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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #259

"Dream a Little Dream"
March 1990

In a Nutshell 
Colossus and Dazzler emerge from the Siege Perilous and set about building new lives for themselves. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Marc Silvestri
Inker: Dan Green
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Soho, Phillip Moreau and Jenny Ransome are attacked by a pair of Genoshan Magistrates and Pipeline, but the sudden appearance of a naked and amnesiac Colossus helps prevent their capture. In return, they offer him a place to stay. In Hollywood, Freddie Stanachek discovers a copy of the lost Dazzler movie. Later, Lila Cheney's bodyguard Guido discovers Dazzler washed up on the beach near Lila's house. Elsewhere, Masque torments Callisto. In Soho, Colossus, thinking his name is Peter Nicholas, gets a job as the caretaker of the apartment complex where Phillip and Jenny live. In Hollywood, Freddie tries to sell Baron-Fox Studios on the idea of releasing the Dazzler movie, but without a hook to make it relevant again, they're not interested. At Lila's house, Dazzler becomes reacquainted with her history, but still remembers none of it, and leaves for a night on the town.


On Muir Island, Legion attempts to use Cerebro to locate the X-Men, but the effort leaves him open to an attack by the Shadow King. In New York, Peter bumps into a model he's felt a strange attraction too, but she runs off before he can get her name. He becomes smitten with her, sketching her image, as well as, to the surprise of Phillip, the image of Jenny as she appeared before the mutate process started to change her. In Genosha, the Genegineer gives authorization to use the entire Press Gang to bring Phillip and Jenny to justice. In California, Dazzler runs into Freddie at a bar, and though she doesn't remember him, she is attracted to him, and the pair go to another club, where Dazzler ends up foiling a robbery. The resultant press coverage of her actions draws the attention of Eric Beale, the failed producer of Dazzler's movie, who declares that he's going to announce his comeback to the world via Dazzler's death.

Firsts and Other Notables
Following Psylocke in issue #255, two more X-Men emerge from the Siege Perilous in this issue. First is Colossus, who turns up naked in Soho with no memory of his past or his powers, though he thinks his name is Peter Nicholas, senses that he's American, and retains his artistic abilities. Colossus will hang around for the next few issues (and pop up in X-Factor as well), then disappear again for awhile, not regaining his full memories until after Claremont leaves the series, during the "Muir Island Saga".


The second member of the team to pop up is Dazzler, who ends up deposited on the beach outside Lila Cheney's home, enabling her to be found by someone who knows her and thus, learn about her past life (even while she doesn't remember it). She will be the focus of next issue's story.


Dazzler is found by Guido (future X-Factor member Strong Guy), Lila's bodyguard who appeared previously in New Mutants (Lila at this time is still dead as far as we know, as of New Mutants #69, though Guido makes no mention of it). He too will hang around on the fringes of this series heading into the "Muir Island Saga" before becoming part of X-Factor in the '91 linewide relaunch.


The Genoshans, quiet since the end of their introductory story in issue #238, pop up again in this issue, including expatriates Philip Moreau and Jenny Ransome, Press Gang member Pipeline and a pair of Magistrates and, back on Genosha, the Genegineer and Chief Magistrate Andersen. The Genoshan plot will bubble and simmer here and in X-Factor off and on for the next few months, setting up "X-Tinction Agenda", the story where it finally boils over.


In other "simmering villain plot" news, this is the issue where the Shadow King begins to influence Muir Island via Legion, as he takes control of the boy (who had already been influencing the inhabitants of the island to darker urges via his Jack Wayne persona) when he uses Cerebro to try and locate any of the missing X-Men, during which Forge sees an image of Amahl Farouk, whom he encountered in his vision in issue #253.  


The Dazzler subplot in this issue (which will serve as the main plot of the next issue) picks up on threads left over from the Dazzler: The Movie graphic novel, in which a movie is made starring Dazzler that is ultimately aborted when Dazzler refuses to sign a contract with the sleazy producer (it's also the issue which publicly outs Dazzler as a mutant and when her power changes so that she can store sound energy to convert into light later). Both Eric Beale and Freddie Stanachek appeared in that issue, Beale as the producer of the movie who was obsessed with Dazzler and Freddie as a meek young man whom Dazzler inspired.


