This might be one of the most depressing comics I’ve ever read. You wouldn’t know that from the cover that it would be about overcoming feelings of loss.
This takes place during the X-Men crossover Fall of the Mutants. The team is back at the X-Mansion dealing with the recent death of Cypher, which was admittedly their fault. The group had went out on their own, defying the orders of Magneto. At that point, he had been serving as their mentor as Professor X had vanished. There’s a lot of name calling and crying among the group about what had happen. This feeling of grief is only escalated, as they find out that the X-Men are seemingly dead, which Magik takes really hard since among the casualties are her brother Colossus.
Before anyone can completely process what this news, Magneto returns and is irate about Cypher’s death. The rest of the issue is devoted to the characters trying to resolve these feelings about what had happened. Magneto is struggling with the fact that the New Mutants feel no connection to him as their leader. The New Mutants struggle about their role of being teenagers thrust into a really adult situation, having the heavy burden of protecting the world and working to achieve Charles Xavier’s dream of a safer society for man and mutant alike. Unfortunately for them, they have to accept that responsibility, and Magneto has no jurisdiction on that.
This is one of Louise Simonson’s most shining moments as a writer. Each character, from Magneto to Wolfsbane to Magik all are able to express a distinct set of emotions on Cypher’s passing without any rehashing. It’s a great example of how super hero comics can tell a compelling story without having any action whatsoever.
Let’s take a look back at X-Factor #82–the second part of the X-Cutioner’s Song crossover. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that this came out twenty years ago. God I’m getting old.
As the second part of a crossover running through four different ongoing series, the pacing on this is kind of odd but its forgivable. In part one, Professor X has just been shot by Cable and is in grave condition at a hospital. X-Factor’s government liaison Valerie Cooper is trying to get a handle on his status, as he’s apparently been infected with some sort of techno virus that is turning him into a machine. I hope that Professor X is covered by his HMO; this sounds expensive.
As this is going on, X-Factor is investigating what had happened at the crime scene. X-Force–without their leader Cable, cause he apparently just tried to assassinate Professor X–is also there. The two groups tussle for obvious reasons, with X-Factor
There is one scene that sticks out now as being odd in retrospect involving Wolfsbane and Rictor making out with Shatterstar watching. At the time it makes sense, since they are former teammates after all. But in modern-day, Rictor and Shatterstar are a couple, and I’m sure it must be awkward watching your significant other making out with a wolf chick.
Art in this issue was by Jae Lee. I guess this was still early in his career, as his artwork really reminded me of Sam Keith, with the dark moodiness, use of negative space and odd cartoonishly rendered characters. But that’s a good thing, as I enjoy both Lee and Keith’s work.