As the lame duck session of X-Men continues into its final month, ahead of Jonathan Hickman's line-wide reboot of the franchise, more X-books came to an end last week. Plus, we've got a new Claremont comic this week. Yay! Lots to unpack here, six issues and over 3500 words of recap, so let's jump right in.
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.
War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men #3
(W) Matthew Rosenberg (A) Pere Perez (CA) David Yardin
The X-Men are under siege, holding the last refuge of humanity in Queens! Can they hold out through the endless winter of the war? Or will Sabretooth get his bloody revenge?
In Shops: Jun 26, 2019
In the final issue of this War of the Realms tie-in which takes place before Uncanny X-Men #16, which means we already know what happens to all of the characters before the ending, the X-Men, defending a stadium full of refugees, have a final showdown with Malekith's army of Frost Giants, led by Sabretooth. But first, we catch up with the soon-to-be-killed-off Rahne Sinclair, who has just been reunited with her baby daddy, Hrimhari the Wolf God, and their son, who were previously deceased themselves. Apparently, Hrimhari cut a deal with the Enchantress to come back from the dead and runite with Rahne, in exchange for all of them staying out of the War of the Realms. But this doesn't sit well with Rahne, because Sabretooth, working with Hrimhari, has captured Magik. Hrimhari decides he can probably work this in as a loophole so he tosses Sabretooth out the window of a skyscraper.
A few hours later, the rest of the X-Men meet up with Rahne and company, though Hrimhari explains they're just there to say goodbye before disappearing to live a normal life as a family. So the X-Men head back for the final battle at the stadium, though Rahne is not allowed to participate and Magik can't help much because the Enchantress has used a magic rock to block her teleportation powers, and it reacts harshly whenever anyone tries to turn it off. Sunspot, who has barely even been back in this book for an issue, decides he'll take the risk and crushes the rock, causing himself to explode and die. Then, the X-Men dress a bunch of Multiple Man dupes up in other people's clothing and trick the Frost Giants into chasing them into a portal to Limbo created by Magik.
Afterwards, they gloat about it to Sabretooth, who tries to kill Magik, causing Rahne to rip his throat out and Magik to decapitate him and kick his head through a portal so he can't heal. Unfortunately, this means Hrimhari and the kid have to go back to the land of the dead, though we know Rahne will be joining them soon anyway, so… not as tearful a parting as you might think. At the end, Dani Moonstar lines up the bodies of all the Valkyries for a funeral, but she's unable to escort them to Valhalla because her Valkyrie powers are fading away (there will only be one Valkyrie in the Marvel Universe until the next reboot, and it will be Jane Foster).
Look, we've actually been enjoying the Uncanny X-Men nostalgia tour, but the character killing is out of hand. It's gone beyond shocking to funny and now to just… meh. Sunspot died, along with how many other characters these last few months? Sabretooth is kind sorta dead? Do we really believe they'll all stay dead in the reboot?
Age of X-Man: X-Tremists #5
(W) Leah Williams (A) Georges Jeanty (CA) Rahzzah
THE AGE OF X-MAN CONCLUSION!
• Some X-Tremists want to know love.
• Some X-Tremists want to know freedom.
• But some X-Tremists… just want to watch the world burn.
In Shops: Jun 26, 2019
Last issue, Jubilee informed Northstar and Iceman (who had been partying all night with Rictor) and remembered their true lives that she just remembered she had a son and wanted to riot. In this, the final issue of X-Tremists, we get a flashback to explain how that happened. Jubilee's day started off with Nezumi breaking free from Department X's basement with the help of a thousand rats, which turns out to be her other mutant power. She's just had her baby, and she's not thrilled with Jubilee, but the kid sparks Jubilee, who remembers Shogo. Jubilee promptly heads out to find the X-Van, first checking on Blob and finding him cuddling with Psylocke (and sets his house on fire), and finally locating Moneta's corpse (revealed in last week's Marvelous X-Men). She grabs the keys off Moneta, robs a few stores, and brings the van to Nezumi so she can drive off into the desert.
