Issue(s): X-Factor #29
But this issue is more about recasting the Scott/Madelyne/Jean relationship with the innocent Jean basically absolving Cyclops of his guilt.
We start with what i love best about this period: X-Factor making a positive effort to communicate with the press.
The one person not interested in that is Scott.
Well, actually, i guess Archangel's also not interested, to the point where he's not even a member of the team. And thanks to the Beast's loss of intelligence, he's not really involved either. But Marvel Girl and especially Iceman are doing a pretty good job of it. By contrast, every time he tries to use his jokes this issue to lighten the mood internally, someone tells him to shut up.
When Jean goes in to see what Scott is upset about, he says it's because he's feeling guilty that he was in Jean's arms while Madelyne was dying. Jean responds that Madelyne "did nothing to disabuse you" of the fact that he had already thought she was dead.
So far, i am in agreement with Jean. But she pushes that pretty far without any acknowledgement that there may have been circumstances on her end that prevented her from contacting him.
She also complains that Madelyne didn't fight to keep him (presumably when he left in X-Factor #1) (note also that she says Scott "nearly went mad, was mad for a time").
And she accuses of Madelyne of "adventuring with the X-Men" instead of contacting Scott, which i rate at least partially true.
This is all happening during the fight with Infectia's goons...
..which are successfully beaten (Infectia herself stays out of sight), but the way Infectia's powers work, it causes them to die. Jean is upset by that, but her dialogue immediately shifts to what she's been thinking about during the battle, as if Infectia's monsters barely registered with her.
We've endlessly litigated the question of who's at fault in the Scott/Madelyne relationship on various previous entries already, but it's interesting to see how it's being framed here. Jean Grey isn't exactly a neutral party in this dispute but she's never been written as dishonest or stupid. So on the one hand you can say that what's she's saying is just meant to be her own limited perspective, since she obviously isn't aware of what really happened on Madelyne's end. But i think the X-Factor audience is meant to take her argument as fact. And while there's a kernel of truth in the things Jean says, it's surely not the whole story. You pretty much have to accept Jean's version if you want this series to move forward without Cyclops just seeming like a really horrible person. But if you've been reading Uncanny X-Men as well, Jean isn't going to change your mind (and some of the letters published in issue #32's lettercol show that fans were not happy about this).
As for Infectia... not all that interesting, but then this issue isn't really about her.
Iceman suggests going to Reed Richards for help with the Beast this issue, but he's cut off by Scott.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP have X-Factor's appearance in Strange Tales and Cloak Dagger between this issue and next. Ship undocks this issue although it's not yet seen flying at this point.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAngel, Artie Maddicks, Beast, Boom Boom, Cyclops, Iceman, Infectia, Jean Grey, Leech, Rictor, Rusty Collins, Ship (Prosh), Skids, Trish Tilby
"she's never been written as dishonest or stupid"
Posted by: Michael | June 30, 2014 9:29 PM
I think you might have missed my point, Michael, which is that Simonson never wrote Jean as being intentionally stupid or dishonest in this series which i think means that we're supposed to take Jean's position at face value here.
We've been around the world a few times already on which characters are right and wrong and which writers are right and wrong, with my personal opinion blaming it on the editorial firewall (perhaps as a way to "protect" Claremont from the book he was initially very opposed to) that prevented the characters of the two books (and New Mutants) from interacting in logical ways. At this point i'm just interested in seeing how the book repositions itself to move forward. We're getting closer to Inferno where that breaks down, anyway.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 30, 2014 9:44 PM
I have to wonder if Claremont and Weezie planned for this. As long as they were forced to bring Jean back from the dead, "X-Factor" would be more about Jean the jilted lover and "X-Men" would feature Maddie the loyal wife. And then they'd switch it around, so Maddie becomes evil (and ties up all the unfortunate implications of Phoenix) while Jean and Scott become the true lovers we always knew they were, and - because Claremont did plot this stuff years in advance - the two books would eventually 'marry.'
Posted by: ChrisW | June 30, 2014 11:30 PM
Look at it from Jean's point-of-view. She loves Scott, but can accept that she died in his arms, even though that was an evil clone, and that he married someone else after she died. And then the someone-else turned out to be an evil clone.
Meanwhile, the evil clone still thinks she's the one-and-only wife of Scott Summers, father of her son, and naturally hates the very idea of this upstart redhead hanging around her man, the redhead's ex-boyfriend. From Maddie's point-of-view, it's enough to turn you to the Dark Side.
Meanwhile, Claremont's still trying to advance his overarching "Mister Sinister" plot, and tie up the long-running Illyana storyline. There's a reason "Inferno" is my personal favorite X-crossover, and it's the wealth of story behind it.
Posted by: ChrisW | June 30, 2014 11:40 PM
Claremont has said in interviews that Maddie wasn't supposed to become evil until late in the game- Harras decided it after Fall of the Mutants. Illyana was originally supposed to be the villainess of Inferno, as forshadowed by her tossing villains into Limbo. The result is that Maddie had to be shoehorned into becoming a villain a few months before Inferno.
Posted by: Michael | June 30, 2014 11:42 PM
While I also love Inferno, the "wealth of story behind it" only happened because of all the unfinished plots going back way too long. IMO,if the X-Men had actually found the Marauders earlier, alot of these problems would not have occurred.
