Uncanny X-Men #249-250
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #249, Uncanny X-Men #250
Before we get there, though, we have to help Havok cross out the faces of the X-Men that have left the group so far.
Obviously he's not too happy about that, especially since he was responsible for Storm's death.
The mysterious computers in the X-Men's base suddenly start replaying the scene of Havok killing Storm, and Havok reacts by blasting the screen, only to get knocked out by the backlash. It's at that point that Polaris calls.
But since she can't reach Havok (it seems to be Jubilee that picked up), she's left to her own devices. She's somewhat free of Malice thanks to the death of Mr. Sinister, but not entirely (Malice says it's because she doesn't want to be, but i don't know that we should trust her). Then, in the port town of Punta Arenas that she's calling from, the chicken riders arrive.
Alex wakes up in his bedroom, complete with a note with flowers (probably from Jubilee again, but see the Comments)...
...and he goes back to the computer room to find it completely repaired. He uses the computers to trace Polaris' call. As the X-Men are leaving for Punta Arenas, Havok makes a stray comment about Gateway maybe looking after the team the way Professor X used to.
The X-Men can handle the chickens...
...with Havok perhaps letting loose a little too much...
...but they find they have the Savage Land mutates to contend with, too, including a new one called Whiteout that blinds them.
They do manage do defeat the Mutates, and confront their leader, Zaladane, who has drugged Polaris with Black Lotus.
Zaldane is really after Polaris, but she's also upset at the people of Punta Arenas for allowing an Exxon Valdez type spill near Antarctica. The X-Men, outnumbered, negotiate a release of the locals but Zaladane leaves with Polaris. She leaves using flying craft previously used by the High Evolutionary, and the X-Men finally identify Zaladane as Zala, the woman who was assisting the High Evolutionary the last time they met him.
Havok (berating himself for not recognizing "Zala" last time), though, has disguised himself as a member of Zaladane's crew, or at least he thinks he has. He hears Zaladane say that Lorna Dane is her sister.
I have to tell you that the Savage Land Mutate named Lupo is just adorable...
...but please don't tell him i said that.
Anyway, the Mutates quickly recognize that Havok is among them, and they capture him. Zaladane's plane is to transfer Polaris' powers to herself, using technology that Brainchild has jerry-rigged from the High Evolutionary's leftovers.
Despite Brainchild's concerns, the power transfer works, although as we'll see it has a couple of unusual side effects.
Before that, though: Worm. He's another new Savage Land Mutate, and his power is to cover you with a layer of slime that he uses to control you.
He's using his powers on a group of Russian scientists that were stationed at the South Pole.
He may be doing more than just that, though, because we switch away to the rest of the X-Men, who have followed, and we see Psylocke reacting with more disgust than you'd think Worm's powers would merit.
In any event, her contact with Worm winds up messing with her mind, and then Colossus'.
Worm gets to Dazzler as well (and that's all of the X-Men at this point).
Meanwhile, we've continued to see the Reavers spying on the X-Men.
And while Psylocke is held by Worm, she gets what she thinks is a message from Gateway, telling her not to go home, and to flee through the Siege Perilous instead.
Zaladane has also captured Ka-Zar and his extended family, including Nereel and her (and possibly Colossus') child Peter.
Havok and Polaris are held prisoner separately from the others, and Polaris says that the power transfer has also seemingly destroyed Malice. She then finds that she may have lost her magnetic powers, but she's gained super-strength.
She notes that Havok has also changed, but i'm not sure that getting violent and depressed is equivalent to having your super-powers changed.
Polaris and Havok's escape begins the turnaround for the X-Men and friends...
...but it's little Peter's blasting of Worm that really tips the scales.
When the X-Men get away, Havok confirms that the Russian scientists have also escaped, and then he turns full force on Zaladane's palace, trying to kill everyone inside. The palace turns out to be shielded, but the others are still shocked by his actions.
While they are debating what to do next, they suddenly find themselves teleported back to Australia.
