Uncanny X-Men #316
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #316
The three sub-sections take place mostly concurrently, but it makes sense to read (and review) them in the order described above. I'm also just tagging them all as part of the "Phalanx Covenant" crossover for search purposes, but i'll put the full sub-section names in the Title section of each entry.
Generation Next, with art by Joe Madureira and Andy Kubert is the strongest section, and it does a good job with the introductions for the Generation X characters. The other parts are weaker, and the continued revelations regarding the Phalanx can be a bit convoluted. But i've always found Warlock's race to be interesting so it feels worth the slog.
One more housekeeping note (and a spoiler alert): one of the Generation X characters introduced in this series - this issue, in fact - is M, aka Monet St. Croix. But it will later be revealed that the Monet appearing in this series is actually her two younger (twin) mutant sisters, Claudette and Nicole, merged together and posing as her. So we have another case like Domino, where the first seeming appearance of a character is actually not that character at all. In these entries, i'll be referring to the character as Monet, but the Character Appearing tags will reflect the actual characters. Also, Monet, Nicole, and Claudette all go through various super-names (M, Penance, M-Plate, M-Twins, Penance II) and there's the fact that they are in some cases merged identities, so i'll be listing all of the characters by their individual civilian names.
When we get to the revelation about the twins, Claudette St. Croix will be shown to be autistic. That's an explanation for why the "Monet" is sometimes non-responsive in these appearances, as is the case at the very start of this issue.
Note the comments about her brother and twins.
This scene takes place in Monaco, which is relevant since in Uncanny X-Men #305 we met a Louis St. Croix who was the Ambassador from Monaco. The woman with Monet is a Colonel Gayle Cord-Becker, a former director of MI-6. But she is killed when they are attacked by the Phalanx.
Monet is captured. The Phalanx is unable to scan her due to an "intense level of psionic interference", but it's said that she may be the "most powerful" member of Generation Next.
Meanwhile, Banshee is trying to help Emma Frost, who was traumatized after confirming the deaths of the Hellions recently. Iceman and Storm have been in charge of her medical care, but since both of them have been possessed by Frost, Banshee feels that they aren't the best to be tending to her. However, when he tries to raise that point, he finds that the X-Men are acting strangely. And that's true of all the X-Men at the Mansion (but not Cyclops and Jean Grey, who call Banshee to tell him that they're going to Muir Island).
Banshee runs a computer check and learns that the only real lifeforms in the Mansion are himself, Jubilee, Emma Frost, and Sabretooth. So he frees Sabretooth, confirming along the way that the other "X-Men" are really Phalanx who have infiltrated the Mansion.
Banshee maintains "custody" of Sabretooth by telling him that he's got a detonator that can activate a bomb in Sabretooth's muzzle.
Banshee learns that the Phalanx haven't assimilated the X-Men; they've just copied them. In fact, the Phalanx are not able to assimilate mutants; the ability to do so is one of their goals. This is kind of interesting considering that the origin of the Phalanx that we've heard so far is that they are derived from Doug Ramsey "and his techno-organic symbiote, Warlock". You would think that if their powers came from a techno-organic infected mutant, assimilating mutants wouldn't be a problem. The story never gets specific about why the Phalanx can't assimilate mutants, but their inability to do so is a definite plot point.
Sabretooth rescues Emma Frost - who appears to have de-aged about two decades - and Jubilee.
Banshee learns the Phalanx's other targets - our Generation Next.
And then he and his allies escape, blowing up the mansion on the way out. It's a little unclear from the art in this issue if it's just the mansion or the ready room/computer system that is being destroyed, but it will turn out to be the mansion, making this yet another destruction of Xavier's school.
So that's the basic set-up for the Generation Next portion of the crossover. It's kind of a classic scenario, similar to the X-Men competing with the Hellfire Club to get to Kitty Pryde and Dazzler. It's not 100% clear why the Phalanx would be targeting (lower case) new mutants specifically, but it's still a good way to introduce new characters. There's always something a little nagging about introducing a new "generation" of mutants considering that thanks to Marvel's Sliding Timescale characters never really age. But there's no doubt that the New Mutants have grown up into X-Force and the timing was right to introduce some younger-ish characters.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is part one of Phalanx Covenant: Generation Next. Part two is in X-Men #36.
As noted above, the other two portions of the Phalanx Covenant crossover happen mostly concurrently with this story. For example, Cyclops and Jean Grey go directly from calling Banshee in this story to appearing on Muir Island in Wolverine #85, which is part one of Phalanx Covenant: Final Sanction.
