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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #269

"Rogue Redux"
October 1990

In a Nutshell 
Rogue emerges from the Siege Perilous

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jim Lee
Guest Inker: Art Thibert
Letterer: Task Force X
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Rogue suddenly emerges from the Siege Perilous, appearing in her old room in the X-Men's former base in Australia. Overhearing a news report about Mystique's death, she calls the X-Men for help,  but quickly realizes that the powers she stole from Ms. Marvel are gone when she leaps out a window and lands at the feet of the Reavers, who have retaken the town. Pierce orders her killed, but suddenly Ms. Marvel appears and attacks the Reavers. In the confusion, Rogue absorbs Gateway's power, enabling her to teleport away. Meanwhile, on the fringes of Shi'ar space, Lila Cheney flees from the Shi'ar Strike Lord, teleporting away before she can be captured. Back on Earth, Rogue arrives in the Savage Land, while Ms. Marvel, who followed her through the portal, ends up on Muir Island to find a captive Polaris and everyone else under the control of the Shadow King.

 
Ms. Marvel resists, but is ultimately taken over by the villain, while Polaris swears vengeance. Later, as Rogue travels the Savage Land looking for help getting home while being observed from afar by a shadowy figure, she is attacked by a decaying Ms. Marvel. With the two in close proximity, Rogue is able to access Ms. Marvel's powers, though she to begins to decay as well. Rogue gains the upper hand but, remembering how she took Ms. Marvel's life once already, refuses to finish her off, giving Ms. Marvel an opening. But as she strangles Rogue, growing stronger, Ms. Marvel is blasted from behind. Later, Rogue awakens in Sauron's old citadel and is told by her rescuer that Ms. Marvel is dead, a necessary act as only one of them could survive. Stepping from the shadows, Magneto says as such, he chose her.

Firsts and Other Notables
This issue marks the return of Rogue, appearing for the first time since getting blasted into the Siege Perilous along with Master Mold/Nimrod in issue #247 (the first member of the team to enter the portal, she is the last to emerge, though we have yet to see the post-Siege Havok). She'll pop up again in issues #274 and #275, and then again during the "Muir Island Saga", but won't officially rejoin the team until the launch of X-Men volume 2.

Which of course also means this is the debut of Jim Lee's version of Rogue, which completes the character's transition from villainous and slightly-older looking in her first appearance...


... to younger and sexy under John Romita Jr. ...


... to sexier via Marc Silvestri...


...to sexiest thanks to Lee.


This issue also marks the end of Rogue having to deal with Carol Danvers' memories rattling around in her head (as well as the occasional times when Carol would take control of Rogue's body), as when the Siege Perilous spits her out, she is unchanged save for the remnants of Carol's mind being given a separate, physical form, thus freeing Rogue of sharing her headspace with them.

That physical manifestation of Rogue's stolen Carol memories (the actual Carol Danvers is, at this time, in space with the Starjammers) is then slain by Magneto, who pops up at the end of this issue, his first appearance in the series since issue #253. He claims that of Rogue and the phantom Carol Danvers only one could survive, and he chose Rogue. Issue #274 makes it clear that Magneto was using the machinery in Sauron's citadel at the end of this issue to integrate Rogue and the fake Ms. Marvel's energies, such that Rogue will continue to possess Ms. Marvel's powers moving forward.


Rogue and Magneto are in the Savage Land by the end of the issue, making it's first appearance in the book since issue #250. 

Along with Rogue, Magneto and the Savage Land, the full contingent of the Reavers (not just Pierce and Lady Deathstrike) pop up again, along with the Outback town that served as a base for both them and the X-Men.

The Shi'ar Strike Lord, presumably the same being who defeated the P!yndr champion in issue #265, appears for the first time. He displays psionic abilities once again, and will eventually be revealed to be Professor X (or, at least, a Skrull posing as him).


The Shi'ar are pursuing Lila Cheney, who pops up here for the first time since her apparent death in New Mutants #70 (along with a footnote simply saying she didn't die after all in that issue). She'll next appear in issue #273, and serve as the vehicle which connects the X-Men to this Shi'ar subplot.


Creator Central
Art Thibert, who will pencil a couple issues of adjectiveless X-Men after Jim Lee leaves for Image and help launch the Cable solo series, fills in on inks this issue.

Regular letter Tom Orzechowski and colorist Glynis Oliver are also absent this issue. 

A Work in Progress
The opening page of this issue effectively serves as a recap of the conclusions of issue #247, Rogue's last appearance in the book.

In the wake of Mystique's apparent death, Val Cooper (who is actually Mystique at this point) appoints Jacob Reisz (who has been taken over by the Shadow King) as her deputy and tasks him with investigating Mystique's murder.


After accepting Pierce's offer to become a cyborg in issue #261, this issue shows Cylla Markham (the pilot hired by Banshee & Forge and seemingly slain by Fenris' blast in issue #260) mid-transformation, and reveals that Pierce is making her into the Skullbuster (who died during the attack on Muir Island in #255).


As Rogue takes Gateway's powers and memories, this issue reiterates the notion that Gateway is bound to serve the Reavers by forces outside his control. It also depicts Rogue's skin color changing as a result of taking Gateway's powers, which usually isn't the case (her skin never changed when she absorbed Storm's powers, for example).


The fake Ms. Marvel ends up on Muir Island, where we see things have gone from bad to worse, and it's confirmed that the Shadow King took control of Legion after the latter used Cerebro to search for the X-Men in issue #259.

In the Savage Land, Rogue finds the X-Men's sigil, left there in annual #12, marking probably the last time that short-lived narrative device is acknowledged.


Artistic AchievementsThe final splash page reveal of Magneto represents Jim Lee's contribution to that X-Men tradition,  dating back to issue #17 (Lee has actually collected the original art of such reveals from issues #17, #104, and #111). This is another iconic Lee image that will get used in licensing material and whatnot moving forward.


For Sale
There's an ad for Captain Planet and the Planeteers in this issue.


Also, "X-Tinction Agenda", which begins next issue, gets a full page, a modified version of which will serve as the cover to the original trade paperback collection of the story.


Teebore's Take
In addition to serving as Rogue's reintroduction to the series, this issue also serves as an introduction to Lee's penchant for drawing attractive, scantily clad women, as Rogue spends about half the issue in the tastefully-obscured nude, near-nude, or in a skimpy version of her X-Men costume in the Savage Land. Arguably more important than that, the choice of setting for the back half of this issue's story, the Savage Land, also acts as an introduction to Lee's storytelling sensibilities. A classic element of the series (dating back to its first appearance in issue #10), the Savage Land featured prominently in most of the series' big runs, including the Thomas/Adams one (which also heavily featured Magneto in the Savage Land) and, significantly, the Claremont/Byrne one.

Significant because Lee grew up reading the now-classic Claremont/Byrne issues, and is one of the first creators to come to the book so influenced. As a result, the Savage Land is the first of several classical elements of the series that will begin making its way back into the book, as, reportedly, Lee pushed Claremont to feature the things he enjoyed reading in the series when he was younger. While this (also reportedly) will eventually lead to some friction between the been-there-done-that-want-to-try-something-new Claremont and the let's-cover-the-greatest-hits Lee, it will also drop the book, all too briefly, into a fun middle ground, where the series will reside somewhere between Lee's classicism and Claremont's innovation, hitting the best of both worlds in the process. All that begins here, in an issue which encapsulates the upcoming shift via two different settings, sending Rogue from the recent, more innovative past of the series, the school-less, Xavier-less Outback, to a more classical setting in Magneto and the Savage Land.

Next Issue
Tomorrow, Wolverine (continues to) battles Cable in New Mutants #94. Friday, everyone gets to date except Beast in X-Factor #59. Next week, we look at the first series of Marvel Universe trading cards.

Collected Editions

31 comments:

  1. Back in the day I thought Pretty Boy's crossed-over skull shirt was an odd homage to his fallen comrade Skullbuster, but since then I've learned the Reavers seem to be fresh off from their encounter with the Punisher here, right?

    Rogue getting Gateway's skin color and hair is to me a suggestion that Gateway is some sort of Aboriginal demi-god fellow. They are not a human attribute to him but a deeper part of his form that was given to him by the belief of the Aboriginals who originally imagined him up according to their own likeness. Like, as per the idea that the gods are formed only through the belief of their worshipers, rather than there's first a god and the belief to him comes only afterwards (suggested reading: Terry Pratchett - Small Gods).

    We got Captain Planet, my kids got Aang the Last Airbender. Our lot got done badly then. What sort of nonsense power is "heart"?

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  2. Note that Rogue is clearly visible on Magneto's monitors without explanation or comment. This is the point at which Claremont forgets about the X-Men being invisible to machines.

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  3. While splitting out the Carol part of Rogue’s psyche into another physical being is a neat idea — and something of a typically “comics” way of having Rogue triumph over that lingering obstacle — I can’t get past how that being is presented as if it’s actually Carol Danvers.

    // the debut of Jim Lee's version of Rogue, which completes the character's transition from villainous and slightly-older looking in her first appearance //

    I still find it weird, even though I’m used to the Rogue of the past 25 years, that she’s the same character whom the X-Men first met back in #159 or even the one seen on the cover of #182. Yeah, I know plenty of other characters have changed fundamentally, visually and otherwise, since their first appearances; it’s just stranger in the modern era of unbroken storytelling. (And frankly [no pun intended] I never got used to The Punisher going from a mercenary with a receding widow’s peak in his debut, among the first comics I ever owned, to a fan-favorite antihero with bangs. So at least I have consistency going for me.) Had the Siege Perilous been presented as responsible for the change, hey, that’d be swell, but it occurred minus any real indication or acknowledgement nor any reason for it evident beyond style creep.

    // Regular letter Tom Orzechowski and colorist Glynis Oliver are also absent this issue.  //

    He definitely lettered the first half-dozen pages or so and possibly supervised the rest. I’d have guessed L. Lois Buhalis as one of the other hands on this, but the GCD index lists only Orzechowski and Tomoko Saito — both of whom worked in/with Studio Proteus — despite the name “Task Force ‘X’” suggesting a larger number of contributors.

    // sending Rogue from the recent, more innovative past of the series, the school-less, Xavier-less Outback, to a more classical setting in Magneto and the Savage Land //

    Ooh, I like that.

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  4. The Rogue / Magneto romantic subplot is best explained here as a natural outgrowth of Jim Lee's two favorite things: sexy superheroines, of whom Rogue is currently the sexiest, and Magneto. So why does this become an enduring part of her character?

    Mechanically, Rogue works best with some sort of sexual tension, so you can play up her inability to touch people. Magneto is also in dire need of a humanizing influence if you want to make him more sympathetic, as shown by the inexplicable presence of Lee Forrester. Since Rogue is usually unavailable and Magneto is usually busy being a super villain, they are generally both free to either flirt or fight about how they're not flirting in any given storyline. Having a known unrequited love interest makes great fodder for alternate timeline stories, and one of the classic ingredients of any dystopian alternate timeline is Magneto replacing Professor X.

    Of course, this same narrative felicity also makes Rogue the perfect pair for Gambit, whose defining personality trait is talking a big game to the ladies (as opposed to actually getting it on like Longshot or Psylocke). So generally Rogue and Magneto are only a potential thing when the writer doesn't want or can't get Gambit, or when Magneto is the main character and you want to bring out his more human side.

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  5. I'm guessing Claremont intended this issue's title ("Rogue Redux") as a reference to #171's title ("Rogue"). Too bad he couldn't have waited three more issues to use it though...

    A lot of kids went for "thong ninja" Psylocke back in the day, but Jim Lee's Rogue was my X-babe of choice in my adolescent years, due greatly to her appearance here and in issue 275. But in general, to me she will never look right without huge hair and the Lee X-MEN #1 costume.

    "Significant because Lee grew up reading the now-classic Claremont/Byrne issues..."

    It's true Lee was the right age to read those issues as a teenager when they came out, but I believe he said in the introduction to his X-MEN VISIONARIES volume, if not elsewhere, that his real X-MEN influence was the Roy Thomas/Neal Adams run, which of course influenced Claremont and Byrne as well. I assume he read them as reprints since he was like four or five years old when they were originally released.

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  6. @Teemu: We got Captain Planet, my kids got Aang the Last Airbender. Our lot got done badly then. What sort of nonsense power is "heart"?

    Right? Even as a dumb kid I thought heart was lame. There is simply no comparably-lame bending ability, thankfully.

    @Anonymous: Note that Rogue is clearly visible on Magneto's monitors without explanation or comment. This is the point at which Claremont forgets about the X-Men being invisible to machines.

    Ah, good point! Though Claremont hasn't completely forgotten it yet - it's mentioned during "X-Tinction Agenda" in issue #272. That reference, I believe, is the last one, after which it never gets mentioned again...

    @Blam: I can’t get past how that being is presented as if it’s actually Carol Danvers.