Meanwhile, as Blob and Psylocke watch Blob's house burn, Psylocke reveals that she never really erased anyone's memories, but instead kept them safely locked in her head. She decides to return all the memories to everyone Department X has messed with, though they're all going to be pretty angry about it. Blob says he'll defend Psylocke no matter what, and indeed takes on an angry mob for her. Finally, Jubilee rendezvous with Northstar, Rictor, and Iceman, the last of which takes a little longer than the others to recover his memories. Once everyone is up to speed, they resolve to make everyone pay. To find out what happened to everyone, we'll have to read Age of X-Man: Omega.
It's interesting to see the different ways the various X-Books are handling the impending reboot. In Uncanny X-Men, they're killing off characters as quickly as possible, as if to say, @#$% it, none of this matters anyway. In X-Tremists, which has the luxury of being a 5-issue mini taking place in a sort-of alternate reality, we get a character study of the book's cast, each of them taken on a different journey which reveals something about their nature. And then there's the next book…
Mr. and Mrs. X #12
(W) Kelly Thompson (A) Javier Pina (CA) Terry Dodson
• Happily Ever After?
• Rogue and Gambit have had quite the year – will they finally be able to relax and enjoy marital bliss?
• Don't bet on it!
In Shops: Jun 26, 2019
In the bondage dungeon of the Thieves and Assasins Guild headquarters, Candra offers Gambit a choice: she can kill Rogue and Gambit can become king of both the Thieves and Assassins Guilds, or Candra can kill Bella Donna, and Gambit will be exiled from his home. She then has him stripped naked and chained up for a while for some internal monologuing. It also gives him time to remove the lockpick he had hidden in his skin. When the time is up, Candra tells Gambit to make a choice, and of course his choice is to unlock his power-dampening collar and shoot a supercharged spitball at her. While this is going on, Rogue also reveals she had a hidden lockpick, and she gets free too and releases Bella Donna. Rogue's powers have a brief freakout, but she reaffirms the control she learned during the last storyline. Then Gambit's dad shows up.
The heroes defeat and subdue Candra, Gambit reaffirms his status as King and leaves his dad and Bella Donna in charge of the guilds while he's off X-Manning, and he and rogue head for dinner at Tante Mattie's house. Later, back in New York, they reaffirm their love and commitment to each other.
The series that spawned from both the Rogue and Gambit mini and the impromptu X-Men Gold wedding switcheroo comes to an end this issue, and we're sad to see it go. Rogue and Gambit's relationship was kind of played out prior to the Rogue and Gambit mini, with a lot of layers of complication from years of romantic twists and turns. Rogue and Gambit (the mini-series) literally took the couple to counseling, then they got married, and then we got this lovely 12-issue series featuring… exactly the type of unique honeymoon you'd expect from these two. With the dust settled, we're left with a satisfying development in a decades-long romance plot, and two characters, having gone through a lot of trials, renewed and ready to enter the next chapter of their stories. Don't get me wrong, I really love what X-Tremists accomplished in the lame duck X-session, but of the four books that ended this week, Rogue and Gambit's method of handling the upcoming relaunch is my favorite. Hopefully, the character development here sticks.
That's right, I said four series ending this week, as we've still got…
Major X #6
(W) Rob Liefeld (A/CA) Rob Liefeld
The conclusion of a tale almost 30 years in the making – the fate of the X-Istance! The rise of the X-Ential! And the full identity of Major X himself!
In Shops: Jun 26, 2019
Rob Liefeld is back on art to wrap up this final issue of Major X, which means this book has gone FULL LIEFELD, and it is glorious. We start out with Deadpool invited to join the fight by an unseen person. Then we cut to the "present," which is a weird timeline where the X-Men are in their uniforms from just before X-Men Disassembled, but the Xavier Institute is in Westchester, instead of Central Park. Major X and M'Koy have arrived so that Major X could reveal himself to be Storm's son, but the group is promptly attacked by Namor, riding a giant Sea Serpent and shouting about facing the fury of his Leviathan, which is probably how he talks when he's having sex. Jubilee makes a crack about it being a "savage dragon." Get it? Savage Dragon? Lots of face-punching and gun shooting ensues as Aura, who was possessed by the consciousness of the X-Ential last issue, rapidly grows older.
