Monday, April 6, 2009

UNCANNY X-MEN #348 – October 1997

Because, I Said So
Credits: Scott Lobdell (writer), Joe Madureira (penciler), Townsend/Holdredge/Vey (inkers), Comicraft (lettering), Digital Chameleon (colors)

Summary: Nanny attacks Rogue, Joseph, Spat, and Grovel with an army of cybernetic animals. She neutralizes their powers and takes them into custody. Trish Tilby, who is being secretly monitored by a cybernetic bat, watches the events and leaves to find the Beast. Joseph tries to convince Nanny to let him go, but she refuses to obey his orders, claiming that the outside world is too dangerous while Zero Tolerance is targeting mutants. Nearby, Beast searches for his friends, and is ambushed by two shadowy figures. With her powers neutralized, Rogue begins to regain memories she’s absorbed and lost. Gambit is afraid that his secret will be exposed, and asks Rogue not to question him about his past. He embraces Rogue, telling her that this could be their only night together. Elsewhere, Psylocke suddenly disappears in New York, while Deathbird tends to Bishop’s wounds inside a space station.

Production Note: The one-page Archangel/Psylocke scene in this issue is clearly not by Madureira. It looks like Andy Smith’s earlier work to me.

Continuity Notes: The cybernetic animals commanded by Nanny are probably connected to the cyborg ape in UXM #345, but the story doesn’t offer any confirmation. The earlier appearance by the ape leads me to believe that Lobdell might’ve been planning some explanation for how exactly the X-Men ended up in Magneto’s arctic base (even Beast says that it “defies logic” that they would’ve ended up there), but it’s something that was lost in the change of creative teams.

Deathbird is lying to Bishop, claiming that the X-Men are all dead. They do have a subplot that’s picked up on later, but I don’t recall any explanation for why they were separated from the rest of the team.

When Joseph sees news footage of Moira MacTaggert inside Magneto’s base, he has a sudden thirst for vengeance. This is a reference to the final Claremont storyline, which revealed that Moira manipulated Magneto’s genes while he was once temporarily a child in the hopes of curing his mental illness. Even this close to UXM #350, Marvel’s still running with the idea that Joseph is Magneto (he’s even described that way on the recap foldout).

Review: It’s another issue of the team wandering around what’s been retroactively revealed as Antarctica. There is some nice character work with Gambit and Rogue, but a lot of this just feels like the story’s stalling until issue #350. The characters are now pointing out some of the plot flaws, which is either a sign that Lobdell did have something of a plan, or he was throwing in digs against editorial directives that never made sense. The question of who hired Spat & Grovel is raised, but never answered. And if it turns out that Magneto did hire them, there doesn’t seem to be a justifiable reason for Nanny to take them captive with the X-Men. As for the sensational character find of 1997, Landscape, he’s disappeared with no explanation in-between issues. Madureira’s art, which often saves mediocre stories, is inconsistent throughout the issue. That’s not surprising since he has three inkers, but some of the pages still look nice. For whatever reason, the two-page subplot scene with Bishop is more impressive looking than anything that happens in the main story.


Anonymous said...

Im suprised noone commented on this one, lots of outerspace haters here =P.

Ill admit the Shiar, Phalanx was pretty boring and went on longer then it should have. The one thing these issues did have was lots of Gambit and Rogue.

These two being my favorites at the time I was really enjoying the time both were getting in theses issues.

I had always assumed and im sure other have too, that Gambit and Rogue "slept together" that night in the cave at the end of this issue.

I think Marvel ended up shooting that down either in a story years later or it was in a letters page.

Peter said...

About the "even this close to UXM 350" thing, I would like to postulate that either Lobdell or Seagle never planned for the Magneto at the end of 350 to be the real one. He says it himself: "I am no longer the man I once was"... because he's Sinister. Gambit recognizes his voice early on in the issue plus he's got the red eyes, and wouldn't Sinister have a lot more reason to go against Gambit than the real Magneto?

In continuity they've never followed up on it, they just had the inane "Magneto was never Erik Lehnsherr" stuff, which makes no sense anyway, but I believe that Lobdell had plans for Gambit/Sinister-as-fake-Magneto. Sinister had intentions for the X-Men that would be best accomplished by posing as their greatest enemy. And aside from that he might also have been interested in young Magneto, maybe. In any case, that's why I think officially Joseph was still referred to as Magneto. (Even though I also heard that Lobdell had planned for Joseph to actually be Proteus, hence his hatred for Moira in this issue)

It's funny to read your current posts because this is the period I was seriously getting into the X-Men =) The issues leading up to 350 were indeed weak, but 350 and beyond did genuinely excite me at the time. No idea if they still would now though...

Anyhoo, I hope you still have a lot of reviews coming up, I've been reading for over a year now and it's been great!

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