From the Box – Uncanny X-Men Annual #10

From the Box – a look at issues that have been sitting in the comic boxes unattended for quite some time. Today’s edition:

by Chris Claremont and Art Adams

Much like today’s annuals, those of the 80s were giant sized issues that had little effect on the overall run of the title. Occasionally you’d get one major change out of the book, but other than that, the story would be largely forgettable. This issue’s main point is bringing in Longshot, fresh from his introductory mini-series. It also establishes Mojo as an X-Men villain, fresh off his appearance in the same year’s New Mutants annual.

As with most Mojo stories, it gives the writer (in this case, Chris Claremont) the opportunity to do pretty much whatever he can imagine to the characters. In this case, Mojo steadily regresses the X-Men (along with Magneto, Psylocke and Longshot) to infancy, then regrows them to adulthood, but in his image. The New Mutants, now decked out in strangely designed costumes (with Cypher wearing a Cyclops mask and Cannonball wearing pretty much what would become his original X-Force uniform) go after them and end up saving the day. It’s once again pounded into our skulls that Psylocke has bionic eyes granted by Mojo, but this is a storyline that ends up going absolutely nowhere.

The biggest problem here is establishing where in continuity this issue fits. The X-Men have a straight shot of issues leading into the Mutant Massacre, which heavily shifts the roster of the team. Psylocke does not appear in the regular issues of Uncanny X-Men until after Nightcrawler, Colossus and Shadowcat (all appearing in this book) have been taken out, and Longshot stays missing until afterwards. I guess that would place this in the downtime right before the attack on the Morlocks begins, especially since Colossus is wearing his original costume, rather than his sleeveless red one. It’s a mystery then, after having proven himself in battle here, that Longshot is not used in the fight against the Marauders. Or not even mentioned for that matter.

For the second year straight, art is provided by the amazing talents of Art Adams. I had a poster on my wall of his work for years and have a shirt featuring his amazing team shot featured in Classic X-Men #1, but his proportions are a little odd this time around. More than once, Cannonball’s legs make up 3/4 of his entire height, which makes him look like his pants are pulled up to his armpits. Costume designs for Wolfsbane and Sunspot are particularly bad, but I think that may well be the point. How did the kids find time to make costumes when they had to save the X-Men anyway?

This is an issue that does not try to take itself seriously with such a ridiculous concept. Claremont repeated the story in 2005, but it didn’t work out nearly as well, as it became a story of morales, rather than simply a fun issue. This one is nothing but ridiculous fun, and even though it’s not a particularly strong story, it’s definitely a fun read.

Jacob’s Retro Grade: B-


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