Uncanny X-Men annual #12
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men annual #12
Storm is drawn to an unnatural event going on at the South Pole, and leaves the X-Men with a storm in her wake. The winds pull up poor hollow-boned Longshot, and Dazzler saves him by revealing that she has limited flying ability thanks to her solid light projection.
I suppose i should also note that Gateway is the first to see Storm leave, but he characteristically does nothing. It's said that of the various worlds that he surveys, this one is far from the most important.
The rest of the X-Men trace Storm to the Savage Land and have Gateway teleport them there. I should really say "former Savage Land", as the X-Men are surprised to find out.
Oddly, the art doesn't depict the area as just an Antarctic wasteland, and indeed doesn't even actually show the area to be snowy. It is described as an icebox. But it looks like a pit that the Savage Land has been scooped out of, which is different than its depiction in Avengers #257, the issue where the Savage Land was destroyed. In that issue, it was said that Antarctica was reclaiming the land. But here, it's said that the land is "scoured down to the bare rock" and Wolverine is able to retrieve ashes that are given to Longshot so he can get a psychic impression of what happened.
It's odd that the X-Men aren't aware that the Savage Land has been destroyed since they are aware of Terminus and know that he was killed by the Avengers.
Also in the former Savage Land is the High Evolutionary, who discovers a flower growing and sees it as confirmation that a plan of his will work. But he's suddenly attacked by Terminus.
The X-Men try to stop him...
..and Storm shows up to temporarily bury him in an avalanche.
The X-Men then talk with the High Evolutionary, who they don't know much about, and he tells them that he's here to restore the Savage Land. Storm sends Havok to go with the High Evolutionary to find out what he's up to, and at the Evolutionary's Savage Land base, he meets Zaladane - who is just called Zala here. Havok doesn't know her, but she's looking at him with something like recognition.
Meanwhile, Storm is aware that Terminus likely wasn't killed by the avalanche, so she charges Psylocke to mentally scan for him (made difficult by "psychic static" caused by the presence of both Terminus and the High Evolutionary). Here's where Rogue says that she's aware that Terminus was supposedly killed but doesn't know the details.
It also becomes apparent that Longshot has disappeared, so Wolverine and Dazzler go looking for him and find a portal to another dimension occupied by a giant dog.
This is C'jime, the servant/warship of the Sky Queen M'rin that Storm hung out with in the back-up from Classic X-Men #22. It turns out M'rin has rescued a number of the Savage Land natives, including Nereel, one of the women that Colossus had sex with in the back-up to Classic X-Men #21. She now has a baby named Peter, but they don't tell Colossus yet.
Meanwhile, Terminus has woken up...
...so now it's Terminus vs. giant dog-warship.
But it's actually Rogue, having absorbed Longshot's powers, who delivers the definitive blow and reveals that Terminus is being piloted by Garokk the Petrified Man.
They manage to pull Garokk out of the armor, which causes it to shut down ("it's almost as though Garokk's life-force was the sole source of its power").
Once he's out of the armor, Garokk remembers nothing about having piloted it.
Notice that in both one of the panels with Rogue about ("there can't be two of 'em") and this sequence here, it seems like we're being set up for the Terminus that attacked the Savage Land not being the real one. Since the implications aren't fully explored here, i'll leave it until we get to 1990's Terminus Factor annual event.
Colossus meets the boy who is most likely his son.
And Garokk's power set turns out to make him exactly what the High Evolutionary needs to restore the Savage Land. Garokk agrees to sacrifice his life to make it happen.
While the High Evolutionary is running his process, we see Zaladane and the Savage Land Mutates scheming.
But the High Evolutionary is aware of Zaladane's schemes and has no intention of letting them succeed.
When it's over, the Savage Land is indeed restored.
Storm says goodbye to her foster mother, M'rin, and has Psylocke wipe the minds of everyone they came in contact with, to protect their secret identities. You might wonder who exactly they're worried about finding out about them up here in the Savage Land, especially with Wolverine having been gallivanting all over Madripoor, but Ka-Zar and his family do show up at the end (this is the first on-panel appearance of their son, Adam)...
...and it won't be long before the West Coast Avengers show up here and talk to them, so it does turn out to be a smart move (questionable ethics aside).
So that's the restoration of the Savage Land, after its destruction some three years earlier, although as an aside i'll give an honorable mention to Alpha Flight annual #2, and that kind of shows that you can't keep a concept like this down for long.
It's also worth noting that in this annual we explicitly see the High Evolutionary acknowledge that he's using some unsavory types as "tools" to achieve his greater good. That specifically applies to Zaladane and the Savage Land Mutates (although we don't find out what he's using them for) but it could equally apply to all of his minions, who we've seen in previous issues tend to not share the altruistic motives the Evolutionary claims to have. The other interesting thing about this issue is that it's the only part of the Evolutionary War saga where the Evolutionary doesn't suffer a setback. The X-Men are suspicious of the Evolutionary but of course let him restore the Savage Land and then they cut out without investigating him any further at the end. I won't say it's because they're more concerned with protecting their secret identities than doing super-heroics, but you'd think once the other X-Men found out about Zaladane's involvement they'd want to check things out further. In any event it's cool to see the High Evolutionary actually making progress on his plans for once.
