Marvel Riot #1 (December, 1995)
“X-Men Alphalpha”, Page One
Plot – Scott Lobdell
Words/Art – Hilary Barta
Inks – Rurik Tyler
Letters – Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors – Mike Worley
Edits – (Mariano) Nicieza, Potts
Here we are again… four pages in. The “gimme” project, a silly little idea I had that I thought I’d spend about 10-15 minutes on every morning — that’s actually taking me several hours a day to put together.
I guess I do this to myself.
Hey, by the way — if you’re enjoying this, I’d love it if you took two seconds out of your day to let me know. Heck, if you’re hating it, let me know that too!
Page Four, Panel 1-2
Bishop, suffering from a whopper of a headache, tells the X-Men what’s going on. He informs them that Charles Xavier… was killed — in the past — and so, reality’s all shades of effed up. Gambit, Sabretooth, and Jubilee audibly gasp… moments before realizing that they’d never heard of a Charles Xavier.
Hey, waitaminute — have any of you ever heard of a Charles Xavier?! Let’s meet him!
Real Name: Charles Francis Xavier – First Appearance: X-Men #1 (September, 1963)
A Stan ‘n Jack Production
We’ve covered a lot of his origin in The Essential X-Lapsed – his father died, his mother died, he was raised by an abusive stepfather and had a jerk of a step-brother. He’d graduate with honors from Harvard University at the age of 16.
From there, he’d go on to Oxford… where he meets Moira Kinross (X… err, I mean ten times apparently). They have a brief engagement… or, plot to assemble all of the mutants of the world onto a living island… your (and Marvel’s) mileage may vary. Charles would travel to Cairo, where he’d meet Erik Lensherr — then be killed by his time-travelling, mom-banging son, David. Whozat? We’ll get there.
Let’s pretend for a beat that Chuck isn’t killed by his son — what would he go on to do? Good thing we have a written record, eh? Charles would travel to the Himalayas, where he’d have a run-in with the alien baddie called Lucifer. This meet-cute would cost Xavier the use of the legs he was always bragging about. He’d go on to form the Original Five at his School for Gifted Youngsters. Heckuva class, they’d graduate in record time (literally 7 issues). They’d go on adventures, Xavier would fake his own death (as mentioned during our Morph chat last time out).
After the Original Five (plus Havok and Polaris) were captured by the Mutant Island, Krakoa, Xavier was forced to put together an All-New, All-Different team of mutants to rescue them. Rumor has it he put together another team before the All-New, All-Differents… buuuuut, this is 1995, so we don’t care bout none’a that!
He’d meet and fall in love with Lilandra Neramani, the Majestrix of the Shi’ar Empire. A bit later, during a run-in with the alien Brood, Chuck would wind up with a Brood Egg implanted in his body. He’d wind up in a cloned body after this, which is why the Professor X of the mid-late 1980’s had the ability to walk. Hey, ya know, it’s weird living in a time where the sight of Charles IN a wheelchair is a novelty!
Following the Trial of Magneto (the real one, not the bordering-on-false-advertising bloated mini we got last year), Professor X leaves Earth because Claremont didn’t like writing him… err, I mean, to be with the Bird Woman of his Dreams. As mentioned last time, Magneto takes on his role as Headmaster of the School, and mentor to the New Mutants. Charles comes back to Earth, and has his legs crushed again (wow!). During the X-Tinction Agenda, he was nearly assassinated by Stryfe (who was posing as Cable), and during Fatal Attractions, he gave Magneto the ol’ Onslaughtian Mindwipe.
That gets us about current to the AoA… however, since we are talking the AoA, most of this stuff never happened!
Now that we know the guy… howsabout we find out why he ain’t with us in this story!
