Friday, April 30, 2021

X-Lapsed, Episode 178 - X-Factor #8 (2021)

X-Lapsed, Episode One Hundred Seventy-Eight

X-Factor (vol.4) #8 (May, 2021)
"Suite No. 8: Scio Me Nihil Scire (Tritone Substitution -- Jazz Arrangement)"
Writer - Leah Williams
Art - David Baldeon
Colors - Israel Silva
Letters - VC's Joe Caramagna
Design - Tom Muller
Head of X - Hickman
Edits - Andrews Ballesteros, Thomas, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: March 10, 2021

The Boneyard's Haunted... by X-Factor?!

Today's episode features plenty of Mutant death... and morr of the Morrigan.  It also feels a bit truncated - which will likely be today's "watchword"

Also: A very challenging Mailbag for your humble host, who tries not to stumble over his words too badly.

--

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Thursday, April 29, 2021

X-Lapsed, Episode 177 - Children of the Atom #1 (2021)

X-Lapsed, Episode One Hundred Seventy-Seven

Children of the Atom #1 (May, 2021)
"Uncanny"
Writer - Vita Ayala
Art - Bernard Chang
Colors - Marcelo Maiolo
Letters - VC's Travis Lanham
Design - Tom Muller
Head of X - Hickman
Edits - Andrews Ballesteros, Robinson, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $4.99
On-Sale: March 10, 2021

After a year of delays... it's finally time to meet, well - whoever these Children of the Atom turn out to be!

In this opening chapter, we get elbows deep into the mystery of who... and/or what these characters might end up being!  Are the Chimeras?  Are the high on MGH?  Are they just really good Cosplayers?

... and how come they changed the last page of this issue when it published digitally?  I make a lot of wild theories... and I'd love to hear yours as well!

Also: An X-Cellent Mailbag Segment! 

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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

X-Lapsed, Episode 176 - Runaways #34 (2021)

X-Lapsed, Episode One Hundred Seventy-Six

Runaways (vol.5) #34 (May, 2021)
"Come Away With Me, Part 3"
Writer - Rainbow Rowell
Art - Andres Genolet
Colors - Dee Cunniffe
Letters - VC's Joe Caramagna
Edits - Andrews Ballesteros, Wisneski, Lowe, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: March 3, 2021

Another day - Another Wolverine guest-appearance!  I do believe that we might wind up eventually doubling our episode count including all of Logan's wandering around the 616!

Today, after sorting out a misunderstanding with the Runaways, Wolverine and Pixie set out to rescue a brand-new mutant -- and bring the Runaways with 'em for good measure!

If you don't listen... Nico might just transform you into an ice cream cone!

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

X-Lapsed, Episode 175 - Hellions #10 (2021)

X-Lapsed, Episode One Hundred Seventy-Five

Hellions #10 (May, 2021)
"Funny Games Part II: Hitbox"
Writer - Zeb Wells
Art - Stephen Segovia
Colors - David Curiel
Letters - VC's Ariana Maher
Design - Tom Muller
Head of X - Hickman
Edits - Amaro, Basso, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: March 3, 2021

In today's x-tra size milestone episode, we find out what Arcade and that elf from the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer special had in common.  Hint: It has to do with teeth!

Also: Our titular Hellions face off against their deepest, darkest desires... and maybe grind up on a robot manikin or two.  I promise this is a book worth reading... and, hopefully an episode worth hearing.

All that and some great and thought-provoking listener mail!

Thanks to everyone for their support over these last one hundred and seventy-five episodes! 

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Monday, April 26, 2021

X-Lapsed, Episode 174 - M.O.D.O.K.: Head Games #3 (2021)

X-Lapsed, Episode One Hundred Seventy-Four

M.O.D.O.K.: Head Games #3 (April, 2021)
"Chapter 3: The Science Lab That Time Forgot"
Writers - Jordan Blum & Patton Oswalt
Art - Scott Hepburn
Colors - Carlos Lopez
Letters - VC's Travis Lanham
Edits - Bissa, Amaro, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: February 17, 2021

We're still "off the beaten path" here... and, we're looking at - of all things, an issue of M.O.D.O.K.: Head Games!  Whodathunkit?

We've got a little playful shade thrown at our Head of X... and a fun little adventure through the white-space with one of our new favorites - The Unbelievable Gwenpool!

Speaking of "unbelievable" - I can't believe I just read a M.O.D.O.K. comic where I a) felt bad with him, and 2) wanted to read more!  It's an #XLapsed Miracle!

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Sunday, April 25, 2021

Generation X-Lapsed, Episode 07 - Generation X (vol.2) #7 (2017)

Generation X-Lapsed, Episode Seven

Generation X (vol.2) #7 (December, 2017)
Writer - Christina Strain
Art - Eric Koda
Colors - Felipe Sobreiro
Letters - VC's Clayton Cowles
Edits - Robinson, Shan, Paniccia, Alonso
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: October 18, 2017

It's the Hotpants Issue of Generation X - we've got a couple couples getting ready to start coupling... well, three couples I guess, if we count the Fenris Twins (let's not!).

