping up in the center of a huge storm centered around Cairo, Illinois, the first indication we get that perhaps Storm isn't dead after all. The mystery of how Storm turned into a kid will linger for awhile, she won't get her memories back for even longer, and it won't be until "X-Tinction Agenda" that she's reverted to adulthood, but this technically marks the first "rebirth" for the dissolved X-Men, and Kid Storm will be one of the recurring narrative threads the series follows during this "non-team" era.


Also, reading this issue as a kid taught me there was a Cairo in Illinois.

Along with Kid Storm, Jacob Reisz, an FBI agent, and Lian Shen, a doctor, both make their first appearances. Jacob then dies of a heart attack at the end of the issue, his body taken over, we'll eventually learn, by the Shadow King. Both Reisz and Shen will continue to play a role in the Shadow King/Kid Storm subplot moving forward.


Lady Deathstrike spots Wolverine and Jubilee leaving the X-Men's Australian base, but she declines to shoot them or alert Pierce, as she prefers to defeat Wolverine when they can meet as equals. This marks the last time we'll see the X-Men's (now former) Australian base for awhile (and when we do see it, it'll be a Reavers base again), while Wolverine himself takes another break from the series, and won't appear again until issue #257.


Via a scene between Magneto and Moira, Claremont addresses the "I was evil all along!" Magneto retcon from New Mutants #75. Magneto rightly points out that joining the Hellfire Club was as much Storm's idea as his (something that issue conveniently failed to mention), and says that, with the X-Men dead and the New Mutants missing (and wanting nothing to do with him), there's no point filling in for Xavier anymore, and that any recent villainous actions on his part are merely an attempt to draw the focus of anti-mutant sentiment to him, so it won't be placed on other mutants.


It's a rather brilliant retcon to a retcon, allowing everyone to have their cake and eat it too. For those fans who, like John Byrne, prefer the cackling, one dimensional Magneto who was starting to appear in more and more comics around this time, then that's what he is. For those who prefer Claremont's more developed, nuanced portrayal of the character, here's an explanation that reconciles the seemingly disparate portrayals without fully invalidating either.

In their conversation, Magneto mentions a coming war involving mutants, possibly a reference to the "Mutant Wars" storyline which will be teased in Marvel Age but never actually come to pass (it was supposed to occur at the time "X-Tinction Agenda" was published). Without knowing about the aborted storyline, it just reads like more of the usual "man and mutant are destined to battle one another for supremacy" routine. Magneto also mentions Genosha for the first time, significant given what that country must mean to someone like Magneto and given his future involvement with it. 

Moira, appearing in the series for the first time since issue #230 (though we've seen her elsewhere since then, notably when she was replaced by her Nazi counterpart in Excalibur), declares her intent to find the New Mutants and secure Muir Island against attack. She never quite succeeds in the former, but her efforts towards the latter (and their level of success) will form the central narrative of the next two issues, and her subsequent "Muir Island X-Men" will become another narrative thread followed by the series.


Along with Moira, Banshee returns to the book, appearing for the first time since issue #217 (we last saw him in Marvel Comics Presents #24, the end of the Cyclops serial), and using his powers for the first time since they were damaged in issue #119. Though we know he was healed by the Retribution Virus in Marvel Comics Presents, he uses them here without explanation, or a footnote to that story.

Moira sends Callisto to seal off the remaining subbasement levels of the X-Mansion, to prevent Magneto and anyone else save herself, Moira, Banshee or Professor X from accessing them. This effectively gets Callisto off Muir Isle (where she's been since shortly after "Mutant Massacre"), away from the upcoming Reaver attack, and back in New York, where she'll remain moving forward, continuing to appear in a supporting fashion on occasion, but in a much different way than as Moira's bodyguard.   


