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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

X-amining "Onslaught" Tie-Ins Part 2


"Dancing in the Dark" / "Night Neverending" / "The End of the Line" / "Unfinished Business
October 1996

In a Nutshell
The Avengers, Fantastic Four and Hulk prepare for the final battle against Onslaught. 

Incredible Hulk #445 by Peter David & Angel Medina
Iron Man #332 by Terry Kavangh & Joe Bennett
Avengers #402 by Mark Waid, Mike Deodato & Tom Palmer
Fantastic Four #416 by Tom DeFalco & Carlos Pacheco
(Please visit the GCD for full credits from each issue)

Plot
Incredible Hulk #445: After rescuing a subway car full of stranded passengers, Hulk, angry with the way Onslaught used him & frustrated by the heroes' lack of action, decides to take the fight to Onslaught. Though Captain America cautions against it, Hulk is joined by Falcon, Hawkeye, Vision & Crystal. Together, Hulk & Crystal dig a tunnel beneath the city & into Onslaught's citadel. They attack, and though his allies are killed, Hulk succeeds in destroying Onslaught, happy to have won despite the losses. Suddenly, he's back in Four Freedoms Plaza, the entire attack a result of a telepathic illusion created by Onslaught and shared amongst the heroes, leaving the group more distrustful of Hulk than ever. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #10 - Patreon First

"Cry Murder -- Cry MODOK!"
October 1977

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel defeats MODOK & Deathbird

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Inker: Tom Palmer
Letters: John Costanza
Colors: Phil Rachelson
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
Trapped between AIM and the rogue faction led by MODOK & Deathbird, Carol Danvers tries to defend herself without transforming into Ms. Marvel. But when she is threatened with bodily harm, Ms. Marvel forces the transformation to save them both. As Deathbird engages Ms. Marvel, MODOK is able to take control of AIM's missile launchers and co-opt their plan to take over NASA's Skylab. Back at Woman magazine offices, Tracy Burke tries to manage things in Carol's absence. Elsewhere, Ms. Marvel follows MODOK & Deathbird to AIM's South Bronx launchpad, and MODOK leaves Deathbird behind to stall Ms. Marvel as he boards the rocket. The fight between Deathbird & Ms. Marvel puts them into the path of the rocket's blast, and when it launches, Deathbird is seemingly killed, though Ms. Marvel manages to survive. She then rushes to abort the launch, destroying the rocket in midair. But when she tracks down the command capsule after it parachutes to the ground, she discovers that MODOK has somehow disappeared. 

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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

X-amining Uncanny X-Men '96

"Destiny's Child"
1996

In a Nutshell
Bishop, Shard, Storm & Wild Child battle the Hound & Shard gets a new body! 

Writers: Howard Mackie & Terry Kavanagh
Pencilers: David Perrin & Nick Gnazzo
Inkers: Art Thibert & Harry Candelario 
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors: Kevin Somers
Enhancements: Malibu
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
The precognitive Preacher flees from government forces, who manage to capture only some of his paintings. This isn't good enough for their boss, still angry at the way they failed to retrieve the data from X-Factor's computers recently. Recognizing Shard from both the data retrieval failure and one of Preacher's paintings, he orders the Hound to be deployed in order to capture her. Later, Storm & Bishop arrive in Las Vegas to meet Shard & Wild Child. Shard wants to reconnect with her brother, while Bishop, cautious after having lost Shard twice, struggles with accepting the holographic representation of her as his sister. Just then Preacher finds them, and warns of the Hounds approach, but the hand manages to capture Shard's holographic matrix projector. Shard awakens in a government facility as the agents are trying to access her knowledge of the future. Bishop, Storm & Wild Child soon break into the facility and engage the Hound. During the battle, Shard destroys her projector and all the secrets it contains, then disappears. This leaves Bishop distraught, much to his surprise, and though the X-Men manage to defeat the Hound, they are forced to flee the base as it self-destructs. Aboard the Blackbird, Wild Child laments the loss of Shard, but she suddenly appears, now a photon-based life form, free of the projector. Bishop accepts her as is sister, though Storm worries about the government agency they battled, and whether Bishop & Shard's future may yet comes to pass. Elsewhere, Preacher has been found by another organization, one which watches over him and his paintings, an organization led by Bastian, which has zero tolerance for mutants. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #9 - Patreon First

