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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #316

"Generation Next Part One: Encounter"
September 1994

In a Nutshell
The Phalanx Covenant begins!

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: Joe Madureira
Inks: Terry Austin & Dan Green
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors: Buccellato
Edits: Harras
Chiefs: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Monaco, the mute Monet St. Croix & her guardian are attacked by the Phalanx. Meanwhile, Banshee returns to the mansion after a trip to Massachusetts to find the X-Men acting strangely: Archangel acts accusatory after Banshee takes a call from Scott & Jean, Psylocke fails to sense him telepathically, and Gambit & Bishop don't bat an eye when he tests them by saying that Professor X is walking again. Fearing the worst, he checks on Sabretooth, and when Rogue tries to stop him, he attacks, revealing her to be one of the Phalanx. Releasing Sabretooth, Banshee tasks him with freeing Jubilee & the White Queen while he sees to exterminating the Phalanx. But when he discovers the Phalanx have breached the X-Men's computer and are planning on capturing the next generation of young mutants, he sets the system to explode, then rendezvous with Sabretooth, White Queen & Jubilee in the tunnels under the mansion, telling them they need to find the young mutants before the Phalanx do!

Firsts and Other Notables
The "Phalanx Covenant", the X-line's annual crossover for 1994, begins with this issue. It is the last of the more formally-structured X-crossovers of the late 80s/90s (like "X-Tinction Agenda" and "X-Cutioner's Song"), with both "Age of Apocalypse" & "Onslaught" operating at a much bigger, more sprawling level (and "Operation: Zero Tolerance" doing more of the "Fall of the Mutants", multiple stories-under-one-narrative-umbrella approach), though it too has elements of "Fall of the Mutants" and "Inferno" in its structure, as the overall story is divided into thirds, with Uncanny X-Men & X-Men tackling "Generation Next", X-Factor, X-Force & Excalibur featuring "Life Signs", and the two solo books, Wolverine & Cable, handling "Final Sanction". All three deal with the threat of the Phalanx and the X-teams' response to it, but each tells its own contained story (within its sub-crossover) to that effect.

"Generation Next", the sub-story which unfolds in the two main X-books, is chiefly concerned with setting up the upcoming Generation X series, as it deals with the Phalanx targeting young mutants unaffiliated with any of the X-teams. To that end, a number of future Generation X cast members will debut in this story, and it features an ad hoc X-Men  team consisting of future Generation X headmasters Banshee & White Queen, as well as Jubilee, who will leave the X-Men to join Generation X. And Sabretooth (because the 90s).


One of those new mutants/future Generation X cast members appears for the first time in this issue, Monet St. Croix aka M, a mutant with vast powers, including psionic abilities (both telepathy & telekinesis), flight, invulnerability, and super-strength (as well as overall superhuman physical abilities, like agility, dexterity, etc). She will be a mainstay of Generation X, and will follow that up with a lengthy turn in the second Peter David X-Factor run, after which she'll join the X-Men for a spell, and, most recently, an iteration of X-Force.


Monet has a deeply convoluted history (even by X-Men standards; I had to look it up to make sure I had it all straight before writing this review), and that begins (to be teased, at least) here, with M's guardian in this issue mentioning the trouble with Monet’s brother & the twins. Her brother will eventually be revealed to be Emplate, the first villain Generation X will face, while the twins will turn out to be Monet herself (at this point in time), with the real Monet trapped in the body of the mysterious Penance (who will appear for the first time in Generation X #1). The story goes that Emplate, the older brother of Monet and the younger twins Nicole & Claudette, turned evil, then tried to convert Monet to his side. When she refused, he transformed her into Penance, and the twins, thinking he'd killed Monet, banished him to another dimension (with Penance following), then merged together to replace Monet (leaving their family to believe Emplate had killed the twins). It is this "merged" Monet who is appearing in this issue, and will appear in Generation X for roughly half that series' run (with the mystery surrounding her, Penance, Emplate & the twins a recurring plotline in the book during that time).