Before we get into the story itself, let’s meet the titular…
Real Name: David Haller – First Appearance: New Mutants #25 (March, 1985)
Created by Chris Claremont & Bill Sienkiewicz
The son of Charles Xavier and Gabrielle Haller (not Moira MacTaggert, despite what so many twitter “comics scholars” claim). David is a mutant who suffers schizophrenia… which, we’re just going to minimalize to meaning “has multiple personalities”. MPD and schizophrenia are often used interchangeably in fiction (and by the aforementioned social media scholars), so who am I to fight back? Anyway, thing of it is, each of David’s personalities has a different mutant power.
During the Muir Island Saga, David would be possessed by the Shadow King, during which time he’d kill the mutant precog, Destiny. Don’t worry none, she’ll get better — about thirty-years later. Following these events — Legion would be in a coma… until…
Legion Quest (for real this time)
Legion Quest kicked off with a prologue chapter in X-Factor #109 (December, 1994) by Todd DeZago, John Francis Moore, & Jan Duursema
In it, Legion is in his coma. He’s nearly picked off by Mystique, Destiny’s partner/lover/wife (not sure where they landed on that back in 1995… but, we all knew). Mystique, at the time, was sorta-kinda one of the good guys. She served on the X-Factor team. Well, she was being forced to. Anyway, while comatose, David chats up Destiny — who has a message she needs him to pass on to Mystique.
X-Factor fights Avalanche, during which, Legion is able to pull the mind-meld with Mystique and deliver Irene’s message. The prologue chapter ends with Legion making X-Factor disappear. He thinks to himself that he’s going to do something… that will make everything better.
Legion Quest proper kicks off in Uncanny X-Men #320 (January, 1995) by Scott Lobdell, Mark Waid, & Roger Cruz
This was that one issue that Wizard included a “Gold” variant of for free with an issue of their mag. You know the one, the “super rare” issue, that every jagoff who bought comics in the 90’s owns a copy of? Yeah, that one.
Anyway, in this issue, the X-Men are alerted that a black dome had been erected in the Negev Desert… and so, they head in and check it out. Storm, Iceman, Bishop, and Psylocke enter the dome, and wind up battling Legion. They are unsuccessful in stopping him from creating a time-portal… and, wouldn’tcha know it, they all get sucked in. Jean Grey is left behind, and sends a distress signal to the Professor. Meanwhile, Lilandra of the Shi’ar is informed that the M’kraan Crystal signals the end of everything.
The story continues into X-Men (vol.2) #40 (January, 1995) by Fabian Nicieza & Andy Kubert
In it, the X-Men (and Legion) arrive 20 years in the past… annnd, nobody can remember anything. In the present, the X-Men (plus Cable) meet up with Jean in the desert. They’re contacted by Lilandra, who decided to get a second opinion on that whole “end of everything” deal — and asks the Watchers. They back up the Crystal’s claim.
Back in the past, Legion is taken to a hospital in Israel. As luck would have it, it’s the very same hospital where Charles and Erik were working two decades back. David’s memories return upon being Touched by Magneto (Saturdays at 9 EST on CBS), and he starts projecting illusions… of Magneto’s yet-to-occur evil deeds — and also, of the present day X-Men.
Back to Uncanny for the penultimate part. Uncanny X-Men #321 (February, 1995) by Scott Lobdell, Mark Waid, & Ron Garney.
In the present, Jean and Cable attempt to send a psychic signal… through time… to the displaced X-Men.
Back in the past, Professor X and Magneto’s younger selves get into a barfight while trying to protect a war veteran.
Then, in the scene this issue (and perhaps the entire Legion Quest story) is most notorious for — Legion, posing as his father, Charles Xavier… seduces his own mother, Gabrielle Haller. Now, this being a Code Approved book, they don’t share what happens here… uh, to completion… but, theories could be made. There is, however, at the very least, some hot ‘n heavy makin’ out.
Xavier hears Gabby mentally cry out, and so he and Mags rush back to the hospital to check in on her. What they find, however, is Legion.
In the present, Cable is finally able to make contact with the time-displaced X-Men… but only long enough to pass a message along to — our man with the headache “this big”, Bishop!
