Issue(s): X-Factor #37
Meanwhile, demons bring Nathan Christopher Summers to N'astirh.
Now, the demons are talking like they are bringing Nathan to N'astirh for the first time. But we know that N'astirh was waiting for the babies, including Nathan, coming from the orphanage in X-Terminators #3 before starting his big spell, and since this takes place after N'astirh is techno-organic, it must be after X-Terminators #4. So the baby must be being brought from wherever he was being kept during the period that the portal was open. Nathan wasn't one of the babies in the pentagram but he was being kept somewhere at the time.
Jean senses Nathan and floats the group to N'astirh using telepathy. But when they arrive, N'astirh teleports away and comes back with the Goblin Queen.
So this is the first time Cyclops is seeing his wife since he left her in X-Factor #1, and the first time Maddie is seeing Jean (in person).
The couple immediately get to fighting over their boy's name.
And Maddie derides Scott for the idea that if she were just out of the way, this comic would be a lot less complicated.
And laments the idea that she's a product of the actions of others.
It's especially offensive to her that Nathan is reacting more like he's Jean's child than her own.
Maddie blasts X-Factor away and the regular demons renew their assault. Beast finally tears off his godawful costume during the fight.
While they're fighting the demons, Jean comments that looking at Madelyne is like gazing into a distorted mirror, and Madelyne hears that and takes it to heart, turning to N'astirh and blaming him.
But he directs her anger back to X-Factor. Madelyne seemingly casually tosses Nathan to the bumbling care of her two demon servants (actually Jean's parents!)...
...but she shows that she really was in control the whole time.
Unsure if that is meant to show something specific regarding Madelyne as a parent.
The battle continues for a bit...
...but then after another blast from Madelyne, the situation shifts abruptly, with Maddie back in her "normal" form and a familiar hand reaching out for Jean.
At this point we're into a linear crossover with Uncanny X-Men, so we'll stop here. But obviously we're seeing the tightening of two longstanding threads: the Scott/Jean/Madelyne situation and the X-Factor/X-Men meeting (aka the X-Men finding out that Jean Grey is alive). Pretty momentous. Granted it took turning Madelyne into a Goblin Queen.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: Per the opening footnote (and the fact that N'astirh is techno-organic), this takes place after New Mutants #72/X-Factor #4. Continues directly in Uncanny X-Men #242.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: X-Men: Inferno TPB
Inbound References (2): showAngel, Beast, Cable (Baby Nathan Christopher Summers), Cyclops, Elaine Grey, Iceman, Jean Grey, John Grey, Madelyne Pryor, N'astirh, Wolverine
The only thing is that the ending scene here doesn't quite match up to one from Uncanny X-Men 241 (Indeed there wasn't any indication that Madelyne was even there in New York at the time during the Uncanny ending.)
And of course the mild schism between Claremont and Simonson's take on Inferno starts in earnest, as the demonization (sorry for the pun) of Madelyne goes into overdrive here. Her portrayal is a lot more sympathetic in Claremont's issues. Notice that Weezie is already setting the scene for Maddie to take the blame for a lot of x-related problems and as such we (the audience) shouldn't feel to bad if she's killed off (she was Evil All Along and she wasn't a "real" person anyway right)?
Posted by: Jon Dubya | August 29, 2014 3:48 PM
Fnord, you can't have it both ways. How many times have you criticized Mantlo for having characters resolve their differences by fighting each other? How is this any different? And you criticized Englehart for having Pietro go mad and become unrecognizable as a character but Maddie is at least as unrecognizable.
Posted by: Michael | August 29, 2014 4:53 PM
I remember seeing a Marvel Age preview of an X-Factor issue during Inferno which was drawn by Simonson and showed them fighting demons...but the Beast was in non-furry mode. It seems that somewhere along the way, plans changed to have the Beast revert to being furry again. If you look closely at this issue, in the panels before the Beast rips off his costume (particularly in the 5th image above), it looks as if Walt originally drew the non-furry Beast but altered it into his furry form afterwards. #33 was clearly dedicated to the Beast turning Furry again, but maybe Simonson drew the issues out of sequence? It could explain why the furry beast kept the brown costume for a few issues to reduce the amount of redrawing that Simonson would have to do - and he had the Beast rip off the uniform once he "caught up". I ought to ask him on Facebook, as this was a question that has irked me for over 25 years now!
