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The ’90s Revisited: Uncanny X-Men #325

uncannyxmen325Generation of Evil

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Joe Madureira
Inkers: Townsend & Ryan
Colors: Steve Buccellato & Electric Crayon
Leters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Editor and Chief: Bob Harras
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $2.95
Cover Date: October, 1995

This issue always throws me, just from the cover. This is from that period of time when Marvel apparently thought the covers’ numbers didn’t matter and would have the issue’s number in tiny print somewhere in the UPC box, at the bottom of the cover, rather than somewhere near the upper part with the cover logo. For this cover, they actually hide all of that–the title logo folded to the inside, and the UPC to the back cover, so all you have is Storm, Colossus, and Wolverine attacking someone off-panel, and a tiny banner at the top specifying this as a Special X-Men Anniversary Issue. (20th anniversary of the “All-New” X-Men from Giant-Size X-Men #1)

While the issue opens on the X-Men playing baseball, the bulk of the issue features a “return” of Morlocks, apparently in the wake of some of their number taking on the name “Gene Nation” or such and executing terrorist acts around the city. Leader of the Morlocks Callisto shows up and explains it’s the “younger generation” that feels the older has failed them, failed to act–and seeks to rectify the issue. This also brings up Storm’s “history” as a former leader of the Morlocks (having once challenged and beaten Callisto FOR said leadership), and what that means for her in the face of the current situation.

Story-wise this is a solid issue; nothing horrible about it to me; but nothing fantastic, either. However, having the baseball game is a great moment…the sort I recall truly enjoying in the X-books…just seeing the characters relax and not have to be fighting the villain of the month/issue…I’d probably thoroughly enjoy a full issue that’s nothing but the characters just being who they are, interacting with each other; no villains or any particular antagonist, period. I like that the issue is definitely set in continuity, dealing with the history of the Morlocks, as well as keeping several subplots moving (Gambit, and Rogue/Iceman).

Visually this is a mixed thing for me: the style is a bit cartoony at points and feels a bit “off” to my sensibilities with these characters, and yet it totally brings back (good) memories OF this era of X-Men comics, and works in that regard.

For an issue fished out of a 25-cent bin, certainly well worth the purchase and reading. There’s no funky foiling on this copy, so I think this is the “newsstand” edition where the original copy I bought when it came out new I’m pretty sure was the “direct edition” or otherwise had shiny-ness about it. (Which works for my interest in “converting” FROM shiny covers to standard/newsstand editions for my various “runs” of series). It’s also worth noting that these days, this would probably be at least 2-3 variant covers, rather than the 4-panel wrap-around/fold-out this actually carries.

Given the lengthy role Marrow (I believe) went on to play in the X-Books, this is a good jumping-on point to see where she comes from and (presumably) changes. All in all quite a high-quality bargain-bin purchase!

Fatal Attractions Revisited: X-Force #25

Back to Front

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Art: Greg Capullo
Inkers: Wiacek, Green, Ryan, Palmiotti, Hanna, Conrad, Milgrom
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: George Roussos
Editors: Bob Harras, Tom DeFalco
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Dated: August, 1993

Twenty-five issues…big number, huh? Well…maybe not. I’ve seen this title repurposed for awhile, then renamed X-Statix and that ran for a couple years. Then post-Messiah-CompleX another X-Force ran for a couple years, and the current Uncanny X-Force has run about 30 issues. But y’know, back in the day, this was a common anniversary–a whopping 25 issues.

As with X-Factor #92, I re-read this and much of it was like I was reading it for the first time…certainly the first time with much comprehension of who these characters were. This was even before Cable first got his own series, which ran for over 100 issues (followed by Cable & Deadpool that ran about 50 and the more recent Cable series with Hope than ran about 25).

This issue seems to be the introduction of Exodus. A sticker on the bag this copy of the issue was in when I bought it stated “Exodus 1st App.” Back in the day, I didn’t pick up on that, and just thought he was another one of these “Acolytes” and didn’t dig or think any deeper. It’s also the “return” of Cable, apparently the first he’d shown up since the X-Cutioner’s Song crossover few months earlier.

The new mutants–the X-Force–return home from a mission. However, someone else is there–and the battle is quickly joined…though it turns out their mentor–Cable–has returned. Some are glad to see the man, others not so happy–but all listen as Cable explains a bit of where he’s been and what he’s learned since the events that seperated him from his pupils. Exodus arrives, inviting Cannonball and Sunspot to Heaven, but pre-emptively attacks the group for thinking of attacking him. Cannonball eventually agrees, but the team follows, and all find themselves aboard what apparently used to be Cable’s base, known as Graymalkin, with a sentient computer program called “The Professor.” After more fighting, Cable gets his young charges off the ship, and seeks to “rescue” the computer program that’s apparently been a father figure to him–and finds himself confronting an enemy all thought dead. This fight is much shorter, all but disassembling Cable before he escapes (nearly as a corpse) to rejoin X-Force.

As said above, I didn’t really “get” this issue when I first read it, when it came out. I recall (with a bit of deja vu) the ending with Cable, but not much else. I certainly lacked the context of Cannonball and Sunspot being part of the New Mutants prior to Cable’s 1st appearance and that title ending to be replaced with this one. I had not yet read X-Cutioner’s Song–or at least, not more than maybe a couple chapters (it was only about 6 or 7 years ago that I finally tracked the story down and read it all the way through) so I didn’t even have that context of what had happened to Cable, though from what trading card or another or Marvel Handbook/profile special (Stryfe’s Strike Files?) or Wizard or some such, I knew of Stryfe as being Cable’s clone from the future.

I hadn’t realized either, at the time, that Magneto had “died,” though from in-story context I picked up on the characters having thought him dead…but his death/etc was more of a “meta” thing than I was aware of as a 12-year old at the time.

This issue’s story is another that stands alone well enough, though it continues to build foundation for what I consider the “heart” of Fatal Attractions in X-Men #25 and Wolverine #75. The art is good, and somehow extremely familiar to me. This visual rendition of X-Force just is what it is, and I like it.

I’m a bit less impressed with the overall cover of this issue than I was with the X-Factor issue; but in a way the fairly close-up image of Cable with one of those HUUUUGE guns he carried is rather iconic, which makes this a more full cover from the front for me than the X-Factor issue. Of course, this cover (and the hologram) also totally gives away from the get-go that Cable is back, but especially near 20 years later, I’m not bothered by that at all.

I’ve snagged this issue from bargain bins–turns out I actually wound up with 2 copies of this issue for roughly $.75 total in the past month. Well worth getting, if only for the hologram, particularly if you can snag it from a bargain bin. Cover price was $3.50, which again is 50 cents cheaper than cover price of a standard Marvel comic nowadays, and this has a cardstock cover, hologram, and 48-ish pages (some of them ads).

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