Uncanny X-Men annual #13
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men annual #13
This issue is instead handled by Terry Austin and Mike Vosburg, the creative team for Cloak and Dagger at this time, and they manage to work Mr. Jip, the weird villain of that book, into the plot of this story. The story pits the X-Men against the Serpent Society, which is theoretically interesting, but the plot structure is the old "split 'em into teams and have them search for a MacGuffin" device that's been a favorite since the Golden Age, and with so many characters, there really isn't a lot of room for cool fight moments.
The story is that Ghaur has hired the Serpent Society, which is now being run by Cobra...
...to search for four artifacts that are needed to complete the restoration of the Serpent Crown. But Mr. Jip has decided that he doesn't want Ghaur's plans to succeed, so he's swapped the bodies of Diamondback and Dazzler as a bargaining chip to force the X-Men to find the artifacts and give them to him before the Serpents find them. in the end, though, it turns out that Diamondback is secretly working with Sidewinder, in competition with the larger Serpent Society, so Sidewinder teleports in at the end and swipes the artifacts. So despite the X-Men's success at out-competing the Serpent Society, the larger plot moves forward as needed.
There's something to be said for Ghaur's plan's not getting set back here, in contrast to (for example) the High Evolutionary failing every step of the way during the Evolutionary War while the event nonetheless moved forward. But the inclusion of Mr. Jip is odd, and it's especially odd for the X-Men to not rebel against his blackmail. They do try to go after Jip but Gateway instead teleports them to the approximate locations of the artifacts, and once they arrive they shrug their shoulders and dutifully begin the searches.
I admit that by the time i got into the plot of this one, i was already in a bad mood, because the story starts off with the Diamondback/Dazzler switch having already occurred without us being told, and a sequence that i had to keep re-reading to try to figure out if i was missing something or if there was a coloring error or what.
There is a coloring error there (Psylocke's hair), but the real answer to my confusion was waiting just a couple of pages ahead when they explain the body swap.
After some cutesy bits where Diamondback takes advantage of the fact that she's not in her own body...
...the X-Men head out to try to force Mr. Jip to swap the bodies back but instead get sent on their quests.
Wolverine winds up with Dazzler in the Savage Land. She's unreasonably upset at him over the opening sequence, so they split up and Dazzler runs into the Serpents first and gets knocked out. She doesn't have her powers anyway since she's in Diamondback's body.
So Wolverine has to come to her rescue...
...although she wakes up in time to help out with Diamondback's throwing abilities.
They find their artifact and are teleported away.
The second group, comprised of Colossus, Rogue, and Havok, is teleported to Lima, Ohio. Their encounters with the Serpents are no more challenging...
...although it's worth seeing that Black Mamba's powers create an image of Polaris for Havok.
This is the funniest bit:
The Serpents were once a credible fighting team. Not all were as powerful as, say, Anaconda, but as a unit they had a good balance of abilities and they should have been a challenge for the X-Men. Maybe it's due to breaking them up into little groups, or maybe it's because some of the newer members are especially wimpy, or maybe it's just because of space limitations when dealing with so many characters, but the Serpents are coming across as purely disposable here. Puff Adder gets knocked out by a rock to the head?
The third quest is Storm, Psylocke, Longshot, and Diamondback in Dazzler's body. Diamondback finds that Dazzler "throws like a girl".
But she can activate Dazzler's powers.
Longshot gets buried during the fight for the third artifact, and the rest of the X-Men are nonetheless teleported back to Mr. Jip's lair (Jip already had the fourth artifact from when he initially captured Diamondback).
After some negotiations...
...Mr. Jip swaps Dazzler and Diamondback back into their proper bodies and also returns an unharmed Longshot. Then Sidewinder shows up and teleports away with the artifacts and Diamondback. The X-Men get teleported home and just shrug their shoulders and go back to their regular business. Mr. Jip laments that both Storm and Dagger, who he has his own plans for, will become brides of Set, but he also doesn't do anything more to stop Ghaur. And Sidewinder of course doesn't think twice about selling the artifacts to Ghaur, who, by the way, we learn is operating on Magneto's old island.
The second story, credited to a Sally Pashkow but seems to have really been Chris Claremont, is the second appearance of Jubilee and shows her scrounging around in the underground tunnels under the X-Men's Australian base. Gateway is aware of her, and even talks to her...
...but the other X-Men are not. She is excited by the wealth leftover from the Reaver days (which i guess wasn't all returned in Uncanny X-Men #230) ...
...and then we learn a little more about her parents and see her putting together a costume from the X-Men's scraps.