Callisto pops up briefly, being tormented by Masque. Later, Colossus becomes infatuated with a model he sees on ads around town; we'll shortly learn said model is actually Callisto, her features changed by Masque as part of his revenge scheme.

Marc Silvestri and Dan Green are back on art following Jim Lee's three issue fill-in, though Silvestri's run is nearing its end. 

A Work in Progress
Lila Cheney has a sentient computer program in her house, called, uh, House. Not sure if that's something that had been previously established somewhere, or was just an invention of Claremont's here to give Guido someone to talk to after he discovers Dazzler.

Legion is referred to as Daniel, not David, again this issue. 

Dazzler and Freddie are photographed leaving the club together, though of course Dazzler isn't caught on film, resulting in the news resorting to an artists rendition and the image of Freddie with his arm around seemingly nothing, a rare look at how the "invisible to electronics" X-Men would appear when being recorded.



Claremontisms
The amnesiac Dazzler ends up singing in a nightclub, giving Claremont another chance to describe singing through his prose. 



Human/Mutant Relations
One of the cops who responds to the Genoshan attack on Phillip and Jenny compares the Genoshans to Nazis. 


For Sale
There's an ad for the Double Dragon Nintendo game in this issue.


Also, a house ad for Marvel's Robocop series, an odd bit of licensing given the source material is an R rated movie (then again, there was also an animated Saturday morning series, too). A random issue of that series (#9, maybe?) is actually one of the first comics I remember buying (I was a fan of the cartoon and the part of the movie I'd seen), in my pre-comic collecting days when I'd just pick up random comics here or there, because they were still ubiquitous enough to do that sort of thing. 


Teebore's Take
With the X-Men dissolved and "Acts of Vengeance" in the past, this issue kicks off the "Non Team Era" in earnest, bringing back two more X-Men who entered the Siege Perilous but leaving them scattered and amnesiac while adding another threat to the already established Shadow King and Morlock plots via the return of the Genoshans. Somewhat coincidentally, the stretch of issues starting here and running up through #267 represents probably my least favorite sustained run of Claremont-penned X-Men issues. Not really because of the Non-Team concept itself (I get why Claremont wanted to do something different, and I respect the effort), but because of its execution, as the next run of half dozen-plus issues are pretty blase and, once Silvestri leaves, suffer from wildly inconsistent/terrible art.

But we'll get to all that in due time. This issue, on its own merits and not as a forebear of things to come, actually isn't that bad (in fact, it's the best issue we'll get until #268). It's more in the vein of a Classic Claremont Quiet issue than anything, more focused on setting up or extending a series of running subplots than on any single narrative. It's a nice break after the plot-focused Reaver attack and "Acts" tie-in, and it's nice to see Silvestri back and mostly on point. What follows may not be the most engaging of X-stories, may, in fact, be the nadir of Claremont's first Uncanny run, but none of that is really this issue's fault.   

Next Issue
Tomorrow, it's time to pay the Cable bill in New Mutants #87. On Friday, Archangel battles Sabretooth in X-Factor #52. Next week, Avengers West Coast #56-57 and #60.

Collected Editions

37 comments:

  1. I think this issue and the next are aces. But yes, once Silvestri departs, there is some rough going. Although 263 is underrated, I think, and 267 makes for a nice conclusion to the first Gambit trilogy.

    All in due time, as you say. :)

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  2. P.S. Nathan Adler has a great theory about the Shadow King being behind the whole Callisto-as-model plot. Perhaps he'll share it here.

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  3. Hi Teebore. Excellent site.

    Just curious, what are your long term plans for X-Aminations? Do you plan to keep going once you're fully in Not-Blog X territory?

    Keep up the good work!

    (PS: I don't know if you realized this but you and Fnord12 over at Supermegamonkey seem to have reached the same point in your respective projects. With him trying to cover EVERY Marvel book ever and you doing only X-books but 3 a week, I wonder how long this will last)

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  4. How I wish I had a time machine, so I could travel back to 1990 and pitch Marvel a mini-series co-starring House and Ship. I'm thinking a "star crossed lovers" angle. The villain, of course, would be Asteroid M..

