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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #47

"Big Trouble in Little Italy!"
December 1995

In a Nutshell
The X-Men help prevent the cancellation of the X-Babies

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Inks: Cam Smith & Jesse Delperdang
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Kevin Somers
Separations: Malibu Hues
Editor: Bob Harras

As Gog & Magog chase the X-Babies through Little Italy, Gambit & Bishop pick themselves out of the wreckage of the nightclub destroyed in their fight with the bounty hunters, then set out in pursuit of them. Meeting up with the X-Babies, Gambit & Bishop engage Gog & Magog again, but are close to being overwhelmed again when Iceman & Phoenix arrive. But even their combined power isn't enough to stop Gog from trying to swallow the X-Babies whole. Just then, Dazzler arrives from the Mojoverse, and orders Gog & Magog back there, before offering to let the X-Babies live with her. With everyone pleased by the arrangement, Dazzler and the X-Babies return to the Mojoverse. Back at the X-Mansion, Professor X calls Boomer into his office; he's made a decision about Sabretooth.

Firsts and Other Notables
Dazzler prompts up briefly in this issue, revealing that she and Longshot are, essentially, the rulers of the Mojoverse following Mojo's death in issue #11, a status quo that never really gets explored much (she next turns up in X-Force #60, as part of the ill-advised retcon to Shatterstar's origin story).

In Dazzler's last appearance in issue #11, it was established that she was pregnant (prompting the offhand Shatterstar comment which will lead to many narrative shenanigans in the future); here, Iceman almost makes a reference to the baby, but is stopped by Jean, who doesn't sense the child within her (which also suggests this story is meant to take place significantly less than ninth months after issue #11, or else Jean wouldn't be expecting Dazzler to still be pregnant...). The question of Dazzler's baby is left dangling as a mystery, but never really gets picked up and taken anywhere after this.

Lobdell, taking advantage of his stewardship over both X-Men titles, uses the final page to set up next month's Uncanny issue, which will bring the "Sabretooth living in the mansion" plotline to a climax, as Xavier calls Boomer into his office to discuss his decision regarding Sabretooth.

A Work in Progress
The previous issue’s cliffhanger resolve off panel, with Gog & Magog bringing the building down on Gambit & Bishop as the X-babies escape, actions all told through expository dialogue.

Gambit insists to Bishop that he could never betray the X-Men. Bishop doesn’t entirely believe him.

Austin's Analysis
The brief two-part X-Babies story concludes here, and even by the standards of the previous one, this is a flimsy issue. Whereas chapter one at least had some interesting character interactions between Bishop & Gambit and, to a lesser extent, Iceman & Jean Grey, this one jettisons most of that for pure whacky X-Babies hi-jinks, all finished off with the exclamation point of a brief Dazzler appearance and one of Lobdell's patented "toss a new mystery out there and worry about coming up with a resolution for it later (or not)" moments. The whole thing is a brisk, fast-paced read, and not in a good way. Whether it's doing it ahead of the ramping up of "Onslaught" or the arrival of Mark Waid, this whole story is very much what a narrative treading water looks like.

Next Issue
Tomorrow, X-Force battles Holocaust in X-Force #49. Friday, Wolverine goes camping in Wolverine #96. Next week, Generation X #10!

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  1. Why did Dazzler gave that super hug to Jean when they are actually complete strangers? Dazzler met the Phoenix force, not Jean. They only briefly met during Inferno and I don’t think they interacted. After that, Dazzler was missing for a long time, until she met Cyclops’ blue team. To be honest, she and Jean should barely say hi. Bishop, Gambit and Iceman are also strangers to her. This was a missing opportunity to either e bring someone from the Outback era or perhaps Angel, whom she dated (or did he cheat on Candy Southern?) in her own comic book back in the 80s.

    Now, regarding the plot: I have no idea why this story ever happened, because it goes nowhere and the characters are all wrong (I think only Kitty Pryde actually knew the X-Babies, while all other others have ZERO, or almost zero history with the Mojoverse). And it doesn’t explain why Gog and Magog wanted to kill those children.

    But, I have to be honest: back in the day, I was pleased to see Dazzler back, even if briefly. I had a soft spot for the Outback era and I felt it was a pity that the X-Men never cared about Dazzler and Longshot after they left the team.

  2. Peter David followed up in 2013's X-Factor 259 where it's revealed that Shatterstar was the baby alluded to in this issue.
    Also, shenanigans with the nature of Longshot/Shatterstar's relationship, which I thought was pretty unique and clever.

  3. "The previous issue’s cliffhanger resolve off panel, with Gog & Magog bringing the building down on Gambit & Bishop as the X-babies escape, actions all told through expository dialogue."

    This is definitely a Lobdell tic, as it isn't the first time he has done something like this, nor will it be the last. Writing out action sequences is not his thing, unless it's a big crossover and he has to.

    The characters chosen to Dazzler to interact with are a bit non-sensical, as she barely knows any of them. It would have made more sense if this story had included say, Storm, Psylocke, Angel, Beast, or any combination of them (though I think by this point most people had probably forgotten Dazzler's past romantic liaisons with both Angel and Beast).

    The production values are certainly making Kubert's artwork more appealing, even though his facial expressions and body language/anatomy are still horrible. Plus, Can Smith's inking is also welcome, as it does help smooth out many of his rougher edges.

  4. "The production values are certainly making Kubert's artwork more appealing, even though his facial expressions and body language/anatomy are still horrible. Plus, Can Smith's inking is also welcome, as it does help smooth out many of his rougher edges."

    I feel the opposite. The production (and possible change in inker from Pennington and Ryan to Cam Smith) makes it all too clean for me. But I'm not sure if Andy himself was changing his style and going for a less detailed/more cartoony look or if it was entirely done by Cam Smith with his inks. Either way, I prefer more detailed and even sketchy art... stuff like Silvestri and Sienkiewicz. Let the art breathe! Inkers should never try to wrangle it (again, it may have just been Andy's doing).

  5. I like Bishop's "I'm sure you believe that" remark, suggesting that while he does still believe Gambit will betray the X-Men, he might also think it could be in an unwilling fashion.

    I agree that this story feels unnecessary, essentially filler killing time until Mark Waid arrives -- however, you can count me as one who really likes the artwork. I had already warmed up to Kubert around #30 when the computer coloring started to enhance his work. Now, with a new inker, I think he looks even better. Whether that means I'm a fan of Kubert or of Cam Smith and digital coloring, however, I don't know.

    Lastly, I have a hard time believing this story takes place less than nine months after issue 11. Even taking compressed Marvel Time into account, that's nuts.

  6. Ugh, the anatomy on that shot of Dazzler is rough.

  7. To see how Andy's art had deteriorated at this point, simply look back to his earlier stuff like Batman vs. Predator, Uncanny #279, Wolverine: Rahne of Terra, Wolverine #51, and yeah his earlier X-Men Vol. 2 stuff. To me, there's just no comparison. At this point on X-Men it looked like he was just phoning it in. Again, I don't know if it was him or Cam Smith.

    Earlier stuff:

    1. Hmm, I can't say his art has deteriorated, since many of the elements I mentioned were always there from the beginning and didn't improve.

  8. @Licínio Miranda

    Jean was eventually given all of the Phoenix's memories, so from her perspective she had known Dazzler before. But even so, not sure they were ever in "big hug" territory.

    To this day I am convinced that Dazzler & Longshot never really came back because they are not a part of animated series cast. Had Rogue not been chosen for the show, I think it's possible she would have remained in obscurity too after entering the Siege Perilous. Kind of sad, really; both were really fun characters.

    1. Longshot was in two episodes and Dazzler in one, but I see your point

    2. But Rogue emerged from the Siege Perilous and joined Cyclops' blue team a year or so before the animated series even started. She was already a chosen character.

    3. I always assumed there was some coordination going on. Maybe not. Would be interesting to find out.

    4. I don't think there was any coordination. As said, Rogue returning and re-joining the X-men was done by Claremont and Lee long before the cartoon began.

      The main reason I think Longshot and Dazzler never came back was because nobody writing the titles at the time wanted to use them. Since then, we have seen them both show up here and there, but it all depends on who is writing and if they want them in their title. Dazzler seems to be a bit more popular than Longshot in that regard.


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