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Flashback: Review of Uncanny X-Men 128 (December 1979) September 29, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews, Flashback.
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As an ending of a storyarc, this wasn’t a bad issue to jump on at. Coming during Chris Claremont’s legendary run, this story pits the X-Men against the incredibly powerful Proteus. Proteus, a mutant and son of Moira MacTaggert, is an energetic being with the ability to warp reality and the necessity to regularly change “host bodies,” leaving the former host dead in the process. In this issue, he has captured his mother, and his current host is that of his father, and he has been chased by the X-Men to Edinburgh.

The beginning deals mostly with the X-Men fighting him, while he literally makes the city come alive and attack them. This causes the X-Men a dilemma, as they try to protect themselves, the civilians, and rescue Moira. John Byrne does a terrific job illustrating the many strange scenarios that Proteus causes, which makes up for much of the fight banter, most of which is a little dated or just plain cheesy.

The best part (both in terms of story and art) comes at the climax. The X-Men have driven Proteus to the outskirts of the city, and they finally attack him head on. After a being brutally attacked Cyclops, Havok, and Phoenix (which leaves all three weakened), he retreats to a castle where Colossus takes him on alone. As the exertion has caused the death of his host, Proteus is left in his true energy form, which has a weakness for metal. (I don’t quite get this part, the story didn’t explain it too well. I’m not sure if his weakness was better explained in an earlier issue, or if this was just bad storytelling.) Anyway, Peter is somehow able to scatter his molecules in his organic metal state.

So, aside from a slightly confusing ending, this wasn’t too bad. I certainly wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to find this story, but if you do find it, and you’ve got some time on your hands, you’ll get a good deal of entertainment.

Next week: Silver Surfer 36 (Volume 3)



Flashback: Review of Uncanny X-Men 217 (May 1987) August 18, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews, Flashback.
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In Flashback, LOTRKing reviews a random back issue (in most instances, one he hasn’t read before) and attempts to make sense of both the story and its place in Marvel history.

Ah, the 80s: decade of horrendous hairdos, but also the decade of many legendary comic book writers such as Chris Claremont. Of course, legendary writers cannot be perfect all the time (check out Brubaker’s current take on X-Men for proof), and this issue is Claremont when he is “less-than-perfect.” Perhaps I would have enjoyed the story more if I had a better understanding of X-Men continuity at this point, but unfortunately I don’t.

As the issue opens, Psylocke is on the run from fellow mutants Dazzler, Longshot, and Rogue (is it just me, or does she look like she is wearing a skunk on her head?) At first, I had no idea what was going on; eventually, Claremont clues us in on the fact that they are simply engaging in a practice fight. When Banshee comes in to break it all up, he essentially tells them they all suck, and we are treated to a long sequence of Dazzler brooding and whining. (Yeah, that was lots of fun.)

Eventually, she randomly runs into the Juggernaut in Scotland, and he happens to be a fan of her work. (That must have been odd.) Juggernaut just wants to continue going wherever he was off to, but Dazzler is certain that he is up to no good. Juggernaut doesn’t want to harm her, and just wants to leave, but she continuously attacks him until she has used all of her energy and falls to the ground unconscious. Of course, Juggernaut thinks she is dead, but it was obviously just a cliffhanger, she’s probably revived next issue (though I’m too lazy to check.)

Add in the fact that the only thing that wasn’t bland about Jackson Guice’s art was the hair of various characters, and you have an extremely forgettable issue. I see absolutely no reason to go looking for this, unless there was some crucial piece of X-Men continuity that I missed (y’never know, maybe I sneezed and skipped an important panel). Hopefully we’ll get something much more interesting next week, and speaking of…

Next week: new format: issues reviewed are now chosen completely randomly! [sarcasm]I know, isn’t that new the most enthralling thing you’ve ever heard?[/sarcasm] And the issue is… Fantastic Four 234!