Characters Appearing: Banshee, Beast, Cyclops, Gambit, Jean Grey, Jubilee, Moira MacTaggert, Professor X, Psylocke, Revanche, Rogue, Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde), Wolverine
Issue(s): X-Men #24
In general, if you offered me a choice between a Fabian Nicieza book and a Scott Lobdell book, i'd take the one by FabNic. But i'd make an exception for Lobdell's downtime X-Men issues, which are unusually good. By contrast, there's nothing particularly horrible about this issue but it's nothing notable. The difference may be that Lobdell's issues have narrowed the focus onto just a couple of characters and developed a specific theme, whereas Nicieza attempts to juggle his entire cast. In a way, this book is more about the long term plot mechanics; the things worth mentioning are that Scott returns from Alaska and tells everyone about the info he learned from Mr. Sinister about the Legacy Virus, and Banshee resurfaces and begins reconnecting with Moira MacTaggert (both at the X-Mansion). But the story also focuses on Gambit and Rogue out on a date trying to cheer themselves up after Illyana's death (with Rogue almost telling Gambit her real name), Wolverine telling Psylocke and Revanche that having memory issues is no big deal, and Jubilee getting comfort from Kitty and Wolverine.
Another vaguely noteworthy tidbit is that the Beast describes himself as "just shy of thirty" while complaining about his need to wear glasses.
Someone writes in to say that the situation between Psylocke, Cyclops, and Jean was "almost like a soap opera". The response is "The X-MEN.. a soap opera... heavens, no...!". I can't tell if that's sarcasm or not, but the soap opera elements are a big part of what has made the X-Men popular, and there's nothing necessarily wrong with that as long as it's done well. Which certainly wasn't the case with the Psylocke/Cyclops/Jean story. Regarding the larger Psylocke/Revanche reveals, the reactions are mixed. Some letters are positive, but one female reader is upset about depicting Psylocke as a "desperate tramp", noting that in earlier issues the flirtation between her and Cyclops was a two-way street but that it seemed to be all Psylocke making the advances in the end. Both she and another letter writer complain about how quickly the X-Men turned on Psylocke when Revanche showed up. A third writer points out the continuity problems with the Revanche reveal based on what was shown in Uncanny X-Men #255. The response is, "Fear not... the full story of Kwannon and Psylocke is still to be told. Gosh, you don't really believe we'd mess up that badly, do you?".
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Cyclops returns from Alaska; he shouldn't appear anywhere between X-Men #23 and here. It's said to have been about a week since Illyana's death. I'll discuss how Fatal Attactions fits with regards to Infinity Crusade in a future entry, but for now suffice it to say that since this is a "prelude to Uncanny X-Men #304" i've pushed it back in publication time.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Weirdly, Nicieza describes Beast as a few weeks shy of 30 in this story but in issue 29, he describes Warren as about the same age as Shinobi Shaw, who's in his early 20s. That makes no sense- no way was Hank 7 years older than Warren in the original X-Men series.
Posted by: Michael | November 7, 2016 8:10 PM
When Beast first appeared he was about a year or so older than Scott, Jean and Warren, who were about 17, the same age as the Human Torch and (approximately) Spider-Man. By the "roughly 4 years real time:1 year Marvel time" that's been mostly in effect, the original Marvel teens should be about 24/25 here, so Beast should be 27..MAYBE 28 at most.
Posted by: Jeff | November 8, 2016 10:02 AM
It may just be fortuitous timing (since they needed Moira around for the Illyana/Legacy Virus stuff), but I kinda like that Moira left the mansion in the wake of Magneto's apparent death, but returns to the mansion just before his return (at a time when, once it's fully revealed he's back, we'll know he was active and in operation).
One of the (many) problems with the X-Men's ages is all the "new generations" of students that come along necessitate bumping up the ages of each previous generation faster than is realistic. The original X-Men being in their mid-to-late 20s (still not "just shy of 30, that just doesn't work) is fine; that allows the old New Mutants/X-Force to be in their late teens at this point.
But then Generation X comes along, making them the new teens, so X-Force gets bumped into their early 20s. Which pushes the original X-Men back closer to their late 20s, if not early 30s, in a short amount of time (both real world and Marvel).
Then the New X-Men come along in the 00s. Now the Gen X kids get aged up into their early 20s, and everybody else has to move back as well, etc.
There's really no good solution for it, other than to just not think about it very often - which, of course, is difficult when it's being commented on in the text of the issue, as with Beast here.
Posted by: Austin Gorton | November 10, 2016 9:13 AM
Generation X is really not that much younger than most of the original New Mutants, aside from Sam and Karma. X-Factor kept if very clear that Rahne was only about 16 at this point but X-Force made it seem like Sunspot, Rictor and Boom Boom were in their early 20s, even though Boom Boom is younger than Rahne. That may have been more Liefeld art than Nicieza writing, but Nicieza does get a lot of X-Men ages wrong in the era.
Posted by: Jeff | November 10, 2016 10:30 AM
For reference during Chuck Austen's run it was stated that Angel was 30 (to make his relationship with Paige suitably creepy) while Gen X-er Husk was 19 (to make it suitably legal).