"Call Me Death-Bird!"
September 1977

In a Nutshell
Deathbird makes her first appearance! 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Keith Pollard
Inkers: Joe Sinnott, Sam Grainger 
Letters: Gaspar Saladino, John Costanza 
Colors: Janice Cohen
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
After a premonition from her seventh sense showing someone breaking into her apartment interrupts her date, Carol transforms into Ms. Marvel and flies towards her home. On the way, she is attacked by Deathbird, who is trying to kill her to fulfill a debt to MODOK. Spotting her apartment on fire and children in danger, Ms. Marvel fakes her death to ward off Deathbird, then rescues the children and helps put out the fire. Carol's apartment, however, is destroyed, save for some documents in a firebox which were the target of Ballard, who started the fire. The next morning, Carol works with the staff of Woman magazine to get out the next issue, and J. Jonah Jameson introduces his latest hire, Tabitha Townshend, to serve as Carol's assistant. Later, Carol heads off on her own, returning to the department store where she escaped from AIM, hoping to find their base. As she snoops around, she is spotted by AIM security, who recognizes and captures her before she can transform into Ms. Marvel. She is taken below into the base, just as MODOK & Deathbird, leading their faction of AIM, attacks. 

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Monday, April 26, 2021

X-aminations in May 2021 & May 1996 Power Rankings

We made it. While "Onslaught" will continue to linger into June, this next month represents the conclusion of the story itself (as well as an ending, of sorts, to the Marvel Universe as it existed up to that point). Then it's time to start dealing with the fall-out, both in-universe and in the real world.  

On Sale August 1996
May 5: "Onslaught" Tie-Ins: Avengers #402, Incredible Hulk #445, Iron Man #332 & Fantastic Four #416

May 12: Onslaught: Marvel Universe #1

May 19: Cable #36
May 20: Uncanny X-Men #337
May 21: X-Men (vol. 2) #57

May 26: The Road to Onslaught #1

Thursday, April 22, 2021

X-amining X-Men Unlimited #12

"The Once and Future Juggernaut"
September 1996

In a Nutshell
With the help of Gomurr the Ancient & Tar, Juggernaut reclaims his power!

Writer: John Francis Moore
Pencils: Steve Epting & Ariel Olivetti
Inks: Kevin Conrad & Ariel Olivetti
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Drawn to the X-Mansion, Doctor Strange discovers Juggernaut trapped inside the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak. Unnoticed, one of sorcerer Tar's neon spiders tries to grab the gem, but the newly-arrived Gomurr the Ancient stops it. He asks Strange to guard the gem as he goes inside to free Juggernaut. Inside the gem, Gomurr finds Juggernaut being psychically tortured by Spite, sister of D'Spayre. Freeing him from Spite, Gomurr takes Juggernaut on a journey through his past, hoping to make him realize the mistakes he's made and reject the power of Juggernaut as the curse it is. However, Spite appears & offers Juggernaut even more power, and he accepts. She takes him to Cyttorak, who reveals he intends to take over Juggernaut's body in order to escape to Earth. As he takes away Juggernaut's power, Juggernaut realizes he's been played. Elsewhere, Tar joins Gomurr, and the rivals team up to help Juggernaut in order to prevent the even worse Cyttorak being unleashed on the world. His power restored via Tar's magics, Juggernaut attacks Cyttorak, destroying him, which forces Cyttorak's power into Juggernaut as the dimension crumbles around them. As Gomurr & Tar flee, Juggernaut emerges from the gem, much to Doctor Strange's surprise. Having survived a grudge match with a god, he declares that nothing's ever going to stop him now, though Doctor Strange knows that the true legacy of Juggernaut's power is the ruination of his soul. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #56

"Invasion"
September 1996

In a Nutshell
Joseph meets Xavier & Dr. Doom joins the fray as the heroes prepare for their final assault on Onslaught! 

