Issue(s): X-Factor #10
The X-Terminator team is still in the process of splitting up, with Angel and Jean Grey taking Rusty and Skids back to their headquarters, and Beast just having returned from HQ after a phone conversation with the Wasp (wink, wink) so that he, Cyclops, and Iceman can go deeper into the tunnels to look for Artie.
They find Marauders chasing Morlocks, and jump in to save Erg and Beautiful Dreamer. Beast gets tagged with one of Harpoon's energy weapons...
...and then the Marauders bring down a ceiling and flee.
Meanwhile, Skids realizes that she's being led to the mutant-hunting X-Factor's compound, but Jean and Warren are able to convince her of the truth. However, the news that Mystique leaked about X-Factor has come out. Mystique specifically revealed that Warren is Angel and that he, a mutant, has been funding X-Factor (presumably this was the most verifiable thing to leak and the easiest thing to get the press to report on; another potentially explosive bit of information might have been that Hank McCoy, a former Avenger, was part of X-Factor, but i guess that would have been more of a PR problem for the Avengers than X-Factor).
Candy Southern hears the news about Warren and heads to X-Factor to be there for him. But she finds him having a tender moment with Jean and decides that while she's "overlooked your philandering before" she's done with him this time. Messing around with Dazzler had its consequences after all.
Jean finds a way to blame all of this on herself.
With their morale totally crushed, they head back into the tunnels to meet up with the rest of the X-Terminators.
To back up a bit, the other half of the team had been incidentally rescuing Caliban, Artie, and Leech from Sabretooth...
...and saving Ape and Tar Baby from Blockbuster and Vertigo (and note that the Beast is resistant to Vertigo's powers).
Jean and Angel catch up with them as they are fighting Arclight, Scrambler, and a Marauder called Prism, who Jean smashes into bits (and she doesn't express any regrets about that).
Cyclops and Beast are both injured at this point, so Iceman and Jean take them and the four Morlocks they've rescued (Erg, Beautiful Dreamer, Ape, and Tarbaby: all Morlocks associated with Louise Simonson's Power Pack issues, while the X-Men seem to gravitate towards Claremont's Callisto, Sunder, and the Healer. Funny how that works out.) back to X-Factor headquarters while Angel stays behind to continue the search for Artie.
Artie, meanwhile, left his new friend Leech and Caliban so that he could find X-Factor and get help, so the two soon meet up. But the folly of sending Angel alone quickly becomes apparent. Angel is arguably the weakest member of the team in the best of circumstances, but in the cramped Morlock tunnels he's absolutely useless. So when he runs into Vertigo, Blockbuster, and Harpoon, he knows he's in trouble. He gives Artie an impassioned if confused message to relay to Jean...
...and then heroically blocks the corridor to give Artie time to run. Angel has met Vertigo before so she's not a problem...
...but Blockbuster and Harpoon are merciless, crushing his wings...
...and pinning him to a wall. The final blow is the realization that Artie can't talk and so even his message to Jean won't get relayed.
While all of this is going on, Apocalypse starts setting up the groundwork for next year's mutant crossover. Sabretooth and Harpoon had the Morlock Plague pinned, but Apocalypse shows up and gives Harpoon a beatdown brutal enough that i am surprised he was able to attack Angel later. And then he spirits Plague away, saying that she will become his Horseman, Pestilence.
In the scene above, and once earlier in the issue...
...Sabretooth mentions his healing factor, something that we haven't seen before.
It's also interesting that Simonson introduces some Marauders here that we didn't see in the X-Men issue. The use of Sabretooth in particular is interesting since he's an established character and one that Claremont will use prominently in the rest of the Massacre. So i wonder why he, along with Blockbuster and Prism, wasn't with the rest of the Marauders in X-Men #211.
I mentioned in X-Men #211 that we're seeing the tone become darker. We're seeing a tone shift here, too, but instead of darkness, it's more like sadness. There's obviously some darkness too - the death of the Morlocks, Jean's casual killing of Prism, and the violent crucifixion of Angel - but just as prominent is Cyclops' self-hatred...
