Issue(s): X-Men #55
The combined forces of the Avengers, X-Men, and Fantastic Four have gathered on the roof of Four Freedoms Plaza. Some of the heroes engage with the Sentinels...
...while others go inside to work on weapons to use against Onslaught and/or to track and rescue the kidnapped Franklin. One bit of tech they use is armor created by Nathaniel Richards to protect him from Franklin's power.
That's a rare acknowledgment of anything that was happening in Tom DeFalco's FF run, and a cool idea. Nothing comes of it, though.
Similarly, the X-Men have acquired the Xavier Protocols and are seen studying a diagram of Professor X's psionic armor, but that also doesn't really go anywhere.
Speaking of things that don't go anywhere, Joseph is among the heroes fighting the Sentinels. It's hard to remember that we really were supposed to think that Joseph was Magneto at this point; that's what Marvel actually intended at the time. He's so goofy with his long flowing grey hair and bland personality (and, like, why "Joseph"?) that i never took him seriously, but that really was the idea. You would think that he would be super important to the plot. Like the heroes are all digging through their notes and the FF's castaway tech, but you'd think they'd have Joseph in the lab with them, trying to figure out how to get the personal that Xavier absorbed back into Magneto (while also containing him) or something. In fact, i'd like to think that was the original intention but the idea was derailed when Marvel's executives forced the Heroes Reborn story to get grafted on to this. It's the only thing that makes Joe Magento's anti-climactic emergence during this crossover make sense.
Instead, Joseph's only role is to serve as a foil for Gambit and Rogue's relationship troubles. Which, ugh.
Onslaught makes a big dramatic speech to the world (which makes sense via the undeveloped idea seen in Road To Onslaught where he's secretly absorbing fear or whatever, but otherwise just seems cheesy)...
...and then he releases an EMP, taking out all the city's tech (and making the heroes whine).
The heroes basically all collapse as if they've lost a big fight, but they never actually came into contact with Onslaught. At the end, we see Ozymandias horrified to learn that Onslaught is planning on ditching his cool Magneto-inspired armor for some goofy bug thing.
Mark Waid is good at at least making it seem like things are happening during the core tie-in books but it doesn't take much reflection to realize that nothing actually does happen (e.g. this entire issue has the heroes building tech that gets wiped out by Onslaught's EMP). As has been the case lately, one problem is just that there are too many crossovers, so the things that seem like they should matter - Franklin and X-Man getting kidnapped, Joseph being located, the Xavier Protocols being found - are spread out among too many of the minor books, and then an issue like this is needed ("needed") just to sort of regroup and have all those events brought together without moving things further forward. But even beyond that, none of those events really seem to matter. Franklin and X-Man are supposed to add to Onslaught's power, but he was already incomprehensibly powerful before this, and what he does in this issue - the EMP blast - is from Magneto's toolkit, not something from Franklin's reality warping abilities or amped-up psychic power from X-Man. Franklin and X-Man becoming captives doesn't really seem to make much of a difference. Joseph's arrival also doesn't make a difference. The Xavier Protocols seem important, but don't really result in finding a unique way to defeat Onslaught (they're mainly used as another way to point out how horrible Xavier secretly was, i.e. OMG he had a plan for how to deal with Wolverine if he went out of control).
The art is fun and the character interactions are decent but we're really just treading water again here.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place after Avengers #401, Fantastic Four #415, and Excalibur #100. This more or less marks the end of Onslaught Phase 1, with Ozymandias at the end showing us what Onslaught's new form will be (the difference in forms seems to be the clearest way to distinguish between the phases). There may be some other Impact 1 books that take place concurrently with this story, which means that this issue doesn't necessarily have to go last in Phase 1 (for what it's worth, the MCP have a lot of other issues happening during this issue, allowing Phase 2 books to occur during "Phase 2" even when Onslaught isn't in his bug form).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAngel, Ant-Man (Scott Lang), Bishop, Black Widow, Cannonball, Captain America, Crystal, Cyclops, Franklin Richards, Gambit, Hawkeye, Henry Pym, Human Torch, Iceman, Invisible Woman, Jean Grey, Joseph, Mr. Fantastic, Onslaught, Ozymandias, Professor X, Psylocke, Quicksilver, Rogue, Scarlet Witch, Teen Tony, Thing, Thor, Vision, Wasp
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