Polaris returns to the series as well, following her appearance during the Savage Land arc in issues #249-250. She will remain a recurring presence in the book as one of the Muir Island regulars all the way up to Claremont's departure and the linewide reshuffling in 1991 (when she'll join the new iteration of X-Factor). She is rescued by Banshee from a freighter in the Atlantic, the crew of which has become murderous in fighting over her, triggering another bout of super-strength and growth for her, another tease at the idea that her new powers trigger negative emotions in those around her, which she then absorbs and converts to physical mass and power.


The reunion tour continues, with Amanda Sefton, last appearing here in issue #206, popping up as she checks Excalibur's lighthouse for Nightcrawler, hoping to make amends. There she meets Excalibur supporting cast member Brigadier Stuart, who informs her of Excalibur's disappearance in "The Cross Time Caper". Like Lorna, Amanda will remain a fixture of the Muir Island portion of the narrative moving forward.


Finally, Forge returns, last seen in issue #227 (with his appearance in New Mutants #65-66 falling between that issue and this one). He encounters, via a Vision Quest, the Shadow King in his Amahl Farouk guise (just as Professor X did in issue #117), marking that villains first appearance in the series since that issue (though the New Mutants tangled with him when he was possessing Karma). Forge, along with Banshee, will form a fourth narrative thread for the book to follow in the non-team era, while the Shadow King will gradually be positioned as the chief antagonist of this run of issues, leading up to the "Muir Island Saga" (and, had Claremont stayed, he had plans for the villain beyond that storyline as well).

In Forge's encounter with the Shadow King, he sees both Kid Storm, realizing she's still alive, and Jacob Reisz, hinting at Shadow King's eventual possession of his body. He also sees Gateway chained up outside the saloon, a hint at Claremont's plan to tie Gateway and the Shadow King together, something else which never came to fruition.


Steve Leialoha fills in on inks. I like his work generally, and more elsewhere, as he seems to dull Silvestri's edge a bit, so to speak, in this issue. 

Like issues #125 and #139, this is another classic "see all the varied stuff happening in this issue!" cover that you just don't see often enough anymore. 

A Work in Progress
Kid Storm is said to be an amalgamation of rare racial elements, including "oriental".


This issue points out just how scattered all the various mutant teams are, with the New Mutants, X-Factor and Excalibur's current off-world adventures all referenced.

Lady Deathstrike erroneously refers to Wolverine's foster daughter Amiko as "Akikko", a common error (I honestly think Claremont forgot the name, and his editors just assumed he was right).

Polaris notes that Banshee can't talk and scream at the same time, something which makes sense but which I don't think has always been consistently depicted (and won't always be adhered to moving forward).


The Reavers, meanwhile, still believe Banshee to be powerless.


Claremontisms
Lady Deathstrike tells Wolverine "bang...you're dead." 

Artistic Achievements
This goofy-ass looking Pierce has always bugged me. He looks like Jack Nicholson's Joker when he's wearing flesh-colored makeup.


It's in the Mail
A note in the letters column thanks the fans for all the Comic Book Buyers Guide awards the series and its creators won.


Teebore's Take
A Classic Claremont Quiet Issue, this is the pivot point between the "dissolution" and "rebirth" arcs of this story. With all the X-Men (save Wolverine) presumed dead and/or missing, it transitions the narrative away from the breakup of the X-Men, and begins planting the seeds for the rebirth of the team via four different groups who will share the focus of the series for the next year plus: Wolverine & Jubilee, Banshee & Forge, Kid Storm, and the inhabitants of Muir Island. In doing so, Claremont is also laying the groundwork for stories that will, essentially, carry him all the way up to his departure from the series (and which were meant, had he stayed on the book, to carry the series all the way up to issue #300).

In and amongst all that short and long term setup, Claremont also takes the times to reintroduce and/or reorient a bunch of characters long-absent from the series (Banshee, Forge, Amanda Sefton, Moira & Callisto), and even addresses the Simonson/Byrne retcon of Magneto from New Mutants #75, offering up an elegant explanation which both maintains Claremont's more rounded vision of the character but still allows for the more one-dimensional, traditional appearances of the character in other books around this time. While it lacks the visceral intensity and loopy imagery of #251 or the explosive action of the upcoming #255, this is arguably the most important issue of this story arc, and, for the way it sets up so much of what's to come, of the entire post-"Inferno" run thus far.

Next Issue
Tomorrow, the New Mutants continue to bumble their way through Asgard in New Mutants #82, and Friday, Archangel gets the fill-in treatment in X-Factor #47. Next week, the Muir Island X-Men make their first appearance in Uncanny X-Men #254.

Collected Editions

22 comments:

  1. Now, I know it had to be a normal sized issue because it was crammed together into two following ones in our local X-book for a 68-page June treat (and "June" means June here and I was SO NOT a fan of the "All-new X-Men notion on the cover), but, again, damn if there isn't A LOT happening in this issue!

    Re: Ororo's looks, wasn't the composite looks idea there from pretty much from the beginning? During DPS when Jean saw her as an African slave the difference to our real Ororo was striking drawn by Byrne, and Cockrum famously gave her the feline-like (or Faltine?)facial features I vaguely remember someone on the creative staff having been disgruntled about when it was changed by other artist.

    Re: Cairo as the American stand-in for the one in Egypt probably was alluded in this issue, but I needed Neil Gaiman and his amazing American Gods to really drive it in. When that happened, a warm wave of recollection washed over me.

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  2. "Magneto also mentions Genosha for the first time, significant given what that country must mean to someone like Magneto and given his future involvement with it."
    Didn't Magneto mention Genosha in New Mutants 75?

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  3. I wouldn't have expected it, but Leialoha is a great inker for Silvestri — he really clarifies the figure work here except for the odd weird face. The far-flung visits with various characters was nicely done and a reminder of how insular the series had become.

    // Cairo, Illinois //

    Having just (re)read the author's-preferred-text edition of American Gods, I pronounced "Cairo" in my head the right way — rhyming, ironically, with "pharaoh" as opposed to the pronunciation of Cairo, Egypt.

    // Kid Storm is said to be an amalgamation of rare racial elements, including "oriental". //

    Well, I don't blame Claremont for avoiding "mongoloid" (which is the term in line with the [outdated] classifications "negroid" and "caucasian" [or "caucasoid"] used by the doctor, not that "oriental" sounds much better today).

    // Polaris notes that Banshee can't talk and scream at the same time, something which makes sense but which I don't think has always been consistently depicted //

    I appreciated that, because you're right that it's not consistently shown or applied, although it's weird that we don't see the usual "EEEEEEE" sound effects. And nobody ever mentions the splitting headaches that everyone around him must get.

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  4. Cairo might be a stand-in for Egypt and you might need Gaiman, but I can assure you it is far from a jewel.

    More annoyingly, having lived in Illinois it is pronounced Kay-ro by the residents to the point that the rest of the state and most of Missouri has just given in and gone with this terrible pronunciation which they all know is horrible.

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  5. Blam: Well, I don't blame Claremont for avoiding "mongoloid" (which is the term in line with the [outdated] classifications "negroid" and "caucasian" [or "caucasoid"] used by the doctor, not that "oriental" sounds much better today).

    Oh, Teeb's pointer was about the term usage? Well, isn't this awkward.

    Though, if Wikipedia is to be relied on the old terms are still used in forensic and physical anthropology, so technically our police officer (?) here is within her rights. Also, are there appropriate modern terms to replace them? "African" or "Asian" as geography-based terms leave something to be wished for with regards to accuracy, as both continents hold a multitude of human diversity.

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  6. "Claremont addresses the "I was evil all along!" Magneto retcon"

    Thank God. If anything, this scene is a nice middle finger to Byrne, Stern, etc.

    Nice to see Callisto trading in her street "punk" look for the latest in sexy bondage wear. Are we sure the Shadow King didn't start corrupting them before Lorna shows up?

