Friday, August 22, 2008

UNCANNY X-MEN #323 – August 1995

A Nation Rising

Credits: Scott Lobdell (writer), Bryan Hitch (penciler), Cam Smith (inker), Steve Buccellato & Electric Crayon (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering)


Summary

Iceman and Rogue are stranded after getting a flat tire. Rogue enforces the “no powers” rule of their road trip and refuses to let Iceman use his powers to help, so they’re forced to walk to the nearest gas station. Later, a mental image of Emma Frost appears and taunts Iceman. Inside the Danger Room, a recuperating Gambit interrupts Psylocke and Archangel’s training session looking for Rogue. Cannonball takes Sabretooth for a walk and is confronted by Wolverine, who refuses to believe Sabretooth has changed. Storm interrupts and invites Wolverine to come along on a mission. Elsewhere, the Beast challenges Trish Tilby over exposing the Legacy Virus without consulting him first. They argue and end up blaming each other for the beating death of Dennis Hogan. Trish apologizes and Beast leaves. In front of City Hall, Graydon Creed is holding a rally to protest the recent massacre of humans at a nightclub. Nearby, Storm, Cannonball, and Wolverine are joined by Charlotte Jones at the morgue. The medical examiner investigating the nightclub murders claims that he doesn’t understand how many of the patrons suddenly died. Wolverine detects a foreign scent inside the doctor and begins cutting him up. The Gene Nation member Slack emerges from the doctor’s body, as his teammate Vessel enters the room.


Creative Differences

I still remember the original solicitation for this issue claimed that Rogue and Iceman had actually eloped since we last saw them pre-AoA. My friend and I refused to believe this, and I think we actually went to the dictionary to see if there was another definition for “elope” (and, apparently, it can just mean “escape” and not necessarily “marry”).


Continuity Notes

Gambit suddenly recovers from his coma in this issue. Psylocke senses “danger” around him, although I don’t know what this is supposed to mean. If it was supposed to be a hint about his past with Mr. Sinister, wouldn’t she have sensed that by now?


There’s a black man at Creed’s rally who’s given a long monologue about how dangerous Creed might be. I can’t tell if he’s supposed to be the Landau, Luckman, and Lake agent from the previous issue or not, since Hitch draws him about twenty years older than the other artists. According to the man, Creed had been written off as a fanatic, but after Gene Nation’s massacre at the nightclub, he’s gaining more support. This is presumably foreshadowing for his presidential run.


I’m starting to understand why I filed the books during this period in an unusual way. Now that Cable and X-Force are taking place at the mansion and featuring cameos from the X-Men, it’s a lot more difficult to fit these stories into a proper order without having certain details trip over each other. In the previous Uncanny, Siryn informs Storm of the nightclub massacre. Meanwhile, Cyclops and Phoenix are visiting the Greys. In X-Men #42 Storm tells Xavier about the massacre, and Cyclops and Phoenix are kidnapped by the Acolytes on their way back from her parents’ home. In the next two issues of that series, Cyclops and Phoenix are in outer space and then scattered across the globe. However, Phoenix is in Cable #21, which takes place after Siryn disappears. Cyclops is in X-Force #44 which also takes place after her disappearance. Cannonball also joins the X-Men in that issue. That means that the July, August, and September issues of X-Men all have to take place before the July issues of Cable and X-Force. Most of this shuffling is due to Siryn’s two-page cameo in the previous Uncanny. If she wasn’t in that issue, then Cable and X-Force could’ve taken place before Cyclops and Phoenix were abducted. On top of all of this, Gene Nation are making their first real appearances in Generation X at this time, in a storyline that ends with the characters hanging around the mansion, too. Plus, Wolverine #91 also features cameos by all of the X-Men, including Cyclops and Phoenix. Depending on your personality, this is either maddening, boring, or fun to work out.


