Friday, November 16, 2007

UNCANNY X-MEN #298 - March 1993

“…For The Children!
Credits: Scott Lobdell (writer), Brandon Peterson (penciler), Al Milgrom (inker), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Marie Javins (colorist)

Bishop, feeling that his methods aren’t appropriate for the X-Men, offers his resignation to Professor Xavier. Xavier declines and harshly tells Bishop not to give up. While Jean Grey, Bishop, Archangel, and Gambit train in the Danger Room, Xavier and Storm meet Detective Charlotte Jones to receive a coroner’s report. Miles away, other associates of the X-Men, Tom Corsi and Sharon Friedlander, are working undercover at a school to watch over a mutant child with Down’s Syndrome. Sharon Friedlander is brutally attacked by the Acolytes. Xavier senses the attack and alerts the team. The X-Men arrive and attempt to protect the school from the Acolytes. When the Acolytes discover that the mutant child has Down’s Syndrome, they declare him unfit and leave.

Continuity Notes
Sharon Friedlander is apparently killed off in this issue, although it's not made clear until a later issue. Tom Corsi’s fate is also ambiguous. Years later, he'll show up in the Generation X spinoff, so he obviously did survive.

Frenzy, a former follower of Apocalypse, appears as an Acolyte in this issue. Gambit knows her from his mysterious past. New Acolytes Unuscione (implied to be the daughter of Unus) and the Kleinstock brothers appear for the first time. One of the Kleinstock triplets is killed by Tom Corsi.

Gambit has been featured for two issues consecutively, even though he’s a cast member of the spinoff X-Men series. The Blue Team/Gold Team era begins to end with these issues, as the team members regularly switch between titles.

Miscellaneous Note
The Statement of Ownership in this issue lists average sales at 731,425, with the issue closest to filing date at 605,900.

With time to kill before the next crossover, Uncanny delivers a self-contained action story. This isn’t a very good issue, but I like the fact that the conflict is clear and the story is resolved by page twenty-two instead of being needlessly dragged out. I don’t like the way Tom Corsi and Sharon Friedlander are given ambiguous deaths in this issue. Lobdell seems to be attempting to add weight to a thin story by throwing in some deaths, but at the same time doesn’t appear to have enough commitment to the idea to firmly establish that they are dead.

Lobdell debuts his “edgy” characterization of Xavier in this issue. Xavier was initially a harsh father figure in the early issues, but I think that’s more of a reflection of society in the early 1960s than Xavier as a character. When the X-Men became grown-ups, portraying Xavier as manipulative and condescending didn’t work, and it’s something that was mostly avoided by Claremont. Lobdell now has Xavier acting very curt with Bishop, just one issue after his warm and fuzzy moments with Jubilee. Lobdell could’ve tied in Xavier’s mood swings with his recent near death experience, but there’s no mention of any recent events. He’s just moody in this issue.

The Acolytes return for the first time since their debut with an all-new lineup. The Acolytes never really became major villains, probably because so many of them would eventually be introduced without giving most of them anything resembling a personality. They’re just a sea of purple goons praising Magneto. This story takes place in the brief period where Magneto was believed to be dead, setting up the Acolytes to do the things they think Magneto might have wanted them to do. Years later, Grant Morrison would use the idea of Magneto’s strength as a symbol, and not specifically as a character, in New X-Men. The X-Men try to explain to the Acolytes that Magneto wouldn’t approve of their extreme actions. It’s an interesting idea, but it only works if Magneto is given consistent characterization. Since Marvel’s attitude at this time was to make him a more ruthless villain, it’s hard to argue that he wouldn’t approve of the Acolytes’ actions.

1 comment:

Luke said...

>>The Acolytes never really became major villains, probably because so many of them would eventually be introduced without giving most of them anything resembling a personality.

Amen! I always thought that during this period. I wanted to know more about the Acolytes, but Lobdell and company seemed very unwilling to characterize any of them except for Cortez.

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