Uncanny X-Men #154: When Dad Comes To Visit

uncanny-x-men-154I read some more Uncanny X-Men from the Chris Claremont era. This issue seems to have a million different artists on it (including Dave Cockrum and Bob Wiacek) and starts off in typical Claremont fashion with the X-Men in the Danger Room.

Activity time doesn’t last too long, as Corsair and the Starjammers pay a visit to the X-Men. Along the way they manage to stop an alien invasion of some sort, Corsair reveals to Cyclops that he is his father (which the uni-eyed hero doesn’t or doesn’t want to believe) and it’s revealed   that the Shi’ar are blaming the good people of Earth and the Starjammers for the disappearance of their beloved empress Lilandra.

Along the way we get to see Professor X in one of the worst outfits that he’s ever graced a comic book in: a yellow safari outfit, complete with hat. He looks like he’s more mentally equipped to be a zookeeper that looks after Curious George instead of being the premier advocate of mutant kind. But then again, it’s the eighties everyone.

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Uncanny X-Men #139: Exposition Junction

The X-Men are still reeling from the loss of Jean Grey (who died as a result of the whole Dark Phoenix Saga) and Cyclops (who has gone on leave, since his girlfriend was Jean and all). That said, there is a lot of exposition in this issue from the Claremont/Byrne era..

The team is getting used to having Storm calling the shots, which isn’t too much of a problem for anyone. Angel is still trying to work his way back into the team, and, well, sucks at it.

Kitty Pryde has officially joined the X-Men as an active member, and there’s a series of panels of her trying to come up with a code name that is just so annoying. No wonder everyone thought she was so insufferable.

The most interesting part of the comics is the Wolverine and Nightcrawler subplot, with them going off to Canada to resolve some of Wolvie’s unfinished business with the government and wind up going Wendigo hunting. It also seems to be the first issue of Wolvie in his brown/yellow costume and the first instance of him being called Logan to boot.

Uncanny X-Men #135

 

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Uncanny X-Men #135 is a key part in the Dark Phoenix Saga. Basically Phoenix goes completely nuts, killing off all the nice people in the picture above. So why do we care so much?

By this point it becomes perfectly clear to the rest of the X-Men that Jean Grey is gone and that the Phoenix Force has completely taken over her physical form. Unfortunately, there isn’t much left that they can do to stop her, short of killing her.

Uncanny X-Men #244

Uncanny X-Men #244 is the debut of everyone’s favorite firework/firecracker thrower Jubilee into the X-Universe! The story is by Chris Claremont and Marc Silvestri.

Jubilee has been causing a ruckus at the local mall with her mutant powers (this is so late 1980s it makes me sick!), causing the local mall security to call in the M Squad. Basically they are a private mutant hunting group that you call in. Instead of being pest control for mice, they hunt super humans.

Back at the X-Men’s temporary headquarters in the Australian outback, things are getting difficult for the X-Women. Mostly they just hate it there.

So Dazzler winds up convincing them that they need a day at the shopping mall to cheer them up. Things get weird with her, Storm, Psylocke and Rogue shopping and eventually going to a male revue. You read that right. What kind of shopping mall is this?

Eventually the M-Squad finds the X-Women and there’s a bit of a light scuffle between the two groups. The M-Squad are more like the Keystone Cops, and it’s up to the mutants to save everyone in the mall! As they teleport back home, Jubilee decides to join them and runs into the portal just in time.

The Uncanny X-Men #141-142: Days of Future Past

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One of the most iconic comic covers of all time.

Who knew that a two-issue story arc that ran in The Uncanny X-Men  #141-142 would be such a profound moment in the series.  Before we talk about the movie that comes out on Friday, let’s talk about the story that started it all.

“Days Of Future Past” is fairly straightforward. In the year 2013 (doesn’t that seem like yesterday?), it completely sucks for man and mutant alike. The robotic Sentinels that were deployed to stop mutants (as a result of the assassination of super mutant-hater Robert Kelly) have taken it one step further, turning their robotic eyes to super powered humans alike.

Things are getting rough and it seems like humanity is approaching a nuclear fallout. What’s left of the X-Men have a plan to go back in time to prevent this future, by finding a way for the Kitty Pryde of 2013 to communicate with the younger version of her in 1980 to prevent Kelly’s assassination at the hands of Mystique’s latest group of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

The fall out of this story leaves a huge impact on the X-books for years to come. It introduces Rachel Summers (Cyclops and Jean Grey’s daughter from the future), as an extremely powerful telepath who was responsible for connecting the Kitty’s of the future and path. She later becomes a very important character in her own right.

It also introduces a plot point that sticks through future X-Men stories, as they are now aware of there being a “worst case scenario” that someday there will be a Mutant Registration Act that leads to the attempt at exterminating the mutant population of the world.

And this is purely conjecture at my point, but it really establishes Kitty Pryde as being one of the top level characters in the X-Pantheon. Before, she was just kind of a sidekick or follower of the rest of the team. But from this point forward she really came into her own and became a focal character.

At the very least, it gives us that awesome John Byrne cover of Uncanny X-Men  #141 which has been parodied and influenced thousands of other comic book covers over the years. Maybe not tou

Uncanny X-Men #5-9

 

I read the second collected volume of the new Uncanny X-Men and it didn’t really do anything for me. It felt like it was just another X-Men adventure. Cyclops’ team is off to Tabula Rasa, some super evolved civilization from the future that has popped up in Montana, and in turn have to save its inhabitants from certain disaster.

It was like something we’ve seen on Star Trek: The Next Generation a million times over. But writer Kieron Gillen did a few things of note  in these issues. He plants some seeds for the Avengers/X-Men feud/crossover, mostly showing the tense relationship that Cyclops and Captain America have as leaders of their respective groups.

Magneto and Psylocke don’t agree about anything philosophically, but there is an underlying respect. Magneto is the only one in this group that knows that Psylocke has been going out on more, um, violent and extreme missions as part of Wolverine’s secret X-Force. There’s also a bit of a weird connection between Namor and Hope Summers, and there is a lot of flirting going on. Things get awkward after poor Namor alludes to having sex with a crayfish-like alien queen and Hope seems both disgusted and jealous as a result. Super weird. I really don’t know what they were getting at and it was just uncomfortable all around.

So how would I rate this? I’ll give this a thumbs in the middle; it’s recommended only for completists or super fans of Gillen.

Uncanny X-Men #273

Uncanny X-Men #273 has the incredibly fitting tagline “Too Many Mutants! or Whose House is This Anyway?”. This issue has the three battle weary X-teams–X-Men, X-Factor and New Mutants–recovering from the events of the X-Tinction Agenda storyline at a battle ravaged X-Mansion.

Remember when there were ONLY three X-books?

Anyway, this is pretty much a Storm issue with her deciding what the future of the X-Men will be. Cable urges her to take a more proactive stance and preemptively strike threats to mutant and mankind. Jean Grey and Cyclops disagree with his plan. The conversation ends with Cable pretty much saying that he’s claiming the X-Mansion as his base of operation and that Storm has to decide whether she stays and shares his vision, or moves the X-Men in with X-Factor. Storm mulls the decision for the rest of the issue, only for the X-Men to be teleported out to the Shi’ Ar empire to save the long missing Professor X!

Along the way, there’s some fun scenes like the pictured Gambit/Wolverine battle in the Danger Room (where our favorite Cajun mutant wins by some awesome cheating), and Iceman and Boom Boom constantly bickering for comic relief.

Chris Claremont wrote this issue like it was a season premiere of a television show. It covers everything that had just happened previously in the X-books, but also sets up a whole year’s worth of stories like:

  • Cable’s more militant views of how they should operate, which leads to him taking the New Mutants out of the mansion and operating on their own as X-Force
  • Banshee receiving a distress signal from Moira Mactaggert and Jean Grey encountering the Shadow King on the Astral Plane, which sets up that summer’s Muir Isle Saga
  • Where Rogue was (which gets revealed soon after) and the whereabouts of Dazzler and Longshot (which gets told in the Shattershot storyline in the following summer’s X-book annuals).

Getting back to the creative side, inker Scott Hanna is the book’s MVP as he manages to tie the pages by John Byrne, Michael Golden, Klaus Janson, Jim Lee
Rick Leonardi, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri and Larry Stroman together. You read that right; this book had eight different pencillers.

SPLASH PAGE SATURDAY #7

I realize I’m a bit late with this one, but it’s a fun splash page from Uncanny X-Men #268 by Jim Lee. This has become an iconic depiction of Cap. They’ve used this image for t-shirts, posters, covers, you name it.

With the Captain America movie that just came out, they’ve even used it as a reference for some of the movie merchandise. Don’t believe me? Check out this birthday set. Clearly a homage to this image.