I am really liking this period of X-Men with relatively short and contained stories. The Dissolution of the team is fine too, but it's just the simple, non-convoluted stories that i am really liking. This one gets bonus points for finally addressing the Polaris/Malice thing and also the Zala/Zaladane issue.
I couldn't possibly tell you if the idea that Zaladane and Lorna Dane are sisters is still true. Last i saw, Polaris was Magneto's daughter again. A note on Marvel's wiki says, "If Zaladane is correct in being the sister to Polaris, then her ties to Magneto and his extended family falls into the line of possibility as Zaladane's initial powers of magic resemble those of the Scarlet Witch, Lorna Dane's sister.", so whoever wrote that isn't sure either but doesn't see the two things as being contradictory. It would certainly be one hell of a family tree.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place while Wolverine is away during Wolverine #17-23. Colossus, Dagger, Havok, and Psylocke appear in Wolverine #21 during issue #249, before they leave for the Savage Land, which means this is occurring after Acts of Vengeance has started. We won't actually see what the X-Men do once they're back in Australia, but we will see Wolverine's fever dream version of it next issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showAdam Plunder, Amphibius (Savage Land Mutate), Angelo Macon, Barbarus, Bonebreaker, Brainchild (Savage Land Mutate), Colossus, Dazzler, Gateway, Gaza, Havok, Jubilee, Ka-Zar, Lady Deathstrike, Lupo, Malice (Marauder), Murray Reese, Nereel, Peter (Nereel's baby), Piper (Savage Land Mutate), Polaris, Psylocke, Shanna the She-Devil, Wade Cole, White Bishop (Donald Pierce), Whiteout, Worm, Zaladane
I thought the Lorna Dane / Zala Dane tie in was ridiculous. The dissolution issues didn't make much sense to me, and I started to detest the title in this period. Silvestri's artwork also appears to degrade during this time for unknown reasons, but I suspect he was just burning out with the biweekly summer issues. Does Claremont really need yet another method of mind control?
The only thing I liked was the rebuild of the Reavers. I thought they had potential. Cybernetic humans built to defeat mutants is an interesting concept.
Posted by: Chris | November 7, 2014 9:19 PM
Also, The Dane Curse is a reference to a Dashiel Hammet novel, the Dain Curse.
Posted by: Chris | November 7, 2014 9:21 PM
Note that the computers replaying the scene of Alex killing Storm is similar to the computers playing the scene of Scott with Jean to Maddie in issue 232. That would seem to contradict your idea that Maddie subconsciously pulled up the image herself.
Posted by: Michael | November 7, 2014 10:40 PM
Another problem with this issue- Claremont has the X-Men claim that Gateway can only teleport them back from the spot where they arrived. But in Inferno, they go to rescue Lorna, who's being mind-controlled in MANHATTAN, and they teleport back from WESTCHESTER. I guess the X-Men figured Lorna always gets mind controlled, so they decided to go see a play in Westchester before going to rescue Lorna.
Posted by: Michael | November 7, 2014 11:52 PM
The outbacks phase of the X-Men is very indicative of Claremont's main traits as a writer. One of them is his strong emphasis on multi-issue plots, often at the expense of characterization. There is a reason why mind control of one kind or another is such a recurrent theme in his stories.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | November 8, 2014 6:33 AM
A few clarifications. It's not Jubilee who answers Lorna's call but the computer, as the note (which presumably is from Jubilee) says.
I've never seen Claremont explain the computer, but from what I can peace together it and Gateway, who have some mysterious connection, both access Claremont's idea of Dreamtime, which is both a real of dreams and introspection and perhaps an inter dimensional nexus connecting to Limbo and who knows what else. Gateway and/or the computer is a living index of knowledge, and one or both seem to reflect the subconscious states of those around them. I disagree with Michael's interpretation of Gateway as having an ulterior motive; I think he's at the mercy of Dreamtime, which I shaped by collective subconsciousness and maybe by nasty realms bordering it. Claremont intended the Shadow King to take control of Dreamtime through Gateway, using the Reavers as pawns. We get a condensed version of that story in the 2001 X-Trene X-Men Annual.