The back-up feature in this annual (i cover the Saga of the High Evolutionary separately) introduces the X-Babies. We actually had X-Babies before, in Uncanny X-Men annual #10, but those were the actual X-Men transformed into babies. This is the first appearance of actual separate X-Baby characters.
Mojo is in a frenzy because he's losing ratings now that the X-Men are dead (the spell that prevents the X-Men from being filmed also stops Psylocke's bionic eyes from secretly filming the team's exploits for Mojo).
So Major Domo and a newly introduced Minor Domo...
...call in their creative team, who suggest that Mojo get a replacement team.
Before we get to auditioning replacements, we see that Mojo still has Ricochet Rita held captive.
In this story she also briefly detects Longshot while the X-Men are being teleported by Gateway.
Ok, on to the auditions.
First, an all lady version.
I'd call this next team the Image option, but Image didn't exist yet.
And finally (after a text list of a number of other possibilities - skinny, fat, musical, insects, mimes, etc.), X-Babies.
Mojo isn't any more enamored with them than the previous versions, but while they manage to escape and rescue Rita...
...Mojo's ratings go through the roof, so he decides to keep them.
It's uncanny how much Ricochet Rita looks like Ann Nocenti, who we saw among Mojo's creative people earlier (even though Bob Harras is editor at this point).
Cute, as with the previous (sort-of) X-Babies appearance, and i guess fine for an annual back-up. But i really didn't need any more of them.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: There's no specific context clues regarding placement (especially since Madelyne Pryor is up and about with no mention of her "dream" of S'ym either here or in Uncanny X-Men #235). The MCP places this between UX #234-235.
This is part seven of The Evolutionary War; Web of Spider-Man annual #4 is next. Note that i've tagged Ricochet Rita (Spiral) as appearing here; i keep her tagged separately from the main Spiral tag due to the time travel involved (see Comments for more). The MCP gives Terminus a behind-the-scenes appearance for this issue, and i've tagged him as a Character Appearing just like i did with Avengers #256-257.
Crossover: The Evolutionary War
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (12): show
Would anyone have known about the connection with Colossus & Nereel if you had not read Classic X-Men?
Posted by: clyde | July 30, 2014 3:25 PM
Also of note - another "cheesecake" scene for Dazzler, with one thrown in for female fans of Longshot.
Posted by: clyde | July 30, 2014 3:30 PM
The Classic X-Men stories were explicitly footnoted in this annual if that's what you're asking, clyde. The Classic X-Men issues came out in 1988 so it's not something that the main series could have referenced much earlier than this.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 30, 2014 3:44 PM
Oh I like all ladies X-Women!
Posted by: david banes | July 30, 2014 4:41 PM
It's weird that there was discussion of metatextual context regarding Fantastic Four 319, when it explodes in the back-up story in this annual. The rant of the faux-Claremont in the creators' meeting reflects real-time complaints the genuine articles has made about the increasing franchising of the X-men and the line being milked to death (although if he thought it's bad then...)
The Savage Land could have stayed destroyed for all I care. It's one of those concepts I find too ridiculous, even in a comic-book universe (see also, Nova Roma.)
Posted by: Jon Dubya | July 30, 2014 6:07 PM
"you'd think once the other X-Men found out about Zaladane's involvement they'd want to check things out further"
Posted by: Michael | July 30, 2014 10:25 PM
Minor Domo looks like she might be based on Bobbie Chase, though maybe some other staffer.
Great art, fun story, brilliant use of established elements--Garokk and the Evolutionary's world-creating habits--to restore a recently lost fantasy setting to the MU. (I still have a hunch Shooter wanted to get rid of such "unrealistic" trappings and note that a lot of genre-clearing gets undone pretty quick now that he's gone.) I hadn't read the Classic X-Men backup at the time, but I just accepted this other fantastic cast of characters as part of the complex tapestry Claremont was weaving. This is a really good single-issue comic, and probably the best Evolutionary War chapter. (The final chapter is maybe equally good.)
Posted by: Walter Lawson | July 31, 2014 12:22 AM
I'm surprised you haven't mentioned the star image that Madelyne was working on in Uncanny X-Men #232 as a representation of the X-Men and here where we see it in finished form. It will appear again in Uncanny X-Men #235 too.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | July 31, 2014 3:15 AM
I wonder if i should tag Spiral/Ricochet Rita and Cable/Nathan Summers as separate "characters". I didn't do that for Rama-Tut/Kang but the difference is that these characters originate in the present day Marvel universe.