    "Magneto mentions a coming war involving mutants, possibly a reference to the "Mutant Wars" storyline which will be teased in Marvel Age but never actually come to pass"

    It also seems to be where CC himself was going, what with the final confrontation between the X-teams and the Shadow King, the Reavers, etc.

    "Magneto also mentions Genosha for the first time"

    Amazing how after the Genosha storyline, everyone conveniently starts mentioning Genosha, but nobody did before...even though Mags and Moira weren't involved in that story.

    "something else which never came to fruition."

    Get your passport ready, we're about to take a long trip to Dropped-Plot-Pointberg, the capital city of the nation of Dangaling-Storylineistan.

    "Kid Storm is said to be an amalgamation of rare racial elements, including "oriental"."

    So her ancestors were a rug?

    I wonder if this is what CC always thought, or just in response to Silvestri's artwork. He does tend to give most of his ladies similar perky noses and cateyes...

    "Polaris notes that Banshee can't talk and scream at the same time, something which makes sense but which I don't think has always been consistently depicted"

    For the most part, I think it has. In most of the Byrne issues, Banshee does tend to think his thoughts instead of saying them out loud when using his power. And it was confirmed, I believe, in the Handbook issues.

    "and which were meant, had he stayed on the book, to carry the series all the way up to issue #300"

    I wish we had gotten this story as CC had intended it.

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  7. @Teemu: // Oh, Teeb's pointer was about the term usage? //

    He can answer for himself, but I took the overall mention to be about the doctor's observation of her amalgamated physiognomy and the quotes around "oriental" to point out the of-the-times usage of that particular word.

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  8. @Teemu: Re: Ororo's looks, wasn't the composite looks idea there from pretty much from the beginning?

    The idea that Ororo looked atypical for an African-American woman - white hair, blue eyes - had always been there from the beginning, but I don't think anyone had ever implied or stated before this that she displayed an amalgamation of the rarest features of a bunch of different races.

    Also, are there appropriate modern terms to replace them? "African" or "Asian" as geography-based terms leave something to be wished for with regards to accuracy, as both continents hold a multitude of human diversity.

    My understanding that "oriental" as a label is acceptable only when referring to a specific type of rug (or perhaps other design elements from a specific time/place).

    I believe the preferred racial term is indeed Asian, with specifications used to narrow in on one specific peoples from specific places (ie Southeast Asian, Chinese, Korean, etc.)

    @Anonymous: Didn't Magneto mention Genosha in New Mutants 75?

    Looking back, yeah, he mentioned it along with Shaw during their fight. In my memory, Shaw mentioned, making that the first indication that Magneto was aware of the place and this the first time he mentioned it himself, but that's not quite accurate.

    So just assume I meant "Magneto also mentions Genosha for the first (in Uncanny X-Men...). :)

    @Blam: he really clarifies the figure work here except for the odd weird face.

    It may very well be that I just have a hard time getting past those odd weird faces. :)

    Having just (re)read the author's-preferred-text edition of American Gods

    I really need to read that (the preferred-text version), as it's one of my all time favorites.

    And nobody ever mentions the splitting headaches that everyone around him must get.

    Could he theoretically be screaming in such a way in such instances that humans can't hear it? Like a dog whistle?

    He can answer for himself, but I took the overall mention to be about the doctor's observation of her amalgamated physiognomy and the quotes around "oriental" to point out the of-the-times usage of that particular word.

    Yep, that exactly.

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  9. @wwkd5: Are we sure the Shadow King didn't start corrupting them before Lorna shows up?

    No, but I believe the official line is that Legion (specifically, his Jack Wayne persona) is influencing everyone subtly at this point (this also leads to the S&M gear spell next issue), until he's taken over by the Shadow King in #259, at which point the Shadow King is then influencing everyone.

    Nicieza later links the Shadow King to Polaris at the end of the Muir Island Saga as an easy way to wave off Lorna's new powers and restore her original ones, so you could read it as him influencing Muir Island already, but as of yet, there's nothing to indicate that in the text as it wasn't Claremont's intent.