Because Caludette is Autistic, the merged Monet will periodically become mute (as she is in this issue) and slip into catatonic states in which she is unresponsive to outside stimuli.

Joe Madureira returns to the series with this issue, and it is considered the start of his run as the series' regular penciler, which will run up through issue #350 (albeit with many, many fill-ins along the way). Much like his earlier guest turn, he'll draw two issues of the series, then give way to guest artists for a few issues.

Banshee learns that the Phalanx have downloaded Xavier’s list of mutant teens, which are referred to by the Phalanx as Generation Next (the title of this part of the “Phalanx Covenant”). It’s not clear what, if anything, Xavier was going to do with that information (ie he already knows they’re mutants so presumably Cerebro detected them, but he simply hasn’t invited them to join the school - which suggests that while we haven’t seen Cerebro detect a new mutant recently, it has been, and Xavier has simply been keeping track of them, rather than recruiting them), but the Phalanx plan to abduct or kill them. Banshee, for his part, simply says at the end of the issue that the X-Men might have contacted them eventually.


The names listed include the future M, as well as Synch, Skin & Blink, who will all appear shortly.

Banshee manages to destroy the mansion’s computer systems before the Phalanx download all the stored data, but he expresses sorrow at the loss of the information. Ultimately, we don’t really see the loss of that data impact the X-Men all that much (as opposed to when Mr. Sinister blew up the mansion at the end of "Inferno" and it wasn't rebuilt for 40 issues).


Banshee tells Sabretooth that they’re going to track down the kids being targeted by the Phalanx, but that he sent a message to Xavier on Muir Island alerting him to the situation as well so he & Excalibur can rescue the X-Men. Instead, we’ll see Xavier punt that task as well, leaving it to Cyclops, Phoenix, Cable & Wolverine in the “Final Sanction” portion of the crossover to free the X-Men and take out the Phalanx once and for all.

Banshee intercepts a call from Cyclops & Phoenix, hoping to share vital information they’ve learned about curing the Legacy Virus with him (which is, I guess, that Cable is important to it...?). When they learn he’s on Muir Island, they decide to head there directly, setting up their presence in Wolverine #85 and the “Final Sanctions” portion of the crossover.


This issue (and all "Phalanx Covenant" issues) has a cardstock wraparound cover with a strip of metallic foil running down the far right side (with a character image, separate from the events of the cover, next to it), a somewhat more subdued gimmick than "Fatal Attractions'" hologram covers. Each issues was also published in a "standard" variant, without the foil.


There’s an ad for the Generation X Collectors Preview issue, with the ashcan included if the coupon is postmarked early enough.


There's also an eight page Generation X/"Phalanx Covenant" preview which includes a two page promo Gen X piece from series artist Chris Bachalo and a four page timeline of Cyclops’ history (which, of course, makes note of the creation of Generation X as if it’s personally significant to Cyclops, but also extends into the future to include his time raising Cable).


A Work in Progress
The Phalanx believe Monet could be the most powerful of the next generation of mutants.

Emma is back in her own body, having been swapped with Iceman between issues by Professor X.

Banshee points out that both Storm & Iceman have a history of body-swapping with Emma, making them less than ideal X-Men to be dealing with her (they are of course Phalanx simulacrum).


We're reminded that Banshee left the X-Men (in adjectiveless #4) to go after Moira, who ended up back at the mansion (in "X-Cutioner’s Song") before him.


Banshee recounts the various turns his life has taken, which underlines just how odd some of the bits of his backstory are when all laid out next to each other (ie Interpol agent to NY cop to reluctant villain in Tennessee).


It's noted that it’s only been a week or two since the events of issues #312-313, when Storm & Gambit first encountered the Phalanx.

Banshee leverages Sabretooth to help him via a detonator that can blow up his muzzle (the idea being that Sabretooth couldn’t survive having his head blown off).


It’s said here that the Phalanx are unable to assimilate mutants, so they’re examining Cerebro to try and figure out how, so they can assimilate the captive X-Men. This is a change from their earlier appearance, in which no such limitation seemed to exist.


