Uncanny X-Men annual #14
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men annual #14
Suzanne Gaffney - Assistant Editor
And it's only Chris Claremont that can fit in a "no quarter" during a sequence of someone eating a burger, and it's not even a description of the person eating the burger (Jughead or Wimpy, for example, would give their burgers no quarter).
This annual is a much slower, lower key affair than the previous three parts. Which isn't to say that the characters don't live in a nightmare world where you can't do any goddamn thing - sing in a club, walk in a cemetery, or eat a damn burger in a diner - without some thugs bursting in to attack.
After casually taking care of the thugs, Rachel senses Franklin, and for a minute i thought we were simply ignoring the previous three parts of this story altogether, with Rachel being confused because "he's just a kid in this era". Like, not when you left him 20 minutes ago!
Rachel's search for Franklin attracts the attention of other psychically attuned people, notably Dr. Strange and Spider-Man.
But when they do meet, their previous meeting in the last part of this story is referenced.
This time, though, it's going to be a calmer conversation. Not like those Thing/Hulk fights (or the madness of the previous annual). In fact, they get to kissing...
...and then, "a while later", they go to Four Freedoms Plaza.
But while Franklin may be calmer, he's still not all there, and he quickly starts manipulating his parents when Cyclops starts asking for his baby to be returned.
Claremont also touches on Jean Grey's theme of not wanting to be a character in a story written by someone else.
Note what looks like a rescript after "blames herself".
Of course that's while Franklin is controlling Reed and Sue, so it might not be the right time for the conversation. They snap out of it when Franklin and Rachel leave.
Only a Claremont character can use parenthesis while talking, but if anyone's going to do it, it might as well be Reed Richards.
Meanwhile, Storm and Gambit show up at what used to be the X-mansion.
I'm actually a little surprised to see them. It's felt to me like Banshee and Forge were sort of loaned out by Claremont as sacrificial lambs, to comply with Bob Harras' edict that the X-books interact more while keeping his main characters to himself. Storm does have a purpose in this story though, since as one of the characters that was around for Days of Future Past she can point out the key information that the rest of the characters wouldn't know. And her arrival not occurring until the final chapter ensures that they don't learn it too soon.
At the X-mansion, they meet Cable.
The fight ends when Forge, Banshee, and the New Mutants show up and recognize Storm, despite her being a child.
They then compare notes, and Storm reveals that Franklin Richards was actually supposed to have died in Days of Future Past, so he really shouldn't have been able to come back here. As readers, we sort of know that this takes place after Franklin died, since Ahab has been saying that Franklin was "ran to ground" by him in the previous parts of the story.
Back at Four Freedoms, Susan Richards, no longer controlled by Franklin, is able to voice Jean's problem to Cyclops. But they're interrupted by an attack from Ahab, who is going for the parents of the two mutants from the future.
Meanwhile, the other heroes all get together.
Jean, do you really have to call Ben Grimm "Thing" while he's permanently in human form? I guess she doesn't know him well enough to call him Ben.
We got parts of this already, but Ahab reveals to Cyclops and Invisible Woman that he was sent back in time after Kitty Pryde's time-switch in Days of Future Past, and he's been lying dormant since then until Franklin's arrival. I wonder why Rachel's arrival, or Nimrod's, didn't wake him up.
Rachel, it turns out, was just a prototype for the hounds.
He then transforms Scott and Sue into hounds.
Then everybody shows up to fight them.
Note the importance being attributed to Ahab here. Not only is he the leader and creator of the hounds, but it's suspected that all the heroes that died in Days of Future Past died at his hands.
Anyway, fight time.
Note Gambit wearing an X-Men costume, but of course Forge has been handing them out to everyone at this point, so that may not mean anything.
During the fight, Cable confronts Ahab.
"See someone you know?" "Sure, you're some doctor that appears in later issues of Excalibur? Rory Campbell, i think?" The original idea, hinted at earlier in this story as well, was that Ahab was a future version of Cable. But when Stryfe also turned out to be a version of Cable, this idea was dropped.
The heroes lose the fight when Ahab utilizes a rigged floor trap. But Franklin shows up and drives Ahab away.
Rachel resists her hound imprinting to go with Ahab.
That scene is a callback to a much more powerful scene from Uncanny X-Men #199.
As Ahab is leaving, he throws his harpoon at Rachel, but (after her telekinesis fails to stop it) Jean takes the hit.
But that moment does not bring them closer together.
In the aftermath of that fight, Storm reveals to Franklin that he's really dead. What we're seeing is a psychic imprint, sent back through time, and given form through young Franklin's dream-self powers. Franklin agrees to disincorporate and be reemerged with his younger self rather than letting him die.
It's theorized that Rachel's whole timeline may blink out of existence when Franklin leaves. Note Rachel therefore telling Jean that if she ever wants to learn about her alternate future daughter, she can go get the Shi'ar homeopathic crystal, which she imprinted her own essence on in Uncanny X-Men #201. Sorry to tell you this, Rachel, but Jean already did that, in Fantastic Four #286, and obviously it hasn't changed anything.
Rachel doesn't blink out of existence, leading Rachel to worry that disincorporating Franklin didn't accomplish anything, and again Jean doesn't do anything to try to comfort Rachel. The issue ends with Jean deciding whether or not to pick the crystal up.
The back-up feature in this issue actually takes place during the main story, i guess during that "while later" mentioned above (that's where the MCP puts it). I don't know why they didn't just place it at that point in the story; it wouldn't be the first time an annual had more than one artist on the "main" story. It has Franklin and Rachel going to Wolverine, Psylocke, and Jubilee. The feature is in part a recap of the X-Men's history, with Wolverine telling Juiblee about Professor X. Rachel and Franklin show up in the middle.
When Wolverine is finished, Rachel brings up her own bit of history: Wolverine stabbing her when she tried to kill the Black Queen.
When Jubilee tries to get involved in the dispute, Franklin zaps her and Psylocke away.
Wolverine then acknowledges that he can't force Rachel and Franklin to do anything, but he gives a long speech, even quoting "with great power comes great responsibility" (without even proper citation!), and Rachel convinces Franklin to bring Psylocke and Jubilee back.
Of course, the interaction with Wolverine has no long term impact, since Franklin goes from this right to manipulating his parents as we saw above.
I don't know. Just by virtue of being a little more subdued and intelligent than the previous parts, this feels a little better and actually uplifts the whole event a little bit. But there's a lot of pieces that don't fit very well, from the existence of Ahab at all, which i still don't like, to the idea that Rachel was the one who led Ahab to Franklin (very different than what we actually saw in Days of Future Past, where he was simply blasted by a Sentinel), to the idea that Rachel was a special prototype for the hounds instead of simply one of the hounds from that timeline. It all has the effect of overcomplicating and diluting the very important original Days of Future Past storyline. The fact that Ahab turns out to be a nowhere character is probably biasing my opinion to a degree, but i think i'd like him even worse if he became more prominent while being depicted the way he has been here.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Presumably begins soon after X-Factor annual #5 despite Rachel taking a time out for a burger.
Crossover: Days of Future Present
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAhab, Banshee, Beast, Boom Boom, Cable (Adult), Cable (Baby Nathan Christopher Summers), Cannonball, Cyclops, Dr. Strange, Forge, Franklin Richards, Gambit, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Jean Grey, Jubilee, Mr. Fantastic, Ms. Marvel (Sharon Ventura), Psylocke, Rachel Summers, Ship (Prosh), Spider-Man, Storm, Sunspot, Thing, Warlock, Wolverine
While New Mutants Annual #6 has Rictor pointing out that Cable looks like Ahab, Claremont takes another approach in this annual; and I'm actually certain the intention was NOT to impose Ahab's origin onto Cable to resolve the fact that they didn’t initially have a background for him, but that it was planted as a RED HERRING!
While Cable and Ahab did have some similar features, there are more distinct differences, than similarities, during Ahab's introduction here.
In addition, on page 18 Ahab calls Cyclops "laddie-buck", definitely not indicative of Cable's speech patterns. So what identity did Claremont intend here? The one thing that has been completely overlooked in the twenty-five since Ahab's introduction is his going grey in a really unusual pattern.
The only remaining question now is whether Ahab is Rogue's father, brother or son
Posted by: Nathan Adler | May 18, 2015 6:41 PM
The scene where hound-Cyclops is unable to detect Rachel is worth noting. It's another clue that he's not her father.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 18, 2015 8:06 PM
"Mr. Sinister" "Like the name."
Posted by: Berend | May 18, 2015 9:41 PM
"Of course, the interaction with Wolverine has no long term impact, since Franklin goes from this right to manipulating his parents as we saw above."
Posted by: Michael | May 18, 2015 11:07 PM
This Annual hit the stands before Gambit's first appearance in the regular title, making this the first chronologically published appearance of Gambit.
Posted by: Vincent Valenti | May 19, 2015 12:03 AM
Claremont cited this crossover as a big mess in a post-firing interview he did with Kim Thompson in TCJ. I think he said he had to write the Wolverine back-up story to fix continuity errors with the previous annuals because he didn't know about those errors when he wrote the main story.
It's pretty clear that this was an editorial mandate - I suspect Bob Harras gets scripting credit on the "FF" annual just by aligning it more with the mutant books - and there's definitely no drama in having Jean meet Rachel after all this time. [Compare Scott finding out the truth about Corsair.]