    It also seems to be where CC himself was going, what with the final confrontation between the X-teams and the Shadow King, the Reavers, etc.

    Yeah, I should have been more clear. Claremont was definitely building to a "Mutant War" crossover. Marvel Age is just the only place I've only ever seen it directly teased, to the point where the specific issues it was meant to appear in are referenced.

    Get your passport ready, we're about to take a long trip to Dropped-Plot-Pointberg, the capital city of the nation of Dangaling-Storylineistan.

    Heh. I honestly considered adding a new category to the reviews for this era of the title to keep track of all the plotlines that ultimately get dropped/resolved differently than intended (and you just offered up a pretty great name for it), but decided to just keep those in the "Notables" section since they involve referencing future stories, and I try to keep all the spoiler-y stuff confined to that section.

    So her ancestors were a rug?

    Ha!

    I wish we had gotten this story as CC had intended it.

    Me too. Me too.

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  10. I've always liked this issue. Mainly for the cover and the return of Banshee, but also in general for the fact that there's so much going on here.

    That said, my objections are:

    "...any recent villainous actions on his part are merely an attempt to draw the focus of anti-mutant sentiment to him, so it won't be placed on other mutants."

    I don't like this. I thought the Simonson/Byrne ret-con in NM 75 was pretty bad, but this just seems silly to me. Marvel was basically publishing two different Magnetos at this time, and Tom DeFalco really needed to step in and declare the character was one thing or the other and tell all the writers to quit their bickering, get on the same page, and write him accordingly.

    Or, if Claremont really wanted to justify Magneto's reversion to villainy, he should've dedicated more than a couple pages to his explanation. His revisit of the character's turn circa UXM 275 is much better.

    "Though we know he was healed by the Retribution Virus in Marvel Comics Presents, he uses them here without explanation, or a footnote to that story."

    This bothered me because, in those dark pre-internet days, I didn't know "The Retribution Affair" existed. And, as Banshee was one of my favorites, I really wanted to know how his power had been restored.

    Also, I was (and remain) disappointed that we see Banshee's full costume on the cover but we only get a tiny glimpse of it inside. Especially since this is the last time we see the old green-and-yellow outfit in modern day use until UXM #315, part one of "The Phalanx Covenant"! I've never understood why artists kept him in the generic school uniform for so long after the regular team reverted to their old outfits. Even after "Phalanx", he goes back to the boring generic look for the full run of GENERATION X (on the rare occasions he wears a costume in that series).

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  11. Oh -- also: I agree with the officer's assessment of Storm as "appears to be black". But, based on Silvestri's depiction of her in that panel, I do not agree that she "appears to be pre-teen". She looks about sixteen years old there!

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  12. @Teebore: // Could he theoretically be screaming in such a way in such instances that humans can't hear it? //

    Sure. I guess. Although that doesn't mean it wouldn't hurt. I'm one of those people who'll walk into your house, wince, and tell you that you left the computer monitor on upstairs.

    I forgot how X-Men: First Class (the movie) dealt with it. A quick Google reminded me that it wasn't bad and that especially with those glider wings he didn't have to scream continuously.

    @Matt: // Tom DeFalco really needed to step in and declare the character was one thing or the other and tell all the writers to quit their bickering, get on the same page, and write him accordingly. //

    As long as folks are mentioning future story points, lemme ask this instead of waiting for it to unfold since I'm at a loss: Did Claremont just drop this counter-retcon explanation or whatever when Magneto returned to face the newly reunited team in X-Men Vol. II #1? While I remember being curious how we got from Headmaster Magneto the last time I'd regularly read the titles to cackling-villain Magneto in Avengers West Coast and then the new adjectiveless X-Men series, the first few issues of which I picked up along with contemporanous Uncanny issues at the time, I'm now even more curious how we got there given the little tug-of-war between Claremont's Magneto and other hands' Magneto. Was Claremont taking such a backseat to Lee and Harras' plans that he let it go, or did we get some further moving of the needle in advance of that within Uncanny?