The final chapter of Legion Quest was X-Men (vol.2) #41 (February, 1995) by Fabian Nicieza, Andy Kubert, & Rob Garney.
Here – Legion fights Magneto… which we’ll find out was the whole purpose of this little time-hop sesh. The time-displaced X-Men attempt to reduce chronal (and physical) damage to the past. Psylocke is able to contact Xavier, letting him know what’s going on with Legion.
In the present, the M’Kraan Crystal begins wiping everything out. Back in the past, Apocalypse wakes up… and thinks to himself, “Hey, mebbe this’d be an advantageous time to ascend!”
The X-Men manage to fight Legion to a standstill — until the baddie decides to just kayo the lot of ’em. Whoops. Legion then sets his sights back on Magneto. Ya see, if he manages to kill Magneto in the past, his father’s dream of a world of peaceful coexistence between humans and mutants would/could come to pass! Unfortunately for David, he didn’t take Charles’ (uncharacteristic?) altruism into account. Xavier throws himself between Legion and Magneto, and is ultimately killed.
Everyone, except Bishop, vanishes… as the Crystal Wave smashes into the Earth of the present.
Now, this wouldn’t be a mid-90s event, if we didn’t tack on an epilogue, now would it? That epilogue takes place in Cable #20 (February, 1995) by Jeph Loeb and Ian Churchill… and it’s basically a cash-in depicting the last few moments of x-istence before the crystal wave hits.
So, that gets us current, eh? Jeez, we’ve still got most of this page to go. Oh! It’s (probably not) worth noting here that Bishop’s face-tattoo changes in each panel. I neglected to mention that in our double-page spread (Pages 2 and 3), Bishop’s tattoo reads “yMca”… because, ya know, Village People, I guess? They’re pretty timeless. Or, maybe it’s just a reference to the Young Men’s whatever the hell it is? Here, in our top two panels, Bish’s tat reads “hi Mom” and “jklMnop”.
He also downs a bottle of X-Cedrin… a reference to Excedrin, a brand-name painkiller used to treat headaches, bodyaches, and migraines. A handfulla’ those sound pretty good right about now. Let’s move on, eh?
While the X-Men try and figure out what a Charles Xavier is, Bishop (diM) holds his head s’more. Oh, you just wait, pal — cuz we’re about to get treated to some Magneto. If you listened to the Age of Apocalypse series of Cosmic Treadmill episodes, you might remember how Reggie and I talked about Magneto’s penchant for… soliloquy. Dude would just NOT shut up. I often joke about creators being bitten by a radioactive Chris Claremont when they overindulge in their purple prose — but, AoA Magneto must’ve been bitten by a radioactive Claremont… that’d been also been hit by a gamma bomb.
For our AoA series, I covered the “voice acting” for Magneto and Apocalypse… which, when there’s just the right amount of chill in the air, I still feel the effect of that on my throat to this very day. For Poccy, I used my awful “Macho Man” Randy Savage impression… which, not only sounds terrible, but tears a throat up real good! For Mags, I went with a more dramatic Shakespearean vibe… and, boy did my chords get a workout!
That said, if we hop to the fifth and final panel of the page…
… I was absolutely tickled to see that Barta and Friends felt the very same way about Magneto’s overwrought dialogue! This panel… basically tells ya all ya need to know about the AoA Magneto… wildly self-indulgent, thought he’s not usually this self-aware (more on this bit next time out). Other things to look at in this panel include Gambit and Rogue sharing a very disgusting and sweaty kiss, Morph taking the form of a rock, Storm trying to fix her hair via lightning, and Nightcrawler suggesting that their fearless leader is off to check in with the Marketing Department.
Well, Kurt — I don’t think so… because, if the Merry Marvel Marketeers got involved, this story would’ve lasted two and a half years instead of just four months… just ask Spider-Man!
Anyway, that’s it for today. There really isn’t a 1:1 “page x-change” from X-Men Alpha to Marvel Riot this time out… but, here’s the closest I could find: