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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #254

"All New, All Different -- Here We Go Again!"
Early December 1989

In a Nutshell 
The Reavers attack Muir Island, prompting the formation of a new team of X-Men. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: Marc Silvestri & Dan Green
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Greg Wright
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
On Muir Island, Moira runs a series of tests on Lorna, confirming the absence of Malice. Down the coast, Banshee arrives to pickup Amanda Sefton and Brigadier Stuart, but he is shot by one of the Reavers. Diving into the water after him, Amanda magically transforms herself and Stuart into mermaids in order to breathe underwater, then grabs Banshee and teleports the three of them to Muir Island. As Moira and Sharon Friedlander work to save Banshee's life, Moira, anticipating an imminent attack on the island, orders everyone into protective X-uniforms. Meanwhile, in New York, Callisto is captured by Masque, now leading the remaining Morlocks, who wants the access codes to the X-Mansion. Back on Muir Island, the Reavers attack and seemingly kill Sunder.


Tom Corsi and Polaris fight back, as does Legion, though he seems to be helping the Reavers as much as harming them. Elsewhere, Destiny has a vision of the future, just as Val Cooper calls with a mission for Freedom Force. Back on Muir Isle, Amanda and Brigadier Stuart defend the beach, but are captured. In Washington, an outraged Mystique is ordered to work with Forge to help defend Muir Island. Back on the island, the Morlock Healer finishes healing Banshee, who notes how much wilder Moira has become. Meanwhile, a revived Sunder attacks Skullcrusher, but is shot in the back by Pretty Boy. Regrouped, the Reavers set out to finish the job and kill the rest of the island's defenders. 

Firsts and Other Notables
This marks the first appearance of the Muir Island X-Men as a group, a collection of X-Men supporting characters based on Muir Island. More a fan name than one used in the narrative itself, the Muir Island X-Men become one of the various focal points of the series during the non-team era, lasting even after the main X-Men team reforms and Claremont leaves the series, all the way through the "Muir Island Saga".

They all wear a variation of a new unified look for the X-Men, an updated take on the New Mutants' old school uniforms, designed by Jim Lee. Like the New Mutants' uniforms, these are said to function as body armor (and regulate body temperature). They will later be adopted by the reformed X-Men post-"X-Tinction Agenda" and, in the case of Forge and Banshee, linger even after Jim Lee creates a bunch of new looks as part of the '91 relaunch.


With the absence of Wolverine, the sole remaining living/non-missing member of the team, this is technically the first issue of the series in which no current X-Men appear (unless you count the Silver Age issues in which the X-Men had disbanded per the FBI's request but continued to appear in the series).  

Professor Xavier's son, Legion, last seen residing on Muir Island in New Mutants #44, pops up in this issue (erroneously referred to as Daniel, not David), the first time he's appeared in an issue of X-Men. He is seen both helping and hurting the Reavers, seemingly at random, throughout the issue, and will end up playing a significant role within the Muir Island X-Men moving forward.  

When Amanda Sefton tries to magic everyone into the X-uniforms, she accidentally puts everyone into S&M gear; sometimes mistakenly attributed to the Shadow King's influence, the snafu was actually caused by Legion's evil Jack Wayne persona who, his worst impulses drawn out by Lorna's new powers, is subtly influencing everyone on the island (Legion will later be taken over by the Shadow King, who then begins corrupting everyone on the island himself, but he's not there yet).


Similarly, this issue introduces "Dark Moira", as Banshee notes her changed demeanor and dress of late. She too is being influenced by Legion and will later be influenced by the Shadow King, and her more sexualized appearance will remain a consistent part of her portrayal across the X-books up through the "Muir Island Saga".


Tom Corsi and Sharon Friedlander, the former last seen in issue #212 and the latter in Fantastic Four vs. the X-Men #2, pop up in this issue, Sharon as a nurse working with Moira and Tom as Banshee's deputy security chief for the island. Both are considered members of the Muir Island X-Men.


Callisto, in New York sealing off the X-Mansion, is captured by Masque, last seen in X-Factor #16, in charge of the remaining Morlocks in New York. Masque and his band of Morlocks will remain a recurring antagonist for several X-teams well into the '91 relaunch. 