Over in the "X-Factor" comments, Fabian Nicieza's name starts coming up. Bob Harras might have been grooming him to take over on one or more title (which is what he wound up doing.) He was already pushing Louise out and would follow this with Claremont. So that's probably why Nicieza was privy to a lot of the behind-the-scenes goings-on.
Posted by: ChrisW | May 19, 2015 1:35 PM
Oh, and Dr. Shen spoke in parenthesis in X-Men #266. So it's not just Reed Richards. Maybe it comes with the Ph'D. The trope goes back at least to Jerry Siegel on "Superman," although there it was because they hadn't invented thought balloons yet.
Posted by: ChrisW | May 19, 2015 1:37 PM
@ChrisW: Do you recall what issue of TCJ that interview Kim Thompson had with Claremont was?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | May 19, 2015 4:21 PM
Here I was, thinking speaking in parentheses was a Brian Michael Bendis thing.
Posted by: Berend | May 19, 2015 5:43 PM
To reinforce what ChrisW says, I get the impression Louise S.'s X-Factor run was already set to end by this point, and we know that a FabNic/Erik Larsen X-Factor proposal was circulating before the end of 1990, http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2009/06/11/comic-book-legends-revealed-211/3/ (It lost out to PAD's proposal.) Another commenter here has said the Nicieza proposal had been seen by some retailers in 1990, in any event. And the events of X-Tinction Agenda seem editorially designed to put Havok and Wolfsbane in place for PAD's run--which means FabNic's proposal would have had to have been considered and rejected earlier.
In any case, Nicieza seems to have been closer to Harras's confidence than Louise S. or Claremont were at this stage.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 19, 2015 10:28 PM
@Walter: Which is why Claremont created Fabian Cortez as leader of the Acolytes and Magneto's betrayer/ killer!
Posted by: Nathan Adler | May 19, 2015 10:31 PM
But Walter, the Annual backups where Crimson Commando was injured took place on January 14, 1991, and made reference to the Gulf War, so obviously it was written on January 14, 1991 at the earliest. It seems like they decided to go with PAD's proposal in 1991.
Posted by: Michael | May 19, 2015 11:18 PM
Even if the Nicieza proposal had been rejected earlier, there still would have been a need to get rid of Freedom Force to clear the way for the new X-Factor as the government's replacement. That said, I can't find the comment that claimed Nicieza's proposal was curculating in 1990--maybe it wasn't on this site after all--and the claim could simply be incorrect.
PAD incidentally says he didn't pitch for the X-Factor job, it was assigned to him with the team already composed: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2009/06/11/comic-book-legends-revealed-211/3/#comment-723854 . I believe PAD, but it's weird because I've read elsewhere that PAD and Liefeld argued over who would get Wolfsbane. (Feral is pretty clearly a cheap substitute.) Maybe Liefeld wanted Wolfsbane but Harras decided she'd join X-Factor, even when he didn't know who'd write it? That's weird, too, because PAD had clear plans for Wolfsbane. They could have could have been drawn up after he'd been assigned the cast, I suppose.
I'm still of the impression Harras decided by the summer of 1990 to liquidate X-Factor Mk. I and fire Louise, but the evidence isn't all that certain.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 20, 2015 1:41 AM
Larsen, by the way, says there were several X-Factor proposals other than his and Nicieza's, http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/cyborgxs.htm --but evidently none of the proposals was by PAD, who says in the CBR link above that he hadn't even known about the Nicieza/Larsen pitch.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 20, 2015 1:44 AM
@Walter: With regard to Fabian & Erik's X-Factor proposal, it had to have been circulating in 1990 since the Marvel retailer magazine released in December that year acknowledged Peter David as the writer of X-Factor (though at that stage with Legion as a team member).
Posted by: Nathan Adler | May 20, 2015 4:02 AM
Thanks, Nathan--it may even have been the mention of PAD-Factor in the retailer mag that I was thinking of, not Nicieza's proposal being public. my guess as to the timeline, then is that Harras made clear in spring 1990 he wanted to merge X-Factor and X-Men (hence the crossover appearances of Jean, Hank, Forge, Banshee, etc.). A merge meant a new concept was needed for X-Factor, so Larsen and Nicieza (and others?) pitch, but Harras decides the (rough?) lineup and asks PAD to write it. If PAD was recruited early enough in 1990, there would have been time for Liefeld to argue about who got Wolfsbane. Harras decides and in X-Tinction the first pieces are put into place for PAD-Factor.
