Issue(s): X-Factor #62
This is the final chapter of X-Tinction Agenda. The X-characters have split up and are searching for Cameron Hodge. Rictor and Wolfsbane are the first to find them. Have i mentioned that the newly powered up Wolfsbane is huge?
Rictor has a history with Hodge - Rictor's character was introduced as a prisoner of the Right, and he soon recognized Hodge's voice when Hodge was still working for X-Factor. So it's nice to see him get a moment to fight Hodge alone for a bit, after Wolfsbane is knocked out. But there's no sense that this confrontation has any history behind it.
The other X-characters make their way to the fight. Cyclops is weirdly overprotective of Jean, setting up an unsubtle conflict between him and Wolverine.
Archangel is a character with even more of a history with Hodge than Rictor. Angel shows up and disables Hodge's phasing mechanism.
But even without the ability to phase, Hodge still has other weapons, including a crazy glue gun in his mouth.
And a circular saw, to cut off Angel's head the way Angel did to Hodge.
But Angel's confrontation with Hodge has no more of a momentous feel to it than the fight with Rictor. A lot of this crossover has been focused on Havok and Cyclops, and Havok has to come in to save the day for Archangel.
Bogdanove's art, and therefore the battle scenes, continue to be a mess.
In Bogdanove's defense, there are a lot of characters to be managing, and they're all fighting one opponent, so it's just a lot of clutter with no opportunity to switch away to other fights.
Eventually the two Summers brothers team up to blow Hodge away.
The problem is that Hodge was made immortal by N'astirh.
I love Hodge's mouth weapons.
The Summers' team-up has some short term thematic value, since they've been pitted against each other. And Hodge's head does get bounced to Wolfsbane so she can have a little vengeance for the death of Warlock, and then Rictor does get a little closure when he solves the problem of Hodge (for now; it's not exactly a great long term solution) by burying him under a building.
But any sense that this is the culmination of any long running rivalry with Hodge is lost. You'd think Archangel would get more of a focus in this final fight, and that maybe there'd be some talk about X-Factor being led astray by Hodge with the whole mutant hunter thing. Instead, this is just a thing that happens.
The other thing that is going on is a kind of wrap up of the larger Genoshan plot. Just as the Genegineer turned on Hodge, the Chief Magistrate turns on the president.
I see this whole thing as a way for them to get on the invading mutants' good side for now without really repenting about the whole mutant apartheid thing.
The Chief Magistrate declares on television that the military has taken over Genosha after the president's "severe nervous breakdown", until elections are held. As Wolverine notes, this doesn't change the underlying problem of Genosha.
Havok and Wolfsbane both decide to remain in Genosha. They'll be picked up in Peter David's X-Factor a little less than a year from now.
The issue ends with Warlock's remains being scattered over Doug Ramsey's grave, with a strong hint that this will result in a resurrection for both of them.
I said in the first entry for this crossover that it was surprisingly coherent. And that's basically true. It's a competent crossover. But it's not great. The Claremont-written issues were somewhat better, in that he was able to use space to focus on some of the characters he's been working with. But neither side makes any effort to make this story anything larger than a random threat that needs fighting. The fact that it's coherent but bland does support the idea that this was editorially driven. Simonson was on her way out, and Claremont was losing control to Jim Lee. But i don't think Lee, Liefeld, and Jon Bogdanove got together to hash out this plot. It's actually a much denser story than Lee or Liefeld would do on their own. Which is necessary given the fact that three full teams of X-characters are used in a single plot thread (as opposed to, say, Mutant Massacre, where all the teams were involved but they all had their own things to do). So i think Bob Harras probably supplied the plot. And in that sense this crossover is a sign of things to come. Eventually we won't even have Claremont and Simonson around to flesh out the details.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is the final part of X-Tinction Agenda.
Crossover: X-Tinction Agenda
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): showAngel, Banshee, Beast, Boom Boom, Cable (Adult), Cameron Hodge, Cannonball, Cyclops, Forge, Gambit, Havok, Iceman, Jean Grey, Jubilee, Madame Reneau, Psylocke, Rictor, Storm, Sunspot, Warlock, Wolfsbane, Wolverine
Boom-Boom and Rictor never met Doug.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 6, 2015 1:17 PM
Was the Genoshan president Supposed to look like Ronald Reagan in drag, or is it just bad art?
Posted by: Bob | July 6, 2015 11:53 PM
Really feeling bad for you at this point.
You're getting perilous close to being stuck chronicling some of the worst comics in Marvel history (Post Claremont/Simonson mutants, the dark ages of the Avengers books after Byrne, post-Simonson FF, Spidey's descent into clones, carnage and convolution, etc).
The creative void at Marvel in this period was really a perfect storm of crap, with so many writers leaving company-wide, in addition to the much mentioned X-odus of the Image guys.
The loss of the artists could have been overcome, but it's the writers bailing that truly makes the early 90s so awful.
Posted by: Bob | July 7, 2015 1:41 AM
What Bob said. I had already bailed on comics at this point. Getting back into things is reminding me why. The art superseded the story -- sort of the comic book equivalent of an action movie with great fight scenes and innovative special effects but a loose plot and poor characterization. And straining the analogy, in this case, even most of the art isn't that great. Jim Lee is head and shoulders above the rest of the Image crowd, and even he had story-telling problems.
The situation was not helped when all these artists became plotters and scripters. They already had varying degrees of problems with telling stories in pictures, and then they got to display their uniformly serious problems with telling stories in words. I'm still shocked that Marvel couldn't see this at the time. The writers didn't so much leave as get told to stick it, the artists were running the show.
It makes me wonder: how many truly great writer-artists have there been? Byrne, Simonson, Miller (in his day), Perez (not really at Marvel, but a great Wonder Woman run for the Distinguished Competition). I'm probably forgetting some. Maybe the problem is, Lee and Liefeld and McFarlane idolized these guys and wanted to be like them, but just didn't have the storytelling chops to do it? How did the great writer-artists get to be talented at both? What made the hotshots in the 80's able to do this, but the cool kids in the 90's not? Whatever the cause, they clearly could not.
Posted by: Matt | July 8, 2015 1:48 PM
"What made the hotshots in the 80's able to do this, but the cool kids in the 90's not? Whatever the cause, they clearly could not."
I think it was purely to do with a love of their craft, when it came to the 80s crowd. Byrne could knock out multiple titles a month and not half-ass things. Simonson rarely took a break from monthly work in the 80s. And Perez's work ethic is equally legendary.
The Image guys were just lazy and undedicated. It became even more clear once they had their own company and began missing deadlines left and right. They had no interest in improving and, once they became rich, saw it as unnecessary.
In fact, a good chunk of them gave up art entirely and became comics moguls and businessmen.
With so little interest in improving as artists, it's no surprise they failed as writers.
Posted by: Bob | July 8, 2015 5:12 PM
And, of course, for all the complaints about the Image guys, what's coming for Marvel is even worse, as, following the X-odus, editorial decided the way to adapt was to hire a bunch of sloppy, third rate Liefeld knock-offs for every title, or demand that long-time pencilers adopt the Image look.
Posted by: Bob | July 8, 2015 5:15 PM
Er...can Warlock really be "appearing" here if he's just a pile of techno-ash? Wouldn't that be like showing the tombstone of "Jean Grey" (during the five minutes she actually satys dead) and counting it a guest-starring role?
They weren't the only ones. The "fans" joined in the fun too. Remember that this is the beginning of the "Speculation" era, where comics weren't seen as an "art form" as much as a "commodity chip." When your book is meant to be collected rather than, you know read you're probably not going to be concerned about good storytelling for something that not even suppose to be romoved from it's mylar pouch.
Posted by: Jon Dubya | July 8, 2015 10:08 PM
I definitely count corpses as characters appearing. Especially given Marvel's revolving door of death.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 8, 2015 10:42 PM
Regarding the question of why Byrne, Simonson and Miller became great writers and Lee, Liefeld and McFarlane didn't, I think part of the answer is Shooter. He gave them the discipline new writers need, in contrast to DeFalco who gave the Image guys carte blanche.
Posted by: Michael | July 8, 2015 11:01 PM
"The Image guys were just lazy and undedicated. It became even more clear once they had their own company and began missing deadlines left and right. They had no interest in improving and, once they became rich, saw it as unnecessary. ... With so little interest in improving as artists, it's no surprise they failed as writers."
Lazy and undedicated, indeed. Ever see that video Liefeld made of himself just a couple years ago, inking panels while driving?!? Leave aside the illegal and reckless nature of the distracted driving: he presented it as an example of his dedication. And therein lies the problem.
