Friday, March 2, 2012

X-MAN #51 & #52 - May & June 1999

Uninvited Guests

Credits: Terry Kavanagh (writer), Mel Rubi (penciler), Bud LaRosa (inker), Mike Thomas (colors), Comicraft’s Jason & Troy (letters)

Ignoring the previous issue’s cliffhanger, the story opens with X-Man and Madelyne spending a weekend in the giant New York apartment he used to squat in (why doesn’t this owner ever return?). Nate mentally checks on the book’s forgotten supporting cast members and decides they don’t need him anymore, which is perhaps the greatest act of mercy he’s committed in this series so far. Another vague subplot is introduced, as a mystery woman -- wearing giant skulls as accessories -- is furious that Nate’s returned to “our” home with “my murderer.” I assume this is Threnody, but Mel Rubi’s females are so generic she could just as easily be a doppelganger for Madelyne.

Unaware of the shadowy woman, Nate teleports back to Ireland with Madelyne, where we finally pick up where the previous issue left off. The new friends Nate’s made at the inn are under attack by Strikesquad: Gauntlet, who have finally made their move after countless teases by Kavanagh. What follows is a messy fight scene that consists of X-Man and Gauntlet apparently destroying the same building over and over again, interspersed with wretched dialogue that alternates between stiff faux-military jargon and embarrassing slang (“An’ the phat ladies ain’t sung yet!”).

Apparently, even the people working on this comic can’t follow what’s happening -- a lettering mistake confuses long-haired white guy Ness with bald black guy Scanlon. This is a tight, single-panel close-up that leaves Scanlon’s face and bald head very visible. Do we need more evidence that Marvel was paying no attention to this book? Anyway, the shocking revelation at the issue’s end is that Gauntlet is a “multi-national, pan-governmental agency.” Um, yeah…so? What else were we supposed to assume about them?

All Fall Down

Credits: Terry Kavanagh (writer), Luke Ross (penciler), Bud LaRosa (inker), Mike Thomas (colors), Comicraft’s Jason & Troy (letters)

Luke Ross thankfully returns as artist this issue, but the fight scenes remain a chaotic mess. It’s hard to decipher what exactly is happening, but apparently Scanlon is murdered by a rogue Gauntlet member named Vise, who’s working for a mysterious doctor that’s the true power within Gauntlet. The murder moves the loyal Fontaine over to X-Man’s side. They team up and destroy Gauntlet’s ship, which crashes to Earth and apparently kills Vise and Ness. Ness, up until that second, had wasted his time defending a hole in the ground he thought contained Madelyne. It turns out that she teleported away and didn’t bother to tell him, which apparently ties in with her plot to kill him from issue #50. When Maddie sneaks away, she’s apparently aged fifty years after overexerting herself in the battle.

Later, X-Man and Fontaine appear over the devastated city of Dublin. The innkeepers X-Man considered friends yell at him for destroying their city, which leads to him screaming in frustration and apparently (there’s that word again) killing himself and Fontaine in a flash of light. Finally, more idiocy, as Threnody emerges from the shadows of X-Man’s New York apartment. Since the previous issue, she’s changed outfits again, and is now six months pregnant. So, in summary, more nonsense.

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