After a brief respite to push out Grant Morrison’s ideas, New X-Men has been switched back to its original Adjectiveless form for the ReLoad and Chuck Austen’s mess has been pushed over, giving hope that Uncanny could eventually get some of its long-gone prestige under Chris Claremont.
Took Place In
Havok (Leader), Iceman, Wolverine, Juggernaut, Polaris, Gambit, Rogue
Others You Should Be Aware Of
Jay Guthrie, Sammy the Fish Boy, Nurse Annie, The Rest of the X-Men, I guess
In case you had forgotten (and I know it’s been a while), we last left our heroes in Kentucky in which Archangel and Husk finally got their act together and Austen having assembled his 10-man roster, was seemingly ready to push on.
Well, none of that really matters here, because five of his roster – Archangel, Husk, Jubilee, Nightcrawler and Northstar – are no longer on his team. The biggest factor here is the loss of Archangel and Husk who were pretty much his most-used characters. They and Nightcrawler were lost to Chris Claremont, though Archangel and Husk would not reappear for nearly a year. Nightcrawler would join up with the former X-Treme lineup, giving him a much better place alongside Storm, Rachel Summers and Wolverine for that old-school Claremont vibe. And no demon-Pope/dissolving wafer plots. Good for him.
Austen didn’t get left empty-handed, though. I suppose in exchange for the characters he gave up, he is given Rogue and Gambit from Claremont, and if you read X-Treme at all, you know that Claremont giving up Rogue was probably a really big deal. Unfortunately, she’s left in an odd position here. Through the latter half of X-Treme both Rogue and Gambit were powerless, using their wits and physical traits to stay relevant to the team. At the end of the book, Sage and Rogue had some kind of weird tryst arranged to restore Gambit’s powers (please don’t ask), but Rogue was still powerless. As this story opens, she seems to have regained her absorption abilities, but none of the other half-billion that she had during Claremont’s use of her.
I mention this because when I first bought this story a decade ago, no one really knew what she could or couldn’t do. There was no storyline mention of her having any kind of powers, and the art kind of positioned her like Salvador Larroca had no idea what she could or couldn’t do. I was writing for the now-defunct Mutatis Mutandis at the time and I recall having discussions on the boards where we debated the matter. It ends up being no flight, no strength, no invulnerability, though during her own solo book at the time she eventually permanently gets Sunfire’s powers. Again, less said the better.
Other than that, all Austen pieces remain in play. Sammy the Fishboy is back at the school (with his mother, even, for some reason), Josh Guthrie from She Lies With Angels is showing up (he’ll become a cast member of New X-Men: Academy X), and Nurse Annie and her boy Carter is still manning the coolest hangout in the school – the infirmary. Got it? Let’s begin.