Claremont has been more clear about what's up with Lorna. After Zaladane messes with her powers, Lorna becomes a psychic battery for negative emotion. But she also generates that negative emotion, unwillingly, in everyone around her. That's why they all become lustful, murderous, or both, and when the negative emotions are string enough, Lorna gets She-Hulky.
Keep this explanation in mind as we go forward because it makes sense of a lot of otherwise unexplained Muir Island and Shadow King stuff. Claremont loses control of the book before he can see to fruition the plots and concepts he's seeding here.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | November 9, 2014 2:53 AM
Worm's mind-control-by-body-control is thematically similar to the skinsuits that control the Genoshan mutates, which in turn are thematically similar to the gimp suits worn by hounds like Rachel. Body/mind control is also a theme of Malice and her choker. And we'll soon see the flip side of all this, mind control that changes bodies/dress, when mind-controlled Moira designs what are supposed to be sexy new blue-and-yellow costumes for the Muir Island X-Men. At this point, Claremont is no longer sublimating his own dark subconscious.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | November 9, 2014 3:01 AM
@Walter Lawson: that sure makes sense. I will note also that the X-Men were directed towards the Gateway and the computers by Roma, which indicates that she is at least aware of both and may well hint of some connection to the Otherworld.
Come to think of it, the computers and Gateway are both given to fairly random behavior in order to advance the plot. In that respect they resemble Excalibur's dimensional jumping antics that are happening symultaneously.
Is it just me, or is Gateway not so much a character as a plot device? I can't in good faith say that the computers have less volition than him.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | November 9, 2014 4:37 AM
@Walter- the note says the computer took the message. I always assumed that meant that Jubilee answered the phone and the computer recorded the conversation.
Posted by: Michael | November 9, 2014 8:59 AM
I agree with Luis- the computers and Gateway both seem to do whatever the plot requires to advance the plot. The idea that the computer merely reflects the subconscious states of whoever's around it doesn't explain a lot- it doesn't explain why it set the dingos on Jubilee in the Annual or why it wouldn't let Bonebreaker search for Jubilee and Wolverine in issue 252. Does Alex secretly want to kill Jubilee? Does Bonebreaker secretly like Wolverine? Moreover, the dialogue in X-Factor 37 makes it clear S'ym was following out N'astirh's plan for Maddie, not taking advantage of an opportunity that presented itself. The plan depended on Maddie being tormented by Scott's leaving her. If the computer merely reflected Maddie's subconscious, and Maddie had been subconsciously fantasizing about kinky sex with Alex, for example, the entire plan would have fallen apart.
Posted by: Michael | November 9, 2014 10:19 AM
I'd always assumed the computer was the one that took the message, carried Alex back to bed and left the note and flowers. How it did any of this is obviously a question that will never be answered, but there's no doubt in my mind that the computer was taking on sentience of its own (rebuilding itself, building new tunnels that the Reavers don't recognize.) Possibly influenced by Sy'm/N'astirh/Maddy, possibly on its own, but that's how I always read it.
Posted by: ChrisW | November 11, 2014 5:28 PM
But the note refers to the computer, which means whoever left the note and flowers probably wasn't the computer, unless it's in the habit of speaking of itself in the third person.
Posted by: Michael | November 11, 2014 9:21 PM
Or it wants to help the X-Men as much as possible without their knowledge. Jubilee is actively trying to stay hidden. She's barely willing to help Wolvie when he's busy dying in front of her, I don't think she's going to lift an adult male back to his house and leave a note with flowers for him when she has no idea what happened.