Plot: Scott Lobdell
Script: Mark Waid
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Inks: Art Thibert
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Enhancements: Malibu
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Atop Four Freedoms Plaza, Joseph tells Captain America of he and Rogue's recent encounter with a Sentinel, and how they were saved by Doctor Doom. Cap then proceeds downstairs to continue planning for the assault on Onslaught, while Joseph is greeted by Professor Xavier. The two commiserate on the roles they played in the creation of Onslaught. Xavier tries assuage Joseph's fears of becoming like Magneto, then sends him down to join the others. Meanwhile, in his Citadel, Onslaught reads the mind of the captive Nate Grey to learn more about Nate's home reality; he becomes enraged upon seeing how even in a mutant-dominated world, mutants cast off their domination, then absorbs Nate's power for himself. Back at Four Freedoms Plaza, Professor Xavier disables the tracking on his hover chair and sets out alone. Jean senses his departure during Captain America's briefing, and warns Cyclops that Xavier intends to face Onslaught himself. Cyclops tells her to telepathically rally the X-Men: Xavier won't have to face Onslaught alone. Meanwhile, Xavier arrives outside Onslaught's citadel. Onslaught leaps down to confront him, and Xavier insists that humanity's destruction is not mutantkind's gain. To his surprise, Onslaught agrees, then declares that no one, neither human nor mutant, will survive Onslaught!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #8 - Patreon First

"The Last Sunset... ?"
August 1977

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel battles Grotesk (again)

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jim Mooney
Inker: Joe Sinnott
Letters: Don Warfield
Colors: Gaspar Saladino, John Costanza
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
Acting on a tip from Carol Danvers, SHIELD agents sweep Alden's department store for any trace of AIM. Finding nothing, they depart, none too pleased with Carol, while AIM, pleased to have skirted by SHIELD, plots against her. Later, Carol meets Tracy Burke, a respected photojournalist, at a bar, hoping to hire her as an assistant editor for Woman magazine. During their conversation, a group of thugs try to rob the bar, and Carol manages to fight them off without transforming into Ms. Marvel. A few days later, Carol goes to the beach with Michael Barnett, and is drawn to a nearby research facility. Transforming into Ms. Marvel, she discovers Grotesk, attempting to use the Cavorite Crystal to create a warp generator that will destroy the world. The two fight, and Grotesk nearly drowns Ms. Marvel. But she is able to use Kree battle techniques to trick Grotesk and gain the upper hand, knocking him into the warp generator, seemingly destroying them both. She transforms back into Carol, and with the Cavorite Crystal in tow, heads back to Michael. 

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Friday, April 16, 2021

X-amining Wolverine #105

"Faces in the Fire"
September 1996

In a Nutshell
Wolverine helps save people from a burning building. 

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Val Semeiks 
Inks: Chad Hunt with V. Russell and H. Candelario  
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft 
Colors: Chris Lichter and Joe Andreani 
Enhancements: Malibu
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Leaving Onslaught to the heavy hitters, Wolverine helps a group of fire fighters evacuate a burning building. Learning a boy named Sean is still inside, Wolverine has himself doused in water, then goes back into the building. He finds Sean, but their exit route is blocked. Just then, a mysterious old man appears, able to see through the smoke, and helps lead them out. Handing Sean to his mother, Wolverine goes back into the building to find the old man. He refuses to leave, however, and leads Wolverine to the roof, where he knocks Wolverine down with his cane. Wolverine realizes he is Stick, Elektra's ghostly mentor. Wolverine assumes Stick's there to help him regain his humanity, but Stick tells him only Wolverine can do that. He does, however, lead Wolverine away from the burning building, at which point Human Torch appears, telling him all the heroes are regrouping at Four Freedoms Plaza to plan their final assault against Onslaught. 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