...and Angel's complex feelings towards Jean.
This tone will continue and will eventually get overwhelming, but in the current Massacre context combined with a fresh look thanks to Walt, it adds an appropriate sense of despair to the event.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This issue takes place concurrently with Uncanny X-Men #211.
Crossover: Mutant Massacre
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (11): show
Candy Southern claimed that Jean's real mutant power is the ability to make men fall in love with her and destroy themselves- many readers felt that was apt.
Posted by: Michael | February 7, 2014 7:40 PM
Candy's comments to Jean seem a bit harsh--Jean isn't the one wrecking people's relationships, after all. Scott made his own choice to walk out on his wife...Jean didn't even know he was married. And Warren is likewise responsible for his own behaviour towards Jean and neglect of his relationship towards Candy. Jean didn't encourage that.
That said, I can certainly understand why Candy is being less-than-reasonable under the circumstances. She's hurt and angry and lashing out.
Posted by: Dermie | February 7, 2014 11:06 PM
The moment where Angel & Marvel Girl rejoin the rest of the team, Jean smashes Prism, and Arclight brings down the walls behind her to escape them is probably the same moment when Storm is nearly hit by Cyclops's beam and Wolverine smells all 5 originals in Uncanny X-Men #211. (The 2 teams almost meet again at that moment!) It also means the X-Men are relative late-comers to the party.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | February 8, 2014 4:25 AM
Sadly, this is the last time we Candy Southern alive...
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | February 8, 2014 5:00 AM
Er... we SEE Candy Southern alive...
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | February 8, 2014 5:54 AM
It's good writing, though. People, especially women, are always angry at the interloper of the same gender, as played out on many a daytime talk show. I get Candy taking a dim view of Jean and saying things to hurt her. My only issue is that Candy was a hard character for me to pin down from title to title. She somehow didn't seem the same in this book -- nor did Warren in relation to her -- as in the then-recent New Defenders.
Any comment on Warren thinking of Scott as his best friend with no "one of my" qualification? In the various titles, I thought he seemed closer to Bobby and Hank. Of all the relationships among Xavier's original students, the Warren/Scott one had the most clashes: over Jean, over Scott injuring Warren with an optic blast, over different personalities and lifestyles (look at the way Warren's attempt to be helpful broke down in an early Layton issue, with Scott's "a playboy like you wouldn't understand"). But it's an interesting choice on Simonson's part, the suggestion perhaps that the "intense" relationship was the deeper one, while the Warren/Hank/Bobby dynamic was more pals.
This issue and the subsequent ones upset me so much as a kid reading them when they were published. It was hard for me to read this arc even though I knew Angel was coming back, because it had been leaked in a leaflet they used to put in your bag at the comics shop, which was full of industry gossip, spoiling stories way down the line. I even knew he would be "Archangel" -- *months* before the wings were crushed, let alone amputated. In retrospect, in this day and age when Facebook is full of "YOU RUINED IT FOR ME!" anger the night someone puts a plot detail in a status update before someone gets to watch a TV show, it's surprising there wasn't more grousing about that sort of thing. The official comics press gave a lot away in advance too.
Posted by: Todd | February 8, 2014 6:29 PM
In regards to Todd's comments, it's interesting how the relationship among the original 5 has progressed. Hank and Bobby were always a team early on and were in the Defenders together. But Warren and Bobby were in the Champions and Defenders together. Scott, outside of Jean, never had anyone really close early on. But when the Hellfire Club attacks, it's Warren that he turns to, and he reflects on their relationship at Phoenix's funeral.
Of course, in the later years, it's clear that Hank becomes the "best friend" for Scott, teamed together on the Blue Team and then again on Astonishing (and that pairing is magnificent). Warren and Bobby seemed paired more together later on.
So, at this point, yeah, I could accept that Scott would be Warren's best friend.
Posted by: Erik Beck | July 5, 2015 9:53 AM
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