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  13. @wwk5d "and which were meant, had he stayed on the book, to carry the series all the way up to issue #300"

    I wish we had gotten this story as CC had intended it.


    I think it would have been interesting to see where Claremont took this, but I wouldn't trade anything for the experience of being a 9 year old and reading X-Men #1 for the first time. That comic basically turned me into a fan for life.

    @blam As long as folks are mentioning future story points, lemme ask this instead of waiting for it to unfold since I'm at a loss: Did Claremont just drop this counter-retcon explanation or whatever when Magneto returned to face the newly reunited team in X-Men Vol. II #1?

    Speaking of X-Men #1...He's definitely not a raving lunatic in that one just yet. He starts the story retired on Asteroid M and only gets involved when one of the Acolytes is killed by a human SHIELD agent in front of him. He steals some nukes for defensive purposes, bur he really only goes over the edge when he finds out that Moira tinkered with his DNA. So he's not "Headmaster Magneto" but he's definitely not a complete raving lunatic yet. Just wait for Fatal Attraction for that.

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  14. Blam -- " Was Claremont taking such a backseat to Lee and Harras' plans that he let it go, or did we get some further moving of the needle in advance of that within Uncanny?"

    I'm surprised no one else has jumped in to answer this yet. Claremont revisits Magneto in UNCANNY #275, where, if memory serves, he finally admits, sadly, that he just can't follow Xavier's path anymore, then commits a murder (not saying who in case you don't want to be spoiled) and departs. That sets him up for the scene Jeff mentions, where he's all mopey at the beginning of X-MEN #1.

    I'm sure Teebore, Jason, and pretty much everyone else can correct me if I'm wrong about Magneto's state of mind in issue 275, but as I said, my recollection is that he basically just gives up on being a good guy and punctuates his resignation by killing someone he didn't have to kill.

    Speaking of the build-up to UXM 300, I think I've said this before over at Not Blog X, but I really wish X-MEN FOREVER had taken a different tack: its first issue should have been numbered 280, and it should have just gone from there with the original UXM numbering, picking up right in the middle of "Muir Island Saga" and ignoring X-MEN 1-3.

    Of course, this would also have hinged on Claremont actually writing the series as if he hadn't left in the first place, which we all know did not happen.

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  15. Matt: I'm surprised no one else has jumped in to answer this yet.

    Well, we kind of did a very spoilerous recap recently when X-amining UXM #250, and it is a difficult thing to do un-spoilering...ly. It was a "let the other guy" moment for me at least.

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  16. Thanks, Jeff and Matt, for the replies. I probably haven't read X-Men #1-3 since they came out and didn't recall Magneto's characterization in them — mostly I've been going by the general mentions that he returns to "cackling villain" mode. While I subsequently read Fatal Attraction due to working in a comics shop and wanting to keep abreast of stuff, I wasn't really into it and don't recall more than some broad strokes.

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  17. @Blam: A quick Google reminded me that it wasn't bad and that especially with those glider wings he didn't have to scream continuously.

    I did like how the movie portrayed it, with him essentially generating a "burst" of sonics, then coasting on those for awhile before screaming again.

    Did Claremont just drop this counter-retcon explanation or whatever when Magneto returned to face the newly reunited team in X-Men Vol. II #1?

    Matt and Jeff covered this pretty well already, but for my $.02, I've always considered UXM #274&275 as the bridge between Reformed Magneto and I Don't Give a Shit Anymore Magneto, which is pretty much what he is in XMEN II #1-3. By then, he's pretty much taken a "neither path worked, so I'm just done" approach, at least until a mutant is gunned down on his doorstep, he gets goaded into action by his self-proclaimed Acolytes, and is led to believe Moira tinkered with his DNA when he was a baby in her care.