X-amining Generation X #19


"Don't Wait Up..."
September 1996

In a Nutshell
Toad attacks as Emma realizes what she's done

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inker: Mark Buckingham 
Letterer: RS / Comicraft / DL
Colorist: The Bucce
Enhancements: Malibu
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Emma calls down Monet, Paige, Jubilee, & Everett to breakfast, each dressed in a silly costume & blissfully unbothered by anything. They are watched from outside by Toad, who is trying to come up with a plan. Meanwhile, Banshee is met at the abandoned headquarters of Alpha Flight by Sasquatch, who thinks he may have a device that will help Banshee locate Emma and the kids. Back at Emma's estate, the kids are attacked by a mass of cybernetic toads sent by Toad, as Monet's subconscious, in the form of a small girl, telepathically convinces Emma that she's being subconsciously affected by Onslaught, leading her to instinctively protect her students by placating them. But she needs to release their hold on them in order to save them from Toad. Snapping out of it, Emma admonishes Toad for his actions, just as Banshee & Sasquatch arrive. Having heard the news about Onslaught, Banshee absolves Emma of any blame for kidnapping the kids, while Jubilee & Monet agree to a truce. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

X-amining X-Man #19

"Shades of Grey"
September 1996

In a Nutshell
Onslaught captures Nate Grey

Writer: Terry Kavanagh
Penciler: Steve Skroce
Inker: Bud LaRosa
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Enhancements: Malibu
Editor: Jate Gardner
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Mister Sinister tells the captive Nate Grey how he instructed Threnody to get close to Nate, and used her neuro-locks to map Nate's brain, giving him control over his abilities. Meanwhile, Threnody is in New York, a captive of Marauders Scalphunter & Arclight. Elsewhere, Onslaught compels the captive Franklin Richards to call out to Nate for help. Back at Sinister's lair, Nate hears the cry, faintly, and Sinister urges him to ignore it. In New York, Threnody is able to capture a rat, and absorbs the energy released when she snaps its neck. Elsewhere, Nate realizes that Sinister's control over his power was temporary, and turns on Sinister. In New York, the escaped Threnody runs from the Marauders, who are attacked from behind by a hulking, shadowy figure. At Sinister's lair, Nate is distracted by the opening of a portal, through which he can see Franklin, asking for help. Nate reaches out as Sinister cries out that it's a trap; as Franklin's hand becomes Onslaught's, he tells Sinister that it was indeed a trap, then disappears with Nate in tow. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #7 - Patreon First

"Nightmare!"
July 1977

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel is captured by AIM and battles MODOK!

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jim Mooney
Inker: Joe Sinnott 
Letters: Joe Rosen
Colors: Don Warfield
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
As the refinery explodes around her, Ms. Marvel falls into an underground cavern & is knocked unconscious. She awakens a captive of AIM, whose leader, MODOK, wants to use the circuitry in her costume to create an army with Ms. Marvel's abilities. However, when her costume, damaged in the fight with Grotesk, fails to transfer her powers to an AIM agent, MODOK instead tries to take control of Ms. Marvel's mind. Thanks to her dual identity as both Ms. Marvel & Carol Danver, she is able to resist MODOK's control and fight her way free of AIM, emerging in a department store. Realizing the department store is a cover for AIM's base, she transform back into Carol Danvers and blends in with the other shoppers in order to escape, vowing to return and both shut down AIM & get revenge on MODOK! 

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!

Friday, April 9, 2021

X-amining Excalibur #101

"Quiet"
September 1996

In a Nutshell
Excalibur deals with the aftermath of the Hellfire Club's attack & the revelation of Onslaught. 

Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Casey Jones
Inker: Tom Simmons
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Ariane Lenshoek
Separations: Malibu Hue
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Moira watches a pre-recorded message from Xavier, telling her that if anything happens to him, she and Muir Island are the last outpost for his dream. Rory then tells her that Excalibur is on their way home, and she braces herself to tell them about Onslaught. Upon hearing the news, everyone prepares to leave for America, but Moira insists the rest of the X-teams have the matter in hand; Excalibur is too beat-up to be of much help. As the team settles in, they watch news coverage of Onslaught's attack, and grow increasing horrified by what is happening. Meanwhile, Alistaire Stuart meets with Rory, telling him that he's been assigned to head up a new agency incorporating the remnants of Black Air and WHO. He asks Rory to be the mutant liaison to the new agency. Later, following more news of Onslaught's attacks, a reinvigorated Excalibur makes moves to once again head to New York, but Moira puts her foot down, saying if they go to New York they may very well be killed, and there are people outside New York who need their help. They have to stay here - Professor X would want them to stay here - in order to ensure his dream is kept alive. 

