Friday, March 20, 2009

UNCANNY X-MEN #345 – June 1997

Moving On
Credits: Scot Lobdell (plot), Ben Raab (script), Joe Madureira & Melvin Rubi (pencilers), Townsend/Vlasco/Candelario (inkers), Comicraft (lettering), Steve Buccelato & Team Bucce! (colors)

Summary: In Guatemala, Sister Maria is attacked by a talking cybernetic gorilla. He wants to know where Joseph went after he left her orphanage, but she refuses to answer him. She’s saved by a mystery mutant (Maggott) who is also looking for Joseph. Meanwhile, the X-Men celebrate their victory with Lilandra. As Gambit secretly buries the dead, Beast discusses his relationship with Trish Tilby. He wants to move forward, but she’s reluctant. The next day, the team leaves on a craft escorted by Deathbird. Bishop studies Deathbird’s history and tries to discuss it with her, but she wants to escape her past. Soon, their ship is caught in the wake of a much larger vessel, which is also headed for Earth. The two crafts try to enter a stargate at the same time, which causes the X-Men’s ship to fall apart.

Continuity Notes: This is the first appearance of Maggott, although he’s only visible for one page, and isn’t named either. He speaks with an Australian (or English, it’s hard to tell) accent, which is something later writers dropped. Why exactly he’s after Joseph/Magneto isn’t answered until Joe Kelly’s run, which is still months away. And I have no idea what the cyborg gorilla is supposed to be.

The narrative captions continue to drop non-subtle hints about Gambit’s past, saying that he had an “unholy alliance” with a “sinister” foe, and that he had a “shameful role in one of the greatest tragedies his kind…has ever endured”.

I Love the ‘90s: An actual line from the Bullpen Bulletins: “Editor Kelly Corvese may have thought he won Rosie O’Donnell’s heart in February, but alas for him – another Marvel male had captured that precious organ two weeks earlier!” The item goes on to discuss editor Jay Gardener sending in Generation X merchandise to be showcased with other “G” products on her G-rated talk show.

Review: Oh joy, they’re still in space. I’m not sure why exactly Lobdell kept the space storyline going for yet another issue, especially when the other titles were in the middle of a crossover event back on Earth. If the X-Men actually had something interesting to do in space, I wouldn’t mind this so much, but it seems like the majority of this issue is killing time until it gets to the cliffhanger. I seem to recall that the mystery about the other ship (which is given its own two-page spread) is never resolved, and the cast just spends the next few issues wandering around in vaguely defined locations.

I’m sure Lobdell was also setting something up with Maggott, but he never got around to resolving this storyline either. If memory serves, Joe Kelly once had an internet column, and he discussed creating Maggott’s origin in one piece. If Lobdell had specific plans for the character, he apparently didn’t tell his editors, as Kelly claimed that his editors knew nothing about Maggott. This gave him a blank slate to create an origin story, which had Magneto helping a younger Maggott deal with his powers (however, the scene in this specific issue was never fully explained). The opening scene with Sister Maria and Maggott is actually fun, as it gives Madureira something cool to draw and opens the story in an unexpected place, but it’s frustrating to know that it’s more cryptic storytelling that never amounted to much.


Bob Temuka said...

Didn't Maggott turn out to be south African? That would explain the accent. The south African accent is an odd mix of Australian, English, Dutch and something unique to the country. Personally, I think it would be one of the hardest accents to nail down in dialogue.

wwk5d said...

I'm not even sure if Lobdell intended him to be South African, considering how much Lodbell would tend to mangle some accents (like he did with Banshee). I am curious as to what his intended origin and backstory for Maggot were, however, and if the Cyborg was ever meant to be followed up on...

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