Credits: Scott Lobdell (writer), Brandon Peterson (pencils), Terry Austin (inks), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Joe Rosas (colorist)
The X-Men confront Apocalypse at one of his old bases. He doesn’t know anything about the kidnapping, and teleports away after defeating the team. Sinister has pointed the combined X-teams in the direction of Stryfe, but no one has any information on how to find him. If Cannonball agrees to help locate him, X-Force (now being held prisoner in the Danger Room) will be allowed to join the fight. Meanwhile, Wolverine and Bishop invade Canada’s Department K to find information on Stryfe. Cable appears, looking for the same info.
This is part five of the X-Cutioner’s Song crossover. It comes polybagged with a Wolverine & Bishop trading card.
Apocalypse understands “very little” about the alien technology that powers him, according to the narrative captions. This is actually the first time the X-Men (and not “X-Factor”) fight Apocalypse.
War is now knocked out with Famine and Caliban, even though he wasn’t with them in the last chapter.
It’s another issue that mainly serves to set up future events for the storyline. The X-Men face Apocalypse, which should seem like a big deal, but the story goes out of its way to point out that he’s weak and still building his strength. He also doesn’t know anything about what’s going on in the story so far, so dedicating almost a full issue to a fight scene with him doesn’t really work. Wolverine and Bishop also make the odd decision that the mysterious Department K in Canada might have info on Stryfe. Unless this is a reference to some New Mutants issue I’ve missed, I don’t know why they would jump to this conclusion. Cable joins them at Department K, keeping up the crossover tradition of pairing the most popular characters off together.
I wasn’t able to find this issue until a year after its release, when I finally broke down and mail-ordered it from East Coast Comics. This is one of the very few issues of Uncanny I had missed from the newsstand since 1988, and not being able to find it drove me nuts. For months, I wondered why this specific issue was so hard to find. Then it dawned on me – this was the issue on the stands when the X-Men animated series debuted. (Of course, which specific issue was on sale depended on where you lived and if you were buying from comic shops or newsstands). I bet there were probably thousands of kids who started buying X-comics with this issue. The schedule of the cartoon was a little weird in the first season (it debuted a month late with only two episodes, and then began airing weekly in early 1993), so I don’t think Marvel actually intended to introduce a generation of kids to the X-Men during a twelve part crossover. This was before Marvel was on its “accessibility” kick, so I don’t think that they viewed this as a problem, either.
I can see the advantages and disadvantages to introducing new readers to a book during a lengthy crossover. The most common complaint is that crossovers last too long, focus on too many characters, and are too confusing for new readers. If you’re a kid paying $1.50 for your first issue of Uncanny X-Men in 1992, do you want to get part five of a twelve-part story? Do you want a comic that features over a dozen characters that haven’t appeared on the TV show yet? The conventional wisdom is that these readers would want a straightforward story focusing on the characters they recognize from the show. On the other hand, if you like the show and you’re buying an X-Men comic, doesn’t that mean you want more X-Men? Maybe these new readers were intrigued by all of these new characters. What better way to show off Marvel’s line of X-titles than by putting every character together for one massive story? I did have friends who got into comics through the X-Men cartoon, and all of them were into this storyline.