It’s never made clear why Jubilee remains at the mansion (a captive of the Phalanx) rather than having been taken away with the rest of the X-Men, aside from the fact that she’s needed to be on hand to round out Banshee’s ad hoc team.

The Grim 'n' Gritty 90s
Beast has created a Heather Locklear Danger Room program.


For Sale
There’s an ad for Street Fighter II in this issue, one of the great arcade fighter-turned-home-console games of all time.


There’s also an ad for the Maximum Carnage video game adaptation, which I understand is considered by many to be superior to the story itself.


It's in the Mail
The letters page claims plans are in the works for Longshot & Dazzler; this is a frequent claim of the letters page, but nothing ever really comes of it.

Austin's Analysis
"Phalanx  Covenant" is a bit of weird crossover, structurally, in that it's neatly divided into thirds, with each third of the story largely self-contained, and only one of those thirds ("Generation Next") involving more than one issue of the respective series' contributing to it. It's also odd in that the bulk of the X-Men themselves aren't in it much at all, having been captured by the Phalanx off-panel, and only pop up briefly at the very end of the crossover (in Cable #16, off all places). This leaves an ad hoc team of X-Men to star in the portion of the crossover taking place in Uncanny & Adjectiveless X-Men, because, at its heart, this whole story is all really just a protracted setup for Generation X (which is another example of how it's something of a weird crossover

As a result of taking the X-Men off the board (and doing it behind the scenes) to allow this temp team to form and go about laying the seeds for a new series, this first part of the crossover  reads very much like a horror story: Banshee returns home to find his friends acting odd, because it turns out they've been replaced by monsters, so he has to fight his way out with the help of some unlikely allies. It's easy enough to imagine the techno-organic doppelgangers as alien body snatchers or vampires, with Banshee's team representative of the kind of makeshift alliances that form in these kinds of stories when the protagonist's usual allies have been subverted by the evil forces.

It's a fun hook for the start of the crossover, one which reflects the more narrow focus of this portion of the story, as this issue is told almost entirely from Banshee's perspective. While the other two-thirds of "Phalanx Covenant" will cover the story on a more macro level (to varying degrees of success), "Generation Next" will remain, like this issue, more focused and concerned with the micro-story of rescuing young mutants from the Phalanx than finding a way to defeat the villains overall. With its horror trappings and limited perspective, this issue effectively sets the stage for that focus & perspective, in the process creating an engaging start to the crossover.

Next Issue
"Life Signs" begins in X-Factor #106, and "Final Saction" in Wolverine #85, as "Phalanx Covenant" continues. Next week, Banshee's X-Men team hits the road in X-Men (vol. 2) #36.

17 comments:

  1. This is the second time the most obvious person is bypassed when picking a mentor to a new generation of mutants. Cyclops was the obvious choice to teach the New Mutants when Xavier was taken to the space in #200. In fact, he was the ideal person to become the overall leader of both X-Men and New Mutants, and not Magneto. (Readers forget that Xavier asked Magneto to replace him also as the leader of the X-Men as well, while Storm was field leader) This was never brought up again and it would have been great to see Cyclops’ resentment and rivalry with Storm when the X-Men were reformed in #1. Instead, Jim Lee opted to reboot the franchise and ignore everything. I see as a mistake.

    The second time was now, with the creation of Generation X. Cyclops and Marvel Girl has just returned from their honeymoon. It was the perfect occasion. Instead, he just lingers around doing nothing useful. He even leaves the X-Men for some time after Bastion and was later killed in that Apocalypse saga. I forgot the name of both events. At this point, I just hated X-Men. I heard that things got worse, and that Cyclops later killed Xavier, cheated on Jean and become a lunatic extremist who was killed of... by a disease. R.I.P. Cyclops. Killed by writers’ stupidity.

