The Nightmare Before X-Mas (Or: Show Us Your O-Face, Greg Land) [X-ual Healing 11-21-18]

It's an interesting time to be an X-Men fan, both because of all the X-citing comics that are headed our way in the near future and also because the nature of the business in the internet age means we know so much about them. Thanks to so many books with weekly and bi-weekly publishing schedules, as well as the pre-order demands of the direct market, we know a little bit about what to expect through Uncanny X-Men #11 and #12 through February, including what appears to be most of the X-Men getting sent to some kind of utopian alternate timeline called the Age of X-Man while a returned Cyclops and a returned Wolverine rebuild the X-Men from the ground up.

That means that even though we're only at issue #2 of Uncanny X-Men, we're still reading many of the titles that we already know have been canceled ahead of the next X-era, and the Extermination event that's set to kill or otherwise get rid of the time-displaced teenage X-Men is still happening (thanks to a delay), we already know that we can expect misery for our beloved mutants until at least the Summer, with the X-Men Disassembled storyline running through Uncanny X-Men #10 and the Age of X minis after that running for 5 issues and starting in February. On top of that, there's the "huge" X-over Rob Liefeld has been talking about, which is sure to rock the X-Men Universe to its foundations and all that.

So, realistically, we're not looking at the X-Men being triumphant until at least next Fall, and the X-writers are going to make them suffer for that entire time.

It's okay, Matt. We love the pain. It's what being an X-Men fan is all about.

Did you catch our Very Lobdell ThanXGiving 2-part holiday special? Check it out recaps of 1993's Uncanny X-Men #308 and 1997's Generation X #23 here and here.

We here at X-ual Healing want to wish a very happy birthday to the great Chris Claremont, who turns 68 today. Hopefully Marvel will reward fans with a Claremont birthday present by announcing him as the writer of an ongoing series soon. Like, seriously guys, what the hell?!

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.

Uncanny X-Men #2
(W) Ed Brisson, Kelly Thompson, Matthew Rosenberg (A) R. B. Silva (CA) Leinil Francis Yu
New ongoing series kicking off with a 10-part weekly epic, the flagship X-Men series that started it all is back and better than ever! Starting with a mysterious and tragic disappearance, the X-Men are drawn into what might be…their final adventure?! X-Fan favorite writers Ed Brisson (EXTERMINATION), Matthew Rosenberg (PHOENIX RESURRECTION) and Kelly Thompson (MR. & MRS. X) and all-star artists Mahmud Asrar (X-MEN RED), R.B. Silva (X-MEN BLUE), Yildiray Cinar (WEAPON X) and Pere Pérez (ROGUE AND GAMBIT) join forces to bring you…X-MEN DISASSEMBLED?!
Rated T+
In Shops: Nov 21, 2018
SRP: $3.99

The Beast calls a meeting of the X-Men in his lab at the Xavier Institute to talk about strange occurrences all over the world. Dinosaurs, giant sharks, wooly mammoths, that sort of thing. He believes these are all connected, as well as the strange rain in Africa from last issue (and from that Toto song) and the disappearance of Kitty Pryde and the reappearance and subsequent disappearance of crazed Jamie Madroxes. Beast's scientific explanation for all of this is basically "weird stuff goes together." Jean wants Beast to take a team to Montana to deal with the dinosaur attack, but he declines due to "a pressing commitment." He probably wants to go steal the cure for mutants so he can use it on himself again, that traitor. Storm agrees to lead the team instead while Jean hits up Cerebro to try to find their missing teammates, but she soon locates a mob of Jamie Madroxes swarming Kansas, so she splits the team in two to deal with both threats.

Storm, Cannonball, Psylocke, Jubilee, Polaris, and Nightcrawler head to Kansas while Jean, Bishop, Iceman, Northstar, and X-23 go to Montana. Meanwhile, back at the mansion, the youngest X-Men (the ones who are still conscious after last issue) are mad about being left behind. Beast, as predicted, heads to North Carolina to steal the cure for mutants. In Kansas, the X-Men try to reason with the Madroxes, but their minds are still all muddled and they keep apologizing while simultaneously trying to kill everyone as chaos breaks out. Meanwhile, in Montana, the X-Men there take care of the dinosaurs, including X-23 getting eaten by a T-Rex and cutting her way out, as is customary.

Back at the mansion, crowds of protestors have gathered, causing Rockslide and some of the other mutants to consider going outside to confront them, but a man walks through the crowd and knocks on the door. It's Legion, wearing a suit, and claiming he's there to save the day. The story will be continued next issue.

The cracks are starting to form here, between Beast's secrecy, the animosity building amongst the X-teens, and of course the apocalyptic events occurring all over the world. And it's only going to get worse from here. And continue getting worse and worse!