A fun issue... and a promising start to the second half of this run!

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Saturday, April 24, 2021

From Claremont to Claremont, Episode 2h - Marvel Comics Presents #88-89 (1991)

From Claremont to Claremont: An X-Men Podcast
Episode 2H

Marvel Comics Presents #88-89 (November, 1991)
"Blood Hungry, Part 4: Four Scents Worth"
"Blood Hungry, Part 5: Five Scents Worth"
"Just Friends, Part 4: Fool for Love"
"Just Friends, Part 5: My Pal Mugsy"
"Hero of the People"
"Shopping"
"Youngblood"
"What's Wrong With this Picture?!"
Writers - Peter David, Scott Lobdell, Eric Fein, James Brock, & Dan Slott
Pencils - Sam Kieth, Jae Lee, Mark Runyan, James Brock, Rita Fagiani, & Joe Madureira
Inks - Sam Kieth, Tim Dzon, Don Hudson, Bob Wiacek, Jim Starlin, & Christopher Ivy
Colors - Pat Garrahy, Mike Thomas, Fred Mendez, Kevin Tinsley, & Dan Slott
Letters - Dave Sharpe, Diana Albers, Todd Klein, & Steve Dutro
Edits - Terry Kavanagh
Cover Price: $1.25/per

It's anthology day at #FCTCXMen - and so, Walt (@waltkneeland) and me are going to take a look at two issues of Marvel Comics Presents!

The Cyber storyline rolls on in Wolverine... the Beast is still looking for love... and we get to discuss the first Marvel work of eventual Uncanny X-Men artist, Joe Madureira!

All that, plus Walt answers the dreaded Pod-File questionnaire! 

--

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Friday, April 23, 2021

X-Lapsed, Episode 173 - Black Cat #9 (2021)

X-Lapsed, Episode One Hundred Seventy-Three

Black Cat #9 (April, 2021)
"Sleight of Hand, Part 1"
Writer - Jed MacKay
Art - Kris Anka
Colors - Brian Reber
Letters - Ferran Delgado
Edits - Kathleen Wisneski, Lindsey Cohick, Nick Lowe, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: February 5, 2020

Remember how we all used to complain during the 90s that Wolverine would show up in so many books a month?  Well, it's a good thing THAT'S a thing of the past, innit?

The more things change, right?  Today, we're taking a detour into, of all things, an issue of Black Cat (an ongoing series your humble host didn't even realize was a thing!) where she and a certain Mr. Patch are running the tables in Madripoor's Hightown.  It's a very fun story, I hope you'll give a listen!

--

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Thursday, April 22, 2021

X-Lapsed, Episode 172 - Marvel's Voices: Indigenous Voices #1 (2021)

X-Lapsed, Episode One Hundred Seventy-Two

Marvel's Voices: Indigenous Voices #1 (January, 2021)
"Mirage: Multifaceted"
"Silver Fox: Blue Moon"
Writers - Darcie Little Badger & Stephen Graham Jones
Art - Kyle Charles & David Cutler
Inks - Roberto Poggi
Colors - Felipe Sobriero & Cris Peter
Letters - VC's Ariana Maher
Design - Salena Mahina
Edits - Sarah Brunstad, Tom Brevoort, C.B. Cebulski
Special Thanks - Angelique Roche
Cover Price: $4.99
On-Sale: November 18, 2020

Welcome to our "Just the X, Ma'am!" look at the Marvel's Voices: Indigenous Voices Anthology Special!

Today we will be discussing two stories... one featuring Dani Moonstar, the other featuring Silver Fox -- the latter of which gives us the origin story of Old Blue from that crazy "Tracykins" issue of Wolverine (vol.2) we covered during the first episode of From Claremont to Claremont!

Also: Great Listener Mail!

--

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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

X-Lapsed, Episode 171 - X-Men #18 (2021)

X-Lapsed, Episode One Hundred Seventy-One

X-Men (vol.5) #18 (April, 2021)
"Inside the Vault"
Writer - Jonathan Hickman
Art - Mahmud Asrar
Colors - Sunny Gho
Letters - VC's Clayton Cowles
Design - Tom Muller
Edits - Bissa, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: February 24, 2021

It's taken us 12 issues and 13 months... but, we're finally heading into The Vault to catch up with Wolverine (X-23), Synch, and Darwin!  It's mostly a fight scene, but there are some useful bits and bobs dropped in.

Also: Sinister Secrets Revisited!  We take a look at the 19 Sinister Secrets we first read a very long time ago to discuss which ones played out... and which we're still waiting on!  It's a very fun conversation I had with myself -- I hope you'll give it a listen! 

