X-Factor annual #4 (Atlantis Attacks)
Issue(s): X-Factor annual #4 (Atlantis Attacks story only)
The story begins with Jean Grey being pulled through the sky by a tractor beam sent by Ghaur, with Beast hanging on for dear life.
Beast shouts to Jean, who is also being held in stasis, and he seemingly gets through to her and convinces her to use her telekinesis to pull them free of the tractor beam. But of course that just gets them dumped into the ocean.
Byrne is going full-throttle with Beast's exaggerated vocabulary, and in thought bubbles no less. I've always thought the explanation for his excessive vocab was either showing off or a similar sort of nervous reaction like Spider-Man's quips.
In any event, once they are in the ocean, they are spotted by Atlanteans, who nearly kill them until Attuma recognizes Jean Grey and stops them. (It's clear throughout this story that Attuma and the Atlanteans are not clued in to Ghaur's plans.)
So he has Jean brought to his lair, and the delay is enough for Andromeda's rebel forces, waiting nearby...
...to arrive and fight off the Atlanteans, giving Beast time to escape. Andromeda breaks off from the battle to pursue her father, Attuma, and she runs into the Beast instead.
Nice to see these two former New Defenders meeting again.
Attuma has meanwhile taken Jean to his lair. Since it was the Phoenix duplicate, not Jean, that Attuma remembers, Jean claims no memory of having met him (even though her memories should be merged with the Phoenix Force's at this point; i guess this was one of the memories that Mr. Sinister destroyed in Uncanny X-Men #243).
Jean's telekinesis is weakened from the tractor beam, so she's not able to hold off Attuma for long.
Ghaur, meanwhile, has his Deviants searching for his missing Bride of Set, and he's happy to discover Andromeda as well.
Beast and Andromeda arrive at Attuma's lair to find him drowning Jean.
Beast jumps in to stop her first, but is not able to fight well underwater.
So Andromeda steps in to fight her father, allowing Beast to try to get Jean to the surface before she drowns. Andromeda claims the right to fight as Attuma's first born son.
But while he grudgingly accepts that, she's no match for him in battle.
Beast, meanwhile, is unable to get Jean to the surface in time, so he has to accept a bargain from Ghaur, who promises to cure her while also taking her away as originally intended.
As we'll see in the West Coast Avengers annual, this at least will allow the Avengers to know who is responsible for all of the recent attacks from Atlantis.
Ghaur also zips Andromeda away before Attuma can kill her.
Despite what he sees as a betrayal, Attuma will continue to take orders from Ghaur in the next part of this story, with dire consequences.
This story might not have an epic scale, but that also means it's not a cluttered mess. We get to see that Ghaur is now collecting his chosen Brides of Set by following one of them in particular, and the schism between Attuma and Ghaur is highlighted, all while we get a nice team-up between two former new Defenders and an unusual artist combination. It's not the greatest story in the world (i would have liked to have seen a stronger Jean and some examination of her merged memory problem), but it's a lot cleaner and more professionally done than the majority of the crossover.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is part ten of Atlantis Attacks; part eleven takes place in Web of Spider-Man annual #5. A footnote says that an upcoming issue of X-Factor will show Jean Grey getting whisked away, but don't wait for it. This story has two continuity insert back-ups that are covered in separate entries.
Crossover: Atlantis Attacks
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
FNORD - you say Attuma recognizes Jean, but she doesn't recognize him. That is entirely plausible. Think about it in terms of a memory download. She has all the memories, but who says she has actually gone through all of them in her head? It's like being given a manual with a lot of information. Just because you have it doesn't mean you've read all of it.
Posted by: clyde | October 20, 2014 3:05 PM
Byrne & Simonson make gorgeous art together. I adored this annual after the scratchiness of Inferno and the horror of Rob Liefeld.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | October 20, 2014 4:58 PM
If this took place after Judgment War like Louise Simonson intended, Jean purged most of the Maddie & Phoenix personalities that were fighting for supremacy since Maddie's death during that. She says something along the lines of that she still has their memories but they've faded and it's not like she lived through them anymore. Which goes further towards her not recognizing Attuma right away too.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | October 20, 2014 5:12 PM
It always bothered me, as someone who read X-Factor, that despite the promise of the editors note, we never saw the kidnapping of Marvel Girl and the Beasts attempt to save her. I always wonder where were the others? Why didn't Archangel simply fly after them?
Byrne and Simonson did a great job on this all the way around! If the other annuals looked and read so sharp, Atlantis Attacks would be remembered as one of the great crossover stories.
Also, a bit of unfortunate implications: who changed Jean from her X-Factor uniform into her Atlantis hottie wear? Would Attuma have stooped to do it himself?
Posted by: Bill | October 20, 2014 5:52 PM
I really enjoyed the Byrne/Simonson teaming - a rare combo that only happened 2 other times - the World of Krypton covers and a single Orion pinup around 8 years after this.
Posted by: Vincent Valenti | October 20, 2014 10:01 PM
But Jay, Jean DOES recognize Wipeout right away during the X-Tinction Agenda. However she doesn't recognize Rachel during days of Future Present.
Posted by: Michael | October 20, 2014 10:47 PM
What was Ghaur's criteria for choosing brides? They were all superheroes, which was not wise in hindsight. ("How do I ensure that every active superhero team is interested in opposing my plans? I know - I will kidnap a member from each one. I'll even take Dagger to represent unaffiliated heroes. And Andromeda because, eh, why not?")*
Looking at it, though, it seems he was just kind of lazy about it for the most part. Five of them drew his attention to them while interfering with his plans. ("Yep, she'll do.") Only Jean and the Scarlet Witch were specifically sought after. Wanda was chosen because of past association with the Serpent Crown. Is it said why he went after Jean?
Posted by: Erik Robbins | October 23, 2014 2:09 AM
There isn't an explanation given for why Jean was taken. As for Andromeda, when Jean is initially out of the tracker beam, you have Ghaur yelling at his servant about not having gotten her back already, and the servant's excuse is that there are a lot of life forms in the area now, including another lady. And Ghaur is like, another lady?! Grab her too! So maybe Ghaur just didn't get out much to meet a lot of women.
I assume the fact that the rest of X-Factor isn't involved would have been explained by the tie-in to this issue that never happened.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 23, 2014 7:58 AM
I always got the impression that Ghaur was looking for women with super-powers. If that was the case, the heroes are in the spotlight a lot more than "regular" women with powers.
Posted by: clyde | October 23, 2014 9:36 AM
If you've placed this before Judgement War, the explanation could be that Cyclops is on Muir Island dealing with Master Mold and Archangel & Iceman are watching the baby in England. If we do the tricky placement after Judgement War, then who knows? Untold story.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | October 23, 2014 3:46 PM
Hm, what am I missing. I always assumed this is really impossible to place AFTER the New Mutants "Atlantis Attacks" tie-in (and thereby AFTER their Asgardian escapade), but BEFORE the Judgment War? For the simple reason that the New Mutants see Ship leaving before they are warped to Asgard by Strange, and their Atlantis Attacks adventure takes place while Ship is still gone.
Posted by: Spikey | December 13, 2016 4:11 PM
Reading only X-men-related stories, this is how I usually read this era (note; I don't read much Wolverine solo series;
"All that Glitters"; X-Factor #41-#42
Posted by: Spikey | December 13, 2016 4:17 PM
@Spikey- the problem is that the last 3 parts of Atlantis Attacks- Avengers West Coast Annual 4, Thor Annual 14 and Fantastic Four Annual 22- feature Jean and an adult Storm. So there's no really good way to make it work. If, for example, Atlantis Attacks takes place after X-Men 255, then Storm should be a kid. As fnord notes in the Considerations on New Mutants Annual 5, he decided to ignore the references to Ship being gone in the Annual- he didn't like doing it but there's no simple solution.
Posted by: Michael | December 13, 2016 8:16 PM
Sorry, forgot to address that detail. My biggest problem is, that it is not only ignoring references in New Mutants Annual #4, it also ignores the New Mutants actually being witness to Ship/X-Factor leaving for the Judgement War as far back as New Mutants #78, making the only other viable option that X-Factor has also already returned.
As Storm is not much more than a cameo appearance in those last three Atlantis Attacks issues (which I would really hate to build around), and child-Storm is on the run in Uncanny X-men at that very moment (escapes in UXM255, but does not reappear on panel until UXM257),it just seems easier to assume that child-Storm is temporarily restored to adulthood by some offpanel Atlantis kidapping magic, but reduced again after she is returned.
Posted by: Spikey | December 14, 2016 4:11 AM
The other problem, Spikey, is that Acts of Vengeance clearly takes place after Atlantis Attacks. Hydrobase, for example, is sunk in Avengers 311 but it's around during Atlantis Attacks. In Avengers West Coast 53, Wanda's been comatose since Atlantis Attacks. And Wolverine 19 takes place before Uncanny X-Men 251 but during Acts of Vengeance. And the New Mutants and X-Factor don't return to Earth until Acts Of Vengeance.
Posted by: Michael | December 14, 2016 8:03 AM
Thanks for your helpful info, Michael, accurate as always! All the events are in such close succession that I never experienced problems while reading Acts of Vengeance issues standalone, but I've never read that as a one whole before. As long as I stay away from AoV and Avengers it seems my order works, though I still might run into trouble in the future trying to squeeze in Wolverine solo series and perhaps Alpha Flight. Oh lol what can you do, it only confirms comics were written in a certain moment, and that the entertainment value perceived by the writers hinges quite heavily upon that very moment, more than on maintaining correct continuity.
Posted by: Spikey | December 14, 2016 3:45 PM
I did an analysis of how the X-Characters could appear in Atlantis Attacks after Judgment War & the Asgard adventure but it involved moving about the separate storylines that were only connected with "Meanwhile" type text boxes. It's complicated and involved but you can see it on my timeline of Inferno to Acts of Vengeance here: http://jade-dragon.wikidot.com/marvel-s-inferno-crossover
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | December 15, 2016 3:20 AM
^ Thank you, Jay. I usually go with the "less disruptive" reading order, and your Inferno order has been extremely helpful in constructing the books around that time. If you read those Inferno X-books seperately, you will constantly feel like "wait-a-minute-am-I-still-reading-this-right?" and worse "will-it-read-better-to-read-this-or-that-first?"
However, it suspect it is less so with the dull Atlantis Attacks stories and Acts of Vengeance imho, I think it would be kind of disruptive to cut those books down to pages a lot, both cross-overs are best read half-ignored. The only thing I was happy about was the book here, X-Factor Annual #04, and actually only because of the Defenders link (a book I never even read until recently); the return of Andromeda.
Posted by: Spikey | December 16, 2016 7:05 AM
Regarding Storm and her role in the endgame of Atlantis Attacks; I've always assumed she was captured/returned (off-panel) sometime during #245-248.
The writers are super vague as to how much time passes between #245/#246-247 and #247/#248, let along the first half of #248 has a vague period where Longshot said goodbye to everyone and enough time passing from when Rogue was "killed", in terms of X-Men mourning Rogue and moving on with their live, before Nanny attacks the team and kidnaps Storm.
Posted by: Jesse Baker | July 7, 2017 3:07 PM
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