[I'd also add that the odds aren't good that she knows where Alex lives. She's certainly rooted through his rooms, and it's possible she's paid enough attention to know where each X-Man lives - I bet she could easily find Ali's home again - but Alex is leaving so little to mark his presence. Peter has his sketches, Storm may still keep plants, Ali has her dresses, records and a bike, Rogue remodels her place on a regular basis, Wolverine has Japanese stuff. It's certainly possible that Jubilee is tracking where everybody lives, but I wouldn't bet on it with regards to Alex.]
Frankly, leaving flowers and a sympathetic note sounds like exactly the thing a Claremont-written computer would do to extend the plotline and the mystery. It was (ostensibly) the only computer on Earth capable of detecting the X-Men after all.
Posted by: ChrisW | November 11, 2014 9:55 PM
Given the ultimate plans Claremont had for Gateway [replacing Xavier] maybe Havok's comment as they depart for South America is more meaningful if Gateway was relevant to putting Havok to bed and leaving a note. Obviously this is all speculation, but I'm positive Jubilee had nothing to do with it, and mostly-positive the computer itself did.
Posted by: ChrisW | November 11, 2014 9:59 PM
The voice that speaks to Lorna asks if he/she/it can take a message, and thereafter the note says the computer took the message. That, together with the immediate segue from the computer's self-repair and ringing phone to someone/thing speaking to Lorna is what makes me confident the computer was what spoke to Lorna.
I like the theory that Gateway left the note and moved Alex, though. Despite Alex's dialogue raising that very possibility, I'd never considered it until ChrisW suggested it. That makes more sense to me than Jubilee getting involved at this stage. But there's no definitive evidence either way, and so far we've never seen Gateway leave his hill, so that may argue for Jubilee. (We did, I guess, see Gateway move around a bit in the X-Men annual where he shows Jubilee the crater that leads to the Reavers' treasure room. And come to think of it, his brief dialogue to a Jubilee in that story was about as goofy as the "Gee" voice that answers Lorna's call. So...who knows.)
Posted by: Walter Lawson | November 12, 2014 12:51 AM
Walter, he also left his hill in issue 233-234 and went to the computer room, right after the computer showed Maddie a scan of Scott and Jean together, so he might indeed have been the person that moved Alex.
Posted by: Michael | November 12, 2014 7:40 AM
I don't think Gateway moved Alex, wrote the note and left flowers. Note, this is entirely different from saying I don't think Gateway was involved in moving Alex, etc. Gateway probably did have some connection to what happened in this scene. Dreamtime, connection to the land the town and computers were built on, Sy'm and N'astirh drew on his power when corrupting Maddy, a reincarnated time-traveling Xavier clone from an alternate universe that Claremont was hoping to set up by #500, who knows?
Given the X-Men's relationships to the computer and Gateway, I think the computer was much more primarily responsible for getting Alex to bed. [Look at the sympathetic note and flowers left. 'Poor boy, look at the way he lashed out at me. Tsk tsk tsk.'] I see Gateway as more of a 'sit on his hilltop and watch events pass, not intervening until he has a reason' character. Although that may explain why I've never cared for Gateway anyway. Why exactly is he doing all this stuff to help the X-Men? The Reavers had a specific threat of violence against [something he cared about; I can't look up the issue right now] to hold over him. Once he's free of that, why would he serve the X-Men? And although there are exceptions, he is effectively a tool for the X-Men's unquestioned use. Once or twice he shows up at dramatic junctures. There's a very nice-if-condescending end to the Christmas issue when Rogue brings him a piece of cake and a flute because she doesn't want him to be left out. But otherwise he's just a tool the X-Men use to accomplish their latest mission, and hardly give him any thought.
Posted by: ChrisW | November 13, 2014 9:05 PM
@ChrisW: You might have some more sympathy for Gateway here: https://fanfix.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/gateways-origin
As for who moved Alex, wrote the note and left flowers, given Jubes revealed involvement in getting Wolverine to safety in Uncanny X-Men #252...