    @Matt: Mainly for the cover and the return of Banshee, but also in general for the fact that there's so much going on here.

    Ditto.

    Or, if Claremont really wanted to justify Magneto's reversion to villainy, he should've dedicated more than a couple pages to his explanation. His revisit of the character's turn circa UXM 275 is much better.

    I certainly wouldn't object to Claremont spending more time fleshing out Magneto's post-Reformation status quo, especially since Magneto's stuff in #274-#275 is some of my favorite, ever.

    This bothered me because, in those dark pre-internet days, I didn't know "The Retribution Affair" existed.

    Honestly, I don't think I learned about the "Retribution Affair" until, like, a few years ago. Definitely could have used a footnote.

    Even after "Phalanx", he goes back to the boring generic look for the full run of GENERATION X (on the rare occasions he wears a costume in that series).

    I never really thought of that before, but you're right, it's weird that he sticks with that "group uniform" look for long.

    I really wish X-MEN FOREVER had taken a different tack: its first issue should have been numbered 280, and it should have just gone from there with the original UXM numbering, picking up right in the middle of "Muir Island Saga" and ignoring X-MEN 1-3.

    Me too, me too.

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  18. And now we finally start getting hints seeded back in #229 where it was suggested the team's knowing Gateway might cost them dearly. It's because of the Shadow King.

    Just what is this mad-on the Shadow King has for mutants from indigenous cultures, first Ororo, then Gateway and now Forge?

    Nice to see Claremont returning to Richard Leakey's Eve hypothesis for Ororo's different appearance again:)

    And here comes the evidence that when Zaladane absorbed Lorna's magnetic abilities she left Malice behind, who began integrating herself physically to Lorna's body so that when Lorna comes across people she brings out the worst in them. Who'd have thunk Malice would become the psionic anchor the Shadow King needed to re-enter our world!


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  19. The Malice thing... makes sense. But if the negative effect on people was Malice fusing herself to Lorna, where did the size-growth, super-strenght and invulnerability come from? Latent in Zaladane and got exchanged to Polaris' magnetism powers?

    Who is Malice? What is Malice? We met her first when she pestered Dazzler on the eve of Mutant Massacre, right? Where did Alison pick her up? Was she around already and actively doing her thing when the Dazzler movie turned everyone openly against mutants? Some sort of astral manifestation of the mutant hatred maybe, gathering itself around a speck of... what? A chunk of Shadow King consciousness? Just where did Shadow King go after leaving Karma? Dazzler was hanging around the New Mutants at that time, right?

    Have we actually ever seen Shadow King and Malice together in the same room at the same time?

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  20. @Teebore: // Definitely could have used a footnote. //

    Yeah, I expected one — and that's me coming to the scene now, having read the MCP issues not long ago. For readers at the time who may well not have seen that story, it must've been odd indeed. Given that Sean was without his powers for so long, not to mention the constant, nearly pathological references to how he lost them due to injuries suffered in #119, a decade earlier, there must have been a generation of fans who'd only seen him in Banshee mode via back issues as well as ones like you for whom this was a back issue who deserved to know why their collection seemed pretty complete and didn't explain how he was flying again.

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  21. Hey. Pretty Boy's decapitation by Pierce and his new "bare bones" configuration didn't get even a mention?

    Man, I love the scenes between villains. Any scenes. When they are palling with each other like Absorbing Man and Thunderball comparing their balls in the SECRET WARS or when they're being complete dicks to each other like Pierce here with the rest of the gang joining in. Well at least the original Reavers of them, the Hellfire commandos mopping up the cellars seem a bit more sympathetic to his blight. Characterization lives on.

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  22. @Teemu: Hey. Pretty Boy's decapitation by Pierce and his new "bare bones" configuration didn't get even a mention?

    Blame it on the density of the issue: tons of stuff going on in this one, only so much time to cover it all. As a result, a bit like that, which is amusing and appreciated but not terribly significant to the overall narrative or the quality of the issue itself, gets bumped out.

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