Uncanny X-Men #336
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #336
But at the same time, it has in it a lot that sucks about the Onslaught crossover. There's the idea that Hawkeye is being fired at by Onslaught's undefined, unshown "defenses". There's the fact that all the heroes had to "drop back" after Onslaught's EMP attack, even though they were never shown doing anything that they needed to drop back from. It's more of that expectation that the real action is happening in other books; meanwhile, nothing is really happening anywhere (and that's why you're better off just reading the bookends). In fact the wiser heads among the heroes show up to prevent these young hotheads from actually doing anything (something that will also happen in Hulk's tie-in).
Meanwhile, Joseph is at least trying to help civilians, but he's hindered by the fact that everyone recognizes him as Magneto and thinks he's a villain. Which i think is funny because *i* don't recognize him as Magneto, and i don't understand how people see a de-aged long haired Magneto in a generic X-Men costume can see what i can't.
Another weird scene has Mr. Fantastic specifically requesting if he can just talk at Jean Grey, because it helps him think.
A scene like this might have been where Reed figures out some of the things that Onslaught was meant to have been doing (per Road To Onslaught) and was working to counter them. Instead, Reed's babbling is just pointless gobbedlygook, and Jean is left doing a kind of foreshadowing homage to the death of the non-mutant heroes.
Speaking of homages, we have this:
Kirby-Q2000 is like a placeholder name that you use when you want to come up with a Kirby tribute but haven't thought of a good one yet. And i feel like the Thing is very begrudgingly saying his catch-phrase because he knows he has to.
Meanwhile, Onslaught has shed his cool original armor and become... this.
My dude looks like a dust mite.
By the way, i have no idea what "The Citadel" is.
Joseph decides to confront Onslaught directly, which should have been interesting but isn't.
During that conflict, Onslaught reveals the body of Professor X within him...
...and Thor takes the opportunity to pull Xavier out of Onslaught.
I think this is a bad move. The idea that Xavier, wracked by guilt/failure and influenced by Magneto's memories, becomes Onslaught, is cool. As the narration says, "Xavier was Onslaught", etc.. It means there's a psychological element, rooted in continuity, to all of this. But it has to mean that Onslaught really is Xavier. Instead, it now brags about being free. And (as with everything else) the creators of the story don't have any plans on where to go from here that builds on the psychological/continuity idea. It's just a big dumb monster now. And Xavier (who is powerless) will kind of hang around now without really contributing anything.
Also in this issue, Apocalypse and the Watcher continue to pontificate pointlessly. The idea that the death of the heroes that Apocalypse has predicted would be interesting if a) he actually acted on any of it while the heroes were dead or b) Age of Apocalypse had worked into its timeline that the absence of non-mutant heroes was a factor in his rise or c) if they weren't coming back in a year anyway, making all of his speculation pointless and wrong. In the end, the Watcher tells Apocalypse it's time for him to go activate Cable, and Apocalypse agrees.
I can understand if people have a higher opinion of this. It's fun seeing the heroes interact. Things seem like they're happening (Xavier is free! Onslaught is a bug!). It's less insanely chaotic than some other stories (i write this having just finished reviewing Warren Ellis' Hellfire Club story in Excalibur). And by the time we get to the end things will get resolved with big changes to Marvel's status quo. Maybe that should be enough. It's just that the story should have been really good, and instead it's a slog because there are just so many books with nothing happening, and no overall plan.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is the beginning of Onslaught Phase 2. Cable #35 is next (but Thor #502 also takes place after this). I should say that this issue has scenes of Franklin talking to Xavier and Onslaught, and there's no sign of X-Man, which implies that X-Man hasn't been captured yet, seemingly dovetailing with the fact that the final portion of the story where he's captured (X-Man #19) is denoted as being Phase 2. But as i noted on that entry, Onslaught was still in his pre-bug form in that issue, and everything happening in the Astral Plane (or inside Onslaught?) feels very surreal, and there's no reason to think X-Man couldn't be held captive in a different area for the time being.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showAnt-Man (Scott Lang), Apocalypse, Bishop, Cable (Adult), Cyclops, Franklin Richards, Gambit, Hawkeye, Human Torch, Iceman, Invisible Woman, Jean Grey, Joseph, Mr. Fantastic, Onslaught, Professor X, Psylocke, Rogue, Storm, Teen Tony, Thing, Thor, Uatu the Watcher, Vision
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