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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

X-Lapsed, Episode 170 - Wolverine #10 (2021)

X-Lapsed, Episode One Hundred Seventy

Wolverine (vol.7) #10 (April, 2021) [LGY#352]
"Mercenaries"
Writer - Benjamin Percy
Art - Adam Kubert
Colors - Frank Martin
Letters - VC's Cory Petit
Design - Tom Muller
Head of X - Hickman
Edits - Amaro, Basso, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: February 24, 2021

Wolverine and Maverick flee Madripoor (it's a lawless place, donchaknow!) and try to talk each other into leaving their way of life.  Wolverine would dig it if Mav came to live on Krakoa... while Mav thinks it would be cool if they teamed up as Mercs again.

Today they're going to go on one "last" caper together...

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Monday, April 19, 2021

X-Lapsed, Episode 169 - New Mutants #16 (2021)

X-Lapsed, Episode One Hundred Sixty-Nine

New Mutants (vol.4) #16 (April, 2021)
"One Step Behind"
Writer - Vita Ayala
Art - Rod Reis
Letters - VC's Travis Lanham
Design - Tom Muller
Head of X - Hickman
Edits - Bissa, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: February 24, 2021

Just when I thought it was safe to look forward to New Mutants... we're taken back into Otherworld!

Many of the story beats of the last few issues that I cared about are squashed into a scant handful of pages so we might engage in yet another romp through the Fair and Foul Kingdoms.  Huzzah?

--

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Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Austin Run, Part 2 - Uncanny X-Men #411 (2002)


Uncanny X-Men #411 (October, 2002)
"Hope, Part 2 of 3"
Writer - Chuck Austen
Pencils - Ron Garney
Inks - Mark Morales
Colors - Hi-Fi
Letters - RS & Comicraft's Saida!
Edits - Mike's Raicht & Marts
... and of Course - Jemas and Quesada
Cover Price: $2.25

Welcome back to...


We're now at two weeks in a row... which is one week longer than I thought it'd go!

We've still got several weeks until this gets really good (is that the word for it?)... so for now, we've got a bit more Austenian World Building to commence with.  We've gotta establish our team, before we get to The Draco, the exploding Communion wafers, and the bangin' (oh Lord, the bangin')...

So, without further ado... 

--


We open in the Blackbird, with Professor X trying to psychically sooth Stacy-X long enough for her to perform CPR on Angel.  Sammy the Squid Boy is in such awe of this... that he breaks off into his own exposition-laden narration boxes.  Fair play though, this is something comics used to... and in many case, still probably should do.  Xavier loses contact with Stacy... and fears the worst.  Hank says he'll get them to Scotland STAT.  Speaking of Scotland... X-Stacy (which, I mean - why didn't they just call her that?) fears that the Juggernaut is about to kill them all.


See?  In fairness to her - the Juggernaut is charging right at them with a furrowed brow while bearing all of his teeth... so, yeah - stands to reason she'd think that.  Remember this, it's going to be very important.


Iceman wakes up and has some words of encouragement for Stacy...


Oh yeah, one of the hallmarks of this run is that very few of Austen's chosen characters are going to be portrayed in any way likeable.  They also talk like they're on The Howard Stern Show, and like to bang in public... but, we'll get there.  Anyway, Bobby blasts Juggernaut with an ice shaft, meaning he didn't get the memo that Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut*.  The baddie even mocks Iceman, claiming that the ice thing never works**.  Cain rushes over to Wolverine, who had been impaled on a wooden stake... and yanks the thing out of his chest.


Iceman then sends out another ice blast... and we learn that Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut... except an ice blast.  Meanwhile, Stacy-X wonders how she might keep the dyin' Angel's blood flowing.  Err, doesn't her mutant power sorta-kinda have something to do with controlling "blood flow"?  Maybe tap into that?


Just then, a bunch of Krakoan vines burst from the ground - grabbing poor Warren and nyoinking him to the down below.  Nightcrawler just stands there, dumbfounded... while Bobby and Logan continue to fight the Juggernaut.  If I'm not mistaken, Bobby even suggests that they retreat... which would mean leaving Warren (and Monet) behind.  I'm tellin' ya, Professor Xavier the X-Men are jerks.


Juggernaut has the sudden realization that Nothing Can Stop Him... and so, he begins punching his way through Bobby's drip-drip.  When he finally gets close enough to our heroes, he informs them that HE made the distress call to their "eight-hundred number".


Well, those of us who have already learned to be X-Tra Safe, know that Xavier's doesn't have an "eight-hundred number"... it's just a local call... well, international long-distance to those calling from Scotland, I suppose.  I wonder if Cain used 10-10-220?  Y'all remember having to dial that before making your long-distance call?  Yikes.