Posted by: Vincent Valenti | August 29, 2014 6:06 PM
@Michael, i think it's very different. What i've criticized Mantlo (and others) for is the histrionic arguments that sometimes nearly and sometimes actually result in teammates coming to blows, and then later just all moving along with the main plot of the story side by side as if they hadn't just been trying to kill each other. Over the top characterization and poorly designed power demonstration scenes, in other words.
What's going on here is something else entirely. I know you don't like what's happened to Madelyne's character and as i stated when i intro'd the X-Men portion of Inferno, i'm in agreement with you there. But really it was all but inevitable. A reader that never had any access to behind-the-scenes information could easily come to the conclusion that Claremont was a master planner setting this up from Madelyne's first appearance (if not before, in Avengers annual #10). The people mistaking her for Jean, the Mastermind plot, the suspicious time and date of her plane crash, the super-human prowess she's demonstrated against super-opponents (as you've pointed out). We know that it's really that Claremont was playing games with readers and his normal tendency to bestow extra abilities on all his female characters, and that he actually didn't like any of this at all, but it's actually a very logical conclusion that there was something "sinister" about her. It's a shame that it's damaging to the character, to be sure, but i do feel like it's a good and even necessary fix at this time. If the X-Books had been allowed to cross earlier, something i've been criticizing since at least Mutant Massacre, we might have been able to reach a different conclusion. But having gone on this long, i don't see that there could have been a satisfying resolution that just got Scott back together with Maddie or something. And unlike a Mantlo or Englehart book, i feel like this has been structured really well and scripted well. I think Maddie's dialogue here and in the X-Men book works really well on both a surface and meta level, with the character being allowed to rail against the fate that's befallen her (i agree with Jon that there's a difference on the Simonson side, and i'll go into that with one of the later X-Factor issues). It's nicely done. And it's reaching a specific conclusion, unlike the Quicksilver story that left us with no explanation (or in fact, multiple contradictory explanations) and no resolution.
I think this is far from a classic, and i really wish that Maddie wasn't put in an S&M outfit through all of this (unless that's also meant to be meta commentary) but i like Inferno as a much needed wrap up to a number of long lingering problems.
@Vincent, the costume thing makes a lot of sense. Please let us know if you do hear from Walt on that.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 29, 2014 6:38 PM
Vincent, I dug out Marvel Age 64- the original drawing of Avengers Annual 17 has a HUMAN Beast, not a blue and furry Beast.
Posted by: Michael | August 29, 2014 6:42 PM
Posted by: Vincent Valenti | August 29, 2014 7:19 PM
Fnord, the problem is that this WASN'T a resolution. I waited 3 years to see a meeting between MADDIE and Scott and Jean. This WASN'T Maddie, except in name- it bore no resemblance to her.
Posted by: Michael | August 29, 2014 7:29 PM
When do we get to the part where Dr. Strange shows up and turns Nathan into a bomb to stop Madelyne?
Posted by: Robert | August 29, 2014 7:50 PM
I just posted a question to Walt and gave him a link to this page....so we'll see what he says!
Posted by: Vincent Valenti | August 29, 2014 7:57 PM
Oh god, don't send creators here! The last thing they want to see is us being obsessively critical about stories they worked on 30 years ago!
Posted by: fnord12 | August 29, 2014 9:44 PM
Hank ripping off his costume does seem kind of random. I wonder if perhaps Silvestri had already drawn him sans-costume for Uncanny or some similar behind-the-scenes explanation.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | August 30, 2014 1:29 AM
You have this issue listed as the death of Madelyne Pryor on the 1989 page. Then who is the woman in X-Men 242 and X-Factor 38?
Posted by: Michael | September 17, 2014 8:01 PM
Thanks, Michael. I just put that on the wrong entry.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 17, 2014 9:08 PM
Scott's mistreatment of Madelyne had already started not long after he got back from Secret Wars, although it wasn't as bad as it got later, by X-FACTOR #1. He should never had married her, or even gotten involved with her to begin with, really. I lost my girlfriend three years ago, and she had a twin sister I never met, as they had a falling out ten years prior and never spoke to one another again. Well, her sister tried to get in touch with me after she found out about Marlena's death, but I made myself unavailable because just because the very idea of seeing the woman rattled me because she was my deceased girlfriend's twin. I couldn't even imagine befriending the woman or being involved with her in any way just because of that. I still think I made the right decision to this day. So Scott meeting Madelyne and becoming involved with as far as he did is just....off-putting. He should have known trouble would come down the road at some point, but people do what people do. And I hate betrayal, so I not only feel that Madelyne had every right to hate Scott, even make him pay, but I feel Scott should have been made to suffer a very long time instead of being absolved of his actions.