I must agree about Shooter. The guy didn't make friends, but he got creatives to make good comics. His tenure is Marvel's high water mark.
Posted by: Matt | July 9, 2015 1:08 AM
In a way, there is no greater testimony to Shooter's merits than the situation of Marvel after he left. One can also see how great Valiant was under his watch and how quickly it decayed without him.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | July 9, 2015 1:18 AM
The one thing Shooter got better than anyone was the duty of the EiC to be the caretaker of the characters.
He never would have allowed a story like the Crossing, or, even worse, Civil War, which damaged Reed Richards, Tony Stark and others irreparably and would have told Millar to take a hike.
Posted by: Bob | July 9, 2015 2:51 AM
He also set the pattern for editorial influence. I am not a fan of Shooter, but I do acknowledge his achievements, and I think his achievements were better in the long run for the comic book medium than they were for Marvel. DC would never have supported Neil Gaiman and "Sandman" without his efforts, a decision which earns DC kudos to this day.
In the short term, Bob Harras is following in exactly the sort of influence Shooter encouraged among his editors. And if the comics suffer, then at least Marvel editorial is fine and dandy where they are. Shooter might have made slightly different decisions, but this was where comics were headed, and Marvel has to pay the price.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 12, 2015 1:57 AM
fnord, you keep calling her the Genoshan Prime Minister, but in the scans they keep calling her the President.
Posted by: Thanos6 | October 8, 2015 2:00 AM
Posted by: fnord12 | October 8, 2015 7:26 AM
Just a terrible end to a pointless crossover. After nine issues, what has changed? Alex is back in the overall fold, but will go missing for the next year while Warlock dies and Wolfsbane leaves the New Mutants, leaving us with only Sam and Berto from the old team.
I don't know what I hate most about this issue - the unresolved story aspects with Hodge that fnord points out, the horrible lips on Scott's face that makes him look he's pouting at Logan or the final panel. Actually, I think it's the final panel. It's almost offensive that Boom Boom and Rictor are the ones spreading Warlock's ashes with Sam and Berto, who were teammates with him for 76 issues, just stand in the background. It's like Weezy was being forced out, so she was just like "ah, the hell with it."
Posted by: Erik Beck | November 13, 2015 7:26 AM
I don't think Boom Boom and Rictor ever met Doug, even once. It's like that issue (I forget which one) where the New Mutants saw X-Factor's ship returning, and Boom Boom and Rictor were the ones talking about their mentor, Xavier, and his dream. I can understand the X-characters attracting new members, the detritus of society, but don't pretend they have anything to do with Charlie. Maybe they will someday, but not now, not when they've never met the man, much less were inspired by him, and his students have been going far off the rails for as long as anyone can remember by this point.
There are many horrible things about this issue, and the crossover in general, but I would put the ending as the worst. Sam should have been the one pouring out the ashes, with Roberto behind him. Wouldn't have changed the dialogue in the slightest. It would just make slightly more sense.
Posted by: ChrisW | November 13, 2015 9:56 PM
In fairness, while Sam and Roberto should have sprinkled the ashes, Louise had Rahne specifically ask Rictor and Boom Boom to do it. The only question is did pages come back that way because Louise plotted it or Bob plotted it. I guess Rahne had to have dialogue to explain why Rictor didn't stay since he immediately leaves next issue. It's still bad writing though, but it got the book to the end, for which it serves the purpose.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | March 14, 2016 11:27 PM
That horrible Jean/Scott/Logan triangle just reeks of Harras and Jim Lee interference. There is no way Claremont and by extension Simonson would ever let Wolverine suddenly regress back a decade like that.
Posted by: JC | March 15, 2016 12:14 AM
JC- Claremont has said in interviews that he planned to develop a thing between Logan and Jean before he was fired.
Posted by: Michael | March 15, 2016 7:50 AM
Yeah, Uncanny X-Men 242, page 1 springs to mind. Claremont definitely had intentions of breaking up Scott and Jean to punish Scott for dumping Madelyne. Aside from his many interviews on the viability of their relationship, In his X-Men Forever, he had Jean dump Scott for Wolverine, who got killed, then moved on to Beast, who also got killed. I guess being the Phoenix means "following the dictates of your heart" so you can hook up with whichever male buddy who has a lot of chest hair.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | March 15, 2016 4:17 PM
Comments are now closed.
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