Thursday, April 8, 2021

X-amining X-Force #58

"...Before the Dawn"
September 1996

In a Nutshell
X-Force is rescued from Onslaught by a representation of Professor Xavier's goodness.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Anthony Castrillo 
Inker: Bud LaRosa
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Sunspot finds himself back in Brazil, playing soccer, his father & Julianna looking on. But instead of the Hellfire Club attacking, he wins the game and the adulation of the crowd. Later, in the locker room, he is approached by a small boy, who tells him he needs the help of Sunspot, the heart of soul of X-Force, to gather the others. At the X-Mansion, Siryn emerges from the wreckage caused by Mister Sinister's attack to find her teammates unconscious; she telepathically calls out for Cable, but he is caught up fighting Onslaught and can't immediately help her. She proceeds to do what she can, and tries to revive Meltdown. Meanwhile, Meltdown confronts Sabretooth, but Sunspot & the young boy arrive, and convince her to join them. They then retrieve Caliban, followed by Warpath, who is once again forced to say goodbye to his brother, and then Shatterstar, and finally Domino. With the team gathered, the young boy urges them to step into the light to fulfill their dreams. But the boy, believing himself to have won, arrogantly reveals himself as Onslaught, and Sunspot leads them in standing up to him, refusing to go into the light. Just then, in the real world, X-Force wakes up, much to Siryn's delight. They then see the young boy again, but this time, he reveals himself to be a manifestation of Xavier's goodness; he reminds them they are the next generation of mutants, and X-Force finds renewed hope amidst the ongoing tragedies. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

X-amining Cable #35

"It is Always Darkest..."

September 1996


In a Nutshell

Cable & Apocalypse team-up to take down Onslaught! 


Writer: Jeph Loeb

Penciler: Ian Churchill

Inkers: Scott Hanna & Art Thibert

Letterer: RS & Comicraft

Colorist: Mike Thomas

Enhancements: Malibu

Editor: Mark Powers

Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras


Plot

In the midst of the psionic storm created by Onslaught, Cable & Invisible Woman are met by Apocalypse, who proposes they join forces against Onslaught & rescue Franklin Richards, thereby cutting off Onslaught from his reality-warping powers. Though Cable reacts to this proposal violently, he ultimately relents when Invisible Woman agrees, saying she'll do what is necessary to save her son. Cable & Apocalypse enter the Astral plane as a way to get inside Onslaught's citadel, but are forced to leave the non-telepathic Invisible Woman behind. Inside the citadel, the pair is attacked by psychic manifestations of Post, Hulk, and Magneto. During the fight, Apocalypse takes advantage of Onslaught's split attention to try and kill Franklin, but he is stopped by Invisible Woman, whom Cable helped smuggle onto the Astral plane. Ultimately, Onslaught proves too powerful for all three, and they retreat back to the physical world, forced to leave Franklin behind. Apocalypse scoffs at the heroes for allowing their feelings to stop them from doing what was necessary, but inside the citadel, Franklin's resistance has become emboldened by the actions of Cable and his mother. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #6 - Patreon First

