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Monday, September 23, 2019

X-aminations in October 2019 & March 1995 Power Rankings

Reality is back to normal as all the regular X-books resume their previous series titles and numbering this month. And "back to normal" in 1995, of course, means "setting up the next big crossover!", as the line moves right from "Age of Apocalypse" to teasing "Onslaught".

A couple other programming notes: one, I've swapped X-Man and Cable's placement relative to how I had them listed back in June, basically so that I'm not reviewing the two "youngest" series (X-Man & Generation X) in the same week, while maintaining my "one solo series" a week rotation. Two, we're entering into another period of publication time in which a handful of series/issues had late-shipping books, which is why, at the end of the month, you'll see a Wolverine special paired with Adjectiveless X-Men; no regular issues of Wolverine or X-Force were on sale in June of '95.

On Sale May 1995
October 2: Uncanny X-Men #322
October 3: X-Factor #112
October 4:  X-Man #5

October 9: X-Men (vol. 2) #42
October 10: X-Force #44
October 11: Wolverine #91

October 16: Generation X #5
October 17: Excalibur #87
October 18: Cable #21

On Sale June 1995
October 23: Uncanny X-Men #323
October 24: X-Factor #113
October 25: Cable #22 

October 30: X-Men (vol. 2) #43
October 31: Wolverine: Knight of Terra

March 1995 Power Rankings
1. X-Man #3  
2. Amazing X-Men #3
3. Factor X #3 

The third issue of X-Man is, essentially, the climax of the series, while Amazing X-Men #3 kicks the final act of "Age of Apocalypse" in motion with a Magneto/Apocalypse showdown that results in the capture of Magneto & Bishop. Factor X remains strong in its third issue, but is dropped down a bit due to the inclusion of a pinch hit artist on a few of the pages (including the big flashback to Jean's rescue).

4. Astonishing X-Men #3
5. Generation Next #3
6. Gambit and the X-Ternals #3
7. X-Calibre #3

All four are solid continuations of their series' stories heading their respective conclusions (this is probably the best issue of X-Calibre overall), but Astonishing & Generation Next are a little thin, story-wise, keeping them out of the top tier, while Gambit suffers art-wise in comparison to the other two.

8. X-Universe #1
9. Weapon X #3

X-Universe has some great art and noble intentions, but an overly complicated story with some editorial oversights. Weapon X #3 is by no means a bad issue, but a largely repetitive/time killing one.

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  1. I knew it! You're an X-Man fan!

    1. Nah, I'm just a fan of completism. Some times it's more of a burden than others. :)

    2. (I do genuinely enjoy the Age of Apocalypse issues, though).

  2. And I’m back! I took some time off from reading along for “Age of Apocalypse” because I’ve never been a huge fan of the event. But this right here — for all the problems the “Onslaught” build-up has in retrospect — is my X-Wheelhouse, so I’m excited. In fact, a few years back I wrote a little love letter to this year’s worth of X-Men comics on my blog. For whatever reason, this is the point where the X-Men really and truly clicked for me. Which isn’t to say I wasn’t already a huge fan, but the return from AoA felt so fresh and exciting, and the books looked absolutely gorgeous, between the Madureira and Kubert artwork, the Comicraft letters, and the digital colors.

    Disclaimer: as always, I’m speaking only of X-MEN and UNCANNY here (plus GENERATION X at this point), as they were the only X-titles I read back then. I have no opinions of, or nostalgia for, any of the spinoffs.

  3. Man, I'd forgotten how quickly they rolled into Onslaught after AoA.

    These are dark times, my friends. How long until we get to Grant Morrison?

    1. A long time.
      About six years to go.

    2. One person's trash is another's treasure, as they say -- and vice versa! Like I mentioned above, I'm really looking forward to delving into this pre-"Onslaught" era, warts and all. And on the flip side, the amount of time until Morrison's arrival can never be too long, as far as I'm concerned! I really, passionately disliked his run at the time. Morrison got me to stop reading X-Men on a monthly basis for the first time since I had started in 1992.

  4. I loved the buildup to Onslaught and then actually disliked what it was. It felt silly and unplanned.....then I found out it was unplanned. I'm still amazed that there wasn't better planning with all of this. My dark time doesn't come until Alan Davis takes over and brings in stupid Skrull versions of the X-men. Argggg, my least favorite X-men run next to the last few years of crap we have been given.

    1. Towards the end of "Onslaught" (or shortly thereafter), Marvel released THE ROAD TO ONSLAUGHT one-shot. It was text-based, and tried to tie all the various hints & teases from the run-up to the event together and illustrate Onslaught's overall goals and plans. I have no idea if it was based off a plot summary someone put together ahead of the event or just written up afterwards as a sort of retroactive "making sense of things" exercise (since, infamously, the creation of the "Onslaught" narrative was more or less made up as it went along), but I remember both liking "Onslaught", more or less, at the time, but also reading that issue and thinking "holy crap, that sounds WAY better than what we actually got. Why didn't they do this?".

    2. I loved that Davis run at the time. It felt like a breath of fresh air and a return to form after Seagle/Kelly, which I didn't enjoy much at all.

      I would suspect that ROAD TO ONSLAAUGHT was indeed written up to "make sense of things". Marvel did the same a year or so later after Spider-Man's "Clone Saga" ended -- Glenn Greenberg wrote a one-shot called THE OSBORN JOURNAL, which was intended to retroactively explain how the entire Saga had been manipulated by Norman Osborn from behind the scenes. And in all honesty, Greenberg actually did do a decent job of bringing some after-the-fact coherence to another storyline that was made up as it went along. -- and in the case of the Clone Saga, it was also extended way past the point it was originally intended to end. I think the Spider-writers wanted it to run three months across all the Spidey titles -- basically the equivalent, lengthwise, of MAXIMUM CARNAGE. But sales spiked so strongly that they were forced by marketing to keep it running, open-ended, across all the core books plus various mini-series and one-shots, for two years!

      Still, as with the build-up to "Onslaught" for the X-Men, the Clone Saga is one of my most fondly remembered periods of reading Spider-Man. Funnily enough, they both happened at basically the same time... I guess this was the period where I would just eat up just about anything!


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