Dreadpool goes after Jean Grey but an old-ass Cable with a giant beard arrives with Deadpool in tow to save the day. Deadpool and Dreadpool face off in a match for the agest, but it's Cable who lands the final blow on Dreadpool, punching him out with the sound effect "GROK."Deadpool removes Dreadpool's helmet and likes what he sees, but Dreadpool teleports away before we get to learn his identity. Cable cradles an unconscious Jean Grey and calls her his precious, and then Storm tells Major X that she can feel her motherly bond with him. They all agree to go kick Namor's ass.
Aura/The X-Ential calls her Sentinels to push Namor's leviathan back into the sea, but Major X, after being struck by Namor's trident lightning (Namor has trident lightning, and even bested Storm earlier with it), finally reveals his powers, which are to get all glowy and release an area-of-effect lightning blast from his body. The X-Ential lectures Namor, explains that she's a consciousness guiding mutantkind who exists throughout the ages, tells Major X he's stuck here, everyone he knew in the X-istence is dead, and his story is just beginning. Then she peaces out.
Storm invites Major X to stay and join the X-Men, but he's got places to go on his interdimensional motorcycle. Cable's gotta go too, and he's not going to tell Storm about the time they have sex in the future because obviously that would ruin the experience for her. The story ends… for now.
Absolutely superb. We've got a zero-issue coming up soon, but hopefully Marvel greenlights a 100-issue Major X ongoing in the post-Hickboot era, because there can never be enough of this.
Marvel Comics Presents #6
(W) Charles Soule, Tim Seeley, Ed Brisson (A) Paulo Siqueira, More (CA) Arthur Adams
Welcome to the 1990s, by far the most embossed, holographic and collectible era of them all! First up, that Adamantium foil
hero Wolverine gets a real shock during his Vigil! Then, Deadpool gets into the collectibles market at JUST the wrong time!
And finally, a new Marvel U status quo for Danny Ketch who caught fire as the Ghost Rider of the era!
In Shops: Jun 26, 2019
Part 6 of The Vigil kicks off Marvel Comics Presents #6, this time set in the 90s and featuring the X-Men in full 90s regalia. Since we last checked in on Wolverine's decades-long battle with demon Ron Killings, Wolverine has enlisted the X-Men, along with Alpha Flight's Talisman, to take down The Truth when next he appears. When Wolvie gets the call from Talisman, the X-Men suit up and head to Montserrat during the Eruption of Soufriere Hills, where The Truth promptly kills Cyclops, Talisman, and Storm, sending Jean Grey into psychic shock (though she says she can still "feel" Scott, so maybe all is not as it seems). Before Truth can kill more X-Men, Wolverine's daughter shows up and kicks his ass and sends him back through a portal.
Ok, so it looks like our speculation was correct and Wolverine did have a secret love child… which is making this book sell like crazy on eBay. Not sure how all of this fits into actual X-Men continuity though, considering this series has taken place in the actual decades the original era stories were told in, but Marvel time condenses those decades into a constantly shifting timeline to prevent Cyclops from being older than his mid-twenties. But hey, it's magic, they don't have to explain it, right? What a contrast from the next comic… but first, this issue also contains a Deadpool story making fun of the 90s speculator boom which was actually pretty funny, not always a given when it comes to Deadpool comics. There's a Ghost Rider story set in the present as well.
Wolverine: Exit Wounds #1
(W) Chris Claremont, Larry Hama, Sam Keith (A) Salvador Larroca, Scot Eaton (A/CA) Sam Keith
WOLVERINE LEGENDS, Chris Claremont, Larry Hama & Sam Keith REUNITE!
He goes by many names… Patch…Weapon X…Logan…but most just call him THE WOLVERINE. Join Marvel's greatest storytellers for three brand-new untold tales of the X-Men's deadliest member. Blood, broads, and blades… you asked for it, bub!
In Shops: Jun 26, 2019
Our final comic this week is a Wolverine one-shot where Marvel actually gives work to legendary creators, but only for short stories set in the past. Sigh.
