Characters Appearing: Angel, Banshee, Beast, Boom Boom, Cable (Adult), Cameron Hodge, Cannonball, Chief Magistrate Anderson, Cyclops, Emmanuel Da Costa, Forge, Gambit, Genegineer (David Moreau), Havok, Iceman, Jean Grey, Jubilee, Manoli Wetherell, Mr. Fantastic, Psylocke, Punisher, Rictor, She-Hulk, Storm, Sunspot, Tam, Wipeout, Wolfsbane, Wolverine
Uncanny X-Men #272
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #272
Since all of the above characters are "someone" (that's the Punisher and Sunspot's father in the middle row) except for Lucas Hamilton, i wondered if he was a character that i don't know. I did find one person saying that he is Kevin Masterson's high school teacher, but if so he hasn't appeared in Thor so far, and i haven't confirmed it yet. The MCP does not have a listing for Lucas Hamilton at all (i.e. not just for this issue).
She-Hulk's request to represent the X-Teams is denied on the grounds that she doesn't have a license to practice law in Genosha. I assume Mr. Fantastic and other public heroes feel constrained from making a rescue attempt due to international law considerations.
Legally speaking, the US government isn't even able to confirm that the captive mutants are US citizens, thanks to the virus that automatically erases all references to the X-Men. Cable isn't too happy to find out about that, or that he's included in it now that he's hooked up with them.
The X-Men (and company) are all powerless, and they refuse to submit to the mutate process, meaning that they will be executed instead. Wolverine makes an attempt to escape and/or kill Hodge, but fails. Cable and Gambit make a better effort. Gambit kissing one of the Magistrates reminded me of the "charm" power he had in his first two appearances but the fact that it doesn't "work" here is probably not a clue one way or another if he was still intended to have that ability.
Psylocke then begs for mercy when Hodge starts pulling out Cable's bionics, and she agrees to submit to the mutate process.
I love that in that second scan, even while she's begging she's just staring poutily at the camera.
Havok, who has his memory back at this point but is still pretending not to, takes Psylocke to the Genegineer's lab. Some of the other X-Men wonder if it is really Psylocke, since the last time they saw her she was a British lady, but the Beast says that Wolverine vouches for her. But it's also noted that Wolverine isn't looking so good.
Hodge decides to make Wolverine and Archangel fight, because that would be kewl, you guys!
Meanwhile, Jubilee, Boom Boom, and Rictor spot the Genegineer and start trailing him. And Psylocke escapes.
And then Gambit, using a spike that Hodge fired at him earlier, is able to pick his lock with his feet.
Once free, Jean is able to stop the fight between Angel and Wolverine. Note Cyclops observing Wolverine and Jean.
Seems like a plan is coming together. But Hodge is suspicious of the Genegineer. And he also sets a trap framing Havok for the death of Wipeout.
Hodge has learned something from looking at the Genegineer's computer. So he attacks the Magistrates, who are transporting Storm. Psylocke shows up to help.
Storm and the Magistrates wind up in the room with the X-Men, and Storm is initially ordered to attack. But instead of that, something else happens, and Storm is restored to her own mind and her body becomes an adult again.
And it turns out that the interaction has restored Cyclops' powers, enough that he's able to force Hodge into a temporary retreat.
That's Claremont's last issue of X-Tinction Agenda, and it passes without Claremont having anything larger to say. And it's kind of a cop-out plot, with a hackneyed arena battle between two heroes (which, granted, allows Jim Lee to draw some cool stuff) and a resolution that involves the change of heart from the Genegineer, which we haven't seen any development for (it will be explored a little further in the final two Louise Simonson issues, but not much). There are also a lot of characters to deal with here. Claremont handles them well enough, considering, with special emphasis on his "newest" characters Psylocke and Gambit. But the nature of the plot just has a lot of characters to deal with, and so most of them aren't going to get a lot of attention.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is part seven of the X-Tinction Agenda. New Mutants #97 is next. Since this issue has cameos by Mr. Fantastic, She-Hulk, and the Punisher, the entire crossover has to take place while those characters are free. The X-Men are revealed to be alive in this issue, which has an affect mainly on Excalibur.