Also wow. Was the issue really as bad as the Maximum Carnage issues, fnord? :-)
In any case one plot beat not reported on is that Scott and Jean get back together perfectly "ok." Despite not really "resolving" the issues between them or anything. (Psylocke, meanwhile was too busy being ruined by Fabian Nicieza to remember thst she was hot for Scott's bod.
Posted by: Jon Dubya | November 11, 2016 2:57 AM
Also, is it ever explained WHY people don't know Rogue's real name? Given that she was trying to gain the team's trust when she first joined (in desperation, remember) it's a bit surprising that she wasn't forthcominf with that info immediately. And since she has that rather ordinary name of "Anna Marie" there doesn't seem to be any reason she would feel the need to hide her true name.
Also, I feel that her date with Gambit is a lot more significant than this synopsis lets on. It's the first indication that Gambit wants a real relationship with her, whereas previously he seemed to be feeding her "lines" just to get inside her pants. It's basically progresses their relationship to...well a relationship (as opposed to BST flirting.)
Posted by: Jon Dubya | January 2, 2017 12:21 AM
The issue of the various super-heroes in a team not knowing each other's real names seems really weird, but it goes way back. Hawkeye joined the Avengers in issue 16 (May 1965), but the other Avengers (and the readers) didn't find out his real name until issue 64 (May 1969). In that case, there was a good excuse: the Avengers believe in protecting each other's identities, and Hawkeye had a good reason to hide it, because his brother was a notorious gangster. (Still hard to believe they don't do even the most basic vetting, though.)
In the X-Men, however, it's harder to explain, as they are a much less formal group, and because of their outsider status they should have much greater reason to trust each other. We readers find out Wolverine's name is Logan in issue 102, but the other X-Men don't find out until issue 139, when Heather Hudson calls him "Logan" and Nightcrawler says Wolverine never told them his name. He just says they never asked. Really? In all that time, no one even asked that most basic question?
I think it's just part of Claremont's habit of withholding as much information as possible for as long as possible.
Posted by: Andrew | January 2, 2017 8:48 AM
Claremont's X-characters were horrible at revealing any information that might be useful. I literally have a long list of issues where a character hid something that would have helped avoid future problems, and it's only a part of Claremont's run.
As far as calling each other by their first names, the "Avengers" movie was really where I understood the concept. I spent the last decade in the military, and for me, it was last name, nickname or rank. I genuinely didn't like being addressed by my first name, even though I was in a unit where I would be allowed to address far higher-ranking people than myself by their first names.
The civilians in the movie are calling each other by their first names right away, because that's the natural thing to do. Captain America, however, is very reserved. "Mr. Stark." "Director Fury." "Agent Romanov." "Dr. Banner."
Claremont put so much effort into explaining how the X-Characters were in a military-type situation where they always had to be at their best, but that same military situation would require them to share information. "I'm going to initiate a demon invasion of Earth." "I've been psychically possessed by an illusionist on several occasions and he's unlocking my evil side." "My name is Logan." You tell people these things so they'll be prepared. Shouldn't be surprising that "Avengers" is one of my favorite movies ever, and I had very little interest in the characters before seeing it.
Posted by: ChrisW | January 2, 2017 8:47 PM
Tbe irony, Andrew, is that "Logan" isn't his real name either.
ChrisW it would be one thing if Rogue just prefered being refered to by her code-name. But this issue states that no one even knows it. That's just silly and sems out of character. I mean Wolverine is a loner (and has memory issues), Gambit is...sketchy. But Rogue has no reason to hide her true name (especially since, as mentioned before, there's no "mystery" behind it once we find it out) Even more bizarre, once it IS revealed (to the reader) everyone just starts calling her "Anna" like it's nothing. It's so weird.
Another odd thing. A few people referencing this issue in future leter pages noticed how the the "theme" of this issue seemed to be men comforting "their girls."
Posted by: Jon Dubya | January 4, 2017 11:19 PM
Jon, I'm not sure if you're disagreeing with me or not. I could see Rogue clinging to a code name as something that's uniquely hers and refusing to divulge anything about herself. She's a vulnerable teenage girl [the joke being that she's also invulnerable] and once Carol is in her head, she doubts everything that she once thought was a natural part of her self. The X-Men should keep her as a junior member not to be trusted, but I think it's believable, at least on Rogue's part. [Though why Xavier didn't assign her to the New Mutants is a mystery.] Maybe she chose the name herself, maybe Mystique gave it to her and she clings to it as a lifeline to a happier time in her life.
With Wolverine, it's just idiotic. He may be a loner, but he was retconned to have enormous military experience, and should know damned well that his teammates need to know everything they possibly can about him. "X-Men" #97 was the first time they learned his claws were part of him, and that same issue's first few pages said the team had been training together daily for a year. If they didn't know what Logan's bones were made of after a year, they really need a better training plan.
And if he's got memory problems, there are two telepaths who are readily available to help, plus Moira.
Posted by: ChrisW | January 5, 2017 10:05 PM
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