I have no new issues coming out this week, so as to keep the reviewing flow going, I’ve decided to hop into the time-mobile and travel back 11 years and take a look at what books I would have bought back in June of 1999. Jeez – 1999 was 11 years ago? Ouch. This (that) month, we have (had)…
Uncanny X-Men #371 in which we get a needless crossover with the tech characters of the Marvel U.
X-Force #92 in which we take a brief moment to bring in a character from X-Men 2099.
Generation X #54 in which we get a big fight scene.
X-Men #91 in which we get more tech character crossover.
And that’s it. By this point, both X-Factor and Excalibur had mercifully received the axe and neither X-Force nor Generation X would make it another two years.
I usually would warn of spoilers, but come on – these are 11 years old. I’ll have them behind the jump anyway.
Uncanny X-Men & X-Men
This month actually sits us into a breather period for the two main X-Men titles. At this point, the divisions between the two titles had vanished, and they basically served as one bi-weekly X-Book. Alan Davis had taken over the plotting details and was between a time-hopping Skrull World story and the lead in to what would eventually be Apocalypse: The Twelve (the least important mega-important event ever). So here, we have Professor X acting like a huge dick to the X-Men and angrily setting the former members of Excalibur (Nightcrawler, Colossus and Shadowcat) back on Muir Island to find Douglock, whom they had politely left behind when rejoining the X-Men. This led to the X-Men’s crossover with the ‘M-Tech’ event in which Marvel attempted to launch a new line with its tech based characters. Unfortunately, no one was particularly interested in Warlock, Machine Man or a new Deathlok, so the line quite rapidly fizzled out.
Douglock was a character with a surprisingly decent shelf life – he had been introduced during the early 90’s crossover the Phalanx Covenant as one of the many dead X-Characters apparently brought back by the Phalanx. But it was evident right from the start that no one knew quite what to do with him, as despite giving him the personality and memories of the deceased Doug Ramsey, narration swore that it wasn’t actually him. Eventually, he was handed over to Warren Ellis on Excalibur, who made him his own character. But around this point, Marvel decided that the long-deceased New Mutants character Warlock would fit this line, so Douglock was revealed to actually be him rather than Cypher. And sure, why not? So we get two issues and an annual wasted on this whole mess while the other storylines sat and stewed.
Warlock’s solo book didn’t last long. As a fan of the old character, I was put off by the character himself – he neither looked nor acted like the old Warlock. After the title’s cancellation (after a whopping 9 issues), the character was cast off for years until he eventually returned back in his classic form.
John Francis Moore had a good idea when he took over X-Force from Jeph Loeb. Breaking them off from Cable, he set them on a road trip aimlessly travelling across the country. X-Force ceased being a bland book about mutant soldiers and became the sort of family book that its predecessor New Mutants had been. However, once the road trip ended, the book lost its focus and sort of drifted for a while. This issue, in between storylines, was a good example of that. It featured Domino, who was sort-of, not-really a member of the team meeting up with Halloween Jack, a cast member of the then-defunct X-Men 2099. If you don’t remember the 2099 line, you’re likely in good company. It had been Marvel’s attempt to set its own future (much like DC’s Legion of Super-Heroes family) but didn’t really go anywhere as it had little to connect the new characters with anything already established.
Just why Halloween Jack was picked to come over into the main continuity is beyond me, but apparently I’m not the only one who thought it wasn’t that good of an idea. To my knowledge, the character hasn’t been touched since. It should also be noted that during this run of X-Force, the main artist was Jimmy Cheung, who went on to make a name for himself with Young Avengers. Back then, he apparently could get a book out more often than once every four years.
I honestly am not sure as to what went down in this particular issue, as I don’t have it in my collection (my issues of Gen X skip from 32 to 70). I do, however, know that this was around the time that Generation X too had lost its identity and purpose. This was the dominant aspect of this period of X-Men comics, as the numerous X-Spin Offs were coming out just because they were supposed to come out. Case in point: Generation X had created a new class of mutant students, which had been a missing factor since New Mutants became X-Force. However, unlike previous (and future) incarnations of the premise, Generation X did not feature any notable X-Men for training, instead depending on brief X-Man Banshee and reformed villain (and all around bitch) Emma Frost for teaching. You might think landing Emma was a big deal, but it wouldn’t be until around 2001 that Grant Morrison would actually make Emma a must-have X-Character. Here, she was just a semi-evil bitch.
But eventually, even that concept came off the rails when, for some reason, the decision was made to open the school up to human students, forcing Generation X to hide their mutant abilities and thereby forbidding them from being themselves even in their own home. No, I have no idea why this was seen as a good idea either. The effect didn’t do much for the book, yet, like the god-awful X-Factor before it, the title kept coming out just because. This was during that period, and hence why I don’t yet have it in my archives. This was dropped during the whole “Counter X” mess that came with the return of Chris Claremont (more on that later), but by that point, the title was pretty much doomed. Generation X remains one of the least appreciated title in X-Mythos, perhaps second only to the original Excalibur…but at least that book was goofy as hell.
Next Month (retro)
- X-Force #93 has Dani Moonstar doing more quantum stuff.
- Uncanny X-Men #372 has Professor X acting like a dick.
- Generation X #55 revisits the death of the original Hellions.
- X-Men: True Friends #1 tells a previously unpublished Excalibur story.
- X-Men #91 has Professor X still acting like a dick, which breaks up the team.
Next Week (actual)
- Booster Gold #33 continues the ‘Bwah ha ha!’ run of Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis.
- Justice League: Generation Lost #3 moves forward with the (wrong) Blue Beetle.
- Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #2 has odd art and no place in continuity.
- Uncanny X-Men #525 gets Second Coming moving again after a week delay.
- X-Men Hellbound #2 continues the battle for Magik in Limbo.
- And no, Astonishing X-Men #34 still doesn’t come out.