The Warpies, a group of children mutated by dimensional energies released after the reality manipulations of Mad Jim Jaspers in Captain Britain's solo series, are shown to be on Muir Island in this issue, and are targeted along with everyone else by the Reavers. They'll pop up again later in Excalibur.


Destiny says that despite Mystique's hatred of Forge (she blames him for Rogue's "death" during "Fall of the Mutants"), their futures are intertwined. This turns out to be true, as Forge ends up caring for then-insane Mystique circa issue #290, and later the pair serve together in the government-sponsored X-Factor.


Sunder, the super-strong Morlock who survived the Marauders attack and ended up on Muir Island with Callisto, is killed this issue by the Reavers.


The Morlock Healer, who also made the post-massacre exodus to Muir Island, pops up this issue to help heal Banshee's gunshot wound.


Amanda and Stuart are captured by the Reavers in this issue; however, they are completely absent from the next issue. The former will pop up again later amongst the Muir Island X-Men, while the latter next appears in Excalibur #30. 

The cover of this issue is, of course, an homage to Giant-Sized X-Men #1. It is somewhat misleading in that Forge does not appear as part of the Muir Island X-Men in this issue, neither Legion nor Sunder appear in uniform in the issue, and Tom, Sharon, and Alysande are absent from the cover.

The series returns to monthly publication as of this issue; however, Marvel at the time was in the process of adjusting their cover-date policy such that the cover date on all issues of all their series would be two months ahead of the on-sale date, rather than three. As a result, the cover date of this issue and all other series on sale for the next two months reflect an accelerated shipping schedule (which is why New Mutants, X-Factor and Excalibur issues from this month and next get the "early/mid/late" descriptors even though they never shipped bi-weekly). In the case of X-Men, this shift coincided with the end of their summer bi-weekly shipping, making it look like the series published three issues a month for two months, even though it didn't. 

A Work in Progress
Moira confirms that there is no presence of Malice lingering in Lorna. She also notes that Zaladane most likely was Lorna's sister, as that's the only way her power transfer could have worked. Finally, it's established that Lorna's newfound strength and invulnerability is powered by some kind of energy she is absorbing, but Moira isn't sure yet what the energy is.


Alysande Stuart has a past with Banshee, from his pre-X-Men days.


Given that Amanda later teleports herself, Stuart and Banshee directly to Muir Island, I'm not sure why Banshee is picking up the women via boat in the first place. 

I Love the 80s
Tom Corsi compares himself to action stars/characters (Bruce) Willis, (Mel) Gibson and Rambo, while the Reavers reference A Fish Called Wanda


Artistic Achievements
Sunder appears to die  early in this issue, then pops up again at the very end (shortly before dying again, and for reals this time), saying his armor protected him. However, he is only ever depicted wearing his regular clothes and not the protective X-uniform.


Teebore's Take
The "rebirth" side of "Dissolution and Rebirth" essentially begins here, as we get our first look at a "traditional" replacement for the dissolved Outback X-Men via the Muir Island X-Men, in a story that also kicks off the two-part finale to the overall arc, as the Reavers attack Muir Island. The Muir Island X-Men never quite become the formal replacement for the X-Men suggested by this cover and the new X-uniforms they don, but here and in later appearances there's definitely something fun in seeing so many long-forgotten or ignored supporting characters get a chance in the spotlight. Of all the various groups of characters who take the lead at various times in the upcoming "no team" era of the book, the Muir Island X-Men comes the closest to feeling like the "Legion of Substitute X-Men", an inherently fun concept (which was previously teased in the Doom/Arcade story circa issues #145-147) for the way it suggests a "what if/what also?" approach to the team while putting characters who usually hang out on the sidelines into the game. 

Next Issue
Tomorrow, Technet takes the stage in Excalibur #15. Friday, Wolverine gets a visit from an old friend in Wolverine #17. Next week, more Reaver madness in Uncanny X-Men #255.

Collected Editions

23 comments:


  1. // On Muir Island, Moira runs a series of tests on Lorna, confirming the absence of Malice. //

    Paging Sydney Pollack!

    // designed by Jim Lee //

    What's to design? Apart from Moira's suit they're the same old standard. Lorna's has yellow shoulder points at first, but they disappear after a couple of panels; Sunder's has a random metal armband, but that's only seen on the cover (where Moria's in a regular uniform) and it's only a random metal armband. Even Banshee's glider wings are more an addition than a change, and really just a functional variation on the order of Cyclops' visor or Beast's lack of gloves and boots.

    // Like the New Mutants' uniforms, these are said to function as body armor //

    I guess Doug's was defective, given how Tom marvels at his uniform stopping rapid-fire shells at more-or-less point-blank range.

    // the snafu was actually caused by Legion's evil Jack Wayne persona //

    Are we supposed to understand that yet? Does it get explained in a later issue or is it paratextual knowledge from interviews, recaps, and such?

    // "Dark Moira" //

    That came out of nowhere. She's testing Lorna dressed like the Mocha Queen of the Hellfire Club.

    // Masque and his band of Morlocks //

    For some reason I keep forgetting that he's a he.

    // Reaver madness //

    Ha!

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  2. @Blam: What's to design?

    I honestly have no idea (slightly brighter colors maybe? Blue highlights instead of black?), I've just always seen Lee credited with the redesign.

    I guess Doug's was defective, given how Tom marvels at his uniform stopping rapid-fire shells at more-or-less point-blank range.

    You only get one of the bullet stopping ones if your power doesn't make you a narrative dead weight around the neck of the writer. :)

    Are we supposed to understand that yet?

    No.

    Does it get explained in a later issue or is it paratextual knowledge from interviews, recaps, and such?

    A little of both. Future issues hint at it without outright stating it, while outside source material (interviews/recaps/etc) eventually makes it more clear.

    Basically, the dots get put down, but it takes a little work to connect them.

    She's testing Lorna dressed like the Mocha Queen of the Hellfire Club.

    If Magneto is the "Grey King" now, there should totally be a Mocha Queen.

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  3. Amanda Sefton's clothing spell reminds me of Magik's attempt to clothe a naked Moira in NM#46. I get the feeling CC wanted to use Illyana in this storyline, but INFERNO prevented this, and so he used Amanda as a substitute.

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  4. @Teebore: // If Magneto is the "Grey King" now, there should totally be a Mocha Queen. //

    "Brown Queen" just didn't sound right, so I went for something with a little more 'zazz.

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  5. "Alysande Stuart has a past with Banshee, from his pre-X-Men days."
    How old are the Stuarts supposed to be? They're supposed to be TWINS, but Alistaire is being treated like he's in his early 20s (since he's hitting on Rachel and Kitty is attracted to him) while Alysande is being treated like she's a few years younger than Banshee.

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  6. Yippie Kay Yay MFs! Hopefully I'll be able to come back and express more refined points, but for now let me say this issue and the last are two of my favourites from Claremont's run.

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  7. "Like the New Mutants' uniforms, these are said to function as body armor (and regulate body temperature)."

    Was it ever established that the NW uniform's worked that way?

    "she accidentally puts everyone into S&M gear"

    This is a CC written comic drawn by Marc Silvestri...nothing accidental about it lol

    "Both are considered members of the Muir Island X-Men."

    And, technically, the only human members of the team, no?

    "Masque, last seen in X-Factor #16, in charge of the remaining Morlocks in New York"

    Like cockroaches, they just can't seem to get rid of the Morlocks, no? It's interesting that in the panel introducing us to Sunder, it states he is one of the few Morlocks to survive the Massacre, but then Masque has his own group. Guess he was recruiting.

    "Amanda and Stuart are captured by the Reavers in this issue; however, they are completely absent from the next issue. The former will pop up again later amongst the Muir Island X-Men"

    And strangely enough, the Reavers don't kill them nor bother to use them as hostages for bargaining. Funny enough, when Amanda pops up again, it's during the Muir Island Saga, and like here, she disappears mid-storyline and doesn't show up again for a few years. Poor girl.

    "an homage to Giant-Sized X-Men #1"

    One of my least favorite homages, since nobody is in the same pose as they were in the original cover, and no shocked members of the X-men reacting to the new team...

    "drawn out by Lorna's new powers"
    "Finally, it's established that Lorna's newfound strength and invulnerability is powered by some kind of energy she is absorbing"

    Her new powers are kind of wonky, no? She produces a negative reaction in people, in order to then absorb that energy, for her super-strength and invulnerability. Which is like reaching over your own head with you right hand to scratch your left ear...

    Also, wasn't the whole "the critical element still exists etc" just recycled from when Storm lost her powers?

    "Given that Amanda later teleports herself, Stuart and Banshee directly to Muir Island, I'm not sure why Banshee is picking up the women via boat in the first place."

    Now why she doesn't just teleport herself and Stuart away from the Reavers once they've been captured by them. Maybe that's what happened in-between issues? And due to Legion, instead of teleporting to Muir Isle, her spell was corrupted and they ended up in Autralia or something? Holy fanwanks!

    "What's to design?"

    The real Jim Lee redesign doesn't happen now, it happens once we get to the mid-270s. Everyone will have yellow shoulder points, and buckle-bands around the wrists, neck, thighs, and calves. And the part under the belt goes from a yellow speedo to a...thong, for lack of a better word.

    http://uncannyxmen.net/sites/default/files/images/characters/wolverine/wolv-bigcostume7.jpg

    http://uncannyxmen.net/sites/default/files/images/costume/gambit-bigcostume2.jpg

    "I guess Doug's was defective"

    No, no, it's just as Pretty Boy says, the Ani-mator just has a special gun designed to breach it ;)

    Overall, while I like this issue and next, the actual fighting does all apart when I think about how CC seems to purposely stack the deck against the X-men (and Freedom Force next issue) just to build up the threat of the Reavers. We see some of it here, but we'll see much more of it later.

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  8. Amanda magically transforms herself and Stuart into mermaids in order to breathe underwater

    Now it's the stuff like this that gives comics a bad name. Yes, in this case it's fully justified her being a sorcerer, but try convincing someone of that who's lacking the background information. Love the nearing-to-lesbianism bit where Alysande shyly asks Amanda if there could be a possibility for a repeat, btw.

    Tom Corsi compares himself to action stars/characters (Bruce) Willis, (Mel) Gibson and Rambo, while the Reavers reference A Fish Called Wanda.

    I kind of love Macon's characterization as an annoying sort of movie buff. I guess there's little to do in the Australian Outback. Other than that, I know there is the general reading audience to be considered etc etc but as a 30-something gentleman I strongly object writing the names open in full, like there would be any acceptable way of someone not knowing them.

    Quite with the times with Willis in this issue published in '89, btw. Didn't "Die Hard" come out just recently, and before that Willis really wasn't an action star really or what's the recollection for you folks?

    If there is one thing to commend The Legion Quest/Age of Apocalypse of, it's picking up Claremont's cue here in Destiny's dream perfectly with things turning crystal and her diaries' role on sorting it all out and all.

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  9. wwk5d: " This is a CC written comic drawn by Marc Silvestri...nothing accidental about it lol "

    So, do you guys thing "Jacob Reidls" Shadow King as a middle-ageish bearded gentleman putting everyone in SM gear could have in any way been... self-referential?

    Because that so would fetch a point for Mr. Claremont and bring him to 1-2 in the Claremont/Byrne tug of war. That's how you write yourself into a comic book!

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  10. Friday, Wolverine gets a visit from an old friend...

    I'm sure a day will come when you'll get tired of writing that. It, eventually, gets to the point where every third person on the Marvel universe is an "old friend" of Wolverine. The guy's connected.

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  11. Wow, finally caught up. Great job Teebore and everyone commenting! I missed Remarkable by about 3 months, so happy to find TGOL and cruise through in time to share in the discussions about my favorite XMen period.