"And Grotesk Shall Slay Thee!"
June 1977

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel battles Grotesk 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jim Mooney
Inker: Joe Sinnott
Letters: Gaspar Saladino & John Costanza
Colors: Janice Cohen
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
In the wake of the successful launch of Woman magazine's first issue, J. Jonah Jameson storms into Carol Danvers' office. While pleased with the success, he's enraged that her feature on Ms. Marvel, which he specifically demanded be included, paints the superhero a positive light. While he is berating her, Carol suddenly passes out as she experiences a premonition of flames, fighting, and explosions. When she regains consciousness, she slips out of the Daily Bugle offices and transforms into Ms. Marvel, then flies off towards the refineries of New Jersey, all the while being unknowingly watched. Following her premonition, she discovers a refinery under attack by Grotesk, who has come to the surface to claim the Cavorite Crystal being studied at the plant. Caught in the midst of the flames and Grotesk's strength, Ms. Marvel is overwhelmed and seeming killed when part of the refinery explodes. Grotesk then emerges from the flames carrying the crystal and declaring to the bystanders & emergency workers that Ms. Marvel is dead, and their world will be next!

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Friday, April 2, 2021

X-amining "Onslaught" Tie-Ins Part 1

"Siege" / "Even the Brave Can Fall" / "...the World's Gone Mad!" / "Manhattan Onslaught"
September 1996

Amazing Spider-Man #415 by Tom DeFalco & Mark Bagley 
Green Goblin #12 by Tom DeFalco & Josh Hood
Spider-Man #72 by Howard Mackie, John Romita Jr. & Al Williamson
Punisher #11 by John Ostrander & Tom Lyle
(Please visit the GCD for full credits from each issue)

Plot
Amazing Spider-Man #415: Peter Parker and his wife Mary Jane return to New York to find the Sentinels controlling access to the city. With the nearest Sentinel detecting enhanced abilities in Peter despite his recent retirement as Spider-Man, he & Mary Jane are forced to use his waning spider powers to flee into the city. Meanwhile, one of the Sentinels cuts the power to the Daily Bugle, after which the Sentinel is attacked by the new Green Goblin while elsewhere, Ben Reilly dons his Spider-Man costume and heads out into the city to help. When the Sentinels stop chasing Peter after his powers briefly give out, he & Mary Jane proceed to the Daily Bugle, where J. Jonah Jameson is determined to put out a paper no matter what, and offer to help, while Spider-Man helps prevent looting, then manages to destroy one of the Sentinels before heading off to find more to smash. 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

X-amining X-Factor #126

"The Beast Within"
September 1996

In a Nutshell
X-Factor helps free Beast from Dark Beast's imprisonment

Writer: Howard Mackie
Layouts: Herb Trimpe
Pencils: Stefano Raffaele
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Enhancement: Malibu
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Forge splits X-Factor into three groups, leaving Polaris & Shard to watch the captive Random & Havok, while sending out Mystique & Wild Child along with Sabretooth & himself to search for the real Beast. Forge & Sabretooth end up finding Beast chained to a wall while outside, Random tries to apologize to Polaris, and warns her about the effectiveness of Dark Beast's brainwashing. Inside, Forge frees Beast, but Sabretooth attacks him, saying there's something off. Just then, Mystique & Wild Child arrive, and Wild Child agrees with Sabretooth. Outside, Havok tells Polaris he's broken Dark Beast's control, and urges her to keep him restrained until Professor X can permanently fix his mind. This convinces Polaris he is telling the truth, and she removes his restraints. A protesting Random maxes out his powers to break free of his own restraints, at which point Havok blasts him. Inside, Sabretooth & Wild Child discover the real Beast trapped behind a wall, and he attacks Dark Beast, knocking him out. But when X-Factor emerges with the captive Dark Beast & Fatale, they discover Havok has escaped. Forge orders Fatale to teleport Polaris to the nearest hospital; when she looks to Dark Beast, he tells her to do as Forge says; they can bide there time as prisoners, as they are now exactly where he wants to be. 

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #336

"A Voice as Deep as Thunder"
September 1996

In a Nutshell
Professor X is freed as Onslaught evolves! 