The first story, "Red in Tooth and Claw," is by Larry Hama, artist Scot Eaton, Inker Sean Parsons, and colorist Matt Milla. All three stories are lettered by Joe Sabino. This is set in the time period of Barry Windsor Smith's Weapon X, and features Cornelius, Hines, and the Professor experimenting on Logan in the Weapon X tank as Logan relives painful memories of Sabretooth raping and murdering Silver Fox. They also field test Logan by having him kill some wolves as the Professor decides to keep some of the painful memories to help fuel Logan's rage. Next, they test him against a bear hopped up on PCP, but Logan doesn't see the bear, he sees Sabretooth, and he decapitates it. When Weapon X sends soldiers to subdue Logan, he slaughters a bunch of them too before they get him back into the lab. The Professor is pleased.
The second story, called "Aftermath," is by Chris Claremont, artist Salvador Larroca, and colorist Val Staples. It's set after the Kitty Pryde and Wolverine mini-series, which was, by the way, a fantastic mini-series. Actually, to be more specific, it's set between the "ending" and the epilogue in Wolverine and Kitty Pryde #6, as the first panel of the epilogue begins with the group reuniting with Kitty's father, and the first panel of Aftermath begins with Kitty talking about going to pick him up. Anyway, Logan, Kitty, and Yukio go on a road trip to Northern Japan after the ordeal with Ogun, visiting a woman named Hoshiko and her son who run a ramen restaurant. But there are local hooligans working for a competing ramen restaurant who want her recipe. Logan makes his own Ramen while Yukio notices that the kid has Logan's eyes.
After they eat some soup, the hooligans show up and don't respond to Logan's attempt to talk to them, so he kicks their asses instead. While the fight is happening, Kitty and Yukio check out photos on the wall and see that Logan appears to have been in Japan generations ago, where he had a kid with Hoshika's ancestor, passing his genes on down through the years until today. Good ol' Claremont, not gonna be outdone by Charles Soule of all people!
The third story, titled "Logan" is by Sam Kieth and colorist Ronda Pattison. This is just a fight between Logan and Venom, which ends when Logan purposely invokes a berserker rage to defeat Venom.
The first and third stories here were basically just showing off what the creative teams could do, with stories that didn't really add anything to continuity, but Claremont wasn't having any of that, using every meager opportunity Marvel gives him to contribute something that counts, something that enriches past stories and creates opportunities for future stories. No one does that better than Claremont. In this case, he gives Logan a family dating back generations, which creates all kinds of questions about what we know about Logan's history. (And just to note: I have purposely forgotten purged from my memory everything that ever happened in both Daniel Way's Origins and the original Origin mini, so I don't really care if and how this fits with that nonsense.)
To give you an idea of how much this seemingly simple story shakes things up for Logan, I'm going to share (with permission) a few paragraphs from an email sent to me from Nathan Adler, the purveyor of the How Would You Fix…? website (fanfix.wordpress.com), which contains a treasure trove of ruminations on Marvel continuity and proposed resolutions for dangling plotlines, with Claremont's X-Men the most well-represented category. It's always a pleasure to get an email from Nate because his analytical skills and historical knowledge of this stuff far surpasses my own, and I'm pretty much obsessed with X-Men comics, so that's saying something. Where I may notice one or two things, he'll notice two dozen ways in which a story weaves into the rich tapestry of X-Men history, the richest tapestry IMO in all of comics.
Anyway, here's what he wrote:
This story certainly pushes the flashbacks in Wolverine #10 back to the early 19th century at least, since it's obvious that Logan had yet to be trained by Ogun then. Chris intended Sabretooth to have named Wolverine after Mount Logan, which led most of us to believe that the northwestern frontier town placed the story as occurring during the Kluane Gold Rush which did not occur until 1903 and ended in 1904 (the Klondike gold rush beginning earlier in 1896).
The only frontier towns in the Northwest Territories inhabited prior to this were when the Hudson Bay Company had a monopoly in the area, so the late 1700s/ early 1800s.
In Uncanny X-Men #172, in conversation with Storm, Logan refers to himself as "…a roughneck Canadian mountain man", a term commonly used to refer to Canadian fur traders, scouts and explorers associated with the North West Company. Does this suggest Tim Truman's Wild Frontier story in Marvel Comics Presents was based on notes from Chris's Wolverine bible? And was Sabretooth working for the Hudson Bay Company given they tended to employ pirates as privateers and this was how he ended up in Canada (what with him being introduced by Chris as a "modern-day pirate" in Iron Fist #14)?
