Talking about comic books, TV shows, movies, sports, and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #340

January 1997

In a Nutshell
Iceman deals with the aftermath of an attack on his father

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Joe Madureira
Inkers: Tim Townsend
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Steve Buccellato & Team Bucce
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Storm and Gambit arrive at the hospital where Iceman is at his father's bedside; he reveals that his father was attacked and beaten by Graydon Creed's men in retaliation for speaking out in favor of mutants. Meanwhile, Cannonball remains undercover in Creed's campaign, and is invited to meet with Creed. On the roof of the hospital, Iceman details how Creed staged the reveal of Iceman's beaten father, making it clear he knew about their relationship, but also that Iceman's father assured him he didn't out his son. Iceman struggles to understand why his father - who has no love for mutants - risked himself like that. Storm suggests it was the love of a father for his son. At Creed's campaign headquarters, Creed asks Cannonball about his father, and Cannonball pushes back, indirectly needling Creed about his relationship with Sabretooth. Outside the hospital, a group of Creed's men, registering mutants inside, prepare to attack, but Wolverine stops them before they start anything. Iceman decides to leave the X-Men for awhile, in order to help care for his father, while Cannonball has a clandestine telepathic meeting with Jean and insists on staying inside Creed's campaign despite the danger. At the hospital, a sorrowful Iceman tells his father he loves him. 

Firsts and Other Notables
Iceman's dad is assaulted by Graydon Creed in this issue, in retaliation for speaking out against Creed on behalf of mutants in X-Men #58, with Creed also revealing he knows that Iceman's dad is the father of his campaign staffer "Drake Roberts", thereby ending Iceman's tenure with the campaign. Indeed, this marks the end of the "Graydon Creed for President" plotline in Uncanny X-Men, as Creed will ultimately be (mysteriously) assassinated in this month's issue of X-Factor, thereby shifting the plot from "Creed is running for President" to "who killed Creed?". 

In the wake of the attack on his father, Iceman takes a leave of absence from the X-Men, marking his second departure in as many (publication) years (following his post-"Age of Apocalypse" road trip with Rogue that ended shortly before "Onslaught"), though as with that earlier absence, he will return to the team (of a sort) in time for the next big crossover event a few months down the road. 

The cover of this issue touts the series' cleaning up at the 1996 Wizard fan awards (much as issue #275 did when it won a bunch of Eagle awards). 

A Work in Progress
Iceman admits he has no idea why Gambit is called "Gambit". 

Cannonball hangs a lampshade on the notion that the X-Men could likely derail Creed's political career by revealing he's the son of two prominent mutant criminals, but says the X-Men don't think fighting fear and loathing with fear and loathing is a good solution (which, sure, but maybe there's a "greater good" argument to be made that playing into anti-mutant prejudice to stop Creed is worth the hit in order to prevent the larger hit that would come from Creed becoming president). 

After being beaten, Iceman's dad assures him he didn't out Iceman, though it's not clear if he means as a mutant in Creed's campaign, or as one of the X-Men (not that it really matters). 

The Reference Section
When Jean "meets" with Cannonball in a bar to see if he wants to be pulled out of Creed's campaign, she is reading Terry Brook's fantasy novel The Sword of Shannara

Austin's Analysis
Though the actual subplot will conclude this month over in X-Factor, this functionally marks the end of the "Graydon Creed for President" storyline in Uncanny X-Men, and more specifically, the brief "Iceman and Cannonball are working undercover in Creed's campaign" subplot. It does so in a surprisingly poignant way, as Lobdell follows up on the moment where Iceman's dad, despite his bigotry, spoke out in defense of mutants, and uses it to explore Iceman's often-fraught relationship with his father, specifically the conflicting notions that his dad can both be a bigot and still love his mutant son. To his credit, Lobdell doesn't present the attack as a cure all for Robert Drake's beliefs - it's presented very much as an exchange rooted in familial love, in which Iceman's dad stuck up for him, so now Iceman'll help his dad - and going forward, the relationship between the two will remain prickly, if better than before. 

Joe Madureira returns here, and as much as he's known to be a depicter of high octane action in a manga style, he continues, as in issue #326, to prove himself equally adept at bringing energy and emotion to quieter, more internal drama (even if he has a penchant for doing so by depicting characters grappling with their emotions while perched on the top of buildings). To say this is the best issue of the series since the conclusion of "Onslaught" does it something of a disservice, as that's an easy-to-clear bar simply by presenting a cohesive story that is about something other than future stories. But amongst the post-event creative churn and setup for the next event and big mystery subplot, Lobdell and Maduerira manage to find with this issue a quieter, more personal tale amidst the Graydon Creed drama, and the series is all the better for it. 

Next Issue
Tomorrow, the wheels keep spinning for better and worse in X-Man #23. Next week, Candra returns in X-Men (vol. 2) #60!

Like what you read? Then support us on Patreon & gain access to exclusive reviews of X-Men: The Animated Series and more!


  1. I like that Lobdell didn't completely reverse Mr. Drake's stance and I had forgotten that that had even been addressed in this issue. It's was still a jarring turn of events but appreciated nonetheless.

    One of the best aspects of Madureira's art is that the exaggerated faces are great for conveying emotion in quieter scenes. A little cartoonishly? Sure. But a lesser artist (Matsuda) likely wouldn't have been able to pull it off.

    Uncanny X-Men remains fairly solid in this time frame and I would have a hard time picking a favorite between this title and X-Force at the time, but that's just a personal preference, not a statement on quality.

  2. The whole Creed campaign storyline feels like such a waste. If it had been the purview/responsibility of one writer on one title, I feel like they could've done some interesting stuff with it. But as it is, it jumps from book to book, no writer seems to have a firm idea of where to take it, and then it just ends abruptly with a mystery that dangles for something like five years until its lackluster resolution.

    That said, this issue itself is very good. Though I find it odd that Creed apparently learned an X-Man is on his campaign and then did nothing with that knowledge other than beat up said X-Man's dad. I feel like he could've been a bit more subtle about the whole thing and maybe gotten some valuable intel on the X-Men somehow? But then, I suppose with his assassination literally just around the corner, there was no room left on the runway for such a sub-plot to go anywhere.

    A few years back, I read some interview with Joe Madureira where he said part of the reason he left UNCANNY X-MEN was because the stories were getting too dark for him. We're still about a year away from his final issue (and it appears, surprisingly, that he penciled or co-penciled eight of the 11 remaining installments), but I wonder if stuff like this is what he meant? Regardless, I suppose, he turns in an amazing job on Iceman finding his dad in the woods, Creed's pure evil expressions, and Mr. Drake in the hospital.


Comment. Please. Love it? Hate it? Are mildly indifferent to it? Let us know!