Sunday, December 27, 2015

12 Days of X-Mas: Uncanny X-Men #321 (1995)

Uhhhh.... there is some weird stuff in this one, folks.

This is part 3 of Legion Quest, so Scott Lobdell (plot) and Mark Waid (script) certainly have to deal with some mid-chapter nonsense for about half the book. The X-Men have teamed up with the Sh'iar to build a whacko device to send Cable's "astral self" to the past. This gives Cyclops, Rogue, Gambit, Beast, Jean Grey, Archangel, and Cable a chance to talk tough. This amused me since essentially only two X-Men were necessary for the scene. Jean Grey had to boost her powers and Cable had to go back in time. Maybe you could argue Beast helped build the gigantic time-phone, but other than that? Just grimacing and promises from the rest of the team.

In the past, the team is trapped in Israel, robbed of their memories. This is convenient since it means that Iceman, Bishop, Storm, and Psylocke haven't actually accomplished anything since we last saw them. By the end of the issue, Cable reminds them that they have a job to do (save the world, of course) but any actual conflict is going to be saved for part 4 in another title.

I did enjoy seeing Professor X and Magneto bonding in their younger days. This story is set shortly after they became friends, so the bonds are just starting, but the two guys clearly respect each other. I always thought this was a fascinating relationship and I enjoyed Marvel spending so much time expanding on it over the years. Clearly lots of people feel that way since the current X-Men movie franchise is built on the Charles/Erik bromance.

Remember when I said Legion wasn't very likable last issue? Then used his powers to go back in time? Well, in this one he uses his powers to impersonate his father and start kissing his mother. I can't really see what this accomplishes regarding his greater plot. I also can't figure out how far we are supposed to think Legion got with his emotionally disturbed parent. Either way... ewwww. Between this and the Ms. Marvel baby thing in Avengers 200 and Power Girl's pregnancy in the '90s, I really start to worry about the mental health of the comic book community.

Ron Garney provides the pencils for this one and much like Steve Epting a few issues ago, you can see how skilled this guy is. Sure, Archangel and Cyclops are built like tanks rather than their normal body shape. Rogue's eyes also take up more than a third of her face. But man, Beast is rocking a sweet mullet and Gambit looks TOUGH. Best of all, the action choreography of the opening bar fight is well done, including some nice facial expressions on all the combatants.

Fair (but almost Good)

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