The Measure of the Man
Credits: Scott Lobdell (writer), Jan Duuresma (penciler), Jose Marzan (inker), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Joe Rosas (colorist)
Iceman, Rogue, and Bishop stop an attack against Iceman’s girlfriend, Opal. Disgusted that Iceman didn’t warn her in advance and used her as bait, Opal runs away from him. Two of the armored men disintegrate into goo during the fight, and the X-Men take the third one prisoner. Rogue attempts to absorb his memories, but finds her entire body transformed as her skin begins to unravel. Bishop uses his own energy absorption power to undo the damage. The only info Rogue gained from her attacker is the name “Hodge”. Meanwhile, Storm and Xavier meet with Ambassador Louis St. Croix to gain info on the super-suit made to stop Magneto. Xavier wants Storm to destroy the suit and steal the information about its development. Storm steals the information, but refuses to destroy the suit, saying that humans do have a right to defend themselves. Storm flashes back to her childhood, and wonders if Xavier placed a subliminal command to join the X-Men during their first brief meeting.
I Love the ‘90s
The data on the anti-Magneto suit is on a giant floppy disc. I wonder if it also has a copy of Oregon Trail on it.
The first member of the Mutant Underground, Louis St. Croix is revealed. St. Croix claims that Xavier founded the group while he could still walk, and that they’ve only met twice.
“Hodge” is a reference to Cameron Hodge, who will become a major villain during the Phalanx crossover.
It’s another issue that seems to be killing time while Fatal Attractions finishes up in the remaining X-books. Duuresma’s art certainly looks better than it did in the issue of X-Men Unlimited that came out around this time, but now it’s attached to a fairly bland story. The goo soldiers are supposed to be a lead-in to next year’s crossover, which means that Uncanny is already laying the groundwork for another crossover before the current one is finished. Once the Phalanx were actually introduced, I seem to recall that this issue was casually dismissed anyway, making all of this seem even more pointless.
After two failed attempts, Lobdell attempts to give Storm another spotlight issue. Storm’s reluctance to steal for Xavier just seems odd to me. The X-Men firmly became outlaws during her stint as team leader, so this type of covert operation isn’t anything new to her. Not only was she raised as a thief, but she also committed a federal crime by erasing all of the government’s data on the X-Men in an earlier story. Stealing a computer disc to gain information on how to stop Magneto doesn’t strike me as that morally reprehensible.
Storm’s flashback with Xavier is at the very least interesting, although it doesn’t work for me. Lobdell continues with his darker interpretation of Xavier, implying that he might’ve used his powers to influence Storm’s decision to join him. There’s potential there, but the more you think about it, the less it works. Is this the same Xavier who continually made speeches about respecting everyone’s free will during the Claremont issues? Is this the same Xavier who, just months earlier in Lobdell’s own run, humbly asked Jean if she resented him for asking her to join the team? This idea could only work if the writer emphasizes that this is a younger Xavier, not sure of his powers and the ethics surrounding them. As it stands, this issue doesn’t give a clear answer, and I don’t think Lobdell brought up this idea again (although a similar issue is raised during Amelia Voght’s origin issue).