Wednesday, February 25, 2015

X-MEN FOREVER 2 #6 - October 2010


Scream a Little Scream!
Credits:  Chris Claremont (writer), Tom Grummett (pencils), Cory Hamscher & Andrew Hennessy (inks), Wilfredo Quintana (colors), Dave Sharpe (letters)

Summary:  The Marauders invade the Summers’ home in Alaska.  Corsair narrowly evades Sabretooth, but his mother is seriously injured in the attack.  Havok and Polaris arrive and corner Sabretooth.  During the confusion, Robyn Hanover abducts Nate.  The Starjammers launch their skimmer for an aerial attack, but are shot down by the Marauders.  The two teams fight on the ground while Corsair makes his way to the Starjammer craft’s teleporter.  He materializes inside the X-Men’s mansion, where he immediately pulls a gun on the original Sabretooth.  Meanwhile in Genosha, Callisto takes Masque to meet the Ghost Panther.

Continuity Notes:  Sabretooth now has a cybernetic hand, designed by Shadowcat using the Starjammers’ technology.

Review:  One of the best issues of the series in quite a while, mainly because it feels like the legitimate fulfillment of the original premise of this book.  All of this Burnout, Consortium, and SHIELD stuff is a distraction from what the audience actually wanted, and that’s the original resolution to the myriad storylines Chris Claremont started in the ‘80s and was never able to finish.  Sinister launching another attempt to kidnap Nathan Summers, with the original Marauders no less, is exactly the kind of story we would’ve seen in 1991 had Jim Lee and/or Bob Harras not considered Nathan a nuisance and kept him in the books.  We’re also getting Claremont’s original interpretation of Sinister (which does pay off his rather odd exchange with Cyclops at the end of “Inferno” -- I hope Teebore doesn't mind me linking to one of his scans from X-Factor #39), and the return of Robyn Hanover from Cyclops' origin story in Classic X-Men.  Issues like this make me feel even more strongly that Forever needed reprint back-ups each issue, because not only is the original Robyn Hanover story in Classic X-Men relevant to this arc, but it actually is a classic and deserves to be seen again.  If you want an example of how just how meticulously Claremont actually did have many of these plots worked out in advance, go back and read these Classic X-Men stories.  Sinister’s intended origin is rather obvious in hindsight, and the tragic story of Robyn Hanover and young Cyclops is some of Claremont’s eeriest work.  So, yeah, if you’re the target audience for this book, there’s a decent amount of fanboy geeking out this issue.  It doesn’t hurt that Tom Grummett has also returned.  There’s a mood and atmosphere this issue that’s always missing when he’s gone, and thankfully, there aren’t any new redesigns this issue.  Aside from a few brief appearances, the cast looks they way they’re supposed to, making it easier to buy into the premise that this is more than just another incarnation of What If..?.

6 comments:

Matt said...

You bring up an interesting point about fans wanting Claremont to address his "danglers". I've said before that this series should've started with issue #280 rather than #1. Taking that further, I would suggest that it should have followed the format of IDW's TRANSFORMRERS: REGENERATION ONE. That series was conceived as a finite twenty issues with the goal of tying up every loose end from the old Marvel series. I wasn't big on how a lot of the stuff was wrapped up, but it can't be argued that Simon Furman delivered on his premise.

So maybe X-MEN FOREVER should have gone something like this: First, and most importantly: ignore X-MEN #1-3. Start with issue #0, which is Claremont's original second half of UXM #279. Then move to #280/#1 and go from there, very specifically tying up all the plot danglers from the Claremont days over the course of twenty-one issues, leading up to the double sized finale #300. If done in the classic dense Claremont style, this would not be too difficult to pull off. It might suffer from a case of "too much too fast", but it could be done -- and, I would argue, it would vastly improve the pace of the series over what we received instead.

Then, if sales warranted, they could have started Volume 2 with a new #1 and Claremont could have, at that point, gone into all the burnout/Consortium/etc. stuff, maybe doing his "death and resurrection of Wolverine" as he had originally conceived it.

Every time I sit down and have even the briefest thoughts about X-MEN FOREVER, I come up with something far, far better than what Marvel gave us. I will never understand why this no-brainer of a series was such an insanely huge misfire on the parts of all concerned.