Crossover: X-Tinction Agenda
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
The idea that the virus erased all references to the X-Men so there's no way to prove they're Americans makes no sense. Angel's and Beast's identities are PUBLICLY KNOWN. If the virus erased all references to them, then how did they manage to exist in society? Warren even ran a MULTINATIONAL CORPORATION after X-Men 158. How could he do that if all records relating to him kept getting erased by the virus?
Posted by: Michael | July 6, 2015 11:23 PM
That was some cool lock picking from Gambit but it doesn't top Ororo's to escape from Nanny from way back.
Posted by: david banes | July 6, 2015 11:31 PM
Bizarrely enough, in my country, this issue was published as the final part of X-Tinction Agenda. The last page was edited to show that Cyclops defeats Hodge with that one optic blast...
I've always found the scene where Psylocke has her "breakdown" and seemingly agrees to the mutate process very touching. I've wondered what would've happened if it wasn't a feint... For a time after reading that issue, I kept coming up with ideas for stories involving a mutate Psylocke ;)
Is anyone else a fan of Chief Magistrate Anderson?
Posted by: Piotr W | July 7, 2015 4:56 AM
Jim Lee is far better an artist than Rob Liefeld or Jon Bogdavone ever were, but even he is IMO a rather poor choice for a mainstream superhero book. His storytelling is incredibly poor, and far too much of what he draws looks like pin-ups on steroids.
Guan Yap's art in the next part of this crossover is far more functional, and probably the highlight of it far as actual storytelling goes - faint praise as that is.
I honestly don't understand what beyond completism could possibly draw someone to buy these issues.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | July 7, 2015 9:20 AM
"I honestly don't understand what beyond completism could possibly draw someone to buy these issues."
Well, I love crossovers. So, if there's a crossover in any of the titles I bought, even if parts of it were in other titles that I didn't buy, I would still get it.
Posted by: clyde | July 7, 2015 11:28 AM
"Jim Lee is far better an artist than Rob Liefeld or Jon Bogdavone ever were, but even he is IMO a rather poor choice for a mainstream superhero book. His storytelling is incredibly poor, and far too much of what he draws looks like pin-ups on steroids."
Could I ask for some examples of what you consider Lee's poor storytelling? Not trying to argue, I'm just not certain I see it?
Posted by: Piotr W | July 7, 2015 2:20 PM
Hodge may think the X-Men have lost their powers, but his murder of Wipeout, the one guy whose power is a real threat to Hodge's enemies, is just an incredibly stupid bit of plotting. I could have bought it if some time had been taken to set up the idea that with the mutants captured and depowered, Wipeout isn't needed any more, and his death will prevent the mutants from ever getting their powers back. But as it is, Hodge just gratuitously destroys his own greatest weapon.
Of course, the very fact the Genoshans are allied with Hodge is gratuitous: why invite a psychotic cyborg-monster to hang out in your national headquarters, when your military itself is sufficient (in Uncanny 270) to take down your enemies? Again we're missing plot setup that could have made things much more plausible.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | July 7, 2015 10:26 PM
@Piotr: While I generally think Jim Lee is a good storyteller, with his "flaw" being his tendency for overly-stylized and "exploitative" art, one particularly eggereous example of bad storytelling is in the highlighted Psylocke panel Fnord scanned. She's suppose to a horrified at the abuse Cable is taking, and yet she is so busy giving sexy pouty-lipped poses to the guards you'd never know it if it wasn't for the dialogue. (and and if Betsy arched her back any further, she'd snap in half. Her REAL mutant power is the ability not to have any internal organs in her abdomen.)
Posted by: Jon Dubya | July 8, 2015 1:00 AM
@Piotr: I suppose to a significant extent the fact that Jim Lee's pencils are so tiring work against my opinion of his storytelling. A Sal Buscema or even a Pat Broderick would have more of a sense of flow and less obsession with painted skin textures. Also, I now realize, the coloring is really hurting the storytelling of this issue. Still...