It's interesting later how much of a "Nazi" this guy became and how repellent he was throughout the last 5-10 years or so. He's supposedly dead now and should remain that way, as far as I'm concerned. His time has come and gone, and they now have young Cyclops to take his place.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | May 20, 2016 11:55 AM
But you're overlooking the fact that Madelyne was not Jean grey's twin sister and her origin was unknown to Cyclops. He thought it was just some woman who resembled his lost love.
The Madelyne crap was awful, but it stems from that constantly revered "genius" Claremont being selfish and thinking if he has no use for Cyclops then no one else should use him, so marries him off and tries to retire him. The same way he did it to Banshee earlier and intended to do with Wolverine if not for Byrne's fondness.
And Cyclops is not a dick, it's just most of the time morons write him to be a dick because they only saw X-Men 1 where Wolverine calls him one. He's the persistent whipping boy because idiot writers can't get a handle on a layered character. The same dumb creators who think Peter Parker has to be young, Thing has to be with Alicia Masters, people are incapable of relating to characters of different race/sex, etc.
And it doesn't help that a Wolverine fanboy who got his job by writing Wolverine fanfiction got to direct the entire X-Men line for years - but then again Kieron Gillen was already killing the X-Men and Cyclops a few months before Aaron came on-board and together they killed the entire franchise and left an irreconcilable mess, not that it mattered because Bendis swooped in to get his name on another popular comic and kick it from a permanent Top 10 seller to struggle to hit the Top 25. And now we're just in the post-Ultimatum Ultimate universe stage of the X-Men books, where Marvel publish them out of obligation and to try and deny any sort of conceited effort to destroy the line. And I'm not even tackling the idea that they're burying them because of movie rights, who cares? The awful writers, stories and directions buried it all by themselves.
But, Cyclops, people look at him and see a boring boy scout. Grant Morrison is probably the only writer who ever got how Cyclops works - he wasn't the boring boy scout. He was playing a "boring boy scout". He was a normal person who was forced to set an example. He was emotionally detached from his persona as the spotless poster boy leader of mutant superheroes who was stuck in a loveless cuckold marriage because he felt it was his duty to be the perfect superhero with the storybook romance. He was a man who could snap at any minute because he had no outlet for who he REALLY was. And then he found Emma Frost and that allowed him to be himself and not what people expected of him. But no people only see it as CYKE IS AN EVIL MAN WHO CHEATED ON HIS WIFE WITH A STRIPPER and are happy to ignore their sacred cow banging anything that moves at the first chance she gets when Cyclops is "dead" or "being a dick".
But, nah, writers don't get Cyclops. They decide he'd be better as an insane fascist because it's easier to just make a random character insane and evil to elicit false drama, than write actual thoughtful stories utilizing the characters.
Posted by: AF | May 20, 2016 2:32 PM
@AF: Maybe Morrison got Cyclops right, but I don't think he got Emma Frost right.
Posted by: D09 | May 20, 2016 2:56 PM
But he wasn't saying Emma Frost is evil and should stay dead for being rotten.
Posted by: AF | May 20, 2016 2:59 PM
I know Maddie wasn't her twin sister, and that he had no idea about her origin, but she still resembled Jean to the point that a lot of people thought the same thing. I just think that that alone should have been enough to keep his distance. It would be for me, but I admit he is a character and the way I see things are different than the way anyone else would see them, including Claremont or any other writer.
Cyclops wise, I came to hate him due the way he's been written over the last several years, but before that I liked him. Always thought he should be the one to take Xavier's baton. It's just a shame various writers wrote him the way they've been for so long now.
Too bad Claremont didn't keep Lee Forrester around. I always liked her, and I was pleasantly surprised when she showed up in CABLE later on. I believe she's with Skull the Slayer now in the Bermuda Triangle...or rather she was, until recently with the Secret Wars changes.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | May 20, 2016 3:07 PM
I should probably say nowthat I'd have no problem with Cyclops coming back, as long as he was written properly. With Maddie back now, I'd love to see a story with them again, depending on the writer.
AF, out of curiosity, who do you think wrote Cyclops the best?
Posted by: Andrew Burke | May 20, 2016 3:09 PM
Another curiosity...Emma has yet to appear post-Secret Wars. I wonder where she is and what she's been doing?