    In regards to Generation X, I can only say what I’ve said before here: I didn’t like the team. This is the era of “gross” powers. A guy with hanging skin, another with blown mouth, a girl who removes skin, etc. Then you had had Maggot guy. Or, you had the ones which no one could explain what was their power, like Synch. M was the one I hated. She was perfect and was too pepeful. Clearly a creator’s pet. Generation X is nothing compared to Claremont’s New Mutants. To this day, despite all awful writers, I still remember their names: Sam, Dani, Roberto, Rahne, Doug, and Illyana. Perfect cast.

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    1. Cyclops and Marvel Girl has just returned from their honeymoon. It was the perfect occasion. Instead, he just lingers around doing nothing useful.

      I just don't think the Powers-that-be wanted Cyclops & Jean off the X-Men. Recall that the animated series (in which they were both prominent featured) was still on the air, and Jubilee was already leaving the X-Men. After all the effort it took to to bring the X-Men back together, I don't think there was a desire to break them up (particularly since Banshee was written out early after the relaunch, and brought back just to set up his role in Gen X).

      I heard that things got worse, and that Cyclops later killed Xavier, cheated on Jean and become a lunatic extremist who was killed of... by a disease.

      Cheated, then killed Xavier, then became an extremist who was killed off by M-Pox. But his younger self (along with the rest of the teenage original X-Men) has still been hanging around!

      Or, you had the ones which no one could explain what was their power, like Synch

      Synch's power is actually the easiest to explain: he copies the powers of whomever is around him (ie he syncs up to them). But I agree, most of the Gen X powers are very Grant Morrison-esque, in that they sound cool, but don't make much sense. I still have no idea how, exactly, Paige's husking power works (like, how does one tear away one's skin?), and Chamber's whole "missing the bottom of his face" thing is suitably tragic, but again, I'm not sure how that works, exactly, in terms of him being a living human being.

      M being uber-powerful was, for better or worse, intentional. It's contrasted with the fact that, in the early goings, she was prone to periodic & random bursts of catatonia, in which she'd be functionally useless (so there was the contrast between her being the most useful member of the team in terms of her power, but also the least trustworthy, because she could black out at any time). The whole idea that she was outwardly perfect & super powerful but mentally something of a mess was also later explored to decent effect by Peter David in X-FACTOR.

      Generation X is nothing compared to Claremont’s New Mutants

      I think it's really just a question of what you grew up with. I mean, of the New Mutants, the best of the bunch in terms of characterization are Sam, Dani & Illyana, but even then, a lot of what makes Sam great comes from Fabian Nicieza turning him into a great leader, and Illyana is, essentially, a more drawn-out retread of "Dark Phoenix Saga". Dani really is the purely Claremontian triumph of the lot.

      So yeah, I couldn't care less about Skin, Synch as a character never really achieved his potential, and Penance was always more of a plot device than anything (not unlike how Doug was a great concept but never realized his full potential, and I couldn't care less about Karma), but Jubilee, Chamber, M and Husk are still "Jubilee, Jono, Monet & Paige" to me, and there's a whole generation of readers out there for whom the group as a whole is their Claremont's New Mutants.

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    2. Or, in other words, Claremont's NEW MUTANTS is pretty great, and I definitely like it more than the bulk of GENERATION X, but at the same time, I'm not comfortable saying GENERATION X, a series which, for all its ups and downs, still had some good stuff going on, is inherently bad just because it fails to be as good as Claremont's NEW MUTANTS.

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    3. I agree; it absolutely does depend on what you grew up with. I never read NEW MUTANTS; I didn't even bother with back issues when I was filling in my X-catalog, so I didn't read the series as it was first published, nor did I read it when I was getting into X-Men years later. I finally got around to it via Marvel's NEW MUTANTS CLASSIC trades when I was in my early thirties.

      So for me, Gen X is pretty much the one and only premier young mutant team -- which is why it irks me that they mostly all vanished, were killed, or were horribly mishandled in the years after their series ended. I'm sure I'll have plenty to say about that series once you start reviewing it here!

      (Though if we're totally honest here, my favorite character in GENERATION X was Banshee, rather than any of the students -- but I'm sure that went without saying!)

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    4. I'm in agreement. I love Claremont's New Mutants. I can't really compare Generation X to New Mutants, because it just wouldn't be fair, due to how much I love Claremont's New Mutants.

      That's nothing against Generation X though. The original Lobdell/Bachalo issues were very good, and that period of Generation X was one of the high points of this period of X-history, for me.
      Some of the characters were less than interesting, on their own, with their weirdness for weirdness sake powers.
      However, that shows just how good a job Lobdell and Bachalo did with the stories, that they turned in a quality comic.

      It wasn't Claremont's New Mutants, but that's ok, because it didn't need to be either. It did fine on its own, as long as you don't read it in the shadow of the quality of Claremont's New Mutants.

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    6. Ack, no. @Licinio -- I always read the comments sections to see what you have to say because I noticed and appreciated your "this is what should have happened" takes on X-lore ages ago. They clearly come from a place of deep X-knowledge and love, and I very much like them. (I may or may not have bookmarked Teebore's X-Men vol. 2 #25 post just to read your comment about how the Blue/Gold relaunch _should_ have gone from time to time.) But this one -- this I just can't disagree with more.

      After the O5 X-Factor failed so miserably with Caliban and the proto-X-Terminators -- and then _again_ as the New Mutants' short-lived mentors -- giving Scott and Jean control of Generation X would have been completely unearned in-universe. (And, as Teebore notes, impossible in the real world editorial offices.)

      There is much I don't like about Generation X (the Morrison-esque "gross powers" among them), but there is lots to like in the book -- and right at the top of the list is Sean and Emma at co-headmasters. It's a wonderful, unexpected pairing that Lobdell writes consistently well and has in-universe roots back to that old New Mutants annual in which Banshee is portrayed as the New Mutants' former mentor. Really, Sean and Emma heading the Massachusetts is one of my all-time favorite pairings of X-characters in any X-book from any era.

      (I seem to have hit some sort of error here, so reposting.)

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  2. *M was perfect and too powerful. Look how many powers she has above!

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  3. Oh, I loved this issue. Not so much the rest of the arc, but this was a good beginning. My two favorite scenes: 1) Banshee trying via computer to contact his fellow X-Men, only to discover that of the twelve people in the School, the computer can only identify four ("Saints preserve us...").
    And 2) Banshee's response to Phalanx-Rogue's question. "Aye...NOW YE LISTEN TO ME!" This is probably my favorite Banshee story. Him noticing something's wrong, confirming it, and then lashing out with the sonic scream. Great character moments. Oh, and he's wearing his green-and-yellow suit again (with a change of collar though).
    Nice to see Emma back to her body and taking down the PhalanxStorm & Iceman. Although, when you think about it, wouldn't they be immune to psychic attacks?
    I suppose Jubilee was out when the team was kidnapped, and her arrival coincided with Sean, and the Phalanx needed to wait until they too will be kidnapped, so they tricked her into the Danger Room for the time being.
    I also enjoyed the Cyclops timeline, introducing me to several pictures like JB's portrayal of the second group in the Cockrum run, JRJr's Scott marrying Maddie, Walt S.' Scott holding his son, and Bill S's DoFP Xavier getting killed, although it took me a while to know where they originated (and with exception to JB and JRJr, who originated them).
    Rather like PhalanxStorm's costume, a nice callback to her Cockrum original (sans headdress, two-piece separation, with long gloves). Did the real one ever wear it? If not, I suppose this was a further clue of the deception, like Warren wearing a red version of the Adams costume (unless this is the first time he is wearing any variation of the Adams suit period).
    Also note PhalanxCyclops/Wolverine on the cover.

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    1. Banshee trying via computer to contact his fellow X-Men, only to discover that of the twelve people in the School, the computer can only identify four

      That's one of those great moments that really underscores how like a horror movie this is.

      although, when you think about it, wouldn't they be immune to psychic attacks?