We Get Letters

One fan writes in to complain about “trash” characters like Gambit, Rogue, Nimrod, Forge, and Sabretooth. He then tells the editors that they should rehire Chris Claremont (the creator of Gambit, Rogue, Nimrod, Forge, and Sabretooth). He’s also upset that Thunderbird was killed in 1975.


Commercial Break

Marvel’s 1995 Reader Survey shows up in this issue. One question asks how many X-Titles do you buy each month, with “10 or more” as the highest number (the same question is asked about the Spider-Man books, with “6 or more” as the upper limit). Other questions include, “Do you like the current Spider-Man ‘clone’ storyline?”, “Yes or no, would you buy an all new Gambit monthly series?”, “Have you ever played Magic: The Gathering or any other card game?”, “Do you own a home computer?” and “Do you own a CD Rom drive?”. There’s also a question about which online service do you use, which includes Delphi, World Wide Web, Compuserve, and Prodigy as options. Like last year’s survey, you’re expected to include two dollars to cover the shipping of your fee “load of great goodies”, which are better than the previous year’s options (now it’s a free comic, poster, trading card sheet, and a Marvel catalogue with a $2 gift certificate).


Review

This is another issue that’s supposed to build up Gene Nation, although the majority of the story is spent on alternating subplot pages. I’ve always liked this type of issue since it feels like there’s a lot going on, even though most of the threads here aren’t particularly great. The Rogue/Iceman subplot isn’t resolved in this title, but in X-Men instead (which so far has shown a contradictory story about Rogue behaving like Gambit and Iceman tracking her down). Gene Nation turn out to be rather lame villains, although I give the artists credit for giving them genuinely freaky designs that don’t look anything like the claws/chains/spikes/trenchcoat style of the preceding ‘90s villains. Beast’s scene with Trish Tilby raises a good point about whether or not it was ethical to cover up the Legacy Virus, but it’s only two pages long and doesn’t really get into the issue. Showing that Graydon Creed is receiving more credibility due to Gene Nation’s attack is a smart way to tie together two separate plot threads, but it’s unfortunately leading to the infamous “Who shot Graydon Creed?” debacle. Bryan Hitch fills in for Joe Madureria (who won’t return until UXM #325), with an inconsistent issue. The opening pages are fine, but the characters begin to take on a rubbery, soft form as the issue continues. It actually reminds me of Igor Kordey’s rushed fill-in work from a few years ago.

8 comments:

Jeff said...

Hitch definitely improved a lot from his work on this issue. It's really lumpy.

I always thought the Rogue and Iceman scenes in this issue were just awful. It's just Rogue whining and moaning about Gambit and Iceman whining and moaning about the White Queen. Kill me.

wwk5d said...

Too bad Rogue was stuck in a ghetto with Gambit during much of the 90s. The only time they let her out was to have a love triangle with Joseph. And it's not like the friendship she developed with Iceman was really followed up later on, was it? Oy.

Teebore said...

Yeah, the never-ending Rogue/Gambit relationship really managed to squash any interest in either character I ever had, so that nowadays I could care less about either.

That's pretty funny about Rogue and Iceman "eloping."

Chris said...

Isn't this # 323, not 322?

Matt said...

"Depending on your personality, this is either maddening, boring, or fun to work out."

I fall into the "fun" category. Sometimes arranging comics and figuring out the order of continuity is more fun and satisfying for me than the actual reading of the story.

Teebore said...

Agreed, particularly when some of the stories in question are as lackluster as these post-AoA X-Men ones :)

G. Kendall said...

Isn't this # 323, not 322?

You're right, thanks for checking that.

Biblous said...

You're right, placing these books in correct chronological order can be frustrating (sometimes even impossible)

I believe the correct order for the X-Men related issues after AoA are:

01 XM Prime (jul)
02 UXM 322 (jul)
03 XM 42 (jul)
04 XM 43 (aug)
05 XM 44 (sep)
06 Cable 21 (jul)
07 XFor 44 (jul)
08 Wol 91 (jul)
09 UXM 323 (aug)
10 UXM 324 (sep)

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