Uncanny X-Men #235 (1988, October)
We open on a man, holding a baby, standing in front of a sign declaring Genosha “a green and pleasant land.” The guy, a mutant, slips onto an airport tarmac, and hides the baby on a plane. The Magistrates chase him, and he fights briefly, but is killed. A couple days later, some Magistrates are outside Genosha, ready to arrest another runaway mutant, Jenny Ransome. Maddie and Jenny land in a Flying Doctor Service Plane, and as soon as they get out, they’re attacked, though Maddie gets off a mayday on the radio. A woman throws the plane Maddie came on on, and it explodes. Maddie and Jenny are captured, and sent back to Genosha. Their clothes are left behind.
It’d be cool to see Pipeline today. Would his power work through cell phones? I think it’d be worth looking at. Anyway, Rogue shows up soon after, followed by Storm and Wolverine. Some detective work is done, and they track the Press gang to a hospital in Sydney, Australia. Wolverine and Rogue take out the strong woman. Rogue absorbs her strength, and her memories, and learns they’re stealing a baby. Pipeline, one of the Press Gang, brings in a bunch of Magistrates to help out. They take out Wolverine and Rogue quickly, then fight the rest of the X-Men.
Neither side knows who the other is, and both wonder if they’re actually local authorities. The Magistrates fall back towards Wooloomooloo Bay, which is just a great name. Wooloomooloo. I’m sure it comes from the language of the Aborigines, and I shouldn’t make fun, but . . . Wooloomooloo. The Magistrates show a lack of concern for civilians, so the X-Men finish the fight.
While it makes for one hell of a pin-up, I do wonder if this needed to be a splash-page, or if it could’ve been multiple panels, showing more action. Nonetheless, the Press Gang finds Wolverine and Rogue, and Pipeline sends them to Genosha.
Great issue. We don’t get much of Genosha in this issue. We learn that mutants are oppressed, though the Press Gang are mutants, and they don’t seem to feel oppressed. We know the Magistrates are jerks. And near the end, we get a reference to a Gene-gineer. So all we get of Genosha is little hints here and there. But we’ll learn a lot more about it next issue. And the hints we do get are definitely intriguing. You want to read more, to find out what the deal is.
This issue has a lot of action going on. There’s an extended fight scene between the X-Men and the Magistrates. And it’s exciting stuff. Leonardi does a good job with it. He doesn’t have quite the sense of motion I’d have liked. And Storm ends up not doing much, which is really weird. But the others get to shine. They show their bravery, and their skills. I don’t like Leonardi as much as I like Silvestri. It does feel like a step down. But Leonardi’s good, too. He’s a talented artist. And, of course, Oliver and Orzechowski continue to do their usual stellar work.
So, this is a good kick-off to what ends up being a great arc.
There’s also Classic X-Men #26, a reprint of X-Men #120, the debut of Alpha Flight. Added content by Claremont, Dwyer, Austin, Wright and Orzechowski. Hudson reflects on the fact that he wanted Wolverine to lead Alpha Flight, and calls Heather to express misgivings while also saying he has to follow the PM’s orders. Then, to Scotland, where Jean is jogging in horrible weather, then flies over to Moira, who’s sitting on the cliff feeling sad about Banshee. Jean feels lost without Scott, and Moira tries to comfort her. It’s a good scene. It delves more, again, into Jean’s mental state at this time, her ongoing grief. Moira is very motherly. It’s a sweet scene.
And the back-up is by Orzechowski and Bolton. Tom Orzechowski getting a chance to write! Good for him! It’s a flashback to 20 years ago, a bar in Calgary. Logan’s arm-wrestling any takers. In the present, he’s telling Kurt and Banshee the story about it, and about Rosa, the owner of the bar. Logan beat a big guy, and then someone got the big guy and his buddy to start a fight. Turns out, Banshee was there that night. He was following a case that led to the Calgary Stampede, and the same bar where Logan was arm-wrestling people. He beat the big guy, and then Banshee sent the big guy’s pal to help in a subsequent fight. This provided Banshee a distraction to call in Mounties to arrest his target. In the end, Banshee and Logan both learned separate lessons that night about teamwork.
It’s a fun story. It feels disjointed at times, a result of it being two simultaneous narratives about the same events. It’s something of a Rashomon variation, but a normal Rashomon story has one person tell the story, then the next tells their side. This had them both telling their sides at the same time, which could make it fee confusing. Still, Orzechowksi does a good job with it, telling a fun story with some fun character bits for Logan and Banshee. Bolton does an interesting trick with the art. The scenes in the present are in his fairly normal style. A bit rougher than usual, though not in a negative way. The flashback scenes, though, are brighter, and more cartoony. Like something out of a classic cartoon. It’s cool. It’s a fun way of doing it.
I should mention Captain America #346, by Gruenwald, Dwyer, Milgrom, Sharen and Morelli. The Resistants, a mutant terrorist group, show up to free Mentallo from a prison truck. Freedom Force is tasked with bringing down the Resistants, with Battlestar teaming with them. The plan is for Mystique to pose as Quicksilver to stand trial, then the Resistants will liberate “Quicksilver” and bring “him” to their headquarters, so Mystique can call the others. Mentallo is at the Resistant base, which is in Mesmero’s old base, from waaaaay back in X-Men #52. The Resistants include the members of the old Mutant Force from some Captain America story. The mock trial of Quicksilver is actually pretty entertaining.
The Resistants attack, and John Walker, who was Captain America at the time, beats the crap out of them. It’s a good comic, and the fight is brutal. Walker is grieving over his parents having just been murdered, and he’s dangerously unstable. So it makes for a great read. Gruenwald’s Captain America run was generally great. A few mis-steps here and there, but for the most part, excellent stuff.