And in relationship to Gateway and the computer, at almost the exact same time Claremont introduced Gateway Technologies in the factory ruin at Loch Daemon in Excalibur #2, the spot where Captain Britain had originally battled another character called the Reaver!?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | February 1, 2015 9:31 AM
I must admit that I always assumed it was Jubilee who left the note, although Gateway also left his hill to point at Peter before sending him off to help Illyana.
One thing that has always bothered me in this issue is the drawing of Alex sitting in the chair in his costume. It just isn't very good. It makes me wonder if many of the new artists emerging at this time started adding jackets to the all the characters because they lacked basic perspective and it helped establish it for them more than a full body suit like Havok's?
Posted by: Erik Beck | September 21, 2015 6:04 PM
I don't know how much harder or easier the jackets and stuff made them to draw, but I always assumed they were ripping off superior writers over at DC.
By this point, Grant Morrison was getting started with "Animal Man" and his first issue had Buddy choosing to wear a jacket because (a) a skintight outfit was kind of embarrassing and (b) it gave him a place to put his wallet and his keys. I think fnord pointed out in one of his Rob Liefeld reviews that nobody ever actually uses the pockets they are so blatantly festooned with. They just wanted to make it 'look military' but in the military, those pockets are there for a reason: to store things that you have a regular or semi-regular (or just potential) need for. And they get used.
Posted by: ChrisW | September 22, 2015 9:18 PM
Nathan Adler said: "And in relationship to Gateway and the computer, at almost the exact same time Claremont introduced Gateway Technologies in the factory ruin at Loch Daemon in Excalibur #2, the spot where Captain Britain had originally battled another character called the Reaver!?"
For that matter, Captain Britain also had dealings with a sentient computer capable of self-repair, one that had grown into a set of caves and was willing and able to manipulate human beings to achieve its ends. His father built it with Otherworld technology. (You'd think Betsy might notice the similarities to the Mastermind AI.)
Posted by: Omar Karindu | November 7, 2015 4:34 PM
I'm pretty sure that Havok's reaction to Lorna flicking Brainchild was caused by Lorna's new negative emotion strength power like Walter Lawson says above. As for moving Alex, he's pretty skinny. If Jubliee can move Wolverine who's much heavier with his adamantium skeleton, she can haul Havok and have time to leave him flowers and a note. Gateway doesn't strike me as a flowers kind of guy. As for the computer doing it, well, Claremont never established any mechanisms like waldoes that the computer could indepentently access and use. The computer can self repair, but use a pen to write a note, collect flowers and a vase, and move human beings across town seems a reach. For comparsion, Madelyne got left on the floor, bleeding, during the entire Brood storyline. The computer liked her a lot better than Havok.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | March 8, 2016 4:09 AM
Even if we pretend Jubilee's an action chick who can perform as many difficult physical actions as the story requires [like lifting a full-grown man all the way back to his room] she's also in hiding, from the very people who own this computer, town, complex, phone center. She isn't going to stop and answer the phone in the middle of that, much less leave flowers and a note. She'd shrug it off and think 'they'll call back.' She was basically homeless and living in a mall, I don't think flowers and a note would be the sort of thing she'd really think to include.
I think Gateway was involved in taking Alex home, but I don't think he had any physical role. It was the computer. Like Captain Britain's "Mastermind" this computer was far beyond what anybody expected.
Posted by: ChrisW | March 8, 2016 6:26 PM
And never mind the computer, Jubilee or Gateway, exactly how did Lorna figure out what abandoned Australian town the X-Men were living in and find a working phone number?
Posted by: ChrisW | April 3, 2016 12:00 AM
@ChrisW: She rang the mansion number and the Outback computer diverted and patched it through.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 3, 2016 12:51 AM
The mansion is destroyed. Gateway teleported the X-Men away just after Sinister was defeated, so they didn't have time to splice in a line to Australia. And why would they do that? Someone might track them down.
Was Gateway putting a target on the Australian town? It would explain how the Sentinels found the Reavers so easily and ripped them apart.