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Joe Madureira
Inkers: Tim Townsend with Dell, V. Russell, and Milgrom
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Steve Buccellato
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Inside Onslaught, Franklin Richards tries to wake up the prone form of Professor X. Outside, as the Watcher & Apocalypse watch from afar, the combined Avengers, X-Men & Fantastic Four work to help those affected by Onslaught's EM pulse. At Four Freedoms Plaza, Bishop & Giant-Man tend to the heroes felled by the blast while Mister Fantastic continues gathering data on Onslaught. At his citadel, Onslaught begins to evolve, and Professor X wakes up, telling Franklin he needs to fight Onslaught no matter what. But the newly-transformed Onslaught appears and disappears with Franklin. Outside, Joseph attacks Onslaught, and is quickly joined by a contingent of heroes. When Onslaught reveals the form of the trapped Xavier, existing on both the physical & astral planes at the same time, the heroes combine their powers to crack Onslaught's armor, creating an opening which allows Thor to pull Xavier free. However, rather than end Onslaught, he declares that he is at last free, and triggers a psionic maelstrom to swirl around his citadel, causing further damage. Nearby, the Watcher & Apocalypse agree that Onslaught has become a greater threat than ever. When Apocalypse asks what's to be done, the Watcher tells Apocalypse he already knows the answer, and shows him an image of Cable. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #5 - Patreon First

"Bridge of No Return"
May 1977

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel battles Vision to stop MODOK's plans!

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jim Mooney
Inker: Joe Sinnott
Letterer: John Costanza 
Colors: Janice Cohen
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
During therapy with Michael Barnett, Carol Danvers experiences a premonition of future events, in which she's battling the Avenger known as Vision as Ms. Marvel over some kind of high-tech truck. Leaving Barnett's office, she heads off to Stark International's Long Island complex for a story about their hiring practices. While there, she spots the vehicle from her premonition, Stark's new armored truck for hauling dangerous materials, with Vision riding along to provide additional protection for its cargo. Transforming into Ms. Marvel, she flies after the truck, attempting to make it stop and thereby triggering the fight she saw in her premonition. As the two heroes fight, they are watched remotely by MODOK, who feels AIM's interest in Ms. Marvel is justified. When Ms. Marvel is able to briefly take Vision out of the fight, she stops the truck, but is attacked by its driver, who turns out to be a robot created by AIM with orders to release the cargo of the truck, triggering an explosion that would kill millions. A recovered Vision teams up with Ms. Marvel and they stop the driver, but are left wondering who would want to kill that many people, as MODOK watches from afar. 

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!

Friday, March 26, 2021

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #55

"Invasion"
August 1996

In a Nutshell
The combined might of the Avengers, Fantastic Four & X-Men face off against Onslaught's Sentinels!

Story: Mark Waid
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Inks: Dan Panosian
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Separations: Malibu
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
As Onslaught's Sentinels descend on Manhattan, the X-Men & Avengers gather with the Fantastic Four on the rooftop of Four Freedoms Plaza, watching as chaos engulfs the city. Joined by Rogue, Gambit & Joseph, Captain America leads the heroes off to help the city and rescue Franklin Richards. Meanwhile, Onslaught tries to harness the captive Franklin's powers. Elsewhere, the Blackbird races back to New York, carrying Cyclops, Phoenix, Archangel & Psylocke, as well as the information from the Xavier Protocols which will hopefully help defeat Onslaught. At Four Freedoms Plaza, Reed Richards, Hank Pym and Iron Man attempt to come up with a way to counter Onslaught's powers. As the heroes continue their fights against the Sentinels, a massive citadel suddenly appears in Central Park, the result of Onslaught manipulating Franklin's powers. From atop the citadel, he declares the day marks the ultimate ascendance of the mutant race, then triggers a massive electro-magnetic pulse which sends the Blackbird crashing and leaves the heroes at Onslaught's mercy. Elsewhere, Ozymandias finds himself carving a statute of Onslaught, not as he is, but as he will be, while standing atop the ashes of the world. 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

X-amining X-Force #57

"In the Company of Stranger Part 2: The Best Laid Plans"
August 1996

In a Nutshell
X-Force & X-Man battle Mister Sinister! 