Jim Lee's characters seem to spend half the time seeking the best possible pose for showing their fitness and looking sexy despite excessively hatched skins and fabric. Also, I just noticed, the panels end up needing quite a lot of text to tell us what is happening, because the images are actually rather static, unconnected, even unfocused. There are so many acts of ludicrous sustained violence, and it comes oddly muted because the panels rarely if ever truly _follow_ from each other. They are just pin-ups thrown together, often from awkward angles that further obscure what is actually happening. There are no gradual changes of perspective, no visual clues helping us locate ourselves in relation to previous panels. Even the panel backgrounds tend to be abstract, unrecognizable, and/or overhatched. At points the actual intent seems to be to make it vague what is happening on the panel, with all those odd lines and perspectives.
See for instance the three-panel scan midway through this entry, coming right after the Archangel/Wolverine fight. Psylocke is fighting three characters that are just a hair away from looking more like robots than actual people in uniforms. Her manacles are colored in a tone far too similar to that of the uniforms and may well end up unnoticed. Her leg is inhumanly long. The posture, oddly stactic, perhaps explaining why the background is vaguely speed-line like and so abstract. We have no clue from the panel about where the action is happening. Is it open space? Are they floating in the air? Closed in a cell? We can't tell from the panel itself. There is literally no hint of either a wall, ceiling or even floor, nor of their absence. The panel following is even more obscuring, to the point that one has to spend considerable effort to even realize that this is in fact Psylocke again, being shown from a very inconvenient angle, against an even worse background, doing an action that is neither clear (I just now noticed that she is actually parrying a gunshot of some kind; I had previously read it as her firing some kind of weapon) nor much of a logical sequence of the previous panel. It would almost work better as change of scene to some other character. And then in the third panel the perspective is again changed all of a sudden, while the coloring, oddly enough, seems to want us to doubt that these are the same characters from the panel above. There is no clear reason and less benefit for the panel to be so heavily yellow.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | July 8, 2015 2:09 AM
Thanks for answer, guys! If you don't mind... :)
@Jon: I can agree that Lee isn't that best with emotions... That said, Psylocke is emoting correctly in two of the three panels of the sequence you mention. It's the middle panel where she is strangely stoic (I've never read it as her pouting... more like here giving an proud stare. Still, it doesn't make sense in the context, I agree). Also, I must say that I love that shot of her when she's at Havok's feet (really, we need some Betsy-as-a-mutate fanfic. It'd be so touching...:)).
@Luis: if you don't mind, I must say that I don't agree with you about these three panels you mentioned. The thing is, they have no backgrounds... but the panel before them (which Fnord hasn't included) clearly shows Betsy being escorted down a corridor. I really think that it's rather clear where these panels take place. Also, I've never had trouble understanding what's going on in there: Betsy kicks and disables two guards, then shields herself with her manacles, frees her hands and knocks the third guard down. Yes, this sequence could've been done better (for once, there's no transition between Betsy walking placidly and Betsy kicking butt), but it's not that bad. Also, I'd say that, for me, these panels are *very* dynamic!
BTW. I love that panel where Betsy shoots the machine gun at Hodge from the ventilation tunnel. That shot of her is just beautifully detailed...
BTW 2 (unrelated to Lee's art): You know what's weird about this whole story? That every single government institution in Genosha seems to be located in the Citadel. The court, the President's office, the Genengineer's office, the Genengineer's laboratory, the Magistrate HQ, Hodge's lair (isn't that convenient that this government building can accomodate Hodge with a private prisoner pen and a fighting arena?)... That's just lazy writing, IMHO - and it makes Genosha look less like a nation and more like supervillain organisation.
Posted by: Piotr W | July 8, 2015 11:07 AM
Different tastes and all that, I suppose.
I can take Arthur Adams in small, infrequent doses, but his style becomes rather unconfortable after a while.
Jim Lee, who shows a lot of influence from Adams, gives me the same challenge with less skill. I can see that he means to show dynamism, but it all just falls flat to me. I almost feel like pricking the characters to see if they are pumped ballons or something. He could be a great penciler if he had the right discipline and mentoring, I suppose. But I fear that to me his pencils will always look, for lack of a better word, mishappen. Looking at his work consistently reminds me of how frustratingly close to being _good_ he is.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | July 8, 2015 3:56 PM
Although, in truth, I fear this storyline may have more trouble in the plot than in the art.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | July 8, 2015 3:56 PM
Luis, good points about the lack of flow. I'd been trying to figure out how to answer Piotr's question and that's the phrase I was looking for.