Anyhoo, Juggernaut and the X-Men spend a whole nother page discussing the misunderstanding that's eaten up the last several pages before that.  Each side is calling out the other for being jerks... which, well... valid points are being made.  This conversation is thankfully interrupted by more Krakoan vines!  Any guesses who are big-bad's going to be?  We're in Ireland Scotland, we're dealing with a plant-like threat, and our point of contact is Juggernaut.  Any guesses?  
Oh by the way... always remember, Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut... except vines.  Is that me being unfair?  Probably.


We next shift scenes to Rosy Manor Convalescent Hospital in Upstate New York... not to be confused with the actual Rose Manor Hospital in Durham, North Carolina... which I only just found out about by Googling in attempt to appear more worldly and knowledgeable than I actually am.  It's here we meet Annie Gaz... Ghaz... Gharz... hold on, *ahem* it's here we meet Annie Ghazikhanian.  Ghazikhanian?  Welp, that's not going to be fun to type as often as we're probably going to have to.  Thank goodness this isn't an audio offering... yet.  If anyone out there wants to help coach me with this, I'm not too proud to beg!  Anyhoo, Annie Gh... Annie, is a Nurse here at Rosy Manor - and she's kind of fallen in love with a catatonic patient/resident... with a scar over his right eye.  The other Nurses are torn between feeling bad for her... and, in a way envying her.  We learn that Annie is a single-mother, which will hopefully not go on to be her sole defining characteristic***.


Annie wheels Al... err, her patient outside for some fresh air and natural light... and notices that anytime he's in the sun he "Nnnnhh..."s a bit.  It's here we meet Annie's son, Carter Gaz... a-hem, Carter, who is reading The Daily Bugle Newstrack, which is running an article on the "Mutant hideaway" the Xavier School.  There, as luck would have it, is a picture of... her catatonic boyfriend - he's one half**** of the amazing flying Summers Brothers, Alex Summers!


Back in Scotland, the X-Men (+Juggernaut, -Iceman & Nightcrawler) are all wrapped up in the vines.  Worth noting, there are also some humans and bones all strung up here as well.


Juggernaut finally reveals what we already figured out - the threat here is: Black Tom Cassidy.  Upon learning this, Wolverine takes the opportunity to make a gay joke (because Austen+2002).  Should we start keeping a running counter for all the lazy gay jokes we're going to hear during The Austen Run?  Remember, Northstar will eventually join the cast!  Let me know in the comments!


Now, Black Tom is gone quite mad... and has grown quite powerful.  Cain pleads with him to let the X-Men help... but Tom ain't havin' it.  Instead he rams his thorny barbs into Juggernaut's eye-holes and mouth.  Kinky.  So yeah, Nothing Can Stop the Jug... nevermind.


We shift down below, where Bobby and Kurt are walking through some catacombs.  It's here Bobby has an idea.  Seeing the vines and roots, and knowing that they likely belong to whoever the big bad is... he decides to use his ice powers in a very unique way.  He freezes the water in the green... which gives them a way to easily track them to their "trunk".  Ya know, this is actually pretty cool.  Back in the day, people really seemed to struggle coming up with unique ways to make Bobby's power appear to be useful... and to show that Bobby himself was something of a force to be reckoned with.  This sort of use of his abilities is quite inspired.


Scene shift, back to Annie the G making call to Xavier's.  Since she's upstate already, I don't think it'd be such a big deal to just make the local call.  Anyhoo, Xavier's is closed... but, she leaves a message for Scott Summers, claiming that she might've found his thought dead brother.  Scott is just shocked to learn that Alex was missing in the first place!


We wrap up back in Scotland, where Bobby and Kurt follow the icy vines to their source... ultimately discovering that they belong to Black Tom, and also that Tom's got the team all tied up and/or about to sing the chorus to "Twist and Shout".

Well, shake it up, baby, now...

--

Well, what we get here is another very traditional X-Men outing... with a standard "Marvel misunderstanding" between the heroes and who they believe to be the villain.  Nothing all that special here, in as far as our A-Plot is concerned.

I suppose I could comment on how stupid is was for the Juggernaut to come charging at the X-Men, even though it was he who summoned them for aid... but, that's more of a Marvel thing than an Austen thing, innit?  We need some action that doesn't involve botanical bondage... and, that was going to be it.

Our entire team here... actually, check that - our entire team x-cept Stacy (oddly enough), comes across as real a-holes here.  Just really snippy, sarcastic, and dismissive of one another.  Not a likeable bunch... which, I'll use my powers of projection to suggest that Uncanny was attempting to evoke the tone of the (at the time) wildly popular Ultimate X-Men?  It's been ages since I read that, but I seem to remember none of those characters being all that pleasant to be around either.

Let's talk Annie Gotzhergun and Havok.  This, I recall, was what I was most looking forward to seeing play out back in the long ago.  Havok, who "perished" in X-Factor #149, actually wound up suffering a far worse fate than death!  He was whisked away to another dimension to star in the Mutant X series!