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Anthony Castrillo
Inker: Mark Morales
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
As Mister Sinister takes control of Nate Grey's mind, he is attacked by Caliban, attacking savagely in response to a subconscious trigger implanted in him by Apocalypse. Taking advantage of the ensuing opening, Domino triggers the self-destruction of Cable's armory, creating a massive explosion that puts some distance between X-Force, Nate and Sinister. Meanwhile, Warpath & Risque arrive at the mansion. As Meltdown comforts Caliban, distraught at having lost control, Nate attempts to draw knowledge of the Askani from Sunspot's mind in order to gain control over his powers, but this results in an energy backlash which takes the form of Blaquesmith. Elsewhere, Sinister comes across Siryn, and nearly kills her, but Shatterstar intervenes. When Sinister knocks him aside, Warpath & Risque attack, and Sinister is shocked to realize he has no idea who Risque is. During their fight, Nate tries to use his powers to read Sinister's thoughts, but Sinister redirects the attack, knocking everyone else out. He then departs with the unconscious Nate Grey. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

X-amining X-Man #18

"In the Company of Stranger"
August 1996

In a Nutshell
Mister Sinister seeks out Nate Grey, who is being guarded by X-Force. 

Writer: Terry Kavanagh
Penciler: Steve Skroce
Inker: Bud LaRosa & Rob Hunter
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Editor: Jaye Gardner
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
In Egypt, Mister Sinister checks Apocalypse's tomb, confirming Apocalypse has returned. At the Xavier Institute, X-Force tries to determine their next move in the wake of Onslaught's attack. Nate Grey, staying with the team in the event that Onslaught tries to capture him, is impressed by their camaraderie, even as he worries about the girl he left behind. Meanwhile, Threnody is attacked at a church in Manhattan by the Marauders; she defeats them, but is then confronted by Sinister himself. Later, Sinister arrives at the X-Mansion, seeking Nate. He easily sidesteps the mansion's defenses and fights his way past X-Force, until only Domino & Nate are left standing. Sinister greets Nate, saying he may well be responsible for Onslaught's very existence. Nate attacks the counterpart to the man who killed Forge in Nate's reality but Sinister, who says he's studied Nate's abilities for the last week, takes control of his mind, putting Nate's massive power at his disposal as he turns to face Domino. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #4 - Patreon First

"Death is the Doomsday Man!"
April 1977

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel battles Doomsday Man & Destructor!

Writer: Gerry Conway
Penciler: Jim Mooney
Inker: Joe Sinnot
Letters: Irving Watanabe
Colors: Janice Cohen 
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
Inside the cave where she first gained her powers, Ms. Marvel is attacked by the reprogrammed Doomsday Man. Meanwhile, Professor Korman has escaped from AIM and is on the scene, looking for Kree technology. As David & Salia set out in search of the missing Carol Danvers, Ms. Marvel remembers meeting the creator of the Doomsday Man and, using her heightened senses, is able to locate a failsafe inside it which deactivates the robot. Just then, Korman finds the power core of the Kree Psyche-Magnetron. Opening it, he's rendered blind by the vast energy insides. Firing in a wild panic, he triggers a cave-in. Later, David & Salia pull the unconscious Carol out from rubble near the cave-in. Three days later, Carol returns to New York, her story about Salia in hand. Entering her office, she gets a call from Michael Barnett, telling her he needs to speak to her about Ms. Marvel. 

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Monday, March 22, 2021

X-aminations in April 2021 & April 1996 Power Rankings

 


We head into month two of "Onslaught", which broadens to include more of the larger Marvel Universe, while a couple of X-books, having made their obligatory contribution to the crossover, move on to other things. And just because there's not already enough X-content out there, apparently, let's throw in an annual too, why not? 

On Sale July 1996
March 31: Uncanny X-Men #336
April 2: X-Factor #126
April 3: Onslaught Tie-Ins: Amazing Spider-Man #415, Spider-Man #72, Green Goblin #12 & Punisher #11. 

April 7: Cable #35
April 8: X-Force #58 
April 9: Excalibur #101 

April 14: X-Man #19
April 15: Generation X #19
April 16: Wolverine #105

April 21: X-Men (vol. 2) #56
April 22: X-Men Unlimited #12

April 28: Uncanny X-Men '96

Power Rankings On Sale April 1996