An Epilogue for Iceman [X-ual Healing 3/13/19]

We're late! Normally we publish this recap of all of the previous week's X-Books on Sunday, but thanks to Emerald City Comic Con, we had to delay it a day. Which, honestly, just makes for a more authentic comic book experience. Let's get right to the recaps…

Sworn to sell comics for Marvel executives who feared and hated the fact that Fox owned their movie rights, The Uncanny X-Men suffered great indignities, but with a corporate merger on the way, the X-Men can finally get back to doing what they do best: being objectively the best franchise in all of comics.

Marvelous X-Men #2
(W) Lonnie Nadler, Zac Thompson (A) Marco Failla (CA) Phil Noto
With the coming of Apocalypse and the X-Tracts, the world is shaken by something it has never faced before – rebellion! Can the X-Men quell the insurrection in the name of order? Or will the insidious teachings of En Sabah Nur undermine their hard-fought peace?
Rated T+
In Shops: Mar 13, 2019
SRP: $3.99

The X-Men arrive at a hippie love rally hosted by Apocalypse, flanked by Kitty Pryde and Genesis, with Apocalypse preaching to a crowd of followers about emotional and sexual liberation, even kissing his son on the head (a major offense). When the crowd starts to tear down a statue of Wolverine (who is dead in the Age of X-Man), X-23 loses it and attacks. While trying to stop the protestors, she has a flashback to training with Wolverine (from the real world?), which causes her to accidentally stab one of the protestors. Magneto pulls her away, and X-Man himself shows up to restore order. He doesn't have much luck though, as an enraged crowd attacks the X-Men. X-Man wants to use his powers to manipulate everyone into stopping, but Jean Grey tells him that wouldn't be right (oh, but rewriting the entire world is fine?). Magneto and Storm also seem to have a flashback to the real world before the rioting is stopped by… Apocalypse himself, who thanks the X-Men for attending his rally, tells them he loves them, and flies away.

Later, the X-Men debate whether they should crush Apocalypse and his cult, or let them be, with the team divided on the issue, but Colossus particularly in favor of crushing the opposition. X-Man says they need to let Department X know what's going on. X-Man and Jean meet with Psylocke and Monetta and they try to decide whether to shut down Apocalypse's dangerous ideas about love and sex. Conversation shifts to Kitty Pryde, and we cut to Colossus, who is at home painting a picture of Lockheed while obsessing over Kitty, which explains why he was so upset earlier: he's feeling guilty about his own feelings. Meanwhile, Magneto is drinking himself into a stupor to try to forget about the vision he saw earlier, but this only leads to more visions, this time of his daughter, Wanda, disowning him due to Marvel continuously retconning her parentage. He struggles to reconcile these memories that can't be real as Storm watches through the window. The issue ends here.

Is it rude of me to say that I'm just kind of waiting for this event to be over so we can get to the good stuff?

Apocalypse and the X-Tracts #1
(W) Tim Seeley (A) Salva Espin (CA) Gerardo Sandoval
X-Man has created a utopia for mutants…a utopia where no one knows love. Thankfully, a hero rises up to lead the rebellion against this way of life and teach the ways of family and romance, and he goes by the name…EN SABAH NUR?! Join Apocalypse and his rebel X-Tracts as they strive to teach the world to love again!
Rated T+
In Shops: Mar 13, 2019
SRP: $3.99

The issue starts with two mutants investigating a strange building where any libing things that come within 50 feet of it die, as evidenced by the circle of dead animals and birds surrounding the building. The mutants die too. In New York City, Dazzler, a beatnik now, gives a concert to a crowd of gracious hipsters. She's interrupted by an urgent call from Apocalypse. In Midtown, Kitty Pryde and Eyeboy investigate the site of what was once a Synagogue before the X-Men abolished religions. Kitty finds a menorah, which induces a flashback to the real world. Eyeboy tries to make out with her, but she recoils. He's all like, "but free love, babe," but she's like, "not with you." Kitty gets a call from Apocalypse too, so she hops on Eyeboy's Vespa and they speed off.

At the art gallery which serves as Apocalypse's home base, his son, Genesis, yells at a local hipster who misspelled a word on the flyer for Apocalypse's upcoming rally, but Apocalypse arrives and calms him down. Apocalypse is accompanied by Unveil, a mutant who shoots psychedelic visions from her boobs apparently. Along with Kitty, Eyeboy, and Dazzler, these four are the Light Riders of Apocalypse, a team that Genesis desperately wants to join. He gets his wish after everyone gets high off Unveil's fumes and Apocalyspe tells Kitty she will stay with him while Genesis joins the Light Riders to go and retrieve Omega Red, who has been imprisoned in the building from the beginning of the issue for decades.

But as we cut to Russia (and a PSA on the TV where Colossus stops two teens from having sex), Omege Red is already free and murdering everyone.

This book didn't do it for me at all, but your mileage may vary.

X-Force #4
(W) Ed Brisson (A) Dylan Burnett (CA) Pepe Larraz
• Ahab has returned to exterminate X-Force!
• What twisted scheme is Ahab conducting that has attracted the attention of X-Force?
• The team has begun to put the pieces together, but will they figure it out in time to stop mass genocide?
Parental Advisory
In Shops: Mar 13, 2019
SRP: $3.99

Picking up from where we left off last issue, Ahab strips the defeated Deathlok for parts, gaining a Tachyon Probability Generator that allows him to see the future… not that it's gonna do him much good. X-Force arrives at the Transian government headquarters to free all the imprisoned mutants, but unfortunately, they don't speak English so Boom Boom can't convince them to get in X-Force's van.  Meanwhile, the Transian President, pissed that Ahab murdered his mutant son, hops into a giant mech and sets off for revenge.

When Cable finds Deathlok and asks him if he found "her," Domino demands answers. Cable reveals he's been looking for Rachel Grey, who he wants to save because she's an inspiration to him. Shatterstar and Warpath fight Ahab, but they're interrupted by the Transian President, who attacks Ahab and sets off a massive explosion that severs Ahab's head from his body. Deathlok logs into Ahab's memory banks and finds memories of Rachel, who was handed off to the Transians. Meanwhile, the mutant prisoners have decided they don't want to escape, but want to stay and fight instead. After they round up the Transian military and throw them in jail, one of the mutants says that he has seen Rachel at the prison, but she was taken through the time portal and never seen again.

X-Force are about to leave when, suddenly, Warpath is speared through the chest by a glowing pink rod. Stryfe has come through the time portal, along with zero and three other henchmen. This story will be continued.

A lot of people complain about the art in this book, but I think it's fine. A bigger detriment is the pacing. The events of these four issues could have easily taken place in a single issue, getting to the Stryfe reveal we all saw coming much earlier. Hopefully things pick up from here.

X-23 #10
(W) Mariko Tamaki (A) Diego Olortegui (CA) Ashley Witter
• The mystery behind X-Assassin revealed!
• What will Laura and Gabby do when they come face-to-face with an army of genetically altered assassins?
• Gabby's life will forever change after this!
Rated T+
In Shops: Mar 13, 2019
SRP: $3.99

The issue picks up with X-23 confronting Doctor Robert Chandler and his army of X-23 clones. Chandler takes this opportunity to explain his plans in a classic villain monologue. The clones have damaged DNA, which prevents them from using Laura's healing power, but that's actually a good thing, because since they die, customers need to buy new killing machines all the time. Laura is not pleased with this, but there's not much she can do, up against hundreds of clones of herself.

Luckily, Honey Badger arrives along with the rescued clone from the past few issues, and they turn the tide. Chandler tries to escape in a helicopter, and Laura goes after him. Meanwhile, the good clone takes Gabby to the control room to show Gabby a kill switch for all the clones, which she explains Gabby needs to press to kill them all. But not until the clone has a chance to jump onto the escaping helicopter, throw Laura off, and kill Chandler.

Later, back at home, Laura orders some takeout noodles while Gabby finally comes up with a good code-name for her dead clone sister: Scout. Tragic!