Posted by: clyde | July 1, 2014 3:40 PM
Nothing about Jean's death explicitly said that Cyclops would leave the X-Men and start growing up a little bit, having relationships with Lee Forrester and later Madelyne. But one of the things that made Claremont's mutie titles so good was that strong thematic line between #137 and #175, and in my opinion it carried on through most (if not all) of his run. Scott's life up through #201 was based on the unfortunate fact that Jean had died. After the unfortunate fact of Jean's rebirth, Claremont's themes were still a natural result of what had come before, even if the editor(s) were the ones making the call.
As a different example, Storm started off as a niave [sic] African goddess under Scott and Xavier's tutelage. Then she was retconned as a master thief heroically overcoming claustrophobia after being born in Harlem, and by an issue shortly after #150 (I don't have it handy for reference) she and Cyclops have been dueling in the Danger Room for hours and are still completely tied.
But Scott leaves to get married, have a family and retire. So by the time #201 comes around, he and Ororo duel again, and it's no contest. He's lost his edge. Further development was unfortunately derailed by the "X-Factor" title, so Scott rebounds and Claremont's run ends with them as two equal X-Men co-leaders.
I completely agree that Inferno's "wealth of story" is entirely the result of all these interminable plotlines, unnecessarily complicated by Jean's rebirth and Scott's retirement that lasted about three pages. The Illyana stuff was waaaaaay overdue for resolution - and I actually like the idea of her being the overall villain - and this site has regularly noted how long it's been since the X-Men or X-Factor gave even a passing thought to the Marauders. Mister Sinister and the Jean-Maddie-Phoenix triangle are icing on the cake, but only in the sense that it's FINALLY FINISHED!!! We never have to think about it again, except in future issues.
Funny, for the rest of his run on any X-title, Claremont never made any reference to Inferno either. Instead the X-Men fell apart in the "Shattering of the Star," while Weezie sent the X-Babies into Asgard and X-Factor into space, marking time until they could come up with something new.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 1, 2014 7:13 PM
Claremont did revisit Inferno right afterward in Uncanny 244, and he seems to have intended the magically "warped" character of the X-Men after Inferno to stick for a while, but he decided to go with the Siege Perilous rebirth/transformation approach instead. Inferno also wasn't the end of the Mr. Sinister / Marauders story, as the villain was sure to make a comeback and his origins and motives remained unknown. But I agree that Claremont and Weezie probably thought the Maddie/Jean stuff didn't need to be revisited. Horribly enough, Jim Lee seems to have wabpnted to bring Maddie back in his solo run on X-Men vol. 2, but luckily he didn't stick around long enough to do it.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | July 1, 2014 11:52 PM
Walter, did Jim ever SAY that he wanted to bring Maddie back or is this just a reference to some stuff with Jean that was never adequately explained? (The letters page claimed that it was Maddie in Jean's head in issue 283 but I have a feeling that the letters page had no clue who Lee intended to be in Jean's head in that issue.)
Posted by: Michael | July 2, 2014 12:11 AM
The references in #244 were very minimal, amounting to nothing more than "Hey X-Ladies, we've just been through a big adventure, now let's go shopping!" and they brought home a new teenage girl for Wolverine to hang out with [wait, what?] Madelyne was briefly referenced in #245, then the team immediately started falling apart, bringing the Nimrod plotline to a pointless conclusion and kicking off the long saga towards X-Men #1.
As far as the themes Claremont had developed all along and would continue for a few years yet, the X-folks were certainly warped after Inferno. They got worse and worse, to the point where they're barely recognizable as the characters we've been reading about for years. But Inferno was never pointed to (in the comics or in meta-discussions other than this one) as the reason for it. I view Claremont's "X-Men" as a three-act story, and Inferno is the climax of the third act. The rest is denouement.
It was pretty clear that this wasn't the ultimate end of Mister Sinister or the Marauders, who really didn't have anything to do with Inferno except to stoke the Madelyne plotline [Sinister] or give the X-Men a reason to visit NYC when everything went BOOM [Marauders.] Several Marauders had clearly returned from the dead - a commentary on Jean Grey, comic book death and the effects of Black Magik? - and given Sinister's own interest in clones, it clearly wasn't a final ending. But it was good enough to *feel* like one for the sake of that story.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 2, 2014 8:51 PM
Jim Lee previewed a return of Maddie in his "Things to Come" pinup in X-Men 1, http://mattandbrettlovecomics.com/podcast/2013/comic-book-club/229-things-to-come.jpg. The other figures in the image are ones Kee a cryptically does feature in upcoming issues: Matsuo, Omega Red, the Brood, Ghost Rider, Dazzler, and Longshot. The exceptions are Maddie and a green guy who might be a Skrull, or a Mojoverse denizen, or an early design for Cylla Markham as Skullbuster, or something else.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | July 2, 2014 10:52 PM
Here's a different link for the pinup f the first doesn't work, http://marvel.wikia.com/File:X-Men_Vol_2_1_Pinup_D.jpg
Posted by: Walter Lawson | July 2, 2014 10:54 PM
That might be Selene rather than Maddie, though. The Marvel Wiki thinks so.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | July 2, 2014 10:59 PM
That's almost certainly Selene- Selene appears in Uncanny 283 and in X-Men 4-7, the Strucker twins talk about someone offering them immortality.
Posted by: Michael | July 2, 2014 11:08 PM
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