And yes, yes, I know - Mutant X had a strong opening arc... but, after that completely fell off the cliff.  Mutant X was a constant threat I had made to Reggie for an episode of the Cosmic Treadmill... and, ooh boy, what an episode that would've been!

Anyhoo, nobody in the 616 seemed to care that Alex was "dead"... it barely got a passing mention in any of the X-Books.  After thirty-something issues of Mutant X, and I believe being bitten by Dracula... Alex Summers was somehow returned to his proper Earth, with nothing more than a slight scar over his right eye (which comes and goes) to remember it by.

I remember being pretty jazzed that he was coming back... and actually joining a flagship team.  I'd missed Havok's first go-round with the X-Men Proper, only ever following the books while he was a member of X-Factor.  So yeah, I was excited to see this play out.  Boy, talk about a monkey's paw wish...

Iceman using his powers in unique ways seemed to be something that stumped a lot of writers.  Iceman, by all accounts, should be wildly powerful and versatile -- they've even written whole stories about him not living up to his mutant potential - and yet, during this era, not all that much was done to correct that.  Bobby was usually relegated to just being "An X-Man"... a dude who stood in the background, who was given the lines that could've been said by anybody.

That said, it was pretty neat seeing him realize he could use his powers to work with the vines.  Even though... I mean, he and Kurt would have eventually found Black Tom anyway... considering that the entire middle section of the wrecked castle was teeming with vines and hogtied mutants - but, points for the effort!

Overall - this doesn't really have many of the Austenian Hallmarks many of us fake-ass comics historians like to dismissively raise our enlightened eyebrows at... this is just a traditional outing with the Uncannies, setting up stories yet to come, while furthering the main plot long enough to hit a designated page count.  Not much to get excited nor angry about... just another issue!

--

*Most things seem to stop the Juggernaut

**X-Cept, ya know, on the very next page

***What do you think?

****I guess, technically, he's now one-fourth of the Summers Brothers

Generation X-Lapsed, Episode 06 - Generation X (vol.2) #6 (2017)

Generation X-Lapsed, Episode Six

Generation X (vol.2) #6 (November, 2017)
Writer - Christina Strain
Art - Eric Koda
Colors - Felipe Sobreiro
Letters - VC's Clayton Cowles
Edits - Robinson, Shan, Paniccia, Alonso
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: September 6, 2017

In which Quentin, Nathaniel, and Benji have a boys night out at a super-villain-infested auction house and Jubilee wonders what might happen to her if she loses herself to vampirism!

--

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Saturday, April 17, 2021

From Claremont to Claremont, Episode 2g - Alpha Flight #102 (1991)

From Claremont to Claremont: An X-Men Podcast
Episode 2G

Alpha Flight #102 (November, 1991)
"El Equipo Primero! Part One"
Writer - Scott Lobdell
Pencils - Tom Morgan
Inks - Chris Ivy
Letters - Janice Chang
Colors - Bob Sharen
Edits - Bobbie Chase
Chief - DeFalco
Cover Price: $1.50

Kicking off the Scott Lobdell era of Alpha Flight!

For this segment, Sean (@Sean42AZ) and I take a trip down to Tierra del Maiz, where Diablo is doin' some hoo-doo with some some phony Vibranium, Northstar baptizes a child - and our team gets a mysterious new member!

Also: Sean sits in on the dreaded Pod-File!



--

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Friday, April 16, 2021

X-Lapsed, Episode 168 - Champions #4 (2021)


X-Lapsed, Episode One Hundred Sixty-Eight

Champions (vol.4) #4 (April, 2021)
Writer - Eve L. Ewing
Art - Bob Quinn
Colors - Federico Blee
Letters - VC's Clayton Cowles
Edits - Martin Biro, Alanna Smith, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: February 17, 2021

Another step off the beaten path!

Today we're joining the Champions, who are currently on the run from yet another acronymic Marvel organization!  This one is out to stop young heroes from... well, being heroes and they're called C.R.A.D.L.E. (get it?).

After I do my darnest to navigate the OUTLAWED storyline, we discuss former Champion, Cyclops' attempt to help out his old friends.  Also: The Marauders show up!  It's about as X-Book as we can get... without being an actual X-Book!

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Thursday, April 15, 2021

X-Lapsed, Episode 167 - Marauders #18 (2021)

X-Lapsed, Episode One Hundred Sixty-Seven

Marauders #18 (April, 2021)
"Saving Face"
Writer - Gerry Duggan
Art - Stefano Casseli & Matteo Lolli
Colors - Edgar Delgado
Letters - VC's Cory Petit
Design - Tom Muller
Head of X - Hickman
Edits - Bissa, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: February 17, 2021

Well gang - today we've got an issue in which nothing noteworthy at all happens... absolutely nada - not even sure why we're wasting our time with it -- they certainly don't name-drop one of the more elusive movers and shakers of the Krakoa era... no, sir nor madam... nothing like that.

All kidding aside... if you've already read this one, you know we've got a LOT to chat about.  Let's buckle in and... theorize!

Also: The Return of the Mailbag and some more X-Lection News!

--

@acecomics / @cosmictmill / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com

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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

X-Lapsed, Episode 166 - Cable #8 (2021)

X-Lapsed, Episode One Hundred Sixty-Six

Cable (vol.4) #8 (April, 2021)
"My Dinner With Domino"
Writer - Gerry Duggan
Art - Phil Noto
Letters - VC's Joe Sabino
Design - Tom Muller
Head of X - Hickman
Edits - Bissa, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: February 17, 2021

Waiter, there's a clone in my dumpling!

Today, Kid Cable dines with Domino... and has a fairly crazy family reunion.

We're talking clones... which means, I'm going to be talking a lot.

Please listen anyway!

--

@acecomics / @cosmictmill / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com

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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

X-Lapsed, Episode 165 - X-Force #17 (2021)

X-Lapsed, Episode One Hundred Sixty-Five

X-Force (vol.6) #17 (April, 2021)
"Omega, Reconsidered"
Writer - Benjamin Percy
Art - Joshua Cassara
Colors - GURU-eFX
Letters - VC's Joe Caramagna
Design - Tom Muller
Head of X - Hickman
Edits - Amaro, Basso, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: February 10, 2021

X-amining the many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many - wow, the more I type that word the more meaningless it looks - many, many, many, many, many, many, many deaths of Quentin Quire.

Today's episode ponders some deep concepts such as maturation, change... and questions whether what we're seeing play out on the page is what we think it is.

Also: Some X-News and theories regarding the upcoming #ReignofX Summer of Bloat!

--

@acecomics / @cosmictmill / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com

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Monday, April 12, 2021

X-Lapsed, Episode 164 - Marvel's Voices #1 (2020)

X-Lapsed, Episode One Hundred Sixty-Four

Marvel's Voices #1 ( April, 2020)
"Race"
"A Diamond's Worth"
"Death"
"Back to Madripoor"
Writers - Vita Ayala, Anthony Piper, Method Man, Daniel Dominiguez, David F. Walker, & Chuck Brown
Art - Bernard Chang, Anthony Piper, Alitha E. Martinez, & Sanford Greene
Colors - Marcelo Maiolo, Emilio Lopez, Anthony Piper, & Matt Herms
Letters - VC's Travis Lanham
Special Thanks - Angelique Roche, Sana Amanat, Sarah Amos, Ron Richards, Steve Wacker, Jill Du Boff, Mr. Daniel, Jorge Estrada, & Percia Verlin
Design - Salena Mahina
Edits - Chris Robinson & C.B. Cebulski
Cover Price: $4.99
On-Sale: February 19, 2020

Stepping slightly off the beaten path today to take a look at a semi-recent Anthology special!  To paraphrase that fella from Dragnet, it's "Just the X, ma'am" as we take a look at four X-Relevant stories that appeared in 2020's Marvel's Voices #1

--

@acecomics / @cosmictmill / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com

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Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Austen Run, Part 1 - Uncanny X-Men #410 (2002)


Uncanny X-Men #410 (October, 2002)
"Hope, One of Three"
Writer - Chuck Austen
Pencils - Ron Garney
Inks - Mark Morales
Colors - Hi-Fi
Letters - RS & Comicraft's Saida!
Edits - Mike Racht, Mike Marts, Joe Quesada
Pres - Bill Jemas
Cover Price: $2.25

One of the features I've long been considering for our little X-Lapsed Family of Content is -- retrials.  Revisiting older runs, that I'd already read -- to see how they've aged.  This idea came to me after receiving a bit of feedback about my dismissal of Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men as rather lazy and unambitious.  I had to admit to myself that it'd been ages since I read it... and, in reading that particular run piecemeal (remember, issues of AXM only came out when Whedon felt like actually sitting down and doing the thing Marvel was paying him for), so perhaps I was being a bit hasty... or biased... or whatever.

So, I sez to myself - "Self... you've already got an audio Sunday Special Series.  Why not have a written one as well where you can revisit and retrial some old X-Stories?".  I then sez to myself, "Self, that's a fun idea... but, ya know what - I'm not in the mood to read any Whedon stuff right now."

So, we're not going to start with Astonishing X-Men.  We'll eventually get there... if I don't get hit by a bus or distracted by a butterfly in the interim... but, I wanted to start elsewhere.

With a run so reviled... a run that had claimed so many X-Fans back in the long ago.  Friends, today we're going to begin our revisit of...


Spanning from Uncanny X-Men #410 to #443, the Austen run ran for nearly two uninterrupted years.  If you're saying to yourself, that's a lot of issues crammed into less than two years... well, you'd be right.  Marvel was big on double-shipping back in those days (imagine that!), and they passed the savings (and quality) on to us!

Now, Austen would take over Uncanny from Joe Casey, who was supposed to be a breath of fresh air for our favorite mutants after years of baffling stagnation.  What Casey gave us instead was... Banshee in an SS Uniform, Stacy-X the Mutant Prostitute who sexually satisfied Bill Clinton during an unnecessary scene, and a twist on the Mutant Massacre... which replaced the Marauders with... some dude with a flamethrower calling himself Mr. Clean.

It wasn't great.  It wasn't necessarily bad -- but, the cockiness with which Casey entered the gig really caused many an X-Fan's x-pectations to soar.  The uninspired stories we wound up getting really didn't live up to the hype.  Having to be compared to cohort Grant Morrison's work on New X-Men only compounded the disappointment many of us felt.

So, what's Marvel to do?  Why -- they call in their favorite pinch-hitter of the day to swoop in and stop the bleeding!  Chuck Austen had been something of a utility player for Marvel since the Jemas/Quesada regime took over -- and seemed to be getting gigs left and right -- some fill-ins, some ongoing.  That's a very Marvel thing to do... even to this day!  Just hand over a percentage of the line to a single writer, and -- as we know, that never leads to things like stagnation, all of the characters having the same "voice", or overall phoned-in efforts, right?

Ahem.

Anyhoo... enough pre-ramble - Let's get into it -- the can't miss debut of Chuck Austen on Uncanny X-Men!

--

I almost used a cropped version of this for our "The Austen Run" banner...

In perhaps a sign of things to come, the Austen run begins in the only way it can -- with someone taking a gob of viscous white fluid to the face.  Soon enough we might just be able to relate to this poor fella.  Anyhoo, this is Sammy the Fish Boy... or Squid-Boy.  He's being "hated and feared" by a group of bullies, who surmise that he was the product of his mother "doin' the nasty" with a bottle of Mr. Bubble.  I hope she managed to get a t-shirt out of the deal.

I wonder if Sammy's mom thought it was as much fun to get dirty with Mr. Bubble as it was to get clean?

Anyhoo, they "fear and hate" Sammy for a bit before shoving him into a mud puddle and leaving him to writhe around a bit.  Sammy pulls himself up, declares that he's the biggest loser who ever done lost.  Also, a turd.  He arrives home shortly after, and is informed by his mother that he's gotta get himself cleaned up -- they've got company tonight.  Sammy says he'll be right there... but first, he's gotta go out to the field.


Despite the fact that Mom says no... he does anyway.  This "field", by the way, is basically a junkyard right in the middle of their suburban Vancouver neighborhood.  Sammy laments the fact that he looks the way he does... and wishes he wasn't a Mutant.  Nothing we haven't seen or heard before.  This is almost too traditional an X-Men story, innit?


Sammy climbs into his secret clubhouse... which, doesn't seem like the most secure location to hide what he's about to show us.  In addition to a swimsuit poster of "Brie!", a poster of the cover of Uncanny X-Men #402 (March, 2002), those puppets from the N'Sync album cover, and some cans with the Ghost Writer thingie on it... Sammy's got a gun!


Whodathunk this guy would be that up on pop culture?  Well, I mean... bygone pop culture -- I dunno.  Whatever.  The important part is the gun of course.  Worth noting, Vancouver gets the Daily Bugle -- that's a heck of a circulation, innit?


So, Sammy's got a gun... and he heads back home where he plans on ending his life.  Instead, he's met with tonight's dinner guest: Charles Xavier!  And he comes with an opportunity.  Sammy smiles and begins to cry... and, all joking aside, we get to see that this visit saved his life.  And again, all jokes aside, it's actually quite well done.


Elsewhere, the Blackbird is headed toward Scotland for a mission.  Our team includes Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Angel, Monet, Iceman, and Stacy X.  Stacy is complaining that Chamber just upped and left the team to go off to college.  Perhaps it's worth noting that Chamber was a (relatively speaking) high-profile "get" for the earlier Joe Casey run.  It felt as though Jono was being positioned as the (non Emma Frost) "breakout" star of the recently-cancelled Generation X.  That... didn't quite work out.  Anyhoo, Stacy's kvetchin'... and Monet shushes her by calling her a "mutant prostitute", which would be like calling me an "idiot blogger".  Sometimes things just are what they are.


Stacy claps back because, lest we forget... women be snippy at one another.


From here we get our ROLL CALL page, which gives us the run-down on our cast, including a reference to Stacy-X being "slutty yet fun", as if to suggest that the two must be mutually x-clusive.  I hate being the guy who points out things from back in the long ago that "haven't aged well", but... yeah.  Anyhoo, not near as important as Stacy's promiscuity... the Blackbird is coming under fire, and our heroes are very likely to die here.


We see in the distance that the Blackbird is being bombarded by flaming balls of fear and hate.  The X-Men attempt to eject from the 'bird before it takes the brunt of it... Nightcrawler manages to make landfall, crashing into a castle... because this is Scotland, and everyone there lives in castles.


Back to B.C.... Professor X is chatting up the Squid-Boy family about this opportunity.  He'd like to take Sammy back with him to have him learn more about his Mutant abilities and whatnot.  Sammy notices Charles' accent... and I have to remind myself that this issue isn't too far off the earliest X-Men movies - so, yeah.  This quick chat is all it takes, before the day is through - Sammy's on a jet to Xavier's.


Outside, there's a fella sorta rattling Charles' cage about parking his jet in the middle of a residential neighborhood... which, yeah - he's got a point.  Xavier promises it won't happen again... but, in the event that it does, he'll give the fella a tour of the rig.  Sammy is in awe of this, considering that Xavier, if he wanted to - could just use his "brain powers" to send this lookyloo away.  Charles says he'd never* do such a thing... which is absolutely adorable.  They board, and Sammy is introduced to Cat Beast.


Before they take off, Xavier uses his "brain powers" to deduce that Sammy's got a gun.  That, of course, is a big no-no.  Sammy hands it over, claiming he only brought it because he didn't want anyone else to find it and get hurt.  Hmm... shouldn't lie to a telepath, but whatever.

I'll credit Austen for his restraint in not having Charles ask "Is that a gun in your pants, or are you just glad to see me?"

Xavier then decides to check in on the Scotland-bound team... and finds that they're all kayoed!  All x-cept Stacy.  She's freaking out as none of the rest are breathing.  The Prof tries to calm her down and teach her C.P.R. - but she's still all shades of wacked.


She finally calms down enough to let Xavier "take over" so she can administer C.P.R.  Moments later, Nightcrawler wakes up with an "Ay carumba", which... I'm not even sure where to start with that.  He then spies Stacy blowing into Warren's mouth... and accuses her of kissing him.  Ya know, I thought Kurt was a pretty x-perienced guy, you'd figure he'd know the difference between making out and saving a life -- maybe all he knows of C.P.R. is what he's seen on 90's sitcoms where guys used it as a way to make out with unwitting and prone girls to great hilarity?


We wrap up the issue with the reveal that... the Juggernaut is here!


--

Well, there we have it - the first Chuck Austen issue of Uncanny X-Men... what'd we all think?

I think what struck me most was how, relatively speaking, "safe" this issue played things.  I mean, sure - there's a bit of turn of the century cringe here... but, at it's core, this is a pretty timeless sort of X-Men story.  The kind where, I'm sure we've already read something just like it... I just couldn't point you to where.

This was so traditional, that it's using tropes we still see today.  We're given a fish out of water (har!) Point of View character, through whom we meet the X-Men.  What's different in Sammy, however, is the way that he looks.  This isn't a POV character like Kitty Pryde, Jubilee... or even Nathaniel Carver from Generation X (vol.2) - this is a kid, who, I believe is only supposed to be 10 years old at this point, who has been driven to the point of... well, we all saw what he very nearly did.

It's almost hard to believe that such a by-the-numbers  (and mostly solid) X-Outing will eventually lead to things like the Draco, Lorna going nutty (because women be crazy, amirite guys?), Northstar showing up to repeatedly remind us of his sexuality, and all the banging (oh Lord, the banging).  There's plenty of reasons why folks point to this era as the time when they finally walked away from the X-Books... but, we're not to any of them just yet.

I suppose we could talk about some of the cringe and "haven't aged well" stuff, eh?  Monet and Stacy's snippiness was... ya know, I'm not even sure it's that it "didn't age well" - I'm not sure it was all that great back in 2002!  I'm sure there was a contingent of, in the immortal words of Bill Jemas, ahem "Fanboys who love Bad Girls" who dug them going back and forth -- it's as subtle as a kick to the crotch, and about half as fun.

We'll give Austen a bit of slack here for now... we'll be patient during this revisit, and allow him to establish a voice for his chosen characters.  So far, it's shallow-city, but -- again, there's only so much you can do with a story where your titular heroes are only given a handful of pages to show their stuff.  I mean, that's fair - right?

Anyhoo - I suppose this is the point in the discussion where I ought to begin my paragraph with the word "Overall"... and so...

Overall, this wasn't half bad.  I'm not sure it was "half good" either, but it was (mostly) inoffensive... and my biggest complaint (from a storytelling angle) is that it's probably a little too traditional.  I mean, it's not going to be Morrison's New X-Men... heck, it's not even going to be Claremont's X-Treme X-Men - but, we need an Uncanny, and here it be.

Please let me know your thoughts on this run... and this little side project!

--

*Always
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