X-23 continues to be one of the best ongoing X-books. The story of Scout was a sad one, but sad X-Men stories are often the best kind. Honey Badger is up there with the best X-Men characters around, which is impressive for a clone of a clone. Though it's quickly diverging from the stories in both Age of X-Man and Uncanny X-Men, which means either we're going to need a time jump after the next storyline to catch up, or the book is probably canceled after the next storyline. Time will tell.

Dead Man Logan #5
(W) Ed Brisson (A) Mike Henderson (CA) Declan Shalvey
• Sin and Miss Sinister have Logan in their clutches, and they won't be happy until his corpse is picked clean…
• Plus: The fate of Mysterio revealed!
Parental Advisory
In Shops: Mar 13, 2019
SRP: $3.99

Logan, Forge, Jubilee, Hawkeye, Glob Herman, and Mysterio invade the island base of Neo-Hydra. While storming the beach, they manage to blow up their blackbird, kill a bunch of neo-Hydra agents, and lose Mysterio. Mysterio heads back to his former colleagues on the villain team and warns them Logan is there (which they already knew). Sin and Crossbones are happy to kill some X-Men, while Miss Sinister is annoyed they screwed up her plan for world domination. When Sin and Crossbones head out, Mysterio cautions Sinister to stay behind. He then uses his powers to make the neo-Hydra lackeys see Logan and Jubilee and open fire. Crossbones jumps in front of Sin and takes all the bullets. Mysterio gloats, and he and Sinister leave.

The real X-Men show up, along with a bunch more Hydra agents, and a firefight breaks out. Logan and Hawkeye chase after Mysterio and Sinister, armed with a power dampening collar from Forge to neutralize Sinister's mental powers. Sin chases too, and she shoots Logan a bunch of times as Logan tries to inject regenix, also chastising him for being a junkie. She runs off and Hawkeye gives Chase, while Mysterio taunts Logan. Logan gets up and stabs him in the face, seemingly killing him. The other X-Men capture Sinister and Sin. They leave. A happy ending?

Not quite, as the Mysterio Logan killed was an illusion. The real Mysterio heads back to the psychiatric facility he was living in at the beginning of this series and vows never to leave again.

We're almost halfway through Old Man Logan's death. It should be annoying that it's taking this long to kill the old bastard, but we can't hate on a book with Jubilee, Forge, and Glob Herman in it.

Uncanny X-Men: Winter's End #1
(W) Sina Grace (A) Nathan Stockman (CA) Javi Garron
Iceman and the X-Men get a special visitor from the future! An older Bobby Drake has come to the present to tell him to give up being a super hero. But what could have happened that would change Bobby Drake from the X-Men's resident jokester to a morose mutant?
Rated T+
In Shops: Mar 13, 2019
SRP: $4.99

In Delaware, Iceman uses his Ice golems to rescue a town dealing with catastrophic flooding, but for thanks, he gets berated by a mutant-hating bigot on a rooftop. Bobby heads back to the Xavier school, where he gets a package from ex-boyfriend Judah: it's a copy of "Oh the Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss.  Also, his old student Spit Girl stops by to see him, give him a birthday gift (a toy snowman), and tell him she's quitting the X-Men because her saliva powers are useless. Iceman tells her she can't quit because she's not in the Iceman. Then he heads out to go to a party with the X-Men in Greenwich Village, but he is accosted by Ice Master, his future self, who tells him he is going to cause the destruction of the galaxy. Bummer!

Meanwhile, the other X-Men celebrate Iceman's birthday at a party at Java A-Go-Go, where Angel and Kitty reminisce about the good old days. Iceman's parents show up at the party, and his dad starts complaining about beatniks. Back at the school, Ice Master starts dropping some major spoilers about the future. It turns out Iceman will one day have an intense sexual relationship with Daken, and Daken will use Iceman to organize an attack on a Shi'ar ship controlled by Deathbird, claiming they plan to invade Earth. However, this was a ruse, as Daken is actually sleeping with both Deathbird and Erik the Red. They blow up the ship, killing the rest of the X-Men, and plan to steal the M'kraan Crystal. Except, wait a minute, that was a ruse too! Daken kills Deathbird and takes the crystal for himself, becoming a cosmic bad guy.