    Yeah. It's a sound idea, but the narrative needs to make it more clear this is just a manifestation of Rogue's memories, and not the real deal.

    He definitely lettered the first half-dozen pages or so and possibly supervised the rest. I’d have guessed L. Lois Buhalis as one of the other hands on this, but the GCD index lists only Orzechowski and Tomoko Saito — both of whom worked in/with Studio Proteus — despite the name “Task Force ‘X’” suggesting a larger number of contributors.

    Thanks for the clarification - I definitely should have made it more clear that Orzechowski simply wasn't the *credited* letterer of the issue, since he clearly worked on some of it, even to these untrained eyes.

    @Rob: So generally Rogue and Magneto are only a potential thing when the writer doesn't want or can't get Gambit, or when Magneto is the main character and you want to bring out his more human side.

    Well said (all of what you wrote, not just what I quoted). I definitely think Rogue & Magneto became a recurring trope (and not just a thing that happened once) thanks to "Age of Apocalypse". The popularity of that storyline, combined with the thematic elements you mention, are what really cemented that relationship as a Thing.

    @Matt: I'm guessing Claremont intended this issue's title ("Rogue Redux") as a reference to #171's title ("Rogue").

    Me too, though I suppose I could have pointed that out...

    A lot of kids went for "thong ninja" Psylocke back in the day, but Jim Lee's Rogue was my X-babe of choice in my adolescent years, due greatly to her appearance here and in issue 275. But in general, to me she will never look right without huge hair and the Lee X-MEN #1 costume.

    Ditto. Though, of course, I was always a Jean Grey guy first and foremost, but I definitely preferred Lee's Rogue to Ninja Psylocke. Heck, I did (and do) prefer British Psylocke to Ninja Psylocke.

    but I believe he said in the introduction to his X-MEN VISIONARIES volume, if not elsewhere, that his real X-MEN influence was the Roy Thomas/Neal Adams run, which of course influenced Claremont and Byrne as well.

    Good to know. This Savage Land story is definitely more influenced by the Thomas/Adams one than the Claremont/Byrne one (what with the lack of Garokk and Sauron and presence of Magneto and the Mutates), so that makes sense.

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  7. Teeb, I very recently saw somewhere online an equivalence chart where they compare Sokka to the lame heart power. I chuckled. For a cartoon going back 25 or so years, Captain Planet sure has some hefty staying power among his victims. Heck, in 2005 on the first season of the Finnish Big Brother some of the female housemates pretty much out of nowhere pulled the call sequence, with substituting 'heart' with 'sex', and a part of the theme song. God, I still hear, and loathe, the team song! We're the Planeteers, you can be one too, emulating NKOTB is a thing to do!

    I mean fucking really. This ain't no shit to feed on a superhero-positive young boy. When you're Captain something you have to deliver, and not be a green mulleted monster a couple of notches below even Dr. Samson.

    I feel like starting a mock social justice campaign for turning the Mandarin into a positive Asian role model with the disintegration beam ring replaced with a heart power one, just to have my revenge on the world.


    Oh, right, X-Men... I like the early JRjr Rogue best. She's a fragile young woman, not an angsty sex goddess. Do you guys know if there is any truth in the comic book legend that there would have been a slight miscommunication between Claremont and Michael Golden for the Avengers Annual 10, causing Golden to draw Rogue as sixty years old instead of sixteen?

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  8. Teemu: I was under the impression that heart was probably the most powerful of the rings- in theory at least. On the show Ma-Ti played a similar role to Pyslocke as the eyes and ears of the team. But he could also control animals and in theory effect the minds of other humans. Imagine him showing up with an army of bears, or him forcing you into thinking he's a god. Really Wheeler's fire power is the most limited, as he can only destroy things.

    Anyway, off soapbox.

    Blam: I think the implication has always been that the Carol-in-Rogue's head was more than just memories and was a life that was trapped in the body of her "rapist". That 's was why she was always the most "solid" of the impressions of the hundreds of people Rogue has touched and could high jack Rogue's body. Carol wasn't limited to Rogue's damage and could actively turn off Rogue's powers and touch others.

    On another note.: was there ever a reason why Rogue's name was a secret for so long? Its not like she didn't go to high school and date boys, right? I get that she was confused about her identity because of absorbing Carol, but I always though it was weird no ever called her by her name. It always seemed strange to drag that out.

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  9. @Teebore:"Though Claremont hasn't completely forgotten it yet - it's mentioned during "X-Tinction Agenda" in issue #272. That reference, I believe, is the last one, after which it never gets mentioned again..."
    No, issue 272 references Kitty's computer virus from issue 158 but not the X-Men's invisibility. In fact, as we'll see, the X-Men are visible to mechanical devices at several points during X-Tinction Agenda.
    @Teemu:Do you guys know if there is any truth in the comic book legend that there would have been a slight miscommunication between Claremont and Michael Golden for the Avengers Annual 10, causing Golden to draw Rogue as sixty years old instead of sixteen?"
    Not quite. Apparently,the problem was this- Claremont wrote Ms.Marvel 25, in which Carol Danvers refers to Rogue as "barely more than a child". Unfortunately, even though the art for Rogue's scenes was finished, it never saw print because the series was cancelled. (It would eventually see print in Marvel Super-Heroes, with a tacked-on ending.) For some reason, though, instead of just SHOWING Bolton the unpublished art from Ms.Marvel 25, Claremont or his editors just told Bolton "she's got a white streak in her hair", which Bolton thought meant "middle aged".
    @branden:"Its not like she didn't go to high school and date boys, right?" Well, Rogue's powers first manifested themselves at the moment of her first kiss, so if she did date boys, she must have been very chaste. But yeah, she's always been written as knowing her name, so it made no sense to drag it out.

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  10. Well, branden, he never got to his Sue Richards moment with his allegedly awesome powers so we'll just never know.

    Judging by the fact that Carol Danvers was left with little more than empty husk, Rogue genuinely absorbs something out of her victims, and unlike with everyone else that something never did return to Carol, so whatever this Carol is, she is not a mere residue of something that Rogue once held if not the actual Carol either.

    I liked the mystery of Rogue's name. It had absolutely no bearing to anything other than that there was a blank space in your mutant information dossier, but the folks just kept asking about it on the letter page. It was a fulfillment of sorts when she once was on-panel about to tell it to someone and the said someone stopped her from telling.

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  11. Ok, thanks, Anonymous. Though, "Bolton"? There's a man loving a woman inside my head now instead of Captain Planet, and it's a development, but I'm not exactly certain to which direction.

    I think Mystique adopted her pretty soon after the Cody Robbins incident?

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  12. Great issue, Rogue's hot, but check out that X-Tinction Agenda splash ad! Might be the best crossover ad of all time?

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  13. And looks like another one of Psylocke's predictions came true this issue...

    "while Ms. Marvel, who followed her through the portal, ends up on Muir Island"

    Rather convenient, no?

    Also a bit convenient for the plot, Rogue being the only one who doesn't have amnesia, though you could always fanwank it having something to do with her having the Carol persona, and/or other than Colossus, the X-men pretty much get a tainted/warped realization of something they really wanted...

    I didn't mind the JRjr version of Rogue. OF course, with Silvestri, all his women are sex-bombs, as they are with Lee. Of course, with Lee, Rogue looks like she got a perm while in the Siege Perilous...

    "It also depicts Rogue's skin color changing as a result of taking Gateway's powers"

    I chalk that up to just a random mistake/lack of communication between the artist and colorist...

    Some of Moira's dialogue in that first panel is...wonky. She knows the Carol she is seeing is the one from Rogue's mind, not the original, but also says its a sight she never thought she'd see AGAIN, which...huh?

    I like Rogue and Magneto as a couple, even before AoA made it a big thing. At the time, it just came out of nowhere, but it did feel fresh and original and different. And other writers did reference it before AoA, so it wasn't just a one-off plot idea just for this storyline.

    I wonder when exactly did Lee being to have enough influence to have so much input into the storylines? It does seem a bit early for him to be flexing his muscles. I can imagine post X-tinction Agenda, maybe. Then again, I could be wrong...

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  14. wwk5d: Also a bit convenient for the plot, Rogue being the only one who doesn't have amnesia, though you could always fanwank it having something to do with her having the Carol persona, and/or other than Colossus, the X-men pretty much get a tainted/warped realization of something they really wanted...

    Ha, your wording makes me question if Callisto was something Pjotr always wanted.

    But if I was to fanwank, the non-amnesia bit (and the control of her own body) may have been the true heart's wish for the Carol persona who (her genuine version at least) wants to have an emotional connect to her memories, just like getting rid of her persona was for Rogue.

