Like all X-Men comics fans, we here at X-ual Healing spend pretty much all our free time thinking about how Marvel should manage the X-books. What? You don't spend all your free time thinking about that? What kind of fan are you?
Around the same time we started this column, this reporter also began a reread of legendary X-Men writer Chris Claremont's epic run on the X-Men, and we recently completed it with X-Men #3. Rather than continue to read every X-Men comic ever published in chronological order from that point (we'll start on that next week), this seemed like a perfect opportunity to a break and reread Claremont's X-Men Forever, which launched in 2009 and picked up right where Claremont left off after being driven out of the X-Books in 1991 by that idiot Bob Harras.
We've already written a few articles about how the ideas Claremont used in X-Men Forever are eerily similar to some of the ideas behind Marvel Comics' stories today. Was Claremont ahead of his time? Of course he was! Especially when considering that the ideas behind these stories were likely ones he was thinking about 20 years prior during his original run.
X-Men Forever's second volume concluded in 2011 with X-Men Forever 2 #16, wrapping up a storyline that made some major retcons to 1990's X-Tinction Agenda event. The book's characters were left in a vastly different place than they were when the series picked up after X-Men #3. A few of them were dead, for one thing. Sabretooth was blind and well on his way to becoming a hero. Rogue and Nightcrawler had switched powers. Kitty Pryde was thinking in Japanese and had taken aspects of the dead Wolverine's powers and personality. Cyclops and Jean Grey had a strained professional relationship after Jean was revealed to be secretly in love with Wolverine before his death, and then in love with Beast before his. A clone of Storm created by the Genegineer had murdered the Black Panther and taken over Wakanda, and the real Storm (her child body now reunited with her adult soul and changed back into the real Storm) had agreed to take over leading the country.
That's just a sampling. How often do we see that much story and character progression over the span of just two years in modern comics? It usually takes a new comic six issues just to put the team together and establish the status quo. X-Men Forever was special, underappreciated, and, perhaps most sadly, it left plot threads and storyline potential unfinished. Marvel has recently announced the revival of Uncanny X-Men with a 10-part weekly story by an ensemble creative team, which was exactly what we suggested they do with such a revival. However, the revival is sorely lacking in terms of the involvement of Chris Claremont, which seems foolish since Marvel pays him to be an exclusive writer but only actually has him write something once in a while, as with the upcoming X-Men Black: Magneto one-shot.
Hopefully, Marvel has plans to use Claremont after Uncanny X-Men's opening 10-week story is done. But if not, here's a suggestion: go get Tom Grummett and release an X-Men Forever 3. We can finally find out what Mister Sinister has planned for young Nathan Christopher Summers, who was en route to Sinister's lair in the final issue. For that matter, we can find out how he ended up not being sent to the future, something that was promised in a caption but never delivered. We can find out what was going with the evil clone of Wolverine. Oh, and there's the whole mutant burnout problem, which promised an early death for every mutant on Earth. Plus, whatever as-yet-unteased storylines Claremont might have had in mind for the book.
Yes, we're saying it's time for Chris Claremont to pick up where Chris Claremont left off in the series that picked up where he left off in 1991. In other words, we're suggesting that Marvel publish X-Men Forever Forever. What do you think?
Oh yeah, and we've still got a column to do… and X-Men Forever can be read on Marvel Unlimited.
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.
Welcome to X-ual Healing, Bleeding Cool's most popular weekly X-Men recap column! If you're new to this column, the basic premise is that Marvel puts out a lot of X-books each week, and it can get quite X-pensive to follow all the X-ploits of your favorite mutants. So in the event you chose to make a mortgage payment rather than buy every X-books on the stands this week, fear not! We're reading them all each week, and every Sunday, we'll tell you what happened in the ones you might have missed, make a few jokes about it, and link to Marvel Unlimited for some back issue research where applicable.
So scroll through the recaps below and get up to speed on what's happening. Then head to the comments and let us know what you thought about this week's X-books.
Hunt for Wolverine: Mystery in Madripoor #4
(W) Jim Zub (A) Thony Silas (CA) Giuseppe Camuncoli (CA) Chris Bachalo (CA) Terry Dodson
ONE OF THE X-MEN IS CHANGED FOREVER!
Past and present clash in final battle on an island of secrets and sin! What darkness lies within Sapphire Styx?
Can a ghost from the past save Psylocke from oblivion?
