Thursday, December 31, 2015
12 Days of X-Mas: Uncanny X-Men #325 (1995)
One striking thought about Marrow is that she has gotten quite cleaned up over the years. Joe Madureira's Marrow is a lot uglier, with bad skin and bone spurs sticking out all over her body. In the modern era, Marrow is a lot more of a looker. I'm not opposed to the change, especially since she joined the X-Men.
Mad's kinetic artwork is always exciting, even if the proportions and perspective don't always match up. But that's OK, because this is hyper four-color action in the mighty Marvel manner. To this day, I don't think there is anyone who draws a better Beast than Joe Mad.
Scott Lobdell opens hte issue with that old X-Men chestnut; the inter-team baseball game. I'm not going to lie, it is pretty nice seeing the team like this again. Cyclops pitching, M at bat, Beast playing catcher, it just has a sense of family and fun that has been missing from the X-Men for a long, long time. Seriously, when was the last time that the X-books felt fun? Schism was dark, but I think it goes much further. M-Day was rough. That is going back a long, long time for a depressing era of mutant comics.
The modern darkness is even more striking because the characters in this book are constantly talking about how bad things are. Colossus returns after abandoning the team (and he's in a truly awful costume to make things worse). Wolverine is still rocking bone claws and a savage attitude. Cyclops? He's still the cool leader wearing a sleeveless hooded sweatshirt and ball cap. As a Colossus fan, I have to admit this is a very dark time for the character. He was hooking up with Callisto for heaven's sake! Domino is a pretty massive improvement!
The Gene Nation are never a huge threat in this issue. Vessel, Sack, and the other gross bozos are basically fodder for the X-team as Marrow takes on Storm. Marrow has attached a detonator to her heart, so if Storm fails to kill her, a bunch of humans will get blown up. It is kind of surprising seeing Storm just do what needs to be done and kill Marrow. (Of course, we know that this death doesn't stick for long.)
Lobdell does a nice job leveraging Storm and Wolverine's friendship as Storm deals with what she's done. These two characters have had a strong relationship for many years, something I didn't really remember.