Tuesday, August 12, 2008

X-MAN #5 – July 1995

The Man Who Fell to Earth

Credits: Jeph Loeb (writer), Steve Skroce (penciler), Bud LaRosa (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering), Mike Thomas & Digital Chameleon (colors)


Summary

X-Man crash lands into the Alps, making his entrance into this reality. Disoriented, he wanders into a nearby highway and is hit by a semi truck. He instinctively creates a telekinetic field to protect himself. The truck driver checks to make sure he’s okay and offers him a ride. While in the truck, X-Man begins to flash back to his own reality. He threatens to kill the man if he’s working for Apocalypse, which scares him away. X-Man’s powers explode, destroying the truck. While clearing his mind and making his way to Switzerland, he makes a conscious decision to mask his thoughts. Simultaneously in New York, Professor Xavier senses a burst of psionic power, and the sudden disappearance of the source. While in Montreux, X-Man watches a mother with her child and begins to think back to Jean Grey. He comes across a man who resembles Forge, who brushes X-Man away when he approaches. X-Man unconsciously reaches out to him telepathically for help. The man, named Sven Claris, takes pity on him and offers him a place to stay. Later, as X-Man tries to sleep, his thoughts continue to go back to Jean Grey, although he doesn’t know why. A cloaked woman suddenly appears and offers him a blanket. She introduces herself as Madelyne Pryor.


Continuity Note

X-Man tells Sven his name is Nate Grey, although he’s not sure why he chose this as his name. Marvel must have liked the name since it stuck (maybe “Grey” was chosen as his last name in order to distinguish him from Cable, who is sometimes listed as Nathan Summers).


In case you don’t know this, Madelyne Pryor was a clone created by Mr. Sinister to create a child with Cyclops. Their child grew up to be Cable. She was killed off at the end of the “Inferno” crossover in 1988, so she had been gone for a while at this point.


Miscellaneous Note

The title of this issue is a reference to the David Bowie movie.


Review

After I mentioned that my local stores didn’t carry X-Man once the AoA event was over, a kind (?) reader sent me his scanned copies of the series. I don’t plan on doing full reviews for the whole series, since I didn’t read it when it was actually released and that seems to violate the spirit of this blog. I did do capsule reviews of Excalibur and Wolverine issues that I read years after their release in order to get a look at the entire line, so that’s probably what I’ll do with this series. There’s really not a lot to say about this specific issue. It’s filled with double-page spreads of X-Man’s powers going out of control, which makes it virtually identical to most issues of the AoA run. The story mostly consists of Nate acting confused, blowing things up, and yelling at people. Loeb tries to play up the idea that X-Man still thinks he’s in the AoA, but there’s not a lot of mileage you can get out of the idea since our world is so much different than his. He’d have to realize quickly he’s in another world or else he’s a total idiot. It’s also hard to make Nate very sympathetic when all he does is act dizzy, scream, and blow stuff up. I guess adding Madelyne Pryor works as a shock ending for longtime readers, but after hearing so many jokes about their relationship over years, I’m dreading the resolution. There’s certainly nothing here to convince me that a teenage alternate reality version of Cable needs his own series.

6 comments:

Paul said...

Ahhh..... the beginning of the end. This issue is where the X-Franchise finally went to far. It had building towards this kind of breaking point since X-Men #1 in 1991. Ironic how this is the immediate follow up of one of the boldest publishing moves (AoA) in X-Men history. I really think that X-Man #5 was when the wheels really started to fall off the cart.

rob said...

I never followed this title after AoA, but I do have some scattered issues, and the final one, which was actually quite nice. But the plot summary here sounds really thin to justify turning this into an ongoing title. It's barely even setup for a premise. Along with the mess of plotting that Onslaught started as, I can agree with paul that this was the beginning of a very ropey period for the X-books.

wwk5d said...

Me too. When this period started, this was when I began to think maybe I was buying all these titles as a completist, not as a fan. The pre-AOA did have it's share of stinkers, but overall, much better than the post-AOA period. And it got even worse post-Onslaught.

adam-0oo said...

The annoying thing about this series really is that the plot never really changes. Nate does crazy things with his power and hurts himself...until the next time he does crazy things with his power and hurts himself.

Another thing, I was recently looking through my own comics from this period, and a really really annoying thing is that there are no issue numbers on the front pages. Just the month. Check the past few months of post AOA stuff, you can see the same.

rob said...

I reallllllly didn't like that there were no issue numbers immediately after AoA. I think most issues do print them sideways in the bottom box (which is ridiculous), and then they do eventually put them properly on the cover months later.I don't understand the reasoning behind this. Do they think we're all mindless X-fans who will buy anything we see on the racks with an "X" on it regardless of title or issue number?

Harry Sewalski said...

Marvel released this issue and a few other X-Man issues late last year in a trade called X-Man: The Man Who Fell To Earth. I was debating picking it up, since I quite liked X-Man in the Dark X-Men miniseries from a few years back, but after reading your reviews of the series I've realised what folly that would be.

Mind you, I should have realised once I saw that Loeb was the author...

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