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Monday, August 2, 2021

X-aminations in 2021 Part 2


One might assume, coming out of "Onslaught" and with the comics industry crashing down around it (Marvel will itself declare bankruptcy in December of 1996), that the, ahem, onslaught of X-titles might ebb a bit. But just the opposite is true, as the second half of 1996 and into 1997 is absolutely flush with extra one-shots, inter-company crossover, and limited series, as everyone does everything they can to wring every possible dollar out of the still-lucrative X-Men franchise (similar efforts were being made over in the Spider-Man office, with the long-running "Clone Saga" coming to a close around this time). As such, there's one or more "extra" things to review in every publication month for the next several months. So I'm going to change up my approach a bit: instead of doing three regular reviews a week, broken up by standalone reviews of a miniseries or annual or something, I am going to publish two reviews a week (barring the occasional "one review" week for holidays & vacations & whatnot), putting the "extra" stuff right alongside the regular ongoing series. 

I actually did the math, and it works out to roughly the same number of reviews in the same time period, but hopefully this will also help me keep my pace more regularly, instead of feeling like I'm constantly grinding out three reviews a week just to get a one-review "breather". 

So what's ahead? Well, seemingly everyone gets a miniseries, and that burning mystery of why Black Knight recognized Exodus in "Bloodties" finally gets answered. While in the main books, most series do their now-usual "recover from the last crossover, gear up for the next one" routine. Honestly? After the churn of "Onslaught", that sounds kind of nice. 

On Sale September 1996
August 4: Uncanny X-Men #338
August 5: X-Man #21

August 11: Marvel Masterpieces Series V

August 18: X-Men (vol. 2) #58
August 19: Wolverine #107

August 25: X-Factor #128
August 26: Cable #37

September 1: Generation X #21
September 2: X-Force #60

September 8: Pryde & Wisdom #1-3
September 9: Excalibur #103

On Sale October 1996
September 15: Uncanny X-Men #339
September 16: X-Man #22

September 22: X-Men (vol. 2) #59
September 23: Wolverine #108

September 29: X-Factor #129
September 30: Cable #38

October 6: Generation X #22
October 7: X-Force #61

October 13: Star Trek/X-Men

October 20: Black Knight: Exodus #1 
October 21: Excalibur #104

October 27: Generation X '96
October 28: X-Force #61

November 3: X-Men Unlimited #13
November 4: X-Men '96

On Sale November 1996
November 10: Uncanny X-Men #340
November 11: X-Man #23

November 17: X-Men (vol. 2) #60
November 18: Wolverine #109

November 24: Rise of Apocalypse #1-4

December 1: X-Factor #130    
December 2: Cable #39

December 8: Generation X #23
December 9: X-Force #62

December 15: Deadpool #1
December 16: Excalibur #105

December 22: Maverick #1

December 29: X-Man '96

Post-Onslaught Power Rankings

Coming out of the big crossover, most of the series more or less in the same position as when they went in (the big exception being Scott Lobdell taking over Adjectiveless again), though there's some notable departures (Warren Ellis, Andy Kubert) looming that may shake things up. 

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

Scotty Lobs takes full control of the top tier X-titles, though their spots at the top are buoyed largely by their artists at this point. 

4. Excalibur 
5. X-Force 

Excalibur is very nearly tied w/Generation X, though that's likely about to change. X-Force, meanwhile, is sort of the stalking horse book: nothing terribly exciting at the moment, but nothing terrible, either. 

6. Cable 

Just a tick down from X-Force, but fitting a similar "neither great nor terrible" role. 

7. Wolverine 

Hama's is usual reliable self, but the departure of Adam Kubert and the arrival of noseless Wolverine edges this closer to the bottom tier. 

8. X-Man
9. X-Factor

The race is on now to see who which bottoms out first: Howard Mackie's plots or the Steve Skroce-less X-Man

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  1. Personally, at the time, I preferred X-Man over X-Factor which I found increasingly boring. Not that X-Man was good by any measurable standard but it was more entertaining. However, not having revisited these books in 20 years I may find that the opposite now holds true and I might prefer X-Factor. It will be interesting finding out. Especially as we start building toward OZT which X-Factor avoided entirely.

    1. I agree. I really enjoy the Hellfire Club, Mr. Sinister and Maddy background plot more than I did X-Man himself or anything happening in X-Factor at the time. X-Factor really felt terrible at the time. I hated the idea of ending collecting a series but I had no reason to continue on with that series.

    2. Yeah, I collected X-Man all the way to the end as it was released. I stopped X-Factor at #132. I think I bought the missing issues once Mutant X had been rolling for a year or so. Mostly because I hated having the gap.

  2. I see you've got DEADPOOL and MAVERICK in the rotation! I really liked MAVERICK, and was sorry it ended after only 12 issues. I liked DEADPOOL too, but it took me a while to warm up to it. And I only every really enjoyed Joe Kelly's and Gail Simone's runs on the ongoing series. (Though I also really liked Fabian Nicieza's CABLE & DEADPOOL series a few years later.)

    And gee, I kinda forgot about STAR TREK/X-MEN! Talk about a weird crossover. I don't think I read that one, but I do recall picking up the ST:TNG/X-MEN issue, as well as the TNG/X-MEN novel that released around the same time. I remember absolutely zero about both, though.

    1. That Maverick issue is actually a one-shot (see above re: "churning out content", though I suppose in this case it was testing the waters for the ongoing)- the actual ongoing series doesn't start til July of 1997, so about eight months after the one shot. But I am planning on reviewing it when the time comes.

      As for DEADPOOL, well, stay tuned for more on that. All I'll say now is, that first issue absolutely will be reviewed here. :)

    2. Oh yeah, I forgot about the MAVERICK one-shot! I think I missed it somehow. But in any case, glad to hear the ongoing (such as it was) is on the docket too.

      DEADPOOL is an interesting one. I recall the earliest issues tied in somewhat with the X-universe, with guest appearances from Siryn, for example, but it does drift away from those origins as it goes along. I'll be interested to see what you do with it.

    3. IvI' always had a soft spot for Maverick but I've never read his solo stuff. Is it worth it to go back and check it out?

    4. I can only speak for 18 year-old me, because I haven't re-read the series since it was first released, but I enjoyed it at the time. Marvel tried to sell it as "James Bond as a super hero", which it really wasn't, but I do recall a good amount of action and intrigue.

      Plus, young Jim Cheung provided the artwork, which was fantastic.

    5. Actually, Jim Cheung is reason enough to check it out. But it sounds like fun, even if it isn't great, so, thank you, Matt!

    6. I wonder how much some of these comic book series go up in value as you go through them here, like the Comic Book Kayfabe sees a large spike in book prices and interest after it's mentioned. Will the Maverick series on eBay all disappear and prices go up?


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