    I think I actually hate Claremont's solving of the ethic dilemma by turning Carol into essentially a villain who's doing Shadow King's bidding. "Let's turn her into a villain and kill her off" was already dine to that other gal who he brought over to UNCANNY for protection of other writers. But who's going to protect her from YOU, Chris?

    I loved the Carol persona peccadilloes, starting from Rogue's solo adventure on SHIELD helucarrier in #185 (or thereabouts). Shouldn't've ended like this. Stupid 90's is upon us. But admittedly the scene of her forming out of this air on the first page is fine and a haunting one.

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  15. Why did Rogue look older in her 1st appearance? She had never absorbed a super-power before * and the stress of doing so showed on her face. By exercising this aspect of her power, the effect on her physical form lessened.

    Why did the X-Men appear on electronic devices inconsistently? 1) Roma's spell wore off or was effected by the Siege Perilous to a greater degree than Roma anticipated; or 2) Roma realized the value of hiding themselves was outweighed by the need for heroic mutants to be seen by the public so she lifted the spell on an as-needed basis.

    Also: I found this issue confusing when I read it. I still don't buy the whole faux-Ms. Marvel thing. I like Rogue & Magneto as a *failed* couple torn apart by circumstances but still having a thing for each other. Jim Lee's Rogue is the definitive Rogue for me.

    - Mike Loughlin

    * unless she absorbed Mystique's, in which case the effect didn't show because Mystique's powers slow or hide her aging.

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  16. Jim Lee said in an interview that Claremont wanted the villain at the end to be Loki. Lee was dead set against it.

    Still, it was probably Claremont's idea to take Rogue to the Savage Land, as the Zaladane stuff needed resolution. (Or maybe it was Harras'.)

    While it is true that Lee liked the old X-tropes, Harras did too, and we saw Claremont returning to some of them a year ago: Savage Land (Annual #12, 249-250); Sentinels (246-247); Muir Island (253). Amahl Farouk perhaps counts as well, as he's from the Byrne days.

    But of course things got even more backward looking once Lee showed up and joined Harras on "Team Nostalgia." Hence Magneto chosen as the Loki replacement.

    (Credit to J.Liang for sharing that tidbit about Loki, in the Comments on the "Remarkable" entry on this issue.)

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  17. @Rob: // So generally Rogue and Magneto are only a potential thing when the writer doesn't want or can't get Gambit, or when Magneto is the main character and you want to bring out his more human side. //

    All of this is nicely observed and also a complete surprise to me since I had no idea that Megneto and Rogue were ever a thing, period, actual or potential.

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  18. Loki of the X-MEN & ALPHA FLIGHT and Adams' Asgard stories fame would fit right there with all the other things Claremont has lately been stirring up from the #170-200 era. Any word if he were to come extract his revenge on the X-Men or claim Storm as his bride?

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  19. And, moreover, is Claremont's apparent bringing up of the Weezie-edited era things another show of Claremont's displeasure of the current editor(ial policies), just as the Reavers/Hellfire commandos, those original edItorial-mandatee survivors are suggested to have been? A return to the last happy period before the return of Jean Grey was shoved down his thoat?

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  20. branden, I always thought THAT was more the manifestation of the guilt and self-loathing Rogue felt more than anything else, mixed in with the "Carol" persona she absorbed.

    Obviously both Rogue and Magneto don't consider the mental representation of Ms. Marvel to be a "genuine" lifeform in any case, as a long-running subplot is killed off and given barely a shrug which completely pisses away all the existential drama Claremont previously created with this sub-plot.

    While this was undoubtedly driven by Harras and Lee wanting to get Rogue seductively posing in her jungle-kini, Claremont diluted chances of this version of Carol being seen as a "real" person when he had ANOTHER version of her wandering around simultaneously (make that THREE versions, since concurrent issues featuring Wolverine had the same schtick).

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  21. @Teemu: I very recently saw somewhere online an equivalence chart where they compare Sokka to the lame heart power. I chuckled.

    Nah, Sokka is WAY more useful than the stupid heart power.

    @Branden: Imagine him showing up with an army of bears, or him forcing you into thinking he's a god. Really Wheeler's fire power is the most limited, as he can only destroy things.

    The problem, as Teemu alludes to, is that for all the potential power of heart, we never actually see him use it like that. Mainly, it's just to talk to his monkey and get animals out of harms way.

    And I think water was actually the most useless power, simply because, unlike the others, it needed a nearby source of water to do anything (whereas earth/wind/fire did their thing on their own).

    On another note.: was there ever a reason why Rogue's name was a secret for so long?

    In universe? Not that I know of. Out-of-universe? I think it was one of those things where Claremont just never revealed her name, then by the time someone realized that, it was the 90s, and mysterious pasts were all the rage, so her name was kept a secret for the sake of mystery. Until the movies came along and skunked that.

    @Anonymous: No, issue 272 references Kitty's computer virus from issue 158 but not the X-Men's invisibility. In fact, as we'll see, the X-Men are visible to mechanical devices at several points during X-Tinction Agenda.

    Ah, yeah, I was mixing up the two. It definitely seems like Claremont intended for the Siege Perilous to wipe out the invisibility, even though he himself referenced it post-Siege, and not everyone (like Wolverine) went through it.

    @Zephyr: check out that X-Tinction Agenda splash ad! Might be the best crossover ad of all time?

    If we're talking just about the ad, and not how well it reflects either the tone or the specific events of the story its advertising, I'd give the nod to "Fall of the Mutants", which is in one panel arguably more dramatic than anything that happens in the actual story.

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  22. @wwk5d: Rather convenient, no?

    You can probably chalk that up to Shadow King interference, I suppose.

    Also a bit convenient for the plot, Rogue being the only one who doesn't have amnesia, though you could always fanwank it having something to do with her having the Carol persona, and/or other than Colossus, the X-men pretty much get a tainted/warped realization of something they really wanted...

    Yeah, I've always read it as Rogue not having amnesia because she didn't want a new life, she wanted her existing life sans the Carol Danvers persona. So the Siege gave her hearts desire and dropped her right where she wanted to be, sans Carol (whereas Colossus, who wanted to be an artist, comes out with no knowledge of his life as an X-Man. This is also why, frankly, it probably would have been better had the Siege been responsible for Ninja Psylocke, instead of just dropping her where someone else could transform her into the warrior she always wanted to be).

    I chalk that up to just a random mistake/lack of communication between the artist and colorist...

    Ditto.

    I like Rogue and Magneto as a couple, even before AoA made it a big thing. At the time, it just came out of nowhere, but it did feel fresh and original and different.

    Me too. I'll get it into a bit more when it comes around properly, but it's an idea I like just for the sheer novelty of it, long before AoA codified it, so to speak.

    I wonder when exactly did Lee being to have enough influence to have so much input into the storylines? It does seem a bit early for him to be flexing his muscles. I can imagine post X-tinction Agenda, maybe.

    It probably helps that he had issue #248, plus #256-258 under his belt before becoming the regular series artist - if Marvel had sales figures showing a significant boost to those issues (and presumably they did, which is why they brought him aboard), that might have been enough for Harras to say "that guy's the money-maker!" and let him have more say in the overall direction of the book.

    @Mike: 2) Roma realized the value of hiding themselves was outweighed by the need for heroic mutants to be seen by the public so she lifted the spell on an as-needed basis.

    I like that idea, especially since, as I forgot earlier, "X-Tinction Agenda" makes something of a public spectacle of the X-teams, and I can see Roma thinking its in the best interests of mutants for them to be seen at that point.

    Also: I found this issue confusing when I read it. I still don't buy the whole faux-Ms. Marvel thing.

    I definitely did not get it the first time I read it. Of course, I was also less familiar with the current state of the real Carol Danvers, but the text is not terribly clear about what's happening.

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  23. @Jason: But of course things got even more backward looking once Lee showed up and joined Harras on "Team Nostalgia." Hence Magneto chosen as the Loki replacement.

    Interesting. I had no idea Loki was meant to be the villain. It's certainly not out of nowhere, since as Teemu points out, he has his own history with the team at this point, but I probably prefer it being Magneto. In part because I love Claremont's Magneto, in part because his upcoming Savage Land story might be my favorite Magneto story ever and I'd hate to have been denied that, and in part because I do think the Rogue/Magneto pairing works really well in a way I can't see developing had Loki been the villain.

    @Nathan: While this was undoubtedly driven by Harras and Lee wanting to get Rogue seductively posing in her jungle-kini, Claremont diluted chances of this version of Carol being seen as a "real" person when he had ANOTHER version of her wandering around simultaneously (make that THREE versions, since concurrent issues featuring Wolverine had the same schtick).

