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The ’90s Revisited: Uncanny X-Men #319


uncannyxmen319Untapped Potential

Words: Scott Lobdell
Guest Penciler: Steve Epting
Inkers: Dan Green & Tim Townsend
Colorists: Buccellato, Becton, Hicks
Editor: Bob Harras
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: December 1994
Cover Price: $1.95

There’s something simply “familiar” about sitting and reading this issue, that brought back a lot of memories, and a certain feeling. This came out in late 1994–I was 13 at the time. (I’m 33 now). To that barely-a-teenager me, this was just another issue of an X-Men series I’d been following for over a year even as other X-books had lapsed.

Now looking back, this was a key issue on a number of fronts–primarily being a pre-prologue lead-in to Legion Quest, which itself was a prologue to the four-month Age of Apocalypse saga. This was–at least as I recall from having just re-read this issue but nothing earlier, recently–the issue Archangel and Psylocke officially became “a thing,” a relationship that carried across the next 16 or so years til The Dark Angel Saga in Uncanny X-Force a few years ago.

We have three main plots running through this issue: Rogue and Iceman are traveling to Bobby’s parents’ house for a visit. Bobby obviously has stuff eating at him, and Rogue tries to be a friend and get him to open up on the issues. She doesn’t get the greatest welcome from Bobby’s dad, though his mom tries to be a lot more hospitable. The visit overall does not go well, and Bobby storms out on some angry words. Rogue leaves as well with a calmer (but no less sharp) sharing of words.

Meanwhile, Warren (Archangel) and Betsy (Psylocke) are on a date that goes quite well, and leads to the two going back to Warren’s place and (verbally) officializing their relationship.

Finally, we follow Xavier in a dream in which he speaks to Magneto, reminiscing on their time in Israel some 20 years earlier. As the discussion progresses, Xavier begins to realize something isn’t quite right, as the dream moves from reminiscence to nightmare, resulting in Beast jolting Xavier awake–and Xavier explains that he fears his son Legion has recovered and is now more dangerous than ever before.

The art team presents a strong issue. The look was familiar, I had no problem recognizing any of the characters…and really, I quite enjoyed the way they looked. While I could not have said off the top of my head that Epting did the art for this issue, had done art (guest penciler or otherwise) on X-Men stuff from ’94, I recall the look of the issue, and as I re-read it this latest time, the only problem I had at all was disliking the shift from upright pages to “widescreen” pages where I had to physically turn the book in order to read a page. (Of course, I’ll take that over umpteen pointless double-page splashes).

Story-wise, this kept things moving, and while three simultaneous plots only allow a few pages for each, they were woven together well, and I didn’t feel any of them were particularly shorted or such–they and the issue as a whole just “worked.”

Back in the day, I was not familiar with Legion, so reading this the first time I doubt gave me any particular cause to think something big was up just from story context. I imagine I knew a bit about Legion and such, though, from other issues that flashed back, or at the very least from stuff about the then-upcoming “death” of Xavier and all that.

As noted above, I simply ENJOYED rereading this issue. It was cool to see Rogue and Bobby hanging out, and I recognized/identified with the two as they interacted, in a way I never did before. I’d forgotten about their time here, remembering only their “roadtrip” after continuity returned from the Age of Apocalypse stuff. And it was the characterizing of Xavier/Magneto’s relationship heading into the Age of Apocalypse that is certainly my favorite, and was at the time instrumental in DEFINING their relationship to me.

Though this issue works well enough just on its own–perhaps aided by my own memories–it’s also helped by my diving in here just before Legion Quest and remembering the impact that story had on me and looking forward to key moments and then the Age of Apocalypse saga itself.

One Response

  1. […] chapter…at least in my reading of it. The issue seems to be happening pretty much alongside Uncanny X-Men #319, though its labeling marks an official starting point from back in an age where stories were not […]

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