I guess that makes Jubilee's trademark glasses actually a pair of Cyclops' shades, although i don't know why they'd be at the Australian base (handed off during Inferno, i guess).
Jubilee is then attacked by a Reaver Dingo...
...that is wired into the Reavers' computer system.
She defeats it in what i am going to say is a parallel to Kitty Pryde's defeat of the N'garai demon from Uncanny X-Men #143.
Wow, that is some crazy Joker face Jubilee has at the end there.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is part three of Atlantis Attacks; part four takes place in Amazing Spider-Man annual #23. The X-Men appear here between Uncanny X-Men #245-246. Since we can't have Diamondback sitting in a box while she's also appearing here, this has to take place after the main story in Captain America #355-357 but before the Bloodstone Hunt portion of #357. Jubilee's back-up feature starts directly after Uncanny X-Men #244 but i can't say how long it lasts and it may very well end during or after the main story of this annual, so i feel ok not breaking up this issue.
Crossover: Atlantis Attacks
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (10): show
You wonder if perhaps Cobra's leadership plus the lack of cohesion with all the new recruits (some of which are pretty darn limited) has made the Serpent Society much weaker than they should be. That said, I do think the X-Men represent a much stronger group as a whole than what they're used to--taking on Rogue or Colossus seem improbable--particularly when, and I think is key--the Serpents don't have any real idea who the X-Men are and thus aren't properly prepared.
Posted by: MikeCheyne | October 17, 2014 1:08 PM
The bondage themes are so pronounced here I'd almost think it was parodying Claremont, except we've just seen some over-the-top stuff with Ecstacy and the Disciplinarian in Cloak and Dagger. Note that when Wolverine rescues Dazz, he strikes a match on her backside while she's tied up.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | October 17, 2014 1:50 PM
One of the only three Atlantis Attacks annuals I bothered to buy. The cover was terrible but I was a sucker for team fights. Even lames ones.
Posted by: Robert | October 17, 2014 3:03 PM
Storm and Dazzler were chosen to be Brides of Set? Storm made the cut, but I guess Dazzler didn't make it?
Posted by: Bill | October 17, 2014 4:22 PM
Oops, i meant Dagger again. I have to stop doing that. I think i at least avoided calling Diamondback "Diamond Lil" this whole entry.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 17, 2014 4:26 PM
Its a good thing comics couldn't sue each other cause Captain America comics could've sued the x-men for such a poor use of the serpent society.
Posted by: kveto from prague | October 17, 2014 4:26 PM
Jubilee is Chinese. The Mandarin made that clear. Why is she calling herself 'chica'? Even if she's from L.A. I doubt she has that little self-awareness.
Posted by: ChrisW | October 17, 2014 8:14 PM
This issue is an example of one of my least favorite plot devices- the villain tries to force the heroes to do something that they'd do anyway if he just explained the situation to them. If Jip just explained to the X-Men he wants the artifacts to keep Dagger and Storm from becoming snake-brides, then they'd help him voluntarily. And he's never encountered the X-Men before, so they don't know he's a villain. Jip also doesn't try to tell Diamondback and Sidewinder what Llyra and Ghaur have planned for the planet.
Posted by: Michael | October 17, 2014 9:07 PM
I'm looking at this issue on GCD, and according to it Michael is right, Pashkow is indeed a Claremont pseudonym.
Link here: http://www.comics.org/issue/45632/
Posted by: MegaSpiderMan | October 17, 2014 9:12 PM
This is included in the Claremont/Lee Omnibus. Obviously Lee had nothing to do with it, so does that mean Sally Pashkow is really Claremont?
Posted by: Robert | October 17, 2014 9:58 PM
Gentleman of Leisure confirmed "Sally Pashkow" is a pseudonym for Chris Claremont.
The Serpent Society comes off so bad here, I'm surprised Gruenwald let them be used. Unfortunately, this begins a phase where the concept becomes increasingly downgraded. Very often the Zodiac Cartel was used only because a writer needed a large group of villains the good guys could defeat with little thought as to how to present them as credible threats. The Serpent Society now seems to fill that roll. Terrible use of the team.
Posted by: Chris | October 17, 2014 10:58 PM
Thanks everybody for the confirmation that Sally Pashkow is a pseudonym for Chris Claremont. I've updated the credits.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 18, 2014 12:15 AM
Had I been reading that story in "real time," I would have *hoped* Sally Pashkow was a Claremont pseudonym. With all due to respect to him -- and a lot is due -- the thought of a woman who wrote that much like him (look at all that narrative clutter) starting a career at Marvel would have stricken terror into my heart. No thanks on the Savage She-Chris.