    Yeah, if this was indeed driven by Harras/Lee, then it's probably one of those cases where a stronger editorial hand winning out was for the best, as for as much potential as there is in the idea of Rogue sharing her body with Carol's mind, at this point, as you say, Claremont had kind of lost the thread of all that a bit, between the Carol-in-Rogue-psyche, the Ghost Carol interacting with Wolverine, and the physical Carol palling around with the Starjammers. It's probably for the best that all that got reigned in a bit, regardless of who pushed for it.

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  24. @Teebore

    Yeah you are right, the Fall of the Mutants ad is pretty striking. I don't remember seeing that in Uncanny X-Men issues, so kinda forgot about it. Also, its not much of an actual crossover in my mind.

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  25. "You can probably chalk that up to Shadow King interference, I suppose."
    Claremont has said in interviews that the idea was that the Shadow King was subconsciously influencing Pierce and so Gateway was bound to obey the Shadow King by the geas as well. So that probably had something to do with why Carol was sent to the Shadow King. Of course it would have been nice if that had actually made it into the STORY.

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  26. Teebore: And I think water was actually the most useless power, simply because, unlike the others, it needed a nearby source of water to do anything

    Every week there is a canal. Or an inlet. Or a fjord.

    (whereas earth/wind/fire did their thing on their own).

    That you did on purpose. :)

    Anonymous: Claremont has said in interviews that the idea was that the Shadow King was subconsciously influencing Pierce and so Gateway was bound to obey the Shadow King by the geas as well. So that probably had something to do with why Carol was sent to the Shadow King. Of course it would have been nice if that had actually made it into the STORY.

    That's actually an awesome piece of fridge brilliance, and I have to beg to differ from your notion solely on the coolness of it that the reader has to find that out himself rather than be given it as a readily chewn piece of info. Or, maybe we would have been in for a 300-pages issue #300, where Shadow King expositionites this and every other curiousity and dangler that ever happened as his doing.

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  27. ... except, I've been binging on post-AoA X-Men currently, and there's the bit of Emma Frost goarding Bobby Drake to use his powers more ruthlessly. With everyone consisting mostly of water, Gi isn't held back by the lack of bodies of water (ha!) but her own pussy-footedness. With what there was noted of Ma-Ti's powers earlier, I'm actually thinking time might be ripe for a more ruthless Captain Planet re-make. Maybe cast them as villain ecoterrorists this time.

    Also, 90's X-Men is retroactively offensive with stereotypes nowadays, with Bobby Drake going on to shopping spree with Jean Grey "because you know why" and Emma Frost asking if he's chasing his dream as an interior decorator when he messes her office.

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  28. Um... did anyone else get a mental image of the opening scene for the live-acted Captain Planet remake, where Gi is about to get apprehended by some guards, and one of them notes "I know your powers, they're useless without a body of water, which there is non here!", only to have all the water drawn out of his body in a vaguely human-shape form that glistens in the air for the morbid fascination of Gi for a short while, until splashing down to floor while the dehydrated carcass of the former human being crumbles behind it?

    Cos I need to know should I seek a screenwriting commission for the show, or help.

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  29. Oh, and: happy 35th anniversary of Dark Phoenix's death on the Moon, everyone!

    When seeing the the date September 1st anywhere, I can't help but go "But-- that's the day Jean Grey died!"

    (like, as told in UXM #171, incidentally the very issue where Rogue joins the X-Men, and, as seen here, survives the experience despite it having looked bad for a while. Coincidence? Bah!)

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  30. @Anonymous: Yes, the reason Rogue ends up on Muir Island after absorbing Gateway’s power in Uncanny X-Men #269 is undoubtedly due to the fact Donald Pierce had a geas on the mutant aborigine, and since Pierce himself was under the control of the Shadow King, and Muir Island was where SK had anchored himself in our reality, this was obviously Claremont dropping a major clue that the geas placed upon Gateway/ his ancestors was done so by the Shadow King.

    So at last Claremont slyly lays bare what was told to readers from the day of Gateway's introduction in the letters page of Uncanny X-Men #229 where we are told "the full truth won’t be known about Gateway for quite some time – which just might cost the X-Men dearly!"

    @Teebore: Claremont later suggested on Comixfan that the scenes between Rogue and Magneto in Uncanny X-Men #274-5 were not meant to be conclusive of any sexual relationship. It will be interesting when you get to those reviews then...

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  31. I think someone mentioned it in a comment to an earlier X-amination that Magnus' dome on the cover totally ruins the last page surprise.

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