In Shops: Aug 22, 2018
In Mystery in Madripoor #4, Psylocke battles Sapphire Styx on the astral plane while doing some self-reflecting and transforming from her Asian self and into her original European… er, mind-body. In Sapphire's mind are fragments of everyone whose life energy she's ever drained. Eventually, she finds a shard of Wolverine's soul trapped there, one which was trapped when Sapphire first kissed Patch. There's no caption box to tell you when that happened, but X-ual Healing has got you covered: it was in Marvel Comics Presents #3.
Anyway, that's where Patch came from in the previous issue. Psylocke defeats Sapphire, shattering her to pieces, and reforms her own pre-Siege Perilous body. In the real world, the X-Men (Kitty Pryde, Jubilee, and Domino), with a little help from Magneto, free Storm and Rogue and then stop Viper's missile launch. The X-Men convince Magneto not to kill Mindblast, who had imprisoned and impersonated him earlier in the series. Afterward, everyone contemplates taking place in a pointless mini-series when Kitty reveals that they've learned the name of the organization looking for Wolverine: Soteria. But for more on that, you'll have to check out Hunt for Wolverine: Dead Ends. The best part of this comic is the ending, in which Asian Psylocke… or is that Kwannon?… is revealed to be alive at the rocket launch site.
Hunt for Wolverine: Mystery in Madripoor #4 wraps up the final Hunt for Wolverine mini. Did they find Wolverine? Well, no, of course not. They also will not find him in the Hunt for Wolverine: Dead Ends one-shot. Wolverine will remain lost until Return of Wolverine hits stores, so these minis have really just been treading water (while collecting money, of course). At least here we got some character progression for Psylocke though.
X-Men Gold #34
(W) Marc Guggenheim (A) Michele Bandini (CA) Phil Noto
• Storm must battle a mysterious figure from her past!
• But with the true nature of Stormcaster revealed, can Storm trust her powers anymore?
In Shops: Aug 22, 2018
X-Men Gold #34 starts off with a flashback featuring the death of Storm's parents during a bombing in Cairo when Storm was a child. In the present, Storm has been reunited with her dead parents by the evil god Uovu. In New York, Magik drops in on Kitty during a fight with some Mandroids to talk about wedding stuff. Kitty absolves Illyana of any responsibility for breaking up her wedding to Colossus. In Kenya, Storm sneaks into a tunnel and finds a catacomb full of the preserved bodies of dozens or hundreds of villagers, behind kept for some nefarious purpose. She tells her parents to get out of town and goes to confront Uovu, who decides she needs to die. He raises all the dead villagers as Storm summers her Thor hammer, Stormcaster. Unfortunately, she is apparently no longer worthy. The issue ends with a mob of zombies, including Storm's parents, closing in on her, which won't be good for her well-known claustrophobia.
It's nice that the final issues of X-Men Gold have been focusing on Storm, the greatest X-Men leader, who has had to take a backseat to Kitty in X-Men Gold and Jean in X-Men Red. The X-relaunch approaches, and this hopefully means she'll play a prominent role in the coming era, that so long as the bloodthirsty Uncanny X-Men creative team doesn't kill her off.
X-Men Red #7
(W) Tom Taylor (A) Carmen Nunez Carnero (CA) Jenny Frison
• To escape his present, Magneto travels to the future!
• But even 20 years later, there will always be X-Men…
In Shops: Aug 22, 2018
Wait, what? Pretty sure that's the solicit for X-Men Blue, PreviewsWorld. Here's what X-Men Red is about:
Attack on Atlantis! One of the X-Men's greatest foes comes calling on the undersea kingdom, determined to bring about their end!
X-Men Red #7 begins with an attack on Atlantis, where Jean Grey, Gentile, Storm, and Namor are hanging out, by Teen Abomination, who's been infected with one of Cassandra Nova's nano-sentinels. Gentle is eventually able to stop him by punching him straight out of the ocean, where Storm uses her lightning to short-circuit the sentinel. Meanwhile, X-23, honey Badger, Gambit, Trinary, and Nightcrawler infiltrate a plane carrying the new British ambassador, who has also been infected and attacks them, shooting Trinary. As Trinary loses control, her pet sentinel crashes into the plane, but Gabby is able to stabilize her in time for her to regain control and save the day. She also disables the sentinel and explains to the ambassador what happened, getting him to hand over the smartphone of the previous ambassador (who was murdered by Cassandra Nova, the blame left on Jean).
Thank goodness all our devices are spying on us all the time because the phone contained a recording of the murder, which the X-Men broadcast to the world to clear Jean's name as she delivers an inspiring speech about how the X-Men will stand up against hatred.
Life imitates art?
I believe comics are for everyone.
There is no excuse for harassment.
There is no place for homophobia, transphobia, racism or misogyny in comics criticism.