Posted by: Andrew Burke | May 20, 2016 3:10 PM
Morrison...for a time, I hated him for killing off Darkstar in such an asinine manner. The first comic I ever read was CHAMPIONS #9, and she's been my second favorite character ever since, right after the Scarlet Witch. I was so glad David Gallaher brought her back in DARKSTAR & THE WINTER GUARD #3.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | May 20, 2016 3:16 PM
I bet if Claremont or Peter David had killed Darkstar off in one of their books, the whole internet wouldn't have even commented on it (or blamed that evil concept of editorial for interfering in the work of "auteurs").
Darkstar hadn't been used in any truly great capacity since her Champions days. Grant Morrison left it completely open to be overturned (and it eventually was) while also giving her an appropriate send-off in the next issue incase she never came back. If you think that is the worst death ever in comics, you've read like 4 comics in your life.
People love to complain about specific things from the Grant Morrison run. "Cyke cheats on Jean" (no he doesn't), "he killed Darkstar" (how dare he!), "Magneto is a baddie" (god forbid the team's arch-nemesis be a baddie!), "he killed Jean off" (he's hardly the only one), "Fantomex is so clich'e" (that's the point), "Beak is lame" (that's the point), "the art is bad" (yet you lapped Kordey up on those Claremont books probably), "he said Beast is gay" (learn comprehensive reading please), "Here Comes Tomorrow is a DOFP rip-off that makes no sense" (get bent).
Whedon's run is terrible, it's everything people want to say Grant Morrison's run is, but apparently it's the "best run since Claremont".
And I'd rather Cyclops and Emma are just dead together so nobody can touch them. They're already broken beyond recognition anyway. I wish comics would just stop being a thing. It's just a frat house of friends constantly measuring up their metaphorical wangs to see who can go the furthest or do the most "important" story that will become a screenplay and get their name on a movie's opening credits. There's no love for comics from the big creators at the big two, just love for themselves and their power.
Posted by: AF | May 20, 2016 3:54 PM
I'm still of the opinion that Morrison mangled Emma's character from her Gen-X days, not to mention the fact that both Xavier and Magneto had their heyday in the sun, but now it's time to get the X-Men away from what amounts to basically their own personal feud because they are basically plot-cancers.
Put simply, I don't think Claremont, David, Morrison, and Whedon have made any significant and lasting impressions on the X-Men franchise, and if they did, the experience has been for the worst.
Posted by: D09 | May 20, 2016 4:31 PM
Darkstar's death certainly wasn't the worst, but in my opinion his send-off was insulting. For some reason, he didn't write Vanguard into her funeral scene. Her own brother would have been there. No reason explained, in-story or otherwise (as far as I know). And the "Who the hell is this Darkstar, anyway?" line, while understandable for a character's point of view, really got to me. It was as if the character was just plain nothing, which is an insult to those who really liked her (and I realize that may only be me and a few others).
In any case, don't get me wrong. I enjoyed Morrison's run. Except for the Darkstar thing, his work was enjoyable on the book. I can't say I cared much for the students he created, like Glob and them, but I don't think they were lame. In fact, I still love the Stepford Cuckoos! Five (then three) little Emmas running around is always fun. I liked the Xorn mystery (as Morrison intended).
Yes, I'm a Claremont fan. I've enjoyed all of his Marvel work, not just the X-Men. I enjoyed X-TREME X-MEN, NEW EXCALIBUR, NEW EXILES, and even NIGHTCRAWLER. But other writers did well, too, I think. I liked Alan Davis' run. Brubaker's. Fraction's. But Morrison's was well done as well. Right now, I'm a bit Xed out, so the only book I get these days is Bunn's UNCANNY X-MEN.
Kordey's art was okay....but...odd.
I don't like Fantomex...but that is only because I don't care much for characters of his sort. I don't like Deadpool or Cable, either.
I think I read Whedon's first arc and that was it. Didn't think much of it, good or bad.
I hope you're not mad at me about my opinions. To each his own, I always say. I like how passionate you are about the comics, characters, stories, and creators you love.
BTW, "Here Comes Tomorrow"....I still haven't read that yet! I think back then I stopped getting the book after #150 because for some reason I thought that was his final issue. I definitely would like to read it, as I read PHOENIX ENDSONG and that spun out of some of that...I think. It's been a while.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | May 20, 2016 4:42 PM
Wasn't Vanguard dead? I remember people always complain about Starblast because "it killed off Vanguard". Either way, he also came back by the time of or in Darkstar and Winter Guard.
