Wednesday, March 18, 2020
X-amining Uncanny X-Men #326
In a Nutshell
Gambit confronts Sabretooth as Beast & Xavier debate the threat of the Legacy Virus.
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Joe Madureira
Inkers: Tim Townsend
Letters: Richard Stakings & Comicraft
Colors: Steve Buccellato & Electric Crayon
Chief: Bob Harras
Gambit, sitting alone on the roof of the mansion, ruminating on his recent reunion with Rogue in Seattle, is joined by Storm, and they discuss whether a person can truly change who they are. Meanwhile, Beast & Professor Xavier appear at WHO conference in San Francisco to debate the Legacy Virus, in an attempt to play down the virus' threat and calm the public's fear & anger toward mutants. Genoshan Rene Majcomb is in the audience & argues on behalf of the mutates killed by the virus, but Val Cooper delivers the government's official position that at present, there is little evidence proving the threat of the virus to the population at large. At the X-Mansion, Boomer has growing doubts regarding the sincerity of the seemingly-docile Sabretooth, but Gambit does not. He bursts into the Danger Room and confronts Sabretooth with holographic recreations of his past kills, arguing that no one can forget or move past those heinous acts, until Storm comes in and makes him stop. Back in San Francisco, Beast finds Xavier ruminating on his recent failures, notably with Sabretooth. Beast says that it may very well be in Sabretooth's nature to kill, and while they may have failed to change him, they shouldn't let Sabretooth change them.
Firsts and Other Notables
The end of this issue finds Xavier despairing over his inability to cure the Legacy Virus and his apparent failure to cure Sabretooth after bringing him into the mansion; this despair and feelings of hopelessness regarding these two events will later be pointed to specifically as having contributed to the creation of Onslaught.
The events of this issue are also setting up the upcoming story in which Sabretooth will reveal his trie colors and escape the mansion, ending his tenure in the mansion and leading to him Suicide Squading over in X-Factor; that story begins in issue #328.
A Work in Progress
Gambit & Storm discuss recent events together, a reminder of the bond between the two stemming from Gambit’s introduction when Storm was in the body of a child.
Professor X appears at the WHO conference in his Shi’ar hoverchair, which seems an odd choice for someone who is publicly known only as a professor/expert in mutants, and not someone with access to alien technology.
Rene Majcomb, last seen fighting her way into the country in Cable #22 (erroneously footnoted as #23) is also at the conference. She says that the Genoshan mutates who died of the Legacy Virus were infected with a variant strain, an attempt to reconcile the contradicting depictions of the disease’s effects and symptoms.
Val Cooper is on hand to argue the mutate deaths are irrelevant in terms of being indicative of a larger threat, since their population is so unique.
Watching the Xavier/Beast debate from Muir Island (apparently WHO conferences get internationally-televised) Moira notes that the Legacy Virus operates less like a disease than a designer gene, which Nightcrawler suggests may have been Stryfe’s plan all along: to sow fear & distrust with the virus, rather than decimate the population with a plague.
Boomer finds herself doubting Sabretooth for the first time.
Sabretooth recognizes Gambit.
Gambit confronts Sabretooth with images of all the people he’s killed, including Birdie, his telepathic gal Friday.
He also recreates Gambit & Sabretooth’s encounter from X-Men #33.
The Grim 'n' Gritty 90s
There’s some top-notch mid 90s computer graphics work in Beast’s legacy virus presentation.
We are fast approaching peak Madureira in the series, and this issue is a great example of what he brings to the book. In terms of plot this is a fairly dry issue: Gambit yells at Sabretooth, while Beast & Xavier have a debate about medical ethics (that turns out to be staged). But the issue pops nevertheless, as Madureira injects these scenes with a fair amount of energy and style, from Gambit's atmospheric rooftop pout which opens the issue, to the physical staging of Beast & Xavier during their debate (Beast, hunched over the podium, Xavier being introduced by a medium-range hero shot), to the "greatest hits" of holographic flashbacks to Sabretooth's past kills that accompanies Gambit's tirade. Ultimately, this issue isn't about anything so much as plot machinations - spinning the Legacy Virus wheels some more, amping up for the climax of the "Sabretooth in the mansion" story - but thanks to Madureira, it's still a fun, engaging read.
Tomorrow, Wild Child gets the spotlight in X-Factor #116. Friday, Nate battles Dark Beast in X-Man #10. Next week, X-Men (vol. 2) #46!
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