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  5. I really like this issue and the next. Silvestri's art is on point, the Genosha plot is simmering, the Ali movie stuff is classic Claremont quality writing with bits of humor, and the Shadow King arc is coming into play.

    I agree that 261-263 are bad. 264 is decent enough though and continues the Genosha plot, which I think is one of the best all time (until Claremont leaves and it gets all messed up).

    265 and 266 are solid, but lacking good artwork. 267 is pretty visually appealing though, and as Jason mentioned, a good wrap up to the arc.

    We do have big things to look forward to after that!

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  6. What is this sketching ability of Piotr's that enables him to see behind the veil? While it could be argued that he's just working off his memory of Jenny during their first encounter in Genosha, he did it with Roma at the start of Fall of the Mutants!

    By the way can anyone recall whether Callisto as billboard model was given a name/ pseudonym in these stories?

    And does anyone recall when Cerebro managed to get transferred from the X-Mansion to Muir Island?

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  7. @Jason: Ooh, I'm tempted to share my theory re: Masque and Eric Beale as further Shadow King agents (along with Tsurayaba, Genegineer and Pierce), but don't want to completely hijack Teebore's comments thread;)

    Glad you think it's great though (that's twice in the same week, you also liking my Kirinos resolution:)

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  8. I love how Phillip asks the Genoshans what was done to Jenny...info dumps are fine, but considering how his dad was the Genegineer, he should know what happened, and that was rather clumsy.

    We are really entering the era of plot-build up here, with some of it being resolved, some of it not. And some of the stuff being resolved wasn't exactly how CC intended it to be...

    We're also entering the point where CC's verbal tics are really becoming apparent, with most people having similar styles of speaking. It's almost...Bendis like.

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  9. "I love how Phillip asks the Genoshans what was done to Jenny...info dumps are fine, but considering how his dad was the Genegineer, he should know what happened, and that was rather clumsy."
    I think the idea is that the X-Men saved her before the process could become complete, so he didn't realize she was affected mentally.

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  10. But even then, it still shouldn't have confused him as to what exactly was happening. The shock should have been that she had been altered that much, ie, he should be reacting to the fact that the programming has been established, not "Jiminy jillikers, what happened to Jenny?"

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  11. To be fair, Phillip is a very silly young boy. Or, the very least, wilfully blind and ignorant, that much was established in the Genosha story. He may have begun to face the reality there, but now being safe(ish) in NY with his best girl by his side, it maybe too easy for him to revert back to old him. Specifically with Jenny, if she has not shown any mental changes, he may have chosen to fool himself the process was just skin-deep.

    Of course, as she's clearly not quite like your regular Genosha mutant, it can also be fair to assume they didn't manage to begin the mental part of the process.

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  12. I'm not sure I agree with Sylvestri being "on point" here. Maybe he's ok, but I'm hard pressed to remember any issues after this that I enjoyed, art-wise, as much as his work on the Brood saga, or Fall of the Mutants, or Wolverine's crucified issue. And I'm speaking as a pretty big Sylvestri/X-Men fan. It's hard not to feel like the series was really going into the weeds here. In fact, I would end up briefly skipping X-Men entirely, for just a couple of months during the kid-Storm thing, until Jim Lee's cover to 268 yanked me firmly back into the fold. I actually had to go back and buy Gambit's debut as a back issue, for more money than I'd like, but much less than it ended up being.

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  13. @Johnny Feathers

    Just because we are getting Stryfe this month, doesn't mean Silvestri deserves a "y" in his name.

    Hard to remember any issues after this with Silvestri as he only did one, issue 260.

    I think these issues showcase his best Ali and have some good characterization that is boosted by the artwork. I would put them up there with the Scotland/Juggernaut issues, SF/Marauders issues, FotM, 239 and 244 as some of his best work on UX.

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  14. I can think of 2 issues he did after this...one with Dazzler, and the Hardcase issue.

