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Uncanny X-Men #245 (1989, June)

April 28, 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Today is . . . let’s call it a mixed blessing. OK, by Claremont . . . Liefeld . . . Green, Oliver and Orzechowski, “Men!”

Men!

Sigh.

So, before I actually get into the issue, it needs to be noted that the story is satirizing the Invasion! event that was going on at DC at the time. You can read about that at the link. But the important bit is that bunch of aliens, led by a race called the Dominators, tried to wipe out humanity. So, the issue starts with . . . an alien who looks like the Dominators calling for a conquest of Earth. Now, this issue was drawn by Rob Liefeld. Which means the art sucks. But:

Uncanny X-Men #245

Admittedly, pretty great.

OK, so, who do we recognize? Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Jawas, Jabba the Hutt (and his advisor), Boba Fett, Yoda, ET, the Xenomorph, Alf, Hawkman. Those are the ones I recognize. I have no idea if there’s anywhere to to find out all the cameos. Regardless, it’s great. Meanwhile, a lowly archivist is pulling up information on Earth. The fact that we’ve fought off incursions by the Kree, Skrull, Aakon, Badoon, and others. That we’ve repulsed Galactus multiple times. That we might be the adopted homeworld of the Phoenix. I never get tired of aliens looking up Earth and realizing how crazy its recent history is.

In the Outback, Alex is at the monitors, watching everyone. Except Logan, who disabled his scanner. Luckily, he’s standing right behind Alex. He doesn’t like Alex spying on the team, Alex thinks they need to be familiar with the computers, Storm yells at both of them for arguing. She tells Alex they do need to be careful of the systems, and she tells Logan his frequent absences are making things harder. He tells her the boys just need to blow off some steam.

Ali uses make-up to cover Colossus’ steel skin, so he can pass for normal. She also thinks about how her powers have been getting stronger, and her personal bioluminescence is upshifting from yellow to white. This doesn’t actually go anywhere. One of those times where Claremont had an idea, dropped a reference to pick up later, and never got around to it. Anyway, as the men leave for their fun, we cut back to the aliens, who are reviewing their ultimate secret weapon: The Jean Bomb!

Uncanny X-Men #245

Ha! Cute joke.

Invasion!, of course, had a gene Bomb as the aliens’ secret weapon. So we get the Jean Bomb, with a bit of humour about the results of her resurrection. In Sydney, the guys go to a bar called Munden’s, with a bartender named Ostrander. Claremont loves his references. Also, Alex suggests they go to Madripoor, and Logan says they’re not old enough. Longshot is immediately surrounded by ladies, while Alex bemoans his bad luck with women. And then the invasion starts! And the Australians take it pretty much in stride. The Mayor even surrenders immediately and quite cheerfully, glad for a vacation.

Colossus is fighting some aliens, and Longshot tries to help, but gets grabbed by the Cosmic Cutie Commandos (or “See-Cubed”). Women with wings. I just want to note that I want the Cosmic Cutie Commandos to get their own series. I mean, just the name is perfect. Tell me that’s not the name of a wonderful anime series?

Uncanny X-Men #245

Longshot certainly wants them to be anime heroines.

Uncanny X-Men #245

He’s so positive.

The C3 decide to take him to their queen, to see if he can convince her. Meanwhile, in America, at the Daily Planet’s broadcast news place. I guess Clark Kent was a TV news reporter back then? So this is a rather weird reference to that. Chief what’s-his-name, the “don’t call me Chief” guy, is told about the invasion of Australia, and brushes it off, saying the Inauguration of the President is real news.

The aliens decide to activate the Jean Bomb. The loss of the troops already there doesn’t bother them – cannon fodder are supposed to be gratuitously sacrificed. In Sydney, the Strike Force Commander finds the missing cadres, laid out in front of the bar. Inside, the C3’s are dancing with and fawning over Longshot. An Autarch is playing poker against Logan. Alex invites the Commander to step outside. Logan escalates the poker game in a big way:

Uncanny X-Men #245

Hell of a bluff.

The Autarch has a Full House. Logan has a pair of twos showing. Outside, the Commander sees the leader’s vessel lifting off, preparing to drop the Jean Bomb. So Alex blasts it out of the sky.

Uncanny X-Men #245

Nice.

The men finally get back home in the morning, with Storm inexplicably annoyed at them. I’m not sure why. For not calling them about the alien invasion? For coming up at sunrise? But Logan told the girls not to wait up. Regardless, Storm’s annoyed, but Logan knows exactly how to calm her down.

Uncanny X-Men #245

Note: Don’t do this.

He then proposes a road trip to Alex. This, of course, would be the Meltdown mini. Oh, and as an epilogue, Tessa takes some Hellfire goons to a house in Kentucky. It’s been wrecked, and everyone in it dead. And Donald Pierce is free. This . . . is not followed up on.

This issue’s great. It’s just a ridiculous bit of fun. Even more than the previous issue. It plays into the stereotype of Australians being laid back, which . . . I guess it’s a stereotype? Maybe it was a bigger stereotype back then? This was when Crocodile Dundee was really popular, so it was before my time, so was that a thing back then? Where Australia had a reputation for being laid back? Regardless, it makes for some great humour here, as the invasion goes pretty well ignored. We get some good character moments for each of the guys. Colossus kicks loads of ass while saying there’s no need to fight. Longshot wins over a