Posted by: ChrisW | April 3, 2016 2:48 AM
@ChrisW: Re: the Sentinels, recall that was Uncanny X-Men #281, not written by Claremont so obviously not in his plans;)
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 3, 2016 6:41 AM
I thought I was the one who willfully disregarded anything that wasn't by Claremont. I'm just trying to play fair with the published continuity even without Claremont.
Which brings me back to 'how did the X-Mansion know where to find the X-Men?' It's not like it could track them.
Posted by: ChrisW | April 4, 2016 12:41 AM
@ChrisW: There was mention earlier in the Australian Outback issues that the computer system there was patching calls through from the X-Mansion after its destruction. So while the phones were destroyed, the account hadn't been closed with the local exchange. So the line could be diverted probably.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 4, 2016 12:58 AM
The big question is how Zala not only ended up in the Savage Land, but how she ended up living entirely as a native of that place, down to worshipping Garokk and being high priestess of the Sun People.
Honestly, Claremont deciding that a character with a fantasy-novel name like "Zaladane" must be related to a character with the last name "Dane" (which was mostly just Arnold Drake making a stupid pun on "Lorna Doone") is some pretty weak tea, and very much the kind of thing people went after John Byrne for a few years later.
Even if we write off her ability to forcibly summon Garokk back in her debut appearances as a mutant power, it's...well, it's a pretty weird mutant power to have. Given all the other weirdness around Garokk, like the magic river that originally created him centuries before Zala was even around, why wouldn't we see it as something to do with the Savage Land itself?
Posted by: Omar Karindu | May 28, 2016 9:41 AM
It makes me wonder something...if Zaladane is Magneto's child by Suzanna Dane, Like I have been thinking, maybe he found out about her, took her away from Suzanna before Lorna was born, and brought her to the Savage and with him to be raised there? Do we know how long Magneto has known about the Savage Land?
Of course, Magneto knowing Zaladane being his daughter goes against their encounter in UNCANNY X-MEN #274-275 in a number of ways, but then maybe his knowledge of her was erased when he was turned into an infant by Alpha?
Posted by: Andrew Burke | May 28, 2016 9:58 AM
The question is really whether it adds anything narratively to make Zaladane Magneto's daughter, especially at this late date.
It's the same problem I have with the idea that literally every major storyline from the Dark Phoenix Saga to Fall of the Mutants is really just the Shadow King. He's just so much less interesting, thematically and narratively, than whatever it is he's replacing in many of those stories.
It's less a way to tie everything together than a way to tie it all down so it can't move or develop in new ways.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | May 28, 2016 10:09 AM
It would be pointless now indeed if any connection between Magneto and Zaladane was made, since she's long dead by this point. It's too bad Claremont didn't get the chance to resurrect her like he planned to during his third Uncanny X-Men run. I always liked her, even when she was just a priestess for Garokk. I definitely liked her all powered up, and Jim Lee's costume for her final appearances was awesome.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | May 28, 2016 10:55 AM
Yeah, what a shame poor persecuted Claremont, who's spent a sum total of 15+ years on a book, still didn't get around to doing any of his stories even on his THIRD run on the title!
Posted by: AF | May 28, 2016 11:06 AM
I think Chris Claremont is a very good writer, but I readily admit that he has an unfortunate tendency to try to juggle multiple plotlines and an army of characters. Claremont really needs an editor who is able to pay close attention to what he is doing over the long term and have the ability to pull him aside and tell him, "Look, Chris, this storyline has been going on for a couple of years now, and we still don't have any answers about that mysterious villain you had show up a while back. Before you introduce any more subplots and new characters, you really need to wrap up some of this stuff you've already got going."
I felt that some of Claremont's best work in years was on X-Men Forever, where the editor required him to work with a small cast, and he had to wrap up the majority of his plotlines at the end of each year. It's just too bad XMF got canceled a few months early, before he could conclude the second year.