Iceman is not pleased to hear all of this, so he attacks Ice Master, and an ice battle ensues. Ice Master displays a new power: transferring his consciousness into one of his golems. Back at the party, Northstar and his husband, Kyle, show up at the party, and Northstar remarks on the fact that they only ever appear as part of ensemble books (and even then, not too frequently). A nice parting shot from writer Sina Grace. Emma Frost's brother Christian also shows up at the party, with a message for Bobby, but of course Bobby is not there yet because he's still battling his time-displaced alternate future self in Central Park, which is a thing that happens to X-Men all the time.

Jean Grey shows up, and this enrages Ice Master, who blames her both for revealing the existence of the M'kraan crystal to the X-Men during the Dark Phoenix Saga, and also for telepathically forcing teen Iceman out of the closet in All-New X-Men. Iceman takes over the lecture here and yells at Jean for what she did, but he doesn't stop there. It's time now for the airing of grievances. First, he complains about the ending to Extermination, where he was forced back in the closet for decades in order to save the timestream. And then…

Bobby says he's sick and tired of feeling guilty all the time, and if he's gonna destroy the galaxy in the future with his mistakes, so be it. He, Jean, and Ice Master then head off to the birthday party, having resolved their differences. Outside the party, Christian Frost gives Iceman a large check (amount unspecified) as a thank you for helping him find hope again. Inside, Bobby chats with his parents, freaking out his mom with yet another time-displaced version of himself, and receiving some advice from his Dad about parenting which applies to X-Men drama as well: do tomorrow like you could have done better today. After chatting with Bishop, Bobby knows what he has to do. He visits Morlocks leader Madin and tells her he's setting up a corporation in Delaware called Frostbite and he will use his money to help the Morlocks with whatever they need. After this deed, Ice Master is so happy he disintegrates, apparently wiped from existence by Bobby growing as a person. The issue ends with Bobby writing an email to Judah.

This issue served two purposes. First, it was an epilogue for the previous two X-Men series, and it did a good job of revisiting all the characters and plots from those and tying them together, as well as wrapping up some storylines from outside that run, such as the existence of Ice Master, who first showed up during Battle of the Atom, or addressing the issues between Bobby and Jean. Second, it served as a blueprint for where Iceman can go as a character in the future, an optimistic viewpoint with Iceman literally rejecting a dark future, perhaps where Grace would have taken him if Iceman had continued as a series. And let's not forget that, as a side plot, it told an entire epic space opera. For all of these reasons, Uncanny X-Men: Winter's End is the Wolverine's Weiner X-Pick of the Week.

Congratulations to the creative team.

Elsewhere in X-Stuff

It's Monday (since we're late) which means X-Editor Jordan White has already done his weekly Q&A at Adventures in Poor Taste, so go and read that here. There's no big shockers there this week, probably because Marvel is saving up all its big announcements for C2E2 this weekend. Of course, there would be a good headline if Chris Hassan would ask White why Chris Claremont is not allowed to write an ongoing X-book, but clearly he simply doesn't have the testicular fortitude to ask this question. Shame! Shame! Shame!

Rapper Kxng Crooked released a new freestyle track named after the X-Men character Bishop last week. The song doesn't appear to actually have anything to do with Bishop.

Age of X-Man writers Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler revealed their dream X-Men project as ECCC, a book starring Colossus and Magik going to Russia to fight monsters from Russian folklore. Todd Nauck also revealed his dream project, an Excalibur relaunch which Nauck has already discussed with Jim Zub. There was an Uncanny X-Men panel at ECCC as well, and you can read Bleeding Cool's report here.

That's all for this week! Next week we've got Amazing Nightcrawler #2, NextGen #2, Uncanny X-Men #14, and Wolverine: Infinity Watch #2.

Read more X-ual Healing here:

About Jude Terror

A prophecy says that in the comic book industry's darkest days, a hero will come to lead the people through a plague of overpriced floppies, incentive variant covers, #1 issue reboots, and super-mega-crossover events.

Scourge of Rich Johnston, maker of puns, and seeker of the Snyder Cut, Jude Terror, sadly, is not the hero comics needs right now... but he's the one the industry deserves.

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