    My top rated XMen time actually starts with 229 and the move to the Outback and extends to 276 or so, when Claremont leaves and the rushed Muir Island Saga hits. Although it encompasses two main story lines, as has been noted, it represents a third Claremont arc whereby anything is possible.

    Some of the Shattered Star/Search for XMen comics are pretty bad (the Forge/Jean Grey two-parter comes to mind), but there is no other time when you weren't really sure who would show up or what would happen.

    In terms of excitement and desire to pick up the next issue, this is tops for me. We might have gotten an even more dynamic presentation (for better or worse) had editorial not stepped in to corral Claremont.

    Nevertheless, it turned out great, as never before or after in XMen was there such a sense of buildup to a big event.

    Mutant Massacre had no buildup, just fallout which got resolved with the main antagonists dispatched quickly in an event years later with only a quick check in (and arguably better appearance in 222).

    Fall of the Mutants had the worst prelude ever, with Storm fighting generic demons in the same manner twice or more, only to lead up to a big battle with, you guessed it, a generic demon bad guy wanting to take over the world. Whilst the writing was great at this time, the story and its relevance to the characters was negligible.

    It would have been better/made more sense to have the XMen re-locate to Australia to avoid the Marauders. The everyone believes the XMen dead was forced and the world believes the XMen to be heroes was quickly forgotten.

    Inferno had two stories and eight comics or so in the main title before its main arc, which nicely tied up some simmering plot-lines and covered the needed Maddie retcon. But besides laying the groundwork for an awesome Cyclops backstory and Sinister villain that was never completed, the story lacked any real impact for the future.

    The Dark Phoenix saga was quality in terms of setup, which took years, sometimes subtle, sometimes blatant. It also had lasting impact on the book (more than some of us would have liked, as re-hashing the story or using the same plot points proved to be rather Claremontian). In essence though, its character impact was limited to just Cyclops and Jean (and Rachel I guess), with lip service and weeping paid to the event by the other characters.

    Counter that with the Dissolution/Rebirth which cleared the books of an entire team, made Wolverine vulnerable (although dropped with Claremont's departure, most definitely set the table for his claws to be ripped out and his own departure from the book), gave us new characters (Juiblee and Gambit), brought back old ones (Banshee and Forge), gave us Magneto's return to villainy and set the table for a lasting reshuffle of the teams.

    This alll leading up to X-Tinction Agenda, the first real crossover in terms of 1-2-3 book setup and, although bloated and silly in places, had antagonists with real connection to the heroes and lasting effects on the book. Not to mention some great art (in spots) and iconic moments.

    253 and 254 set the table for all this and are great reads.

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  12. The weird thing about these X-Men uniforms is that everyone keeps acting like they're new when clearly they aren't. I guess maybe the body armor part is, but as Blam points out, they're identical to the old X-Men school unis. And yet, a few issues from now, Banshee will comment that they're extremely immodest and leave little to the imagination. As somehow opposed to every other superhero costume ever? His new X-uniform is no tighter than his old green costume!

    Sometimes Chris Claremont's words are inspired to greatness by art, sometimes he does a very good job of scripting over artists' mistakes. And then occasionally, for whatever reason, he flat-out writes against the art.

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  13. @angmc43: I get the feeling CC wanted to use Illyana in this storyline, but INFERNO prevented this, and so he used Amanda as a substitute.

    I could see that. Amanada was rarely quite so...traditionally magically (?) in the use of her abilities.

    @Anonymous: They're supposed to be TWINS, but Alistaire is being treated like he's in his early 20s (since he's hitting on Rachel and Kitty is attracted to him) while Alysande is being treated like she's a few years younger than Banshee.

    Huh. That's a really good question I hadn't ever considered. Your right that Alistaire is consistently played as just on the adult side of "boy genius", whereas this suggests Alysande is much older.

    @wwk5d:Was it ever established that the NW uniform's worked that way?

    I thought that was established in an early NM, but I did a quick search for it and couldn't find the reference, so I'm not sure.

    And, technically, the only human members of the team, no?

    I think Amanda is technically human. Her magical abilities are, I believe, learned and not natural.

    Guess he was recruiting.

    I don't believe that's ever confirmed, but I like it as an explanation for the seemingly-never ending Morlock population.

    One of my least favorite homages, since nobody is in the same pose as they were in the original cover

    Sunder is *kinda* like Colossus, with his arm outstretched and whatnot...

    Which is like reaching over your own head with you right hand to scratch your left ear...

    Heh. Yes, her new powers are a bit...overly complicated.

    Also, wasn't the whole "the critical element still exists etc" just recycled from when Storm lost her powers?

    Pretty much, yeah.

    The real Jim Lee redesign doesn't happen now, it happens once we get to the mid-270s.

    Ah, that explains my confusion.

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  14. @Teemu: Love the nearing-to-lesbianism bit where Alysande shyly asks Amanda if there could be a possibility for a repeat, btw.

    I hadn't thought of that, but I can see it.

    Quite with the times with Willis in this issue published in '89, btw. Didn't "Die Hard" come out just recently, and before that Willis really wasn't an action star really or what's the recollection for you folks?

    Die Hard definitely put Willis on the map as a new kind of "everyman" action hero, but it came out summer of 1988, so it would have been over a year old when this issue was on stands.

    If there is one thing to commend The Legion Quest/Age of Apocalypse of, it's picking up Claremont's cue here in Destiny's dream perfectly with things turning crystal

    I meant to point that out in the post, but I wasn't sure if the crystals in "Legion Quest" were a play on this, or a play on the M'Kraan crystal being, you know, crystal, so I wasn't entirely comfortable declaring this issue to be the source for the latter.

    @Cerebro: I'm sure a day will come when you'll get tired of writing that. It, eventually, gets to the point where every third person on the Marvel universe is an "old friend" of Wolverine.

    I am already dreading that day, but in this particular instance, I was trying to be (perhaps too) clever, in that the old friend in question is John Byrne, who starts drawing the series with issue #17. :)

    @Zephyr:
    Wow, finally caught up. Great job Teebore and everyone commenting!


    Thanks! And welcome to the party!

    I really appreciate your thoughts on the various crossovers and storylines; I haven't ever really thought of DPS in that context before.

    I agree that this era of the book feels like it's building to something big, though for me, "X-Tinction Agenda" is just one of the larger peaks on the road to the '91 relaunch, rather than the thing to which everything's been building.

    @Matt: And then occasionally, for whatever reason, he flat-out writes against the art.

    Heh.

    In this case, I think he thought the "left to the imagination" comment would be a nice indication of Banshee's character and status as an older superhero without really thinking through the full implications of it (ie that Banshee's been gallivanting around in similar costumes for decades).

    That's where I think Claremont sometimes has problems: not so much in writing against the art, but in becoming too attached to an idea to fully realize its full implications, and if he doesn't have a careful editor working with him, it can cause problems.

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  15. Zephyr: " Fall of the Mutants had the worst prelude ever, with Storm fighting generic demons in the same manner twice or more, only to lead up to a big battle with, you guessed it, a generic demon bad guy wanting to take over the world. Whilst the writing was great at this time, the story and its relevance to the characters was negligible. "

    Objection! There was all that Rogue/Mystique intrigue about Destiny seeing the X-Men would die, and their personal relationship versus Freedom Force's official capacity and how they suddenly end up teaming up with the X-Men, and the whole Forge plot. Lots of build-up throughout the years and the execution didn't leave us wanting.

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  16. Teebore: " I meant to point that out in the post, but I wasn't sure if the crystals in "Legion Quest" were a play on this, or a play on the M'Kraan crystal being, you know, crystal, so I wasn't entirely comfortable declaring this issue to be the source for the latter. "

    Not only the crystals but how everything shatters in the end of the dream, the clock hitting twelve and all that. It may have been meant only for Destiny's own death here, but, reading Legion Quest, when things go down it just so seamlessly feel like THIS is what Destiny was seeing all those years ago, the end of time, Legion's role in it and all. And her smiling through her death back then, knowing it would be sorted out, afterwards. Of course she had put it down in writing into her diary.

