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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

X-amining Amazing X-Men #4

"On Consecrated Ground"
June 1995

In a Nutshell
Quicksilver & Storm rescue Bishop as the rest of the X-Men complete their various missions.

Plot: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Inks: Matt Ryan
Lettering: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Color Art: Richard Somers & Digitial Chameleon
Confessional: Bob Harras

Plot
The Madri prepare to execute Bishop, but are interrupted by Storm, who arrives to rescue him. Meanwhile, Banshee & Quicksilver break into the chamber containing the source of all the Madri, the original Jamie Madrox who, abused & addled, begs them to kill him. Meanwhile, Rogue's team of X-Men arrives back at the mansion to find Colossus & Shadowcat waiting. When they learn Charles fled into the tunnels with Nanny, Rogue leads a group down into them, only to run into Dazzler & Exodus, returning with Gambit, Lila & Jubilee. But no M'Kraan crystal or Charles, prompting Rogue to attack Gambit for abandoning her son. Back at the Madri's tabernacle, Quicksilver & Banshee are debating whether or not to kill Madrox when Abyss attacks them. Banshee sacrifices himself by flying inside Abyss and destroying him from the inside. As Storm & Bishop are about to be overwhelmed by the Madri, Madrox kills himself to shut down the Madri once and for all. Back at the X-Mansion, Nightcrawler teleports in with Destiny. After Quicksilver, Storm & Bishop return, and with Magneto's various plans coming to fruition, Quicksilver declares they're now going to retrieve the piece of the M'Kraan crystal Gambit stole, rescue his father & brother, and ensure that this is the day Apocalypse falls.

Firsts and Other Notables
Banshee dies this issue, sacrificing himself to takeout Abyss (who also dies, for real this time), en route to Bishop being rescued and reunited with the X-Men.


Colossus & Shadowcat arrive at the mansion with Illyana, but none of their students, something which upsets Blink in particular on account of her relative age.


Gambit, Jubilee & Lila turn up with Dazzler & Exodus, following the events of Gambit and the X-Ternals #4, with Rogue enraged that Gambit let Guido escape with her son.

Nightcrawler also arrives back at the mansion, with Destiny in tow, as all the plot threads Magneto wove start to come together.


Through the Looking Glass 
AoA Storm also draws on her lockpick skills.


Quicksilver & Banshee discover the original Madrox, source of the Madri, who is a drooling mess begging for death.


A Work in Progress
The Madri do that villain thing where they decide Bishop has to die, then go about killing him via an elaborate scenario that gives Storm time to rescue him.

Banshee is able knock out one of the Madri using a high-pitched frequency outside the range of human hearing.


The Grim 'n' Gritty 90s
The nascent computer coloring sometimes leads to weird effects, like this panel, where Gambit looks like he's a hologram or fading out for some reason.


Austin's Analysis
Moreso than any other issue, this leads directly into X-Men: Omega and the climax of the "Age of Apocalypse", with all the various characters given missions by Magneto in other series first coming together here, a waystation between the conclusions of their series and Omega (X-Man also leads pretty directly into X-Men: Omega, but it has always been off doing its own thing). As such, though this issue does resolve the immediate Amazing X-Men-specific plotline involving Bishop's capture, it's less about concluding the series than it is teeing up the conclusion of the overall event. In that regard, it is of a piece with the rest of the series which, on the whole, stands as a book without much of its own identity, but which is tightly tied to event's overall plot: the first two issues mildly crossover with Weapon X, detailing the human exodus of North America, the third depicts Magneto's capture by Apocalypse, which kicks off the final act of the event, and this issue is all about setting up the conclusion.

It makes sense: there needs to be at least one book that can help move the overall narrative along between the big Alpha & Omega bookends, and making it one of the two X-Men titles makes sense. With Astonishing off doing mostly it's own thing, that leaves this book to carry the burden of plot. Thankfully, Nicieza manages to do a good enough job weaving characterization around the plot beats - Quicksilver's steadfast leadership & Banshee's weariness in issues #1-2, Magneto's tenacity in issue #3, Rogue's concern for Charles here - that there's some meat on the plot bones, but it still leaves the series as a whole lacking the distinct identity of a lot of the other "Age of Apocalypse" books.

Next Issue
Tomorrow, the X-Ternals return to Earth in Gambit and the X-Ternals #4. Friday, war comes to Avalon in X-Calibre #4. Next week, X-Men Chronicles #2.

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2 comments:

  1. A note on this one: I remember Amazing X-Men was a third week of the month book, but this issue seemed to get intentionally pushed back to fourth week because it had to continue plot threads from all of the others. Confused me because I assumed it was just late and read it before the other week 4 books.

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  2. I wish I’d read these in optimal narrative order instead of the order in which Teebore’s posting on them — this week’s titles in particular. I have a suggested reading order, just neglected to follow, so only myself to blame.

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