G. Kendall said...

I understand what you're saying, although I wonder if X-MEN #1-3 has to be ignored. I still don't quite understand why Claremont was so adamant about ignoring the ending of the Muir Island Saga. From what I've read, he always intended that story to end as a "false victory" anyway, with Shadow King secretly getting away. Why couldn't he just decide that the X-Men's victory in Nicieza's issue was the fake victory?

Even if there were specific plot elements Claremont wanted to establish in that arc, I don't understand what this has to do with the team line-up changing in-between issues and Nathan aging. And if EXCALIBUR characters are going to be used, why not resolve some of EXCALIBUR's unresolved plots, such as the Courtney Ross/Kitty Pryde plot that went absolutely nowhere.

In my ideal world, Claremont would've addressed these dangling plots while also introducing some new ideas. And Burnout would've made more sense from the beginning.

Anonymous said...

I don't know that I remember the whole series well enough to comment on the story specifics (I've been reliving it through this blog which is a big part of the enjoyment for me).

But I'd like to add one thing that occurred to me at the time.

As I was reading X-MEN FOREVER originally I realized it wasn't really about continuing Claremont's X-MEN run. It was about giving him the characters he wanted to work with in (roughly) the state he wanted them in.

In fact, if you really look at the X-MEN FOREVER run you'll see he ignored any thread he could get away with. The "Claremont continues his run" idea seems more marketing scheme than anything.

The classic example is still the Tony Stark thing. If Claremont had any interest in the actual concept there's no way he'd write a story like that.


Put this in real terms, Claremont was 40 when he lost control of Uncanny during the Muir Island story. By the time he started Forever he was 59. The stories a 40 year old wants to tell and the stories a 60 year old wants to tell are often very different.

For example, when you get around 60 you start thinking more about your own mortality. Hence a story focused on mutants facing their own mortality. Or think about this, when you're younger you still fixate on young love like Jean and Cyclops. As you get older you see love more in terms of a long term friendship like the one between Jean and Beast (a relationship never even hinted at in Claremont's previous run)

So I'd argue Claremont viewed FOREVER as a chance to write new stories with the characters he still loved. Not a continuation in any real way.

wwk5d said...

You have to wonder in Burnout was some meta commentary by CC about himself...

Matt said...

G. -- My rationale for ignoring X-MEN 1-3 is simply that, even moreso than anything else in their run together, it really reads like Lee drawing whatever he wanted and Claremont doing his best to script over those drawings. But keeping it would be fine too, if the Muir Island business could have been resolved or explained somehow. To me, that was one of the bigger issues with this whole series. He was ignoring the original resolution of "Muir Island" but keeping stuff that was published after it. It just feels a bit like cheating, and -- as we would learn -- a lot of this series involved cheating in that way.

Anonymous -- I understand what you're saying, and in that case I don't feel that Marvel or Claremont were honest with readers as respects our expectations toward the series. If FOREVER was, as you say, just an excuse to give Claremont the characters he wanted in a status quo he wanted, then going from there in a new direction, it should have been explained that way from up the start. But when Marvel kept hyping Chis Claremont "continuing" his classic run, I think most of us expected a legitimate continuation, rather than a quasi-reboot.

"The stories a 40 year old wants to tell and the stories a 60 year old wants to tell are often very different."

I get this completely; but at the same time I feel that Claremont has proved many times over the past fifteen years or so that he does want to revisit a lot of his old stuff but Marvel keeps screwing it up for him. So I don't think expecting him to do just that -- pick up on several of his old plots -- was too out of line.

Also, to take it back to my comparison with REGENERATION ONE -- Simon Furman has said that he has grown and evolved as a writer since the original TRANSFORMERS ended in 1990 or so, but he felt he owed it to the fans to "regress", sort of, back to his older style. I really appreciated that from him, and while RG1 did have shades of later comic book sensibilities, for the most part it did feel like Furman circa 1990. It would've been nice if Claremont had approached FOREVER with the same mindset. In my idea, outlined above, he could have written issues "280" - "300" in his best impression of 1991 Chris Claremont, then -- after clearing the decks of all his old plots as of 300 -- he could've moved on to new ideas and stories in the style of modern day Claremont. I believe this would have been fair to the readers and would not be too much to ask from Claremont.

Jason said...

Matt's idea is great.