I think the situation with Havok and Zaladane means we should be giving even more props to Dazzler for recognizing Cloak and an out-of-costume Juggernaut by studying the X-Men's files!
Jay, i did show that scan of Maddie designing the star and complained that she was doing that instead of looking for her kid, and i got yelled at for it! ;-)
Posted by: fnord12 | July 31, 2014 10:56 AM
I think I recognise some of the creative team: Chris Claremont, Art Adams, Ann Nocenti but can anyone tell me who the others might be?
Posted by: JSfan | July 31, 2014 12:08 PM
Posted by: fnord12 | August 1, 2014 9:34 AM
Posted by: JSfan | August 1, 2014 1:42 PM
I think one of the main reasons for Claremont's use of Mojo was to make that kind of metatextual rant.
Although I never really had a desire to see more of them, I rather liked the X-Babies in their three appearances (counting "X-Men" Annual #10.) Especially in hindsight, but even at the time it was refreshing and fun to see the main characters parodied as whiny brats who may be powerful and effective, but don't really know what they're doing or why. Comics are supposed to be fun, dammit!
I also like the cute names given for them in the Characters Appearing list. I'd suggest X-Baby Sparkly for Dazzler, but Longshot and Havok are too non-descript as characters to think of any suggestions.
Posted by: ChrisW | August 1, 2014 6:40 PM
Funny how the "naughty" X-Men's outfits are basically just regular superhero outfits. Maybe the Jean/Maddie variant with the fishnets is a bit kinky, but that is still basically the outfit of Poison from the Spider-Man annual!
Posted by: Berend | August 4, 2014 6:08 AM
I was never able to figure out who the guy on the end is in the "naughty" X-Men. He's got slightly blue skin, so Nightcrawler? I assume the redhead is supposed to be Maddy rather than Jean.
As I recall, Mojo was unhappy with there being a Longshot in the X-Babies, which I thought was weird, since there were Longshots in some of the other teams. But I guess this one called attention to himself with the "Guess who's back?" line.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | August 20, 2014 3:05 AM
"In any event it's cool to see the High Evolutionary actually making progress on his plans for once."
That's because he was doing something that was a clear benefit to humanity. His other ventures involved killing other people or beings. This is about re-creating a new area for animals and people to inhabit.
Posted by: clyde | June 25, 2015 3:45 PM
That backup story with Mojo is cute! I like the "brain trust" :)
And being a Warhammer 40K collector, I have to observe that Rita-as-the-ship-figurehead has uncanny resemblance to WH40K's Penitent Engines...
Posted by: Piotr W | July 8, 2015 3:42 PM
So is that Nocenti calling Mojo an idiot? That almost makes me like her.
This is definitely one of the first times that one of the Classic X-Men backups is specifically referenced (and it manages to get in two of them). HSR for that? I really rather liked that.
If anything, this issue made it clear to me there was no need to bring Terminus back yet again. Oh well.
Posted by: Erik Beck | August 8, 2015 1:10 PM
Yes, that is Ann Nocenti calling Mojo an idiot.
So in this issue we have the comic book version of the real–life Ann Nocenti as well as Ricochet Rita both in the Mojoverse at the same time.
It has always bugged me that it was later written that Rita became Spiral. The character of Rita was based off of the physical appearance of Nocenti, so maybe it was really Mojoverse Nocenti who became Spiral, and Rita is still trouncing around trying to keep tabs on the X-Babies. Hey they look identical, so they could have switched outfits at some point. It’s no more far-fetched than the Jean Grey/Phoenix/Madelyne Pryor switch-a-roos, or that of Betsy Braddock/Psylocke/Revanche, or all of that retconned Skrull/Secret Invasion crap.
Really though, Ricochet Rita has to be one of the more tragic characters in the Marvel universe. There was a sweet girl just trying to earn a living and make her mark in the world, when BAM! They kill her dog and throw her in to an alternate dimension with sights that drive her mad. She overcomes this, however, and actually begins to make do with life in that bizarre reality, and then later on she gets perverted in to Spiral. That’s just too tough for me to accept from a medium that I read to remove myself from a world in which good-hearted people really do have their souls crushed daily, so I’m making the whole Nocenti/Rita switch cannon in my mind.
Posted by: Jesse | September 23, 2015 4:27 PM
Great annual, best Evolutionary War story since the 1st chapter imo. Adams' art is a huge step up from some of the previous chapters. Felt High Evoluutionary's characterization was better than the Hitler stuff we saw before. I've always loved the High Evolutionary and his warriors, the Mutates, Zaladane, the giant dog, Mojo, the X-babies, lot goin on here! Only drawback is the dialogue
Posted by: RikFenix | June 5, 2016 7:02 PM
All this talk about Rita's tragedy reminded of a short science fiction story I've read a few years ago called "All you Zombies"
I won't spoil it in case someone is interested but It's really twisted stuff (and has nothing to do with Zombies)
Posted by: Bibs | November 17, 2017 8:38 AM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|