That's how I'd make sense of the various reports I've heard, at least. It would also account for why Louise Simonson sats shevwas pushed out the door but not fired: if all her characters were taken away and a new writer as brought in to habdle a new cast, that's something between a title cancellation and a normal firing. Harras was not very open with Louise or Chris, by all accounts.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 20, 2015 4:50 AM
@Walter: I can't recall the title of Marvel's retailer magazine from that time but it was black & white and had Spidey's face on the cover in a circle (and it was a goldmine of information about the X-titles that never fully eventuated).
Yes re: the merger. The Uncanny team was meant to have Jean & Cyclops (in their new X-Factor costumes), Iceman, Archangel, Beast, Colossus and Gambit.
I wonder who, besides Larsen and Nicieza, submitted X-Factor pitches, though!?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | May 20, 2015 5:06 AM
Simonson obviously didn't know she was leaving, though- Trish's ex-husband is introduced in X-Factor 59-60, and then never mentioned again, suggesting she was planning on going somewhere with that but found out after issue 60 that she was leaving.
Posted by: Michael | May 20, 2015 7:54 AM
The Claremont interview was in "Comics Journal" #152, the one with the big Todd McFarlane interview.
Posted by: ChrisW | May 20, 2015 11:05 AM
The goons who try to cause trouble at the start of the story are the goons from the first Robocop movie.
Posted by: Bill | May 20, 2015 12:19 PM
I might be misinterpreting ChrisW, but it says a lot when you interview Chris Claremont and it's Todd McFarlane that's getting all the attention.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | May 20, 2015 1:19 PM
McFarlane's interview must be read to be believed.
Posted by: ChrisW | May 20, 2015 1:33 PM
Thanks ChrisW. reading that interview was surreal
Posted by: kveto | May 20, 2015 3:27 PM
@ChrisW: Thanks for that. Is the interview available anywhere online? And what's up with the McFarlane one?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | May 20, 2015 4:01 PM
Posted by: kveto | May 20, 2015 4:17 PM
Re: MacFarlane interview. Wow. Just, wow. I mean I really like how he drew Spider-Man, but seriously, MacFarlane is just an ass. I checked - he uses "f**k" 73 times in the course of the interview. I mean, I cuss a lot, but not in an interview. ChrisW was right - it has to be read to be believed.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 20, 2015 6:37 PM
Steve Moncuse was primarily known for his independent comic/TV cartoon "Fish Police".
Mark Heike started in fandom in the mid-1970s, went briefly to Charlton, and spent most of his career drawing skimpy-costumed melon-breasted superheroines for Bill Black's AC/Americomics(which, given Marvel's depiction of most women at this time, was probably a plus).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 22, 2015 5:13 PM
There's an interesting panel at the end of this issue where Cable is giving a sad look towards young Nathan Summers....and I believe that this is the only panel where they appeared at the same time. At the time there was no established connection between the two.
Posted by: Vincent Valenti | September 14, 2015 4:42 PM
So, after three parts of this story with crappy art, they end with Arthur Adams. That's a bit different. Storywise and artwise this is a hell of a lot better than the first three parts.
It seems to me that the Jean Grey in Ultimate X-Men is modeled physically more after the way that Adams draws Rachel than any version of Jean.
So, Rachel now knows that at least Ororo and Logan are alive. Maybe she should tell Kitty and Kurt?
@Walter Lawson - Is Scott not Rachel's father? Is that something I've missed? Or another idiot ret-con?
Posted by: Erik Beck | October 30, 2015 11:46 AM
Erik, Scott is still Rachel's father. Claremont was planning on retconning Rachel into a kind of virgin birth via the Phoenix force, but thankfully, he never got the chance.
Posted by: Michael | October 30, 2015 9:59 PM
Funny how Scott's incredibly dramatic breakdown at the end of the X-Factor annual was pretty much ignored. He does want Nathan back, but if you only read this issue you'd never suspect what happened before.
I know there are a lot of characters in this story already but Claremont and Adams could have squeezed Iceman and Archangel in there. Their sudden absence not too long after the previous part feels weird, especially when it's totally unexplained.
Anyway, that's probably the best part of the crossover. I liked future Franklin's half-FF half-X costume.
In the last panel Reed says the X-characters are "all family", and the FF already interacted with them a lot, so by now we could safely assume they have the strongest link with the X-teams, out of all the non-mutant teams. But writers probably forget that a lot.
Posted by: Nate Wolf | November 27, 2017 4:11 PM
I think the idea was supposed to be that Bobby and Warren still haven't recovered from their injuries in the X-Factor Annual. That could have come across a bit more clearly, especially since their injuries were never mentioned outside that Annual.
Posted by: Michael | November 27, 2017 8:00 PM
I thought X-Factor #59 mentioned they were recovered from their injuries in X-Factor Annual #5. I’d have to double check. It may be there was just a footnote referring to the Annual’s events having taken place...
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | November 28, 2017 1:38 AM
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