The portion with M takes place in a "prologue" and may not occur directly before the main story. In X-Men #36, it'll say that M was captured "a day ago".
Crossover: Phalanx Covenant: Generation Next
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): showBanshee, Claudette St. Croix, Cyclops, Harvest (Phalanx), Jean Grey, Jubilee, Nicole St. Croix, Sabretooth, White Queen (Emma Frost)
I liked the "enhanced" covers they used for this crossover.
Posted by: clyde | January 16, 2018 3:10 PM
Lobdell's idea was that was no real M- M was the twins merged together, one of whom was autistic, and Penance was merely a teenage girl that Gateway rescued from their brother in an attempt to atone for what the Reavers coerced him to do. Unfortunately, when Hama came aboard, he decided Penance was the real M, which made things ridiculously convoluted.
Posted by: Michael | January 16, 2018 8:19 PM
"Emma Frost - who appears to have de-aged about two decades"-
So is Banshee
Posted by: Jay Gallardo | January 17, 2018 6:35 AM
We're later told Emma has "the best body money can buy". So, there's a canon explanation if you sorely need it for her suddenly de-ageing. She was hardly drawn as a haggard old crone before this story though (except maybe ugly Bill Sienkiewicz art).
Posted by: AF | January 17, 2018 7:13 AM
It's weird because before Emma was revealed to be in her 20's during the Morrison era, I totally thought she was just a "well-preserved" forty-ish woman (she seemed a bit aristocratic and "accomplished" to be that young, especially as teacher and headmistress of her own school.)
Posted by: Jon Dubya | January 18, 2018 8:47 AM
Well, she was shown to be a teenager shortly after the FF got their powers in Generation X -1, and the letters page in Generation X referred to her as being 25-30 , so clearly the writers thought she was around young before Morrison came about.
Posted by: Michael | January 18, 2018 7:52 PM
Not twice as old, but Alysande knew Banshee back in his Interpol or pre-Interpol days, which made me think she was closer to Banshee and Moira’s age than Kurt’s (and Rachel was still a teen, I thought, but maybe a little older).
I assumed that Emma was older than the X-Men when she was introduced. Early 30s maybe.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | January 19, 2018 8:49 PM
Some comic book artists are not especially good at drawing characters who are in the 40s and 50s. Instead they either have characters in their teens & twenties, or they have characters who are elderly, with really nothing in-between. That's especially the case with female characters. Unfortunately most of the time women in comic books are either hot young babes or wrinkled old crones.
Posted by: Ben Herman | January 20, 2018 7:02 PM
For what it’s worth, I just noticed in Excalibur 32, Alysande is referred to (by a fake Excalibur in Margaret Thatcher’s Mesmero-induced reverie) as “positively ancient ... at least thirty.” It’s in the context of Nightcrawler having a rush on her, and the implication is she’s too old for him.
It’s a dream scene, but it fits with the I,press ion that Alysande is in the Moira / Banshee age bracket: i.e., older than most of the X-men. (But then, if Moira was already in college when she knew Xavier in the ‘60s, by the time Excalibur was published she’d be in her 40s/50s...)
Posted by: Walter Lawson | January 28, 2018 3:17 PM
Well, in X-Men 117, which was published in 1978, Xavier says Moira broke up with him at the end of the Korean War- in 1953. Assuming Moira was at least 18 when she dated Charles, that would mean Claremont intended her to be at least 43.
Posted by: Michael | January 28, 2018 4:14 PM
I've always imagined Emma as the age of the original X-Men. So it was obnoxiously precocious of her to start her own school when she was so young, but her Hellfire connections, telepathy and wealth enabled it. When she seems older pre-Gen-X, I mark that up to her trying to seem older to project authority - and I feel like that age explains best her post-Claremont relationships.
On the other hand, I do feel like Banshee gets younger relative to everyone else as time goes on. In the Roy Thomas era, it feels like he's Professor X's age, roughly and then Claremont makes a big deal out of how he feels like he's older than the rest of the Second Generation. But through Gen-X, and certainly by the time he dies, he feels like he de-ages to the age of the original X-Men, as well.
Part of this can probably be explained by sliding timescale effects, and some of it can be explained with differences in age actually mattering less as you get older.
Posted by: FF3 | January 30, 2018 1:27 PM
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