Uncanny X-Men #244 (1989, May)
Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So that new Thor trailer’s pretty awesome. Hela looks wicked cool. “He’s a friend from work!” is such a great line that it almost made me angry. Anyway, major issue today! One of the most important issues of X-Men! By Claremont, Silvestri, Green, Oliver and Orzechowski, “Ladies’ Night.”
The issue opens in the Hollywood Mall. A young woman is putting on a show for patrons, with balls of light coming out of her hands.
One of the mall security guards is angry about her, while another wonders what the problem is, but the first insists that she be arrested. So it’s a chase! Oh, and if you haven’t already figured out who this is:
Guys! Guys guys guys! Jubilee! The introduction of Jubilee! Yay! I love Jubilee. Love her. She’s the best. OK, so story time! I was born in 1985. The ’90s X-Men cartoon debuted in 1992. I grew up on that show. Interestingly, it ended as I was entering my teens. But from 7-12, I watched that show religiously. And Jubilee, of course, was a major part of the show. It’s been a long time, and I was very young, but I’m pretty sure Jubilee definitely helped pull me into the show. She was older than I was, of course, but still a kid. Also, she was pretty fun on the show. But a lot of people hated her on the cartoon, found her annoying, maybe a bit whiny. And you know, I can understand it. But comics Jubilee? Comics Jubilee is amazing. She’s actually pretty different from cartoon Jubilee, a lot more of a motormouth, more sarcastic, and just more fun. Comics Jubilee is one of my favourite characters, and I’m sure, as I post panels of her, any of you who never liked her will also realize how great she is.
Anyway. The chase. Some skaters help her out by cutting off some cops, and, OK, one guard calls her “street trash runaway riff-raff” so I kinda have to post this:
And oh my gosh how did I never make this connection before. Jubilee even jumps off a balcony to escape the guards!
The guards find a flier for M Squad, Mutant Hunters Extraordinaire. Call now and get a free Stray Toaster! (A reference, naturally, to Bill Sienkewicz’s class mini, “Stray Toasters.” I need to get around to reading that. Sienkewicz, man.)
Meanwhile, the Outback! Rogue’s throwing one hell of a temper tantrum. A bed is thrown, Ali deflects it with a photon blast, Storm has to dodge it but loses control, and this . . .
Betsy being interrupted when being classy is a great running gag from this era. Like when she was having her portrait done by Colossus? I wish we’d gotten more gags like that, because it’s never not funny. Anyway, Rogue’s pissed because Carol Danvers took her over and re-decorated her house. It looks really nice and classy. Definitely not Rogue’s style, though. Rogue asks Betsy to erase the Carol Danvers persona from her, but Betsy says that even if she could, she wouldn’t, and Storm says that Rogue should consider it a fair punishment for a crime that was pretty close to murder. Rogue sees it as proof the X-Men don’t accept her, and starts to fly off, so Carol takes her over again.
Ali says that the team gets so caught up in fighting and dying that it never gets to have fun, and that it’s taking its toll. And she suggests shopping. So, to the Hollywood Mall! And the arrival of M Squad!
These guys will be familiar to people who read Inferno: They were the paranormal investigators in UXM #240. They were eaten by the Empire State Building’s elevator. The X-women are teleported into another part of the mall, and Ali is the only one excited, but she’s so excited that it gets you excited, too. I wanna go shopping with Alison. Jubilee sees them appear, and is awed by them. First stop, a haircut!
Then, clothes and make-up!
Back to M Squad, and Dr. Snodgrass explains things!
Back to the ladies!
They go to a bar called “Hotbods,” and there’s a pretty brilliant bit of banter.
Alison pays the Maitre D’ to have one of the hot male dancers bring Storm onto the stage to dance. Outside, M Squad finds Jubilee, and attacks her. The attack blows a hole in the wall. Because the X-Men aren’t allowed to go anywhere without something happening. They really should’ve known better. So they jump in to help Jubilee and fight the M Squad. With that done, they head home, back through a portal. Which stays open. So Jubilee decides she may as well risk going through it.
This issue. Oh man, this issue. I mean, you saw how many panels I posted. After the heaviness of Inferno, this issue is just plain fun. It’s silly and goofy and ridiculous and just a perfect come-down. I always love down-time issues, and this one is one of the best. Yeah, there’s still some excitement, with the women having to deal with M Squad and their Inferno-ized machines. And there’s some drama, early on, with the Rogue/Carol conflict. But mostly, there’s Ali forcing the other women to have a good time, even if it means great personal risk to herself. (Buying Storm a dance was pretty dangerous. Laughing about it even worse.) And, of course, Jubilee. The issue is just a pure delight, from start to finish. So much great comedy. Claremont and Silvestri work so well together.
Speaking of Silvestri, the art’s excellent, of course. Silvestri, Green and Oliver are a phenomenal team. There’s plenty of energy and life to the art. Silvestri does a great job with body language and facial expressions. In a comedy issue like this, that becomes especially important. Reaction shots are crucial to selling the comedy, and Silvestri nails them. He does also do a great job with more dramatic moments, like Rogue crying about what Carol’s done to her house, or Jubilee’s fear when one of the M Squad’s machines is about to eat her. (Side note: That’s also where Jubilee reveals her parents are dead. And Psylocke’s pretty awesome when she’s pulling Jubilee free.)
This is one of my favourite X-Men comics ever. The next issue is similar in premise, but, uh . . . well, you’ll see.
There’s also Classic X-Men #33, a reprint of X-Men #127. The back-up is by Nocenti, Bolton, Oliver and Rosen, and titled “So Good It Hurts.” Alex is having some sort of weird dream, and wakes up with the Jeep in a ditch and Lorna pissed at him. Apparently, since he met Lorna, Alex has started fantasizing about car crashes when he drives. Uh, dude? What? Maybe don’t drive any more? And talk to a psychiatrist? Lorna grabs him and flies with him, and he has another fantasy, where he and Lorna merge into one and fall to the ground and smash. But he figures out what it’s about.
He says he wants out of the X-Men. Any further discussion is cut off by thick clouds and gunfire, and they rush over to find the others. It’s a weird story. Honestly, any other time, it wouldn’t work, but as a back-up during the Proteus Saga? The bizarre visuals don’t feel as out of place as they otherwise would have. Still, I can’t say I like this story. It is still too weird. Alex having waking fantasies of crashing his car, of merging together with Lorna? I could see it as actual dreams, but they’re random daydreams, and that just feels off. I do like Alex’s resentment of the X-Men, his desire to leave and live a normal life with Lorna. I do like those crazy kids in this era. You really gotta root for them. Of course, this is superhero comics, so no one’s ever allowed to be happy for long. But still.
The art’s really good. Bolton and Oliver do great work on the daydreams, making them weird and creepy and surreal. But they also do really good work on the waking sequences. Soft and intimate. Very nice.