The story also places Silver Fox's death much earlier, so completely destroys Hama's "flash over substance" approach on Wolverine having her revealed as alive.
It also doesn't seem like Wolverine was a slave in Japan. That seems to point back to Canada or maybe Madripoor? But before he was trained by Ogun, since, I'd assume anyone battle trained wouldn't be a slave very long with Wolverine's abilities(claws or not). While in Japan with the X-Men (cf. Uncanny X-Men #118), Wolverine mused "I was a punk kid last time I was in Japan. I didn't figure on ever comin' back." It's interesting that in Classic X-Men #24, Chris changed this internal dialogue to, "I was a punk kid first time I came to Japan. An' the last time I left, I didn't figure on ever coming back." Was he attempting to reconcile Wolverine's statements about Japan before Logan's background had been more fully considered? You'll further note in Kitty Pryde and Wolverine #3 Chris has Logan note that his first trip to Japan was longer ago than he cared to remember which somewhat works with this latest revelation. As to why he didn't care to remember the period, was it because, like Kitty, Ogun had imprinted his psyche onto Logan's, creating a psychic clone of himself inside his skull, and broken his spirit? I therefore agree that if Logan trained under Ogun this early, it doesn't seem like he would have been enslaved in Japan. In Marvel Comics Presents #1, Logan admits he has been to Madripoor "…long before Logan became Wolverine" and in Wolverine #126 he further states "I was a punk when Seraph found me. All instincts, all muscle, no mercy, less brains. An animal on two legs, a predator". If Logan travels to Madripoor from Canada before Japan, does this however explain why he then travels to Japan? That is, given we know from Wolverine #127 that Seraph was dedicated to stopping the Hand, did she send Logan there undercover? This would suggest Logan had not been a slave in Madripoor. And given he seemed to make his way to Madripoor from Canada as a "punk" it seems further unlikely he had been a slave prior to this either.
So I'm not so sure now that it wasn't Japan. That is, we know Logan comments in Uncanny X-Men #238, when in Genosha, "I've been a slave. Didn't care much for it" and from Kitty Pryde and Wolverine #4, we further know from his words to Kitty that Ogun imprinted his psyche inside his skull and overwhelmed his spirit in an effort to turn him into a fully-fledged ninja, effectively a master assassin of the Hand. We don't know how long Logan was deepcover in Ogun's dojo for Seraph, but it could have been sufficient for his comment above.
See what I mean? All of that from a story that takes up a third of an issue. If only Marvel would let Claremont tell a story that lasted for more than a single issue, imagine what we could get? Unfortunately, the company just doesn't seem to want to let this happen, which remains totally mind-boggling to me. But you know, if Marvel won't let Chris Claremont write an ongoing X-Men comic, maybe they should ask Nate to write one. Just sayin'.
Wolverine: Exit Wounds, is, naturally, the Wolverine's Weiner X-Pick of the Week.
Congratulations to the creative teams, as this is surely the highest honor any of them have won in their illustrious careers.
This week's X-Men Monday over at Adventures in Poor Taste is focused on questions about people's favorite characters, which of course veers a little obscure. Read it here. Some big news: I'll be taking over that column in the near future by binding Twitter agreement between myself and Chris Hassan, so I'll finally get that Chris Claremont question answered. Chris still hasn't gotten back to me on the timeline, but I'm 100% sure this is happening.
See? Totally happening. You made the right decision, Chris.
If you're feeling a hankering, you should go and read Wolverine and Kitty Pryde, which is available on Marvel Unlimited.
And if you're interested in a deeper dive into Wolverine's sordid past, you won't find a more thorough chronology than the one at WolverineFiles.com. Go and check it out!
That's enough for this week, I think. Next week is a bit lighter, with just three X-Books in stores. And of course, we're just a few weeks away from the Hickboot, which as you know, means A TOTAL REBOOT FOR THIS VERY COLUMN! Stay tuned…
Read more X-ual Healing here: