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Monday, June 29, 2020

X-aminations in July 2020...and Beyond!


The second half of the year puts us on the cusp of "Onslaught", as Marvel continues to crank out X-product left and right even as the industry on the whole is in the midst of collapsing in on itself (in large part due to Marvel's switch to Heroes World for distribution earlier in 1995). Highlights from this run of titles include Storm's first solo miniseries (featuring a questionable return to the Gene Nation characters), the next big "Onslaught" tease (that ultimately makes little sense in the context of the larger story, making it especially prescient in an unintended way) in X-Men #50, and Wolverine almost getting his adamantium back as the story his book has been building towards since the return from "Age of Apocalypse" reaches its climax! Also: more Gene Ha futuristic Cable stuff, and Marvel vs. DC!

As always, if anything seems missing, let me know!

July 1: Creator's Choice X-Men #1-2

On Sale December 1995
July 8: Uncanny X-Men #329
July 9: X-Factor #119
July 10: X-Man #12

July 15: X-Men (vol. 2) #49
July 16: X-Force #51
July 17: Wolverine #98

July 22: Archangel #1

July 29: Logan: Path of the Warlord

August 5: Generation X #12
August 6: Excalibur #94
August 7: Cable #28

August 12: Askani'son #1-4

August 19: Book of Askani

On Sale January 1996
August 26: Uncanny X-Men #330
August 27: X-Factor #120
August 28: X-Man #13

September 2: Storm #1-4

September 9: X-Men (vol. 2) #50
September 10: X-Force #52
September 11: Wolverine #99

September 16: Generation X #13
September 17: Excalibur #95
September 18: Cable #29

September 23: X-Men Unlimited  #10

On Sale February 1996
September 30: Uncanny X-Men #331
October 1: X-Factor #121
October 2: X-Man #14

October 7: X-Men (vol. 2) #51
October 8: X-Force #53

October 14: Generation X  #14
October 15: Excalibur #96
October 16: Cable #30

On Sale March 1996
October 21: Uncanny X-Men #332
October 22: X-Factor #122
October 23: X-Man #15 

October 28: X-Men (vol. 2) #52
October 29: X-Force #54
October 31: Wolverine #100

November 4: Generation X #15
November 5: Excalibur #97
November 6: Cable #31

November 11: X-Men Unlimited #11

November 18: Marvel vs. DC #1-4

November 25: Wolverine #101

On Sale April 1996
December 2: Uncanny X-Men #333
December 3: X-Factor #123
December 4: X-Man #16

December 9: X-Men (vol. 2) #53
December 10: X-Force #55
December 11: Wolverine #105

December 16: Generation X #16
December 17: Excalibur #98
December 18: Cable #32

December 23: X-amining X-Men Action Figures: Age of Apocalypse & X-Men 2099 Series I & II

On Sale May 1996
December 30: What If? #87

Post-Age of Apocalypse Power Rankings
Let's take a look at where each series is on the whole, coming out of "Age of Apocalypse", as 1995 draws to a close.

1. Uncanny X-Men 

Still the flagship book of the line as it enters into its "Peak Madureira" phase and therefore, is driving the artistic look of the industry as a whole.

2. X-Men (vol. 2)
3. Generation X

Both of these series have lost a step thanks to creative departures: X-Men lost Fabian Nicieza and has featured fill-in level stories as a result (even with Andy Kubert remaining on the book) while Scott Lobdell continues to do his thing on Generation X, which simply doesn't sparkle as much without Chris Bachalo.

Excalibur 
X-Force
Cable 
Wolverine
X-Factor

In a testament to the lines average of "neither great nor terrible", most of the series have settled into a comfortable tier in the middle. Warren Ellis' Excalibur leads the pack, but the writer has yet to really settle in to tell a definitive story yet (outside of establishing his writer-insert character) or land a consistent artist. Jeph Loeb's twin books, X-Force & Cable, have settled into a comfortable, mostly unremarkable, groove (which is an improvement for Cable and a slight step down for X-Force). Wolverine is very hit or miss (depending on whether Adam Kubert is on pencils or how much wheel spinning Larry Hama is doing) heading into its next big development for the character, and X-Factor continues its slide towards the bottom as Howard Mackie remakes the cast, buoyed somewhat by Steve Epting's artwork.

X-Man 

And of course, X-Man remains the stalking horse, the book with a title character that has yet to make a strong case for either's continued existence. But even here, the art can be very nice (when Steve Skroce is able to turn in a full issue); believe it or not, the worst is yet to come for this book.

5 comments:

  1. I was about to say that it looked like you missed including both X-MEN/CLANDESTINE and X-MEN/BROOD, then I double-checked and learned that they were both apparently published way later than I thought. Marvel's ROAD TO ONSLAUGHT trades have them both prior to X-MEN #50 (well prior, in CLANDESTINE's case) for chronological reasons.

    In retrospect, I do seem to recall that there was some continuity glitch in X-MEN/BROOD that made me think it should've taken place earlier, but I don't remember what that was. I guess we'll find out... next year!

    However, it did just occur to me that maybe you want to look at SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP #1? I think we already missed where it would've been published, as it's cover dated December 1995, but it's co-written by incoming X-MEN writer Mark Waid and, as I recall, features Spidey (in one of Peter Parker's final adventures before handing the mantle to Ben Reilly) and the original five X-Men against Shinobi Shaw's Hellfire Club.

    In any case, I'm looking forward to the rest of this year's reads! I have such vivid, warm recollections of reading the X-comics during this period.

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    1. I think I made a conscious decision to skip that Spider-Man Team-Up issue, but now that I know it involves Shinobi's weird, random Inner Circle, I may need to check it out as a Retro X-amination or something.

      (I also still need to decide if/how to handle the X-related Amalgam books, which were technically published around Feb of '96 as well).

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    2. Makes sense. I don't remember how much of Shinobi's Inner Circle was involved in the issue other than himself and Tessa, though. My recollection is that, as a reader of both Spider-Man and the X-Men, the story felt important to neither, but I did enjoy it.

      I think the only Amalgam books I read were DARK CLAW ADVENTURES (which I think came in the second round) for the BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES novelty, and AMAZON for seeing Byrne and Austin reunited on a story featuring (sort of) Storm. I did read all of MARVEL VS. DC, though. I look forward to your thoughts on that, though I have no idea where my own copies are nowadays.

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  2. Ooooooo man, the Amalagram books, I loved the JLX and X-Force type of books. I hope you review some of these more X related ones.

    I'm really falling behind on your posts, I read them a lot when I would fly, I'd open them up as tabs and then read them in the air and now that I'm not flying at all for work, I don't have as much reading time. Blah!

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, my podcast-listening time has taken a hit now that I've been working from home since March and not driving to an office every day, and my watching streaming originals/book reading time has taken a hit since I'm not traveling/flying for work much at all, either.

      I will cover the X-related Amalgam books in some capacity, just not sure how/when yet, whether I'll do every issue or a couple combined posts, review them alongside the regular stuff or do a couple dedicated Amalgam weeks, etc.

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