Astonishing X-Men #17
(W) Matthew Rosenberg (A/CA) Greg Land
• It's X-Men vs. Reavers vs. Sentinels!
• But in this battle royale, who will come out on top?
• And will Havok finally prove himself to be the X-Man he claims to be?
Rated T+
In Shops: Nov 21, 2018
SRP: $3.99

The issue opens with the X-Men dead at the hands of the new Reaver-controlled sentinels. That's it, folks! Pack it up. Comic's over. Oh, wait, they're actually still alive, with Dazzler having used her powers to create light-based illusions of the X-Men for the Reavers to kill, something Beast points out the Reavers only believed because they were used to trusting their eyes rather than their sentinel tech (but aren't they already cyborgs? Wouldn't they already be used to… you know what, never mind). After that, Havok wants to call it quits, admitting he's failed at leading this team of misfit X-Men, but it turns out the Reavers are now taking their new toys to the Xavier mansion to kill the rest of the X-Men, leaving this team with one last mission. They arrive on the scene mid-battle, not that it helps much, before Banshee returns, sonic screaming right through the chest of one of the sentinels. Unfortunately, Reaver Skullbuster uses his new technology-assimilating powers to take over the nanobots in Banshee's body that have been controlling his death seed, causing Banshee to freak out and begin screaming. Luckily, Dazzler's power allows her to absorb sound and convert it into light energy, so she takes everything that Banshee has and then releases it to destroy the Sentinels.

For the first time since this run started, Banshee finally speaks words, apologizing for the screaming. He tells Beast that he no longer wants to work with him on this problem, and instead wants to face the death seed on his own. He flies off. Colossus, meanwhile, declines an opportunity to talk with Kitty, the pain of their bait-and-switch wedding still too real. Dazzler and Havok have a heart-to-heart, each encouraging the other to realize they're not as bad as they believe and stop the self-loathing. But it's time to go, because the O.N.E. are about to show up and arrest the Astonishing X-Men. Kitty lends the team a Blackbird to escape and confronts General Callahan, who wants to search the X-Mansion for the fugitives, but Havok walks out and blasts them with his plasma powers. It turns out that Havok had Dazzler create an illusion of himself on the blackbird so the other X-Men would think he was with them, but he stayed behind to cut a deal, offering to surrender to the O.N.E. if Callahan promises not to bother the other X-Men anymore. Callahan agrees, and Kitty is so grateful, she promises to get him out and even calls him an X-Man, something she's been denying him for this entire storyline. After he's taken away, she confides in Warpath that though he may be an X-Man, Havok a crappy leader, but Warpath disagrees, saying he'd follow Havok anywhere.

And that's it. The issue ends with a letter from writer Matthew Rosenberg talking about what the X-Men mean to him, and blah blah blah, we get it, Rosenberg, you're living the dream, you bastard. In celebration of Matthew Rosenberg and Greg Land's short but sweet run on Astonishing X-Men, we'd like to present a little segment we like to call "Show us your O-face, Greg!"

Those are all just from this issue. And with that, we can't deny that Astonishing X-Men #17 is the Wolverine's Weiner X-Pick of the Week.

Congratulations to the creative team.

Mr. and Mrs. X #5
(W) Kelly Thompson (A) Oscar Bazaldua (CA) Terry Dodson
• Gambit and Rogue's honeymoon/mission has been crashed by the likes of Deadpool, the Imperial Guard, the Technet, Deathbird, Shi'ar rebels…
• …and now the Starjammers! Best honeymoon ever?
Rated T+
In Shops: Nov 21, 2018
SRP: $3.99

In the previous issue of Mr. and Mrs. X, Xandra and Rogue were apparently disintegrated in the middle of a battle between the Starjammers, the Imperial Guard, and the forces of Deathbird for control of Xandra, who is the genetically-engineered daughter of Professor Xavier and Lilandra Neramani, and thus very important to Shi'ar politics. This segues immediately to a flashback of the battle, in which Rogue realizes that they're going to lose, so she hatches a plan with Xandra to make it appear as if they were killed, causing everyone to pack up and go home. She then reveals herself to a grieving Gambit, who is none too pleased with her keeping secrets from him. Relationships are all about honesty, especially in the midst of intergalactic space battles.

Rogue and Gambit's argument hits a roadblock when Rogue's powers spin out of control and begin absorbing the powers and personality of everyone around her… without touching them! Gambit, whose mind is always in the gutter, reminds Rogue to put on the power restricting collar they've been using for sex to stop her powers. Cerise and Xandra teleport off to get the spaceship while Rogue and Gambit talk about what just happened. Rogue is worried that, with her powers more out of control than ever, maybe her marriage to Gambit cannot work. Gambit, however, has two wedding rings that Bling made for him, and they put them on. Later, Xandra and Cerise decide to hide out somewhere for a while until all of this blows over, and Rogue and Gambit go home to their apartment in Tribeca. They decide that what they need to do next is throw a party, since they never got to have an engagement party, having gotten married on a whim after Marvel bait-and-switched a Kitty/Colossus wedding. That'll happen next issue.

We've gotten used to Oscar Bazaldua and Frank D'Armata's X-Men IN SPAAAAACE, and now we get to see the book shift back to Earthly scenery. Is this the X-book with the best-looking art on the stands today? It would be hard to argue against it. And Kelly Thompson's writing is so much fun, it's even gotten us to start reading West Coast Avengers. An Avengers comic! We feel so dirty. Not in a Greg Land kind of way.

Weapon H #10
(W) Greg Pak (A) Guiu Vilanova (CA) Philip Tan
Weapon H and his team finally discover Roxxon's power source inside Weirdworld: sorceress Morgan le Fay! And she is not happy about her new role as a Dario Agger's backup generator. Roxxon has more than light bulbs up it's sleeves, though – and Weapon H is about to learn how dangerous Agger can be.
Rated T+
In Shops: Nov 21, 2018
SRP: $3.99

Weapon H has lead half his team — Blake and Angel — into Weirdworld to rescue some Roxxon employees, only to find a scientist named Dr. Espinoza holding Weirdworld queen Morgan le Fay captive, using her to generate energy for Roxxon. The queen wants Weapon H to free her and join her. She says she was the only one keeping Weirdworld protected from the Skrullduggers, and she also shows Weapon H visions of his past, revealing not only the times he's proud of, like when he stood up to his fellow soldiers to prevent them from committing war atrocities, but also all the times he quietly went along with it. But le Fay can make all of those bad memories go away and prevent his wife and kids from learning about them as well. She can also change Weapon H's little buddy Blake back into a human from a Brood-thing. This trip down memory lane is interrupted when Skrullduggers burst in the door. Elsewhere, the rest of Weapon X's team — Korg, Titania, Man-Thing, and local blue alien leader Haru — realize that all the Skrullduggers are leaving the village they've been attacking and heading to the facility where Weapon H and Morgan le Fay are.

At the facility, le Fay has reverted Weapon H to his human form, which isn't very useful against Skrullduggers. Blake snaps him out of it, and he quickly seals the door. Roxxon mercenary Angel tries to talk Weapon H out of helping le Fay, but le Fay reveals that Angel is actually the Black Widow, sent to spy on Weapon H by Captain America. Realizing that Captain America doesn't really trust him after all, a tearful Weapon H frees Morgan le Fay, and the issue ends with them heading off to conquer the world.

Weapon H joining the dark side? Guess that explains why Wolverine and Hulk are teaming up to take him down in the upcoming Hulkverines mini-series.

Weapon X #26
(W) Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente (A) Luca Pizzari (CA) Rahzzah
Weapon X-Force needs to go to hell! But the only one who can take them there is the devilish lothario called Azazel! He can…but will he? It'll take every trick in Mystique's book to make him see the light!
Rated T+
In Shops: Nov 21, 2018
SRP: $3.99

Last issue, Azazel killed Sabretooth by cutting his head off, granting his request (along with the rest of Weapon X-Force) to be sent to hell so they can kill the demonic William Stryker. Sabretooth wakes up in a hospital where his healing factor isn't working and he has no insurance, which is definitely a kind of hell. Sabretooth's nurse isn't actually a nurse, but an accountant, and actually she's the Morlock Many-Face, one of many Morlocks and non-Morlocks Sabretooth has killed during his career. She shows him a list of all the bad things he's done, as well as the few good things he's done since turning into a good guy during the AXIS super-mega-crossover event. Getting out of bed to locate the source of some screaming, Sabretooth finds his and Mystique's long-dead son, Graydon Creed. There's no mention of how he was also some kind of zombie working for Soteira in the Hunt for Wolverine mini-series, but those books didn't even try to make sense in continuity, so why should Weapon X return the favor?!

Elsewhere in hell, Deadpool is bombing as a stand-up comic, which is his hell. Domino is in the audience, pointing out that listening to Deadpool's jokes is her hell. We don't get to see what Omega Red and Mystique's hells were like because they enter the picture by bursting through the wall of the comedy club, gathering Deadpool and Domino to find Sabretooth and kill Stryker. X-pository dialogue here reveals that Lady Deathstrike and Monet stayed behind to keep Azazel honest. They find Sabretooth, who is dragging Graydon along with him, determined to extract him from hell. Then they run into Marduk Kurios, who was last seen, we're pretty sure, back during the Wolverine Goes to Hell storyline in Wolverine Vol. 4 (read it on Marvel Unlimited).

While it's perfectly fair, in Hell terms, for Weapon X to find loopholes to travel to hell, Kurios is none too pleased that they're trying to steal a soul as well (Graydon's). Nevertheless, he's not going to stop them. Instead, he points them in the direction of William Stryker's castle, revealing that Stryker's hell is his own hate, which he is constantly consumed by, brought back to life over and over again to try to kill all mutants, perpetuating an endless hate cycle not unlike American politics. They'd better hurry up and stop him, because The Vanisher, who leads a cult dedicated to Styker for some reason, has gotten stoned on Colorado's legal weed and is now leading the cult to commit suicide to bring Stryker back again. This story, and this comic, conclude next issue.

And we'll be sad to see it go. Though the X-Force relaunch covers some similar areas, there isn't really another X-book that focuses on the villains, at least not one that's been announced yet. But we've got one issue left to enjoy it!

That's all for this week, folks. Hope you had a lovely Turkey Day, and we'll see you next Sunday.

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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