Lee's art is stylized, which isn't a bad thing, but in his case it leads to every one looking posed for a pin-up which often detracts from panel-to-panel continuity in both storytelling and characterization. Most of the panels shown here have backgrounds, for instance, but they're also crammed full with detail that there's no room to breathe.
And most of the detail doesn't tell us much either. Hodge is just a mess of wires and a head, the Genoshans are barely recognizable as human beings. Gambit pulls a weird-looking stick out of his leg and uses it to pick some green flower-thing. The walls of the arena are the same generic metal panels as the walls of the prison and wherever they do the fight scene. Smoke and wires and blast rays and Kirby Krackle fill almost every panel without adding anything, and there's so much of it.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 8, 2015 10:36 PM
Luis, I actually agree with your opinion that Lee is frustratingly close to being good. I admit that I've been a big fan of his in my teenage years - but then, I became aware of the flaws in his art and became an anti-fan :) These days, I look at his art (especially his art here, in his UXM period) and I can tell that it *is* appealing to me to a serious extent... but then, I notice the sexed-up poses on women and I can't help rolling my eyes. The man clearly has a serious talent, I really wish he developed his style in a more realistic direction. He really could've been amazing, then...
Posted by: Piotr W | July 9, 2015 9:23 AM
One reason I really prefer Silvestri's art. He has much of the stylization that Jim Lee has, but his characters are more cartoony when they need to be, better acting ("acting" in the sense that you believe lines-on-paper are real people and treat them as such) and the panel-to-panel flow is better.
I always like to cite that early "Fall of the Mutants" scene where Illyana shows up to take Peter to the big fight, and she's just an over-excited babbling teenage girl finding out that her big brother is recovered. If Jim Lee had drawn that sequence, it would have mostly been about Illyana posing, and instead of Peter believably laughing to himself as he waits for the chance to speak, he'd have been stoic and... posing. Considering the whole point was to give them a last moment together before Peter dies, it works much better with the happy way she throws her arms around him. The characters took precedence, not the art [which admittedly is what makes them exist.]
Posted by: ChrisW | July 11, 2015 9:34 PM
Before we move on to the space arc, wasnt there a Starjammers book sometime in 1990? I remember unsold copies, with its hefty price tag, sitting in the spinner rack for months.
Posted by: Bob | July 13, 2015 3:08 AM
Yes, and fnord will get to it soon:
Posted by: Michael | July 13, 2015 7:46 AM
We are not that far from the time when the Shiar/P!ndyr plot that began in #265 gets revisited.
I assume the two stories were somewhat coordinated.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | July 13, 2015 9:28 AM
No, the stories weren't coordinated at all. The Spotlight on the Starjammers was originally intended as a Marvel Comics Presents story and had no coordination with the main books, which causes some issues with chronology, as we'll see when fnord reviews it.
Posted by: Michael | July 14, 2015 7:54 PM
"Issues with chronology" are the least of my worries. The only thing I remember from that series is "Bald Phoenix" and that's bad enough. *shudder*
Posted by: ChrisW | July 16, 2015 8:34 PM
I remember that Cockrum did a similar effect in GS#1, but that panel of Scott slowly regaining his powers is fantastic.
Posted by: Erik Beck | November 11, 2015 11:45 AM
It's interesting to look at events of "The X-Tinction Agenda" from the perspective of 2016.
When we first were introduced to Genosha, it was more or less played straight as a police state that enslaved & exploited mutants for the benefit of the white human majority, sort of a fictionalized version of South Africa, or if you prefer the United States before the Civil Rights Movement. It's horrible, but it's realistically plausible, an example of the banality of evil.
But when we return to Genosha is now being run by Cameron Hodge, an absolutely over-the-top, insane, demonically-cursed, cyborg, manipulative mutant-hating bigot with weird hair who has taken advantage of the country's institutionalized bigotry and totalitarian structure to completely seize power, resulting in many of the former rulers being so aghast at what has happened that they find themselves having to work with their old enemies the X-Men to try to overthrow this lunatic tyrant.
Not to get too political, but doesn't that all sound very familiar?
Posted by: Ben Herman | June 26, 2016 2:23 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|