      Yeah, the question of how much a telepath can affect a robot/android is...inconsistently presented, at best. I suppose, since the Phalanx are technically sentient (if all part of a collective hive mind), Emma can affect them since there is a "mind" there to read/control/inflict pain on (though the art definitely makes it look like she's telekinetically ripping them apart, which she shouldn't be able to do, robot or not).

      If not, I suppose this was a further clue of the deception, like Warren wearing a red version of the Adams costume

      I think it's meant to be another visual clue.

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    2. I like this Storm outfit too. Madureira seems to have been a fan of the "All-New, All-Different" designs, considering he put Banshee back in his classic costume for this story, and he later brings back Storm's headdress. I think we see her sporting it while dressed in casual attire in an upcoming post-"Age of Apocalypse" issue.

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  4. How did Emplate transform Monet into Penance?

    @Liciono Miranda: I suspect the reason Banshee was selected as mentor for GenX was due to Lobdell referencing New Mutants Annual #6.

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    1. I don't recall if it's ever revealed the exact mechanics of how Emplate created Penance. Offhand, I'd guess it's some handwavy connection to the same dark dimension that mutated him/he got stuck in.

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  5. So, as I've noted many times before, this was my first issue of UNCANNY as a monthly, never-miss-an-installment reader. I remained such through the rest of the 90s and into the 00s, finally dropping it during Chuck Austen's abominable run.

    I picked this one up since it was part of a crossover, but I stayed for Joe Madureira's artwork. Having never read EXCALIBUR or the previous fill-ins he did on UNCANNY, this was my first exposure to him, and it blew me away. To paraphrase myself from a post I did on my own blog a while back, Joe Mad was a revelation to me. I never knew a superhero comic could look like this. I have to imagine my reaction to him was the same as readers' reactions to Jim Lee a few years earlier or John Byrne in the 70s or Neal Adams in the 60s. I know this sounds like hyperbole, but it absolutely is not: I worshipped the ground this guy walked on for the remainder of his time on UNCANNY, more than I had any artist before or after. (Though my aversion to non-Marvel publishers kept me from following him to BATTLE CHASERS later in the 90s.)

    "Generation Next" is my favorite part of "Phalanx Covenant", and for a few reasons (mostly nostalgic in nature), "Phalanx" is possibly my favorite X-crossover of the 90s (even taking into account the fact that the "Life Signs" segment was so boring that I fell asleep while reading it). Partly that's because I have pretty vivid recollections of where I was when I read most of the issues. Partly it's because of the Joe Mad art, of course. I love his depictions of all the characters in the issue, particularly Banshee, Gambit, Rogue, and Storm. (Check out Storm's hair -- it goes down to her calves!)

    Plus, this storyline went a long way toward cementing Banshee as one of my favorite X-Men. I love how he uses his detective skills to sort of figure out something is amiss in the mansion, then acts immediately to save who he can and hit the road. He was the de facto team leader whenever Cyclops was out of action in the Claremont/Cockrum/Byrne run, and he quickly assumes that role here, as well. Plus, his original and best costume is back, albeit for a very brief run, which is nice to see. Between this, reading the afore-mentioned "All-New, All-Different" stuff in fairly close proximity to these stories, and the upcoming GENERATION X, Banshee had a pretty high profile for me in the 90s, and I generally consider him second to Cyclops as my favorite X-Man.

    (Though admittedly, I have possibly a weird list of favorite X-Men. Top five usucally consists of Cyclops, Banshee, Bishop, Psylocke, and Angel. Expand that to ten, and you get some of the characters you might actually expect, such as Beast and Wolverine.)

    But I think the real reason I like the crossover so much is that this is the point where the X-Men sort of "clicked" for me. It's hard to explain how, but up to this point I'd been reading X-MEN regularly for over a year, and picking up UNCANNY sporadically as crossovers warrented. I liked the X-Men a lot, and they were slowly but surely rising to eclipse Spider-Man as my favorite Marvel series. But right here, during "Phalanx Covenant" and its aftermath, is when some magical switch flipped on and the X-Men became the title(s) I looked forward to the most every month, which would remain the case pretty much up through "Zero Tolerance" three years or so later.

    And again, I can't really explain what happened to make this the case, but right about now and for some time after, the X-Men were firing on all cylinders as far as I was concerned, and they could rarely do any wrong.

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  6. This issue has always been my go-to example of how below-average crossovers can have some great individual issues in them. Phalanx Covenant as a whole is aggressively mediocre, to be kind. The Phalanx themselves are a reasonably interesting idea (what if a bastardized version of Warlock became the new Sentinels?), but the weird, vague connections to the Technarch did them no favors and they never really felt like the threat their powers should have made them.

    But this? This issue is great. As Austin correctly noted, it's a suspense movie masquerading as a superhero comic. Just like any good horror movie, it starts slow with everything seemingly normal. (Well, by X-Men standards.) Slowly, your protagonist starts to notice a couple things that are just a little... off. Clever guy that he is, he finds a way to test his suspicions and has them confirmed. So he does the sensible thing and calls for help, only to learn all the roads are closed, the power generator is out, and the calls are coming from inside the house!

    Starting the story in media res was definitely the right choice. And those few panels of Banshee, sweat dripping from his face, and the slowly-dawning look of horror as he realizes literally ALL of the X-Men have been replaced by pod people... just excellent work by Madureira.

    It's almost a shame this was the first issue, because the rest of the crossover couldn't hope to compare. At least Generation Next is the best segment of the crossover, even if the later issues don't live up to this one.

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  7. The Cyclops Timeline fails to mention that Scott just ditches Madelyne and their child once Jean is found alive.

    // we haven’t seen Cerebro detect a new mutant recently //

    I find it kind-of quaint to think of these potential recruits as the next generation of mutants when in the years since the ANAD X-Men and New Mutants were introduced we’ve seen the ill-advised “one in a million” reference to the existence of mutants on Earth truly manifest. Every time a mutant pops up it’s hard not to recall how the series’ earliest days were built almost exclusively around outreach to and/or the potential threat represented by newly detected mutants, but once whole groups of them start crawling out of the woodwork you have to wonder just how many untold stories of mutants turning Xavier down haven’t we seen and why Cerebro missed so many that it’s clear Xavier’s never encountered in the first place. Did he monitor the mutants who became the Acolytes — his past relationship with Amelia Voght notwithstanding — or, for that matter, did Magneto (or the Hellfire Club) before they crossed paths in Vol. II #1? The retconned existence of the Morlocks and Genosha, most of all, will always be static buzzing loudly in my head when considering the X-Men corpus. So there are a half-dozen candidates for the school on file? It must be a slow month.

    // Emma is back in her own body, having been swapped with Iceman between issues by Professor X. //

    While the Phalanx having replaced the X-Men at the mansion between issues was a proper mystery, this should’ve happened on-panel or at least been dealt with through more than just one line in Sean’s internal monologue.

    // Banshee recounts the various turns his life has taken //

    The character seen in Giant-Size #1 and onwards is hard to reconcile with the one introduced less than a decade before — his macabre visage alone is entirely different — but the reference to his checkered history was appreciated. I’ve always had a soft spot for Banshee and lamented his sidelining over the years, due in large part I think to his age in-universe and his status as hailing from the pre-ANAD era (older superheroes like the Justice Society, for whatever reasons, struck me as neat from my earliest comics reading), so I found it quite satisfying when the cool, confident competence born of that history was put on display.

    // Beast has created a Heather Locklear Danger Room program. //

    Which is a very surprising thing to have Sean mention in reference to needing a workout, if you’re not hip to the contemporary aerobics-video reference, and quite possibly even if you are.

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  8. I remember I saw this very issue featured in a episode of Boy Meets World. Cory Matthews had it on his desk and was surprised his teacher Mr. Turner was a x-fan and saying this is a great issue. that made the issue extra special to me. it was on the 2nd season 94-95. check out the video clip under.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZ-n7Nb7m5M

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