Posted by: Ben Herman | May 28, 2016 12:13 PM
I love Claremont's stuff. Yes, he tended to juggle way too many plots, a lot of which never got resolved. But he is one of the best long-term plotters I know of. No one writes long-term anymore. Everything is written for trades now. And it seems like most readers nowadays want their mysteries done as soon as possible. No one has any patience for long-term plotting these days. In fact, a lot of readers get huffy right away, with STEVE ROGERS: CAPTAIN AMERICA #1 as an example of not waiting to see how the story goes before blowing it all off.
Claremont also did solve plenty of plots using the art to tell the story, to give clues to his intentions, such as his various Shadow King plot points just as an example. True, you may have to read the issue more than once, but it's there.
Look at what came after, as an example of who are not good long-term plotters. Lobdell is a prime example, as tons of plots and mysteries where put out but then dropped without explanation.
And, of course, Claremont isn't the only one who leaves off plot points, causing other writers to pick up on them. Last night I just got through reading on this site about the X-Cutioner's Song, and the true identity of Stryfe comes to mind. He was definitely supposed to be Nathan Summers, but then time passes and it's changed.
I guess it's just me, but a part of the thrill for me re-reading all of Claremont's stuff is wondering what could have been. What this was supposed to mean there. What he intended with this or that. Speculation is always fun. And I like knowing all the behind-the-scenes stuff, too.
In any case, while I do love Claremont's work, I also understand why a lot of people don't like it, either. Their reasons are valid.
I liked X-MEN FOREVER, but I liked X-MEN: THE END even more. His NEW MUTANTS FOREVER was also nice. I wouldn't actually mind an EXCALIBUR FOREVER book, just out of curiosity, and that book I didn't really care much about, not until Claremont's EXCALIBUR/NEW EXCALIBUR books.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | May 28, 2016 12:33 PM
Regarding speculation being fun for me, it's been a blast reading Nathan Adler's stuff, I should add. And everyone else's, too. Every reader looks at a story in ways different than others. The magic of writing.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | May 28, 2016 12:41 PM
Re: Steve Rogers: Captain America 1- I don't think that it's fair to blame the fans. Nick Spencer and Tom Breevort have been going on and on about how the ending of issue 1 is not a fake-out and implying the plot development is going to be long-lasting. If it wasn't for their comments, a lot of fans would probably assume this was a standard fake-out ending.
Posted by: Michael | May 28, 2016 12:42 PM
You make a good point with the situation with Cap. But being a long-time comic reader, I already know two different ways to explain what is likely going on, with one idea being most likely, so I'm not upset about what's happened in the least. It's the speculation part of reading stories, be it this book, or the X-Men (or Spencer or Claremont, etc.) that's always got me interested. I can read comics over and over again and speculate even more on things I didn't notice the first time. And when answers come, I'm either right, or I'll be slapping my forehead for not realizing it before.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | May 28, 2016 12:58 PM
I think I'm beginning to see what Claremont's main problem is (to a reader like myself): you know how writers like Bendis tend to stretch the contents of a single issue to fill up a tpb (most of the time)? Writers like Claremont tend to stretch the contents of a single tpb to fill up an omnibus.
Posted by: D09 | May 28, 2016 1:54 PM
Claremont just needed a strong editor to enforce a couple of rules. 1) There can only be a certain number of subplots running at any one time. Once you reach the limit, you need to end one story before you begin another, 2) if you bring in a plot from another book you write, be sure you explain it in this series so as not to confuse people who don't read the other book, and 3) teasers and long standing plots need to be resolved within three years - you don't need to resolve everything and can have longer term arcs, but the reader needs some kind of resolution in a three year period.
That would eliminate about 80% of complaints about Claremont but keep all the strengths people love about him.
Posted by: Chris | May 28, 2016 2:30 PM
In theory those rules could work, but in practice he could never have become the Claremont we love/hate/can kinda stomach in small doses. When he got started, how many people stuck around for three years on any title regardless of how successful it was? It would be almost three years before "X-Men" stopped being bi-monthly. By then he'd already started Proteus, Dark Phoenix, the Starjammers, all of which took more years to bring to a close.
As for references to his other titles, I see your point and definitely agree with the intent, but (a) the book's already wordy enough without recapping Ms. Marvel and Deathbird and Spider-Woman and (b) remember, he was coming from the era when people were expected to keep track of the whole Marvel Universe so they didn't miss a thing. Could he have done it better? Absolutely. I always like to cite Garth Ennis' "Preacher" as the textbook on how to incorporate complicated plot elements so that the reader understands them as far as needed without wasting space. [Jesse and Cindy, the 'travels in the Orient' scene from "Salvation"] I just don't think he would have been *Claremont* if he hadn't done it that way, never mind the editorial climate of whatever year we might be talking about.
That goes for the subplots too. You can restrain his excesses, but then you aren't getting his best stuff. Never mind what happens when a Jim Lee or a John Byrne starts contributing their ideas, and Claremont was adept at those as well, even when it didn't work out so well for him.
Posted by: ChrisW | May 28, 2016 10:21 PM
@ChrisW- Claremont also came from the era where "every issue is someone's first", so he should have kept that in mind. The worst offender in terms of bringing in plots from other book without explaining them was Excalibur, where Claremont kept alluding to plots from British stories that had not yet been reprinted in America without explaining them. The editors on Excalibur should have definitely told Claremont "no using characters from British books without explaining them".
Posted by: Michael | June 2, 2016 11:48 PM
Those are both good points. I tend more towards the argument that just because an issue is someone's first doesn't mean everything has to be spelled out. In this regard, again I'm influenced by "Preacher," because the first "Preacher" issues I read were from the very end of that series, fished out of the quarter bin. Nothing whatsoever was explained in them. But the characters and situations and dialogue were so vivid and gripping that I knew I wanted to read more. [Hoover's "I love you" monologue to Featherstone in "Alamo" being my favorite example, and my go-to example of how comic book continuity works when it's good.]
This is hindsight of course. Those comics were written almost a decade after Claremont left "X-Men" and under editorial circumstances light-years beyond what anybody could have imagined at late-80s Marvel (or anywhere else to that point.)
I'm not faulting Claremont for not being Garth Ennis. Quite the opposite, I think it's one of his unrecognized strengths that he was able to bring similar qualities to "X-Men" and related titles. The characters and stories struck deeper chords in the audience than anything else on the stands, being interesting in their own right so that we wanted to read more.
As an example, Carol Danvers wasn't given much attention for large stretches of Rogue's appearances. I started reading with #210/211 and it was only through back issues that I had a clue who Carol was. Even then I don't think she even got mentioned until the Genosha storyline. Semi-regular references to Rogue being part-alien, telepaths can't read her mind, etc. Nothing in the way of where she got flight, super-strength, invulnerability. "Secret Wars" I and II didn't help either. In those comics, I found the X-Men annoying and really didn't want to know any more about them. Not the right way to do 'every issue is somebody's first.'
But you're quite right about "Excalibur." In the context of this discussion, that's probably why "Excalibur" just didn't work. A handful of X-Characters in England, that's doable, even if it doesn't make much sense. Hooking up with Captain Britain, ok, for those who had heard of him. [I knew him from "Spidey Super Stories"! :D ] Meggan? Nothing. And you're absolutely right, the addition of British plotlines made no sense. I don't think they would have made sense if he had given exposition, but this was certainly a bad example on his part.
Posted by: ChrisW | June 3, 2016 2:07 AM
There's a scene where a shackled Lorna notes that Brainchild, Amphibius, and another Mutate seem more evil and sadistic than they normally were. A vague clue, at least to me, that the Shadow King is at work here, likely due to him having noticed the shift in Lorna's powers to something he needs.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | June 8, 2016 10:10 AM
The Shadow King was also feeding Pierce information, so he was quite active during this period as his plans continued to advance.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | June 8, 2016 10:11 AM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|