Characters Appearing: Amphibius (Savage Land Mutate), Angel, Ashley Martin, Avia, Beast, Blob, Candy Southern, Cyclops, Dazzler (Angel Villain), Edna McCoy, Havok, Iceman, Jean Grey, Ka-Zar, Kathryn Worthington, Krueger, Magneto, Mastermind, Moira MacTaggert, Polaris, Professor X, Sauron, Sub-Mariner, Tad Carter, Teri Martin, Unus
X-Men: The Hidden Years #10-15
Issue(s): X-Men: The Hidden Years #10, X-Men: The Hidden Years #11, X-Men: The Hidden Years #12, The Hidden Years #13, The Hidden Years #14, The Hidden Years #15
That means five issues took place before Magneto could drown, which gives you a sense of how much is crammed into so little time in this series. Similarly, in issue #13, Iceman refers to the events of issue #5 as having happened "more than a day ago".
Magneto's powers are still weak, so he's still wearing the suit he wore in the Neal Adams run...
...and Amphibius has a power-boosting dish that feeds him energy.
He winds up in a three way fight with Sauron...
...and Iceman, Havok, and Lorna Dane.
When it's all over, Magneto has fallen down a volcanic crevice and Sauron has decided he's not interested in fighting and just wants to be left alone in the Savage Land. After the battle is over and the X-Men have cleared out, the Sub-Mariner arrives and discovers Magneto, repeating a scene from Fantastic Four #102.
Meanwhile, Professor X and the Beast investigate mutant activity reported by Cerebro and wind up investigating that Sentinel appearance that we saw in issue #9, but enough time has passed that the mutant in question, the very young Ashley Martin, has used her powers to take control of the Sentinel and hide him in the barn.
In the funniest line in this series, the Sentinel, who in typical Sentinel fashion refers to its targets by their civilian names and their super-hero code names...
...refers to Ashley's mother as "Code appellation 'Mom'".
Ashley's powers allow her to control non-living objects, which includes Sentinels.
After she destroys the Sentinel, she goes a little nutty, and Xavier is forced to psychically remove her mutant powers for the time being. Xavier winds up moving in with the Martins for a while, and Byrne begins to develop a plot where Ashley's mom Teri is falling in love with him, but it never goes anywhere and is abruptly wrapped up in issue #22.
Meanwhile (or, "not quite meanwhile", as Byrne likes to say), Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Candy Southern go looking for Angel. Because she's going to be with the X-Men and they don't want their IDs compromised, Jean makes Candy wear one of her Marvel Girl costumes, while she retains the modified school uniform she began wearing last "arc".
They find themselves facing circus freaks...
...and a mutant with power-cancelling abilities named Krueger.
He's sold Angel off to another group, but he's keeping Avia for his group of non-powered freaks. Candy gets some mileage out of the fact that Krueger mistakes her for Marvel Girl, but in the end she's captured along with Cyclops and Jean Grey and they're sold to the same buyers who bought Angel, who turn out to be the Blob, Unus, and Mastermind.
They've been paying Kreuger in illusionary money...
...and they also stage a little villain bickering to keep Krueger off guard, which i thought was some neat writing. In other words, they pretend to fight with each other while picking up the X-Men, but it turns out it's all an act. Which would be cool, except later in this same arc, the mutants will be bickering for real, and Jean Grey will make the same type of comment that Krueger makes:
No wonder your kind has never accomplished its goal of world conquest... if you waste so much vital energy on pointless bickering.
When they're bickering for real an issue later, Jean thinks:
Pitiful! No wonder Professor X's dream of a utopian future seems always so elusive. How can mutants and humans ever live together in peace... when so many mutants can't even breathe the same air without ending up at each other's throats?
The team eventually defeats the Brotherhood...
...and also Krueger, who shows up angry over the fake money scheme. They're all arrested by the police, who just barely tolerate the X-Men's presence and tell them to get out of town. Cyclops wonders whether the entire arrest was actually an illusion by Mastermind.
The "ordinary" freaks working for Krueger agree to release Avia under slight manipulation by Marvel Girl, which makes Cyclops uncomfortable.
The three plotlines i described above are all developed simultaneously, but it feels really haphazard the way the focus changes between them. There's also a really weird story telling device where the story jumps ahead in a way that actually had me flipping back to see if some pages were stuck together or something, and then the missing story is filled in at the beginning of the next issue. For example, in issue #11, Iceman had been unknowingly hanging out with Sauron in his Karl Lykos persona when Magneto attacked their little hut. But we don't actually see the attack in issue #11; all of the sudden we see Iceman running for his life and talking about "that lunatic". It wasn't meant to be a surprise; we knew Magneto was on the island. It's just for some reason the actual attack was skipped. Then, at the beginning of issue #12, we see the missing scene. Weird. And that's not the only time it happens in this series.
Another odd thing is that in issue #14 there's no title until page 14, which begins the "My mom's going to marry my uncle" plotline. It's almost as if the reason the pacing is off on these books, and plotlines never seem to start or conclude at the beginning or end of issues, is because something caused all of the pages to get shifted, like the books were originally intended to have a different page count or something. The issue #14 thing is compounded by the fact that, like the problem i noted with issue #11, after going through nine pages beginning at the X-Mansion, starting with that title page, issue #15 begins with three pages showing the X-Men returning home from their Brotherhood of Evil Mutants adventure before jumping forward again to Angel's house. It's never labelled a flashback or anything else. Very odd way to present a story.
And when everything wraps up, we jump right into the marriage story with no breathing room. Meanwhile, Havok and Lorna Dane return to the X-Mansion, they head off again almost immediately to investigate a mutant reading in the Himalayas, pausing only long enough to introduce Marvel's original mutant Tad Carter for an upcoming storyline.
One thing i didn't mention earlier: one of the ships that the X-Men are using at this time is one that they acquired from the Neal Adams Sentinel storyline, which i think is pretty cool. It's this ship that Havok and Lorna take to the Himalayas.
The marriage of Warren's mom and his uncle is problematic not just due to the creepy factor, but also because Warren's uncle is the original Dazzler, the super-villain that killed Warren's father.
Warren knows that his uncle is the Dazzler, but his mom doesn't know that, and also doesn't know that Warren is the Angel. And the Worthington family doctor tells Warren that any sudden shock might cause her weak heart to fail. So the marriage plot involves the X-Men standing around the Worthington manor trying to figure out what to do. Eventually the X-Men learn that the doctor is in on the Dazzler's scheme. They've been feeding Mrs. Worthington poison, but Dazzler gave her too high a dosage and she ends up collapsing before the wedding can take place. Dazzler is defeated...
...but Warren's mom died.
In issue #10, Xavier takes Jean Grey to Muir Island to get examined by Moira after her Phoenix scare in issue #9.
Moira isn't able to detect anything wrong with Jean. Jean is a bit surprised to learn that Xavier has been keeping Moira's facility a secret from the X-Men. And Moira, like Jean, senses that something's wrong with Xavier.
The ending, with Warren's mom realizing that her son is the Angel and having him carry her away while she dies, is touching and done well. This also resolves a minor continuity issue; in Champions #5, both of Warren's parents are dead, but as far as we had seen, only his father had been killed. And in that issue there was also a content from other relatives that if Warren's parents had known he was a mutant, they wouldn't have left him his inheritance, and whatever the spurious legalities of that claim, this storyline proves it false anyway.
In general, this continues to be a decent series with nice art, but Byrne does not seem to be able to handle multiple plotlines simultaneously and it winds up feeling like he's trying to do too much at once.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Namor's discovery of Magneto in issue #12 would be a nice clean gateway into Fantastic Four #102, except that Byrne will revisit the battle from Fantastic Four #102-104 in later issues of this series. Basically the entire 22 issues of this series have to take place between Fantastic Four #98 (or later) and Fantastic Four #102, which is a lot of activity for a short period of time. Beginning with issue #12, the events of this book could be said to be concurrent with Fantastic Four #102-104.
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
"Destroy All Mutants" refers to the 1968 Japanese giant monster movie "Destroy All Monsters".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | December 31, 2011 6:01 PM
I suspect Professor X's mind being "out of phase" during this series might have been Byrne foreshadowing Xavier mind-touching Lilandra (& the problems that caused him from UX #96 to 105) like he did with Jean and the Phoenix force in issue 9.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | August 21, 2013 3:23 AM
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