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  17. @Teebore
    I agree that this era of the book feels like it's building to something big, though for me, "X-Tinction Agenda" is just one of the larger peaks on the road to the '91 relaunch, rather than the thing to which everything's been building.

    I tend to think "X-Tinction Agenda" was quite a big event and culmination of the Dissolution/Rebirth arc. The characters critical to the franchise going forward that had been apart met again/for the first time in Storm and Gambit/Wolverine, Psylocke and Jubilee/ and Banshee and Forge (to a lesser degree).

    It also brought all the teams (or what was left of them) together for the first time in the regular books (obviously, some of them met in somewhat brief circumstances in "Days of Future Past"). All other crossovers to this point had only included meetings by two of the three main teams at a time.

    It continued a great storyline, in Genosha, which arguably had some of the most resonance to the X-Men theme of humans versus mutants and the Dream of cohabitation.

    Moreover, although Cameron Hodge's cackling robot body was somewhat absurd, he was with X-Factor from the beginning and was very relevant to that entire series premise, along with having a limited connection to Rictor.

    Not to mention, the (semi) permanent Wolfsbane change and her move away from New Mutants, death (well nothing is permanent in comics) of Warlock, Havok's departure from the main series and re-confirmation of the Summer's blood as the pre-eminent force in X-Men.

    Oh, and the next X-Men issue after, they are all back at the school (what's left of it) attempting to set goals and setting the stage for the reshuffle, including new directions for teams (ie. X-Force).

    Also, Claremont was still around putting out quality stories, Jim Lee was crushing it and Rob Liefeld hadn't gone full X-Farce yet.

    I am sure we will get into it later with those issues, but I would argue that no other crossover/big event had as much impact on the X-Universe (keep in mind, I stopped reading regularly around 330 and thought AoA and Onslaught were pretty terrible).


    @Teemu
    Objection! There was all that Rogue/Mystique intrigue about Destiny seeing the X-Men would die, and their personal relationship versus Freedom Force's official capacity and how they suddenly end up teaming up with the X-Men, and the whole Forge plot. Lots of build-up throughout the years and the execution didn't leave us wanting.

    "All that" may be a stretch, I remember a couple pages of one comic.

    As stated, I like the writing and feel that the Freedom Force/X-Men relationship and fights were the best part.

    They were, however, ancillary to the main plot of demon's taking over Dallas. Which was a re-hash of a much shorter arc in the late 180's and very generic (demon takes over world!), with no relevance to any main characters besides maybe Forge (who cares) and Storm (yay, she got her powers back, now we can go back to writing her as a boring goddess).

    The buildup, which focused heavily on their relationship, never amounted to anything either, as it was rather unceremoniously dropped years later.

    Claremont's wordsmithing was at its height and Silvestri was on point. But ultimately, its just not one of my favorites and way overpraised, in my opinion.

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  18. Zephyr: " They were, however, ancillary to the main plot of demon's taking over Dallas. Which was a re-hash of a much shorter arc in the late 180's and very generic (demon takes over world!), with no relevance to any main characters besides maybe Forge (who cares) and Storm (yay, she got her powers back, now we can go back to writing her as a boring goddess). "

    Demon does Dallas *chuckle*. I think we should be rather joyful that for once it's a generish villain doing generish villain thing, WITHOUT there being "relevance" or a retroactive continuity plugin tying it personally to yet another X-Man. There's no "oh no, someone's killing Morlocks whom I'm the leader of!", "oh no, Rachel's gone haywire!" etc. Well there IS the Storm/Forge bit, yes, but in the end it looks like the X-Men go to Dallas just in spite of the prophecy and do stuff they do because heroes do stuff like that. They didn't go there and say: "Well, looks like Storm or Forge isn't around, so I guess we're off then. You lot might wanna call FF or the Avengers, I heard they're being held for the reserves."

    I have love for the 180-something bit with the Casket of Ancient Winters tie-in, which was mainly about Dire Wraiths really, the Adversary/Naze stuff being a side plot that would nowadays be called a Claremont's dangler had it been left unaddressed. But then again I also care about Forge, deeply.