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  15. One weird thing here. "Peter Nicholas" assumes that's he's American. Does this mean that Colossus has lost his Russian accent after emerging from the siege perilous? It's not impossible mind you, but wouldn't he be more likely to think he was Russian? I mean, if Nightcrawler suddenly had amnesia, he wouldn't think he was a native of, say, Texas or anything.

    Also while I know that you didn't review Dazzler: The Movie, Teebore (which I think is kinda a shame but whatever), but have you read it? This issue and the next references the graphic novel, do I thought this would be a good time to ask.

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  16. This issue and the next few issues are really hard to jump into if you haven't read basically the Silvestri run on the book. I started X-Men with 278 and I remember getting this and the upcoming Dazzler 'Death' issue as I was piecing together back issues because they were cheaper books and trying to read through them was so confusing. To this day, this issue through around 268/269 are my least read X-Men books.

    If you don't have the random Dazzler Graphic Novel this is also sort of hard to follow. That was not an easy book to track down since it was larger sized and most local stores never have Marvel Graphic Novels and it's never been reprinted as far as I know, I believe I had to get it from MyComicShop or eBay. I'm almost sure there is also nudity in the book which was shocking and something I then had to hide from the rest of my collection because of it. (How many other X-Men have actually been shown in continuity without the thought bubbles or random string in the way and shown actual nudity?)

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  17. Isn't there a bottomless Rogue jumping into lake in X-MEN VS. AVENGERS #1? Maybe as one of those nasty jokes the guys used to pull at the colorists that didn't get caught that time, but anything counts. Can't ensure, stupid AvsX has made the miniseries ungoogleable.

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  18. Ginger Baron at Baron-Fox Studios is a reference to the Hollywood-set 1986 graphic novel The World of Ginger Fox and 1988 follow-up miniseries, written by Mike Baron.

    // Colossus becomes infatuated with a model he sees on ads around town; we'll shortly learn said model is actually Callisto, her features changed by Masque as part of his revenge scheme. //

    There are staggering levels of coincidence in this issue, not even counting him bumping into her on the street — which could be Masque's doing. Peter has either just appeared or been squatting naked (you know what I mean) in this empty space where the Genosha Press Gang work over Phillip and Jenny 867530... uh, Jenny 4817. Although browsing the issue again I note Peter says that the first moment he remembers is when he saw Phillip. I suppose the Siege Perilous has a knack for spitting folks out in a place and in a state of being where destiny warrants or somesuch, whether that's been made clear or implied/inferred.

    Does it also hold on to folks for awhile before dropping them out the other side? Even without knowing that the model was Callisto, I was quite at sea in terms of when these sundry plot threads take place relative to one another. That page with Callisto and Masque has to occur a good bit prior to the paste-up of the billboard Peter sees a couple of pages later with New Model Callisto on it, unless Masque is altering her face, taking pictures and doing things with them, altering it again, etc., which may be made clear soon. Enough time has occurred since we read the Reavers' assault on the X-Men's Outback base that it feels like Peter and Allison shouldn't just be popping out the Siege now. I realize that we spent time with Ororo, Betsy, and Logan that may have been concurrent with the events of this issue; then again, I feel like the Muir Island page throws another wrench into the chronology, in one direction re Peter's emergence and the opposite direction re Callisto's torture by Masque. Perhaps Acts of Vengeance broke the spacetime continuum.

    I wondered about Peter's accent myself. On the one hand Professor X's instant psychic English tutorial could well leave his students with pitch-perfect accents (of whatever sort he desired), but on the other I always took the Russian and German that Colossus and Nightcrawler sprinkled into their speech as indicative of them retaining accents of their native languages.

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  19. @Blam: One thing I find interesting is it always looked like the Siege Perilous deposited most of the X-Men in locations where they could confront Shadow King pawns: Psylocke in Hong Kong near Matsuo Tsurayaba, Rogue in Australia near Donald Pierce, which would seem to further suggest the Genegineer as another pawn given Havok was deposited in Genosha, and of course Masque here in Manhattan. The one that didn't seem to quite fit was Dazzler but when you really think about it, Eric Beale seems like just the kind of guy SK might control. And of course, LA was a site where Shadow King had his Gladiators organisation.