Also, you're not meant to care for Fantomex. He's meant to be like a Poochie the Dog. And even with that, he gets an alright sequence in Planet X ("Is everything you say a clich'e?"). And there's a great twist with the version of him in Here Comes Tomorrow being an enormous pathetic mess. He went from being the "poster boy of cool" to the complete opposite. (and I'm sure we're gonna debate that appearance when fnord gets to HCT)
And Morrison was writing a lot of those things and trying to put them to bed. Planet X functions as the/a finale to Xavier/Magneto ("MAKE ME IMMORTAL"), Here Comes Tomorrow basically ends saying we're done with the Phoenix Force and can move on. Not to sound like a Morrison fangirl (matter of fact, his New X-Men and Marvel Boy mini is literally all I've read of his - and the latter is lousy for the first 2-3 issues), but he revolutionized the ideas of the X-Men and did the next logical step on the concepts (How many times have we seen the bad future for the X-Men? Hey, why not have a future where the entire existence of all life on Earth is reaching it's final days!)
Every writer after him failed to go anywhere new and basically went back to the old ideas. I won't fault Marvel for some things. Milligan was a logical choice for successor, just he didn't seem to have anywhere near the creative freedom Morrison had and his run never really took off. Carey had his moments of legitimate potential but again they seemed to fold under pressure of crossovers or sales. Fraction at least gave us plenty of Cyke and Emma sex scenes. The rest were all dire. They were just going back to only taking inspiration from Dark Phoenix Saga and Days of Future Past. Irrelevant space opera crap, dreary soap opera rubbish and nonsensical heel-faced turns from random characters (hey, remember when Bishop actually committed almost complete planetary genocide on Earth except it was in the future so it "doesn't count"?).
As for Emma, I've not read much of Generation X (Marvel are reluctant to release more than 2 "Classic" trades of it, but they've no problem releasing 18 volumes of "Deadpool Classic" which are now repackaging series from 2012 and pretending they are "Classic") but from the sounds of it she got screwed over just like every other character circa the Revolution/Counter X/Warren Ellis X-Men line revamp. I can't say much about Grant Morrison's treatment of that, but his take on the character stuck and was about the only thing from his run that WASN'T immediately overturned by Austen, Claremont or Whedon (until Bendis, ughhh). I do really want to read Generation X, Emma is/was my favourite character, the first few issues, what I've read, seems to honestly not be too far off New X-Men, she's maybe a bit less conscious and caricature-esque, but I feel those early Lobdell issues read perfectly fine with what Morrison showed. But I guess it depends what you consider good Generation X comics. Lobdell and Faerber seem to be the only runs worth anything. Robinson (who I've read some issues of) basically came on just to screw up unresolved Lobdell plots, Hama's run I've honestly not heard a single positive thing about - only strongly negative and Ellis/Wood looks like and I've been told is just as directionless as Ellis' revamps of X-Force and X-Man. (Hey, let's have Warren Ellis give our X-Titles a new direction... and the direction he provides for almost all of them is "The character or team have no direction in their life").
I'm going to go to bed and cry over how Marvel's comic books are never going to be good again because they've already destroyed everything good about them irreparably.
Posted by: AF | May 20, 2016 5:42 PM
A: It seems more like Morrison disregarded her Gen-X days and just kept focus on her time in Uncanny X-Men, not to mention completely misunderstanding the "outfits" used by the Hellfire Club and going in the wrong direction from there, hence her stripper-like attitude and retconned past.
Posted by: D09 | May 20, 2016 6:25 PM
Vanguard had been resurrected in AVENGERS II#43 by his father the Presence about a year before Darkstar's death. One of Kurt Busiek and Alan Davis's issues.
I remember buying and reading GENERATION X #1-3 and then I stopped, because I disliked Bachalo's art. So I have no idea how Emma was portrayed there.
Did you get the EMMA FROST series?
Posted by: Andrew Burke | May 21, 2016 9:26 AM
@AF- Re: Scott cheating on Jean- he had psychic sex with Emma. That arguably counts. Do you think that Scott was raped by the Red Queen?
Posted by: Michael | May 23, 2016 6:57 PM
Michael, re: Maddie/Jean/Emma comparisons. Ouch. Good call.
Posted by: ChrisW | May 23, 2016 11:29 PM
Don't forget all the stuff in EMMA FROST #1-18. When she was younger, and her powers were still growing, she was using mind tricks to win money at casinos and such. And then she fell in with Astrid Bloom, who basically taught her that it's okay for mutants to use their powers to take advantage of other people because they are just humans and don't matter. By the time she met Shaw, she may have been influenced by him, but she was already doing a lot of negative things by then.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | May 24, 2016 9:31 AM
Comments are now closed.
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