— Tom Taylor (@TomTaylorMade) August 26, 2018
Here's the thing about X-Men Red. X-Men Red's monthly schedule in a bi-weekly, soon to be weekly world has left it bizarrely out of sync with the rest of the X-Men comics. Where does this fit into the timeline? How are characters like Storm, X-23, and Honey Badger in multiple places at once? Marvel is going to have no choice but to make all the X-Men comics published weekly if we're ever going to make any sense out of this. You'd all be down for that, right?
Old Man Logan #46
(W) Ed Brisson (A) Damian Couceiro (CA) Andrea Sorrentino
INDESCRIBABLE…INDESTRUCTIBLE…NOTHING CAN STOP IT!
• When a mysterious unidentified flying object crash lands in the Yukon, Old Man Logan is called to investigate!
• What lies within? Whatever it is, it won't come in peace!
• THEN: Logan's declining health takes a turn for the worse…
In Shops: Aug 22, 2018
Old Man Logan #46 sees Logan catch up with Alpha Flight in Canada, both to get a second opinion from Shaman on his medical condition (yup, still dying!), and to help them investigate a strange occurrence in Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia, with a bunch of purple vines growing all over a town and all the people going missing, including anyone sent to investigate. Besides Shaman, Puck is the only other Alpha Flight member Logan tells he's dying. Puck tries to talk him out of it, but Logan knows that Return of Wolverine mini-series is right around the corner.
Alpha Flight eventually locates the nexus of the infection, but in a surprising show of good judgment and caution for a superhero team, they decide not to just blow it up, lest it release spores or something. Guardian heads back to Alpha Flight's ship to study the vines, while Logan and Puck go out to look for survivors, eventually happening upon a group of people holed up in a shop who have been keeping the vines at bay with weedkiller spray. The commotion activates the vines, which attack at both locations. Snowbird rescues Shaman from the vines and charges to meet up with Logan and Puck, taking the form of a polar bear. Careful: Logan likes to wear the skins of polar bears so much he even has them imported to Antarctica!
The issue ends with the central cluster of vines growing several stories high.
The last few story arcs in this series have felt like Old Man Logan's retirement tour, playing all his old hits one last time before dying (in a 12-issue Dead Man Logan maxi-series). It would all be a lot more sentimental if the original Wolverine wasn't set to be back before Old Man Logan dies. How can we miss you if you never leave, Logan?!
Mr. and Mrs. X #2
(W) Kelly Thompson (A) Oscar Bazaldua (CA) Terry Dodson (CA) Jen Bartel
LOVE & MARRIAGE PART 2!
ROGUE and GAMBIT find themselves tasked with protecting a mysterious package that everyone in the galaxy suddenly seems to want. Why does everyone want this thing and WHAT exactly is it? Perhaps more importantly, is there anything worse than Deadpool crashing your honeymoon? Yes! There is something worse! TECHNET crashing too! Man your battle stations, people — it's absolute honeymoon mayhem!
In Shops: Aug 22, 2018
Rogue and Gambit's honeymoon continues in Mr. and Mrs. X #2. In the previous issue, Rogue was rescued/kidnapped by Deadpool, along with a mysterious package they were sent to retrieve, leaving Gambit, the Shi'ar Imperial Guard, and Cerise to form a truce and go after them. The Guard isn't playing games and decide to shoot down Deadpool's ship, so Cerise makes a deal with Gambit, activating a hidden teleportation device to extract both herself and the Guard, leaving Gambit to save Rogue and get the mysterious package, which has been revealed to contain a mysterious egg. Deadpool's ship crashes, and Rogue and Deadpool exchange witty dialogue. Deadpool wants the egg, because it's worth a lot of money. Gambit eventually arrives, and before they can decide who gets the egg, Captain Britain/Excalibur villains the Technet show up.
A fight ensues, filled with all the British weirdness one expects from the Technet and all the witty banter one expects from Deadpool with a side of rivalry over Rogue's affections thrown in for good measure. Rogue, Gambit, and Deadpool win eventually, and they take the egg back to their ship to continue arguing about who gets it. It's a moot point, however, as the egg hatches, and it appears to contain some kind of clone of Rogue. Deadpool thinks it's kinky, and we never kink-shame here in X-ual Healing.
Deadpool is actually… funny… in this comic. We actually laughed at a few of his jokes, something that almost never happens. This creative team must have mutant powers of their own, the power to make Deadpool funny. Marvel better put a ring on it. Books like this one give us faith in the coming Uncanny X-Men relaunch.
That's all for this week! Check out previews of next week's books here, and come back next Sunday to find out what happened in them.
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