- Uncanny X-Force #5.1 in which the team heads after the Reavers.
- Uncanny X-Men Annual #3 in which we get some pointless hijinks.
- X-Factor #217 in which we get trouble for J. Jonah Jameson.
We’ll begin after the jump. There will be SPOILERS.
Marvel’s current Great Idea is the “.1” issues in which some of the bigger titles get a standalone issue that serves to give readers a feel for the title. I would disagree with calling it a “jumping on point” since this issue falls between parts one and two of a new story arc. It would have been better to put it between #4 and 5. But whatever. To give readers a feel for something like X-Force, the title would need to roll out some overly expendable villains to be killed off. And thus we get a reappearance of the Reavers, now under the leadership of Lady Deathstrike.
Back in the late ’80s, the Reavers were a pretty big deal. Serving to replace the Marauders as the team the X-Men should most be fearing, the Reavers were meant to be a big deal, but never really got around to doing much. Their only noteworthy kill was Stonewall, the second-most forgettable member of Freedom Force (behind Super Sabre) during an attack on Muir Island in which the X-Men’s supporting cast fought them off. Before they could do much else, the whole group (save Lady Deathstrike) was killed off by Trevor Fitzroy in an attempt to make the Upstarts seem like a big deal. Before you question how they could be here, it was sort-of-but-not-really explained in an X-Treme X-Men annual that since they were cyborgs, Donald Pierce could simpy rebuild them. And there you go.
Though it’s supposed to be an introduction to X-Force, this is really a Psylocke story as the plot focuses on what the Reavers ultimately cost her through their actions. As the story went, the last remnants of the Australia-era team (Psylocke, Colossus, Havok and Dazzler) returned home for Psylocke to discover the Reavers had retaken their former base and were waiting to attack. Seeing no other option, Psylocke mentally influenced the team to disband and go throught the Siege Perilous which scattered them throughout the world, landing her in Madripoor where she was captured by the Hand for the whole Kwannon mess. The story doesn’t really give Psylocke the murderous rage she shows when dismantling the Reavers, but I guess it’s as good as any. If nothing else, it does finally bring to a close the feud between the X-Men and the Reavers, about 20 years after it should have happened.
If you like Psylocke and like killing, then this is a perfectly fine issue. It even takes a bit of time to remind us that X-Force is a secret from the rest of the X-Men, even Cyclops. I had forgotten about that.
Once upon a time, Marvel used annuals to tell its crossover stories. Instead of unloading story after story to clog up the main titles, characters of various titles would get to interact with one another in the annual titles. But there were two main points that readers like me recall. The arcs usually involved titles that the reader of one book wouldn’t normally pick up, forcing the reader to buy random giant-sized annuals of titles they wouldn’t normally get to finish the story. The other thing was that these crossover stories weren’t very good. The one that immediately hops to mind is ‘Shattershot’ which I believe I’ve read at least twice yet still couldn’t give you the plot. All I recall is how painful is was to push through the mess simply because I wanted to move past it.
Anyway, Marvel is bragging that it’s bringing the format back, and thus we get an Uncanny X-Men annual that ties into Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier and Namor: The First Mutant annuals as well. Being that I don’t read either of those other two titles, there’s a very good chance that I won’t be dropping $4 a piece of the annuals and thus won’t be reading the rest of the story. And that’s fine, because there’s not much to it anyway. Basically, a wacky mishap in a lab lands Cyclops, Hope, Dr. Nemesis and Namor into the Negative Zone, which is weird since those various characters just happened to be bickering with one another at the time. How about that?
There’s really not much to this story and there’s no part of it that doesn’t scream “And then they all made it home, the end”. It’s not bad, but there’s nothing really good about it either. It’s really one for the completists, and even though I am one, I won’t be buying the other two annuals to find out how it ends. So sorry about that.
Wow, another issue of X-Factor? It feels like this book is coming out bi-weekly now…and you know what? I’m okay with it. There’s not a whole lot to say about this one beyond the villains who had been recently introduced go after J. Jonah Jameson while the members of X-Factor try to stop them. Also involved is the Black Cat, who I guess is now working for Jameson, but I’m not up on Amazing Spider-Man to either confirm or deny that. The book gets a little preachy when comparing the unwarranted hatred of Muslims to the unwarranted hatred of mutants (focusing on M, who is both) but no one can pull it off better than Peter David. The title ends on a cliffhanger with Strong Guy getting shot, which makes me hope that we only have to wait another two weeks to see how it works out.
I’m aware that I haven’t covered last week’s issues of X-Men: Legacy or Justice League: Generation Lost, but as I was pulling my stuff together to write this, I couldn’t find my copies of either book to give them another going through. I’ll put them up as soon as I can locate them.
- Justice League: Generation Lost #22 ramps up for the final battle.
- New Mutants #23 continues the Age of X.
- Uncanny X-Force #6 likely deals with killin’ (I need to catch up on this series).
- Uncanny X-Men #534 might finally find a cure for the sniffles.
- Wolverine and Jubilee #3 goes hunting vampires.
- X-Men #9 explains why you shouldn’t flush your pet lizard in New York.