Monday, January 4, 2010

X-MEN UNLIMITED #13 - December 1996

Previously…in X-Men Unlimited: Nothing happened. It’s X-Men Unlimited, so the stories are usually filler.

Fugitive from Space!

Credits: George Perez (plot), Jorge Gonzalez (script), Duncan Rouleau, Jim Calafiore, & Andrew Robinson (pencilers), Hunter, McKenna, & Milgrom (inkers), Tom Smith & Malibu (colors), Comicraft (letters)

Summary: The X-Men arrive with Binary at the UN Starcore space station, hoping to resuscitate its energy core. Suddenly, Shi’ar commander K’illace arrives to arrest Binary, claiming that her powers make her a threat to the universe. A blast of energy teleports everyone to the Shi’ar Empire, where they discover Binary’s powers are out of control and K’illace is injured. As Binary struggles to drain energy from a defective white star she created months earlier, the X-Men petition Deathbird to spare her life. Lilandra sends a message, warning of another threat, the Silver Surfer. She claims that Silver Surfer recently destroyed his home planet of Zenn-La and is heading into Shi’ar territory. The X-Men meet Silver Surfer in space and travel to the remains of Zenn-La, where he proclaims his innocence. A bio-technic force called the Inciters is now occupying Zenn-La’s remains. Beast deduces that the Inciters were behind framing Silver Surfer, manipulating Binary’s powers, and the disruption of the white star. Silver Surfer uses his cosmic surfboard to defeat the Inciters. The Shi’ar send the heroes home, although Lilandra refuses to reveal the existence of the Inciters to her people.

Continuity Notes: This was published about a year before Binary’s powers were downgraded and she renamed herself Warbird (and later Ms. Marvel again). I’m assuming Zenn-La was destroyed during George Perez’s run on Silver Surfer.

Review: I remember reading a friend’s copy of this issue when it was released. We spent our lunch period mocking the atrocious artwork and often impenetrable plot. A few months later, that friend stopped buying comics. Hmmm…. George Perez was writing a few titles for Marvel during this era, and I guess he was in the right place at the right time to be the warm body chosen to fill in for this specific issue of Unlimited. Jorge Gonzalez is a name I’m not very familiar with, but you’ll see that he shows up in a lot of the peripheral X-books of this time, particularly on the ones edited by Kelly Corvese. His scripts tend to be boilerplate superhero material that isn’t particularly good or bad. I doubt there was much he could do with this plot, since it’s horribly cramped and moves so quickly there’s never enough time to process anything that’s going on. I will give Gonzalez credit for remembering that the Silver Surfer only located uninhabited planets for Galactus as his herald, which is a continuity point that’s often forgotten. (It doesn’t make this specific story any better; I’m just glad someone remembered.) The art actually isn’t as bad as I remembered, although one of the three artists turns in the occasional page that’s just horrific. Do you really want an example? How about this…


Credits: Jorge Gonzalez (writer), Greg Land (penciler), Mark McKenna (inker), Brad Vancata (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letterer)

Summary: Juggernaut returns to his hometown of Junction, New York on the night of its Halloween festival. After encountering pranksters that remind him of the bullies he endured growing up, he goes on a rampage. Gomurr the Ancient suddenly appears, revealing to Juggernaut that Marie Cavendish, the one person who defended him as a child, was injured during his riot. He takes her to the hospital, but is jeered by the locals. Juggernaut leaves town, ignoring Gomurr’s warning that he can’t escape his powers’ curse.

Review: I don’t think there were any plans to rehabilitate Juggernaut at this time, but you would see the occasional story that tried to humanize the character. This follows up on an idea from the previous issue, that Juggernaut can never change what he is and is actually cursed by his powers. That idea is expressed well enough, although this is all pretty cliché. It’s nice to see Greg Land art that predates his discovery of Cinemax, but he’s really just serving the story and doing little else.


The Estate of Tim O'Neil said...

The idea that the Surfer only ever located uninhabited planets for Balactus was actually explored during Starlin's run on the book in the early 90s: it was established that while the Surfer *remembered* only finding uninhabited planets for his master, in fact he had been complicit in the destruction of many, many inhabited worlds, the memories of which Galactus had erased out of kindness for his herald. Eventually the Surfer confronted Galactus and demanded he restore his memories as well as his full conscience - Galactus was reluctant to do so, but he finally relented. Now the Surfer is Galactus' herald again, due to the necessity of helping Galactus during the Annihilation War, but he is now fully in command of his faculties and committed to steering Galactus away from inhabited worlds, or at least aiding the inhabitants of populated worlds flee to safety (as he did in a recent story in Nova, as well as Skaar: Son of Hhlk).

The Estate of Tim O'Neil said...

Hah, I realize I typed Balactus - not to be confused with this guy.

rob said...

Gonzalez also wrote the 1997 Uncanny Annual, which I have always thought was REALLY good. Hope you get to it.
It's also drawn by Rouleau, who I guess I'm alone in liking. His art livened up the last year of X-Factor and seemed to get some mildly better scripts out of Mackie (at times).

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