    There's some nice unlauded symmetry in Storm and Forge being kept away from each other in the end by both having to give precedence to their imposed-on calling, career if you will, with Storm getting her powers back and Forge having to be the, well, adversary to Adversary. They were allowed their respite, but now... it's a tragedy really. They say early Marvel was great because of incorporating what they had learns from doing the romance comics and monster comics in the 50's, and sure enough she you strip away the tricot trimmings, in the core you have a romance plot going awry not unlike with Scott and Maddie. Who is to say what might have come of Storm, burying herself into work and forcing herself not to feel, should Claremont have continued as the writer.

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  19. Don't forget, the Adversary storyline took so long because of all the behind-the-scenes drama that took place regarding #200 and the Mutant Massacre...I have a feeling the build-up for FOTM might have gone better had CC been allowed to go with his original plans.

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  20. Zephyr: " "All that" may be a stretch, I remember a couple pages of one comic. "

    Fair notion. I conflated it in my mind, but alas not in my comment, that the/a conflict with the government sanctioned Freedom Force and outlaw X-Men had been kind of bubbling under since the early #200s issues and I, again, love how Mystique uses her position for personal reasons trying to save Rogue by arresting the X-Men, as per her job, before it's too late, to the point of nearly sacrificing Spiral by commanding her to "be there first" at the Aerie.

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  21. I love this arc-- it's a bright spot for me of this period, and it really conveys a sense of build-up and excitement. I love how chaotic it is, how much is packed into each issue, and the unexpected creative choices that are made. Most of all, I love the sense that Claremont is now working on a really big canvas. It's just a lot of fun.

    It's unfortunate that most of the promise of these issues really isn't borne out. While I would have loved to see Claremont's original plans come to fruition, I also tend to think that the theoretical version of it is probably more exciting than anything that would ever have made it onto the page.

    All the momentum that's building up here really gets squandered in the upcoming issues before Jim Lee's official arrival: while the arc introducing Gambit is semi-intriguing, and the Psylocke arc at least looks fantastic and has a lot of energy (despite being gobbledygook), everything in between is aimless and boring aside from an intriguing sense of darkness.

    It's unclear to me whether Claremont ever really would have gotten where he says he was going. Based on what we see, his interest in the story he's telling seems to be sporadic at best.

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  22. @Teemu

    Solid points and your love of FoTM is quite evident.

    I just personally prefer events and stories that have lasting relevance to the characters and the overall theme of the comic book.

    The Neil Connan (or whatever his name is) commentary of the X-Men as heroes was good and did touch a bit on the larger theme. Unfortunately, this plot point (the X-Men as outcasts and their interaction with humans) hadn't really been fleshed out in the main book since issue 200, with X-Factor picking up more of this theme (unfortunately). It was then completely dropped post FoTM, besides the first Genosha arc.

    The Adversary stuff did nothing for the X-Men characters (beyond those noted) or the greater theme.

    The Forge/Storm relationship, while unrequited and probably better than a happy ending, was just left hanging for so long, its impact was lessened. They gave more thought bubbles to Gambit feeling threatened than Forge once reunited. Also, Storm's brief child time aside, her post FoTM character had definitely regressed from an interest standpoint.

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  23. @Teemu: Not only the crystals but how everything shatters in the end of the dream, the clock hitting twelve and all that. It may have been meant only for Destiny's own death here, but, reading Legion Quest, when things go down it just so seamlessly feel like THIS is what Destiny was seeing all those years ago, the end of time, Legion's role in it and all. And her smiling through her death back then, knowing it would be sorted out, afterwards.

    You're right; I'd forgotten a lot of those little details. Dang, now I wish I had pointed out the connection in the post...

    @Ben: All the momentum that's building up here really gets squandered in the upcoming issues before Jim Lee's official arrival... everything in between is aimless and boring aside from an intriguing sense of darkness.

    Yeah, I'd probably say issues #259-267 are probably my least favorite sustained stretch of issues in Claremont's entire run. Just aimless (the Harriers) and/or goofy (tentacle arm Jean Grey) stuff, let down by inconsistent art (the Storm/Shadow King/Gambit arc in particular).

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