Posted by: Todd | October 19, 2014 11:06 AM
And here is another example of their "invisible to detection" spell not working as Mr. Jip seems to be able to spy on them rather easily. Does that Mean Mr. Jip is more powerful than Roma?And Claremont actually wrote this you say?
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | October 23, 2014 4:08 PM
Claremont only wrote the Jubilee back-up. The main story was written by Terry Austin, who obviously had a high opinion of his Mr. Jip character from his Cloak & Dagger run and must have figured his dark magic was stronger than Roma's.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 23, 2014 4:16 PM
There's an obvious parallel to Uncanny #143 for the Jubilee back-up.
This was a poor showing of both the Serpent Society and the X-Men.Diamondback comes off especially odd, "seducing" Wolverine since she's generally portrayed as pining only for Cap.
Posted by: Jon Dubya | October 23, 2014 7:30 PM
Fnord.I don't think Austin necessarily figured Jip's magic was stronger than Roma's, just than S'ym's. Remember, in issue 232, S'ym was able to have a two-way conversation in the dreamscape with Maddie despite Roma's spell. It was never explained how- it's possible Austin thought it was S'ym's dark magic, although another possible theory could be S'ym monitoring the computer which was monitoring Maddie. This really should have been explained during Inferno. Fnord, you defended Simonson not explaining inconsistencies like this during Inferno but this is the problem- what explanation you come up with affects whether Jip should be able to do something similar. If S'ym was able to use the computer to bypass Roma's spell, then maybe Jip did something similar.
Posted by: Michael | October 23, 2014 8:43 PM
I honestly don't think Austin thought about it at all. I was just making a joke.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 23, 2014 9:17 PM
I think you mean the serpent-men from *Kull* in your references section, no?
Posted by: Dan H. | December 20, 2014 4:58 PM
Tsk, i did it again! Thanks, Dan.
Posted by: fnord12 | December 20, 2014 5:59 PM
Yeah, this was really just a terrible issue. I was also horribly confused when I first read it and every time after that I would have to remember that they were dumping me in the middle of the story.
As for the backup, it was so utterly jarring to have Gateway suddenly speak and speak in such a goofy manner that it just completely threw me off. Could that have anything to do with why Claremont took his name off? It's just awful.
Posted by: Erik Beck | September 6, 2015 9:27 AM
But it was obvious since X-Men 234 that Gateway knew more than he was letting the X-Men know. So the idea that he could speak doesn't seem far-fetched.
Posted by: Michael | September 6, 2015 11:19 AM
The back-up story on this is delightful. It's the first big Jubilee solo adventure!
Posted by: Toby Fathom | December 16, 2016 10:51 PM
So, I've been using your site to help me follow the X-books, and I have to say that it has been a wonderful resource. Thanks so much for all your work.
Since I am only following X-books and not the entire Marvel Universe, I was wondering how much of Atlantis Attacks I should read. Do I need all 14 parts for the story to flow well? Are there some I can skip without noticing much, considering my X-centric perspective? Would it be weird to only read the X-annuals and move on (as in, would it feel disjointed and incomplete without the other parts of the story)?
Posted by: Daniel | December 20, 2017 1:39 AM
The story is disjointed with a lot of individual chapters not being at all critical to the main story. You could easily get away with just reading the X-annuals. If you wanted to get more of the main story, you could read the Iron Man annual for set-up, and then the last three annuals (AWC, Thor, FF) which provide a (semi-)coherent conclusion and feature some X-characters (the Beast and a mind-controlled Storm and Jean Grey).
Posted by: fnord12 | December 20, 2017 11:27 AM
@Daniel: I'm also mainly interested in the X-Men books, along with some important stories from the other teams that I know that will be referenced later on (like X-Factor's Fall of Mutants part).
I've only read UXM's chapter of Atlantis Attacks and, with the exception of the last page, I think it stands on its own, without having to read the rest of the crossover. Storm's participation in the other parts aren't even referenced on the UXM books so you can live without it.
Posted by: Bibs | December 21, 2017 2:10 PM
Is it just me, or is there a really messed-up suggestion here that Dazzler slept with Longshot while in Diamondback's body? Add int he seduction scene that the start and the match-striking bit someone noted elsewhere, and the sexual politics of the main story are seven shades of screwed-up.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | April 13, 2018 1:54 PM
@ Omar Karindu -
Good news. It's not just you.
Posted by: Erik Beck | April 13, 2018 4:33 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|