    But back to Masque in this issue: How does a guy who lives in a sewer get to sell glamour photos of Callisto to agencies that can put her on Manhattan billboards? One can imagine the Morlocks could steal the limos they used to ferry Callisto about, but the billboards suggest a more sophisticated, high-class operation than anything we've seen from Masque. But we've certainly seen high-class, high-society operations from the mastermind who ran nightclubs and rich peoples' illegal hangouts in LA, Madripoor, and Cairo. So that's the first point. We might add that the exquisite psychological torment of what Masque does to Callisto also seems more sophisticated than what he's done I the past. Then there's the gang that chases Cal in Uncanny 260 who are wearing X-Men masks. They seem to foreshadow the Morlocks we see next issue whom Masque has warped to look like X-Men. But the gang seemed human and they wore physical masks – if they worked for Masque, wouldn't he have just warped them for real? The best explanation is that the gang wasn't working for Masque, but the gang and Masque were both working for SK. Having a gang and the Morlocks steal the X-Men's identities fits with SK's desire to corrupt Xavier's dream. It's a variation on the same thing he does with his Muir Island X-Men. Even the location fits: SK is systematically taking over Xavier's and the X-Men's bases or homes: first Australia, then Muir Island, the X-mansion's bunker (which only Cal can access, and Masque demands the codes), and maybe Kirinos, too, where Fenris tries to kill Forge and Banshee (especially when their pilot becomes a Reaver). Finally, note that Masque had turned several Morlocks into warped versions of X-Men he's never even met. When he encounters Peter Nicholas, the script even includes a line where Masque wonders out loud how he can recognise that Peter looks like Colossus when he's never met Colossus "in the flesh." (The claim is incorrect, though: he saw Colossus's civilian form in Uncanny 170.) This is a dead giveaway, since it's the third time we've had a script tells us that a character knows something he shouldn't know: the first time was when Pierce knew that it was the X-Men fighting Master Mold, even though they couldn't be seen; and the second time was when Pierce knew what the Siege Perilous was and how it worked, which Cole (or maybe it was Reese or Macon) said must be knowledge straight from God's lips to Pierce's ear. So if Pierce was getting his info from SK, which I'm now certain he was, then it stands to reason Masque was, too.

    @Jason: Shared above, as requested!

    @Blam again: some comments for you here in a delayed comment:
    http://www.therealgentlemenofleisure.com/2014/08/x-amining-wolverine-5.html

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  20. @Nathan: // One thing I find interesting is it always looked like the Siege Perilous deposited most of the X-Men in locations where they could confront Shadow King pawns … //

    I know you didn't share all that for only my benefit, but this is probably a good time to mention yet again that I've only read a few isolated X-Men issues every several years since the Claremont/BWS Uncanny #205 in early 1986 and none at all since the first couple Morrison/Quitely issues in 2001. [Wait... I checked out the first half-dozen or so of the time-traveling All-New X-Men when taking Marvel Unlimited for a spin last year.]

    To me, Amahl Farouk showed up once in a Claremont/Byrne issue's flashback tale. I'd even forgotten that he was behind Karma's embiggening in New Mutants until rereading it for this blog and I'm pretty sure I only know he's a.k.a. the Shadow King from picking that up in conversation over the years. Pretty much everything you're discussing is stuff I've yet to read as we march along here or stuff that colors what we've just read because it's only revealed or theorized from said stuff I've yet to read. What Teebore is currently covering may be the largest blind spot in my X-Men knowledge; I was in college, more or less pre-Internet, not visiting a comics shop regularly, and so without any way to keep abreast of storylines as would happen naturally in later years.

    Essentially — and I say this not to be obnoxious in the least, but with levity, with great affection for comics geekdom and personal headcanon, with a genuine desire to meander through your own blog one fine day having taken the briefest of glimpses — when it comes the giant paragraph of yours above I am that dog in the Far Side cartoon, if you replace "Ginger" with "X-Men".

    All that said, I assume your exegesis is brilliant work.

    I have your delayed comment flagged in a sea of E-mail for reply. The last couple of weeks have been so full I can only watch the comment counter on that New Mutants #87 post tick upwards in morbid curiosity.

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  21. @Blam: No probs and sorry for potentially spoiling upcoming issues (but yes it was posted for Mr. Powell's benefit also;).

    All the best catching up on your email and I look forward to any comments you have upon diving into my own blog.

    And ditto on Cable, despite my being somewhat responsible for perpetuating that;) And I must say I'm forever intrigued how Liefeld's creations Cable and Deadpool still manage to maintain titles when Claremont's femizons don't!?

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  22. Nathan: And I must say I'm forever intrigued how Liefeld's creations Cable and Deadpool still manage to maintain titles when Claremont's femizons don't!?

    Well if you happen to pop at the internet any day now, you'll surely notice how comics is an insanely misogynist media. Spider-Woman has an ass and stuff.

    And then seriously, there are two reasons:

    1) Claremont's X-Women are team characters and live and breath from the team interaction. You can make a one-off solo every now and then for one, but that's not how they're even supposed to work on continuous basis. A solo title needs a supporting cast, but with the X-Men they're mostly each others supporting cast, and, let's face it, it's a lost cause to go and try find a better supporting cast for yourself. Very Bechdel. Plenty interactions.

    B) If you were a writer finally landing on your own book, who would you want your job to be measured against on constant basis: Claremont or Liefeld?

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  23. @Teemu: What's coming up on the internet any day now re: comics being misogynistic? When Claremont left Marvel it took a huge backward step in its promotion of female characters. A shame that Claremont didn't settle down on writing teams when taking on new titles in the late 1980s and didn't instead propose a female ongoing! His star-power could have sustained it, and its success might have led to others.

    Why they didn't give X-Women to Claremont instead of Brian Wood is beyond me!

    As for B) plenty jumped at the chance of writing Cable early on:(

    Oh and keep an eye out for Blink's origin in your inbox;)

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  24. @Nathan: What's coming up on the internet any day now re: comics being misogynistic?

    I was trying to allude to many a comic book sites having articles having the feminism emphasis on the comics media (may be a case of my own uneven selection), the big two allegedly catering for that segment of the audience and the traditionalists being opposed to it, what with the female characters new, more covering costumes being brought forth, the whole Chris Sims debacle. Soo... from that foundation it would be kind of easy to find an easy (but wrong, I think) reason why Claremontian female characters can't hold their own titles.

    Yeah I'd like to think Claremont's UNCANNY for most parts was a female ongoing. For example Storm and Rogue had their own lengthy character arcs while Colossus was like "I like drawing things". It takes to the wrong direction when you start making an explicit (marketing!) point of it.

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  25. @Teemu: Ah Colossus, the X-Men's version of Clark Kent, even having his powers manifest on a farm!

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  26. I would argue that Cable's and Deadpool's longevity comes in spite of Liefeld, not because of him. The characters were really developed by Fabian Nicieza and Joe Kelly, respectively (with Nicieza then doing his own spin on Kelly's Deadpool a few years later). Those versions are the ones that have remained viable characters over the years.

    (Though I guess much of modern Deadpool's popularity is owed to Daniel Way's time with the character too, as he significantly reinvented him after the Kelly/Nicieza years, making him far more bat-poop insane than he'd ever been before, and that, sadly, seems to be the version that Marvel has stuck with as definitive. Kelly's and Nicieza's Deadpool was a nut, but he had depth. Way's (and his successors') Deadpool is just crazy for crazy's sake, which is a shame.)

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  27. @Matt: I'm still intrigued why Marvel kept pushing Cable and Deadpool for their own solo series in the 1990s, compared with other characters that had been around much longer!? Okay, they were hot properties, but so were most of the female X-Men.

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  28. Nicieza & Kelly's Deapool > Way's Deadpool.

    Then again, anything beats Way's version of anything...

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  29. Nathan -- Personally, I'd agree with Teemu's take on why the X-women never got their own series: the X-Men, more than members of other groups, are defined by their relationship to their team. He's not a woman, but Cyclops is my favorite X-Man. I would have very little interest in a series about him, though. He works best among his teammates. Personally, I don't think Wolverine needed an ongoing either, but being the "loner" in the group, if some member needed to have a series, he would work best.

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  30. About the 90's solo series for Cable and Deadpool, I'd rather ask questions why Darkhawk, Sleepwalker, Deathlok... well okay, Deathlok rocks.

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  31. Nathan: Ah Colossus, the X-Men's version of Clark Kent, even having his powers manifest on a farm!

    You know, Superman goes widely in the Europe literally translated as "Steelman" in many countries. Not sure why, maybe the Nazi connotations would translate too strongly into the local lingos. But hilariously on the other hand, 'Stalin' means exactly that.

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  32. @Matt: To me a Storm ongoing, with Claremont writing, could have been just as successful as a Wolverine one (she did have pretty great tales outside of the team, e.g. Lifedeath). And I'd have definitely preferred a series about her than Cyclops:)

    Claremont agreed with you about Wolverine not needing an ongoing, but when they forced the issue, he agreed to write to maintain some control over his direction for the character. Just a real shame he never stayed on beyond issue 10. I loved what he was doing with that title, and found the humour much more natural than what we got in Excalibur which just seemed to fall flat most of the time (a Clayton's attempt at British humour than just wasn’t laugh-out-loud funny enough). And the pulpy nature of the stories, like his own contemporary tribute to the rollicking yarns of Robert E. Howard.

    Re: Wolverine as the "loner," it often seemed like Claremont was using Logan as Charles Xavier’s greatest success – the loner who found a family in the most unlikely of places. Claremont’s Wolverine was also one of the major forces pulling the team back together after it disintegrated towards the end of his tenure. A lovely evolution.

    @Teemu: you're a fan of Darkhawk? Oh we must talk about the dropped threads from that title (seriously;) And yep was just about to mention Stalin until I got to the end of your comment:)

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  33. @Nathan, never read one single issue, I just always assumed there are reasons why he and others mentioned were left in the 90's.

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  34. @Teemu: Sleepwalker was lots of fun (Kirby's Sandman done by way of Marvel).

    You know what I've begun realising about Darkhawk, as Mike Manley conceived him, was pretty cool but what let the title down most was Danny Fingeroth's scripting. The character was conceived to be a weapon sold to the highest bidder equipped with a range of technologies able to counter the abilities of a multifarious range of superbeings, the ultimate undefeatable threat. Which when realised, would have been a massively hot seller throughout the galaxy. Not only would criminals have bought them, planets would have purchased legions of them for defensive or offensive armies, their application would have been endless. Darkhawk was the first time this concept had been presented in comics, and has not been exploited since. This went over the head of subsequent writers like Concorde, and we instead got the unfortunate Fraternity of Raptors retcon (which hasn’t gone anywhere since I might add:(

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  35. @Nathan, as with Darkhawk, I've seen Sleepwalker only by a glimpse in Starlin's INFINITY trilogy. But I can't stop myself noting that generally it goes a bit awry when Marvel goes to pretty openly ape on DC doing something of elevated acclaim but in a little bit more traditional superheroic fashion. I've come to understand that Sleepwalker was Marvel's answer to Gaiman's SANDMAN, and good luck competing with that one, and who could forget SPIDER-MAN: REIGN, where the The Friendly Neighborhood Webslinger Returns and covers the concept with his accursed radio-active spider-spe...

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  36. @Anonymous: Just curious, what are your long term plans for X-Aminations? Do you plan to keep going once you're fully in Not-Blog X territory?

    I've not yet settled on a specific end date yet (currently, I'm considering either when UXM volume 1 ends with issue #544, or "when I catch up to the current issues"), but I'll definitely continue into Not Blog X territory (and beyond).

    I'm a big fan of G. Kendall's work (Not Blog X was one of the inspirations for X-aminations) but the 90s era X-Men are *my* X-Men, the X-Men that got me hooked on comics, so I couldn't not write about them. And I think there's enough to say about that era so as to avoid too much overlap/repetition between his thoughts and mine.

    Keep up the good work!

    Thanks!

    (PS: I don't know if you realized this but you and Fnord12 over at Supermegamonkey seem to have reached the same point in your respective projects.

    I did not realize that! The last time I checked in on his project, he was around "Fall of the Mutants". Impressive. I wish I had the time to expand X-aminations to the entire Marvel U.

    @Matt: I'm thinking a "star crossed lovers" angle. The villain, of course, would be Asteroid M..

    ...

    That would be awesome. Like "Pet Avengers", but with sentient bases. Love it. :)

    @Nathan: By the way can anyone recall whether Callisto as billboard model was given a name/ pseudonym in these stories?

    I think she does, though I can't for the life of me remember what it is, so maybe not. I'll keep an eye out for it in the upcoming run of issues.

    And does anyone recall when Cerebro managed to get transferred from the X-Mansion to Muir Island?

    Presumably after "Mutant Massacre", when the injured Morlocks were transferred there and the X-Men briefly headquartered there. I recall Rogue or someone moving crates of equipment as well; easy to assume Cerebro (or components thereof) was included.

    @wwk5d: We are really entering the era of plot-build up here, with some of it being resolved, some of it not. And some of the stuff being resolved wasn't exactly how CC intended it to be...

    Yeah, I feel like the Non-Team Era, more than any other, led to the most Claremont danglers. Of course, that's mostly just because it's the last significant era before he leaves the series, but still.

    @Johnny: I'm not sure I agree with Sylvestri being "on point" here. Maybe he's ok, but I'm hard pressed to remember any issues after this that I enjoyed, art-wise, as much as his work on the Brood saga, or Fall of the Mutants, or Wolverine's crucified issue.

    "On point" relative to the work he did on issues #254 and #255, which seemed to show signs of either being rushed or overworked, likely due to the bi-weekly schedule. It's tough to compare this issue to the ones you cited, just because it's mostly a talky/setup issue compared to those. I just think his art looks more "normal" here than it did the last time we saw his work, like the break refreshed him.

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  37. @Blam: Ginger Baron at Baron-Fox Studios is a reference to the Hollywood-set 1986 graphic novel The World of Ginger Fox and 1988 follow-up miniseries, written by Mike Baron.

    Good to know. Those did seem like oddly-specific names, but I had no idea what they were specifically referencing before.

    I suppose the Siege Perilous has a knack for spitting folks out in a place and in a state of being where destiny warrants or somesuch, whether that's been made clear or implied/inferred.

    That's always been my inference, but it definitely is something that is implied about the Siege and not outright stated.

    Does it also hold on to folks for awhile before dropping them out the other side?

    Again, I've always assumed that, but it's never outright stated. There's definitely a staggering to the release of the X-Men (I believe they come out in reverse order of how they went in, such that Rogue is first in/last out), and just by the dint of time passing in other plotlines, there has to be some mechanism that staggers the release of the X-Men.

    That said, the timing with Masque and Super Model Callisto is definitely hinky in this issue, as we see him torturing her and then see her running into Peter, yet enough time needs to have passed for her to, you know, get a modeling job and show up on that billboard (even if we wave away the mechanics of Masque somehow arranging for her to get a modeling gig in the first place).

    @Jonathan: Also while I know that you didn't review Dazzler: The Movie, Teebore (which I think is kinda a shame but whatever), but have you read it?

    I have not read it (I did read a summary of it before this issue, just because it and the next one reference it so heavily).

    In hindsight, I should have reviewed it, but I was still a little iffy back then about how wide a net I wanted to cast in terms of covering things outside UXM and its direct spin-offs. My approach now is much more inclusive, and while I still don't regret avoiding most of Dazzler's solo series entirely (some people do, but I still don't consider it a true X-Men spinoff), I do regret not covering at least that issue, as it does tie-in pretty directly to this issue and the next.

    If I ever do a print or eBook collection of these reviews, consider Dazzler: The Movie a prime candidate for inclusion therein.

    @Matt: The characters were really developed by Fabian Nicieza and Joe Kelly, respectively (with Nicieza then doing his own spin on Kelly's Deadpool a few years later). Those versions are the ones that have remained viable characters over the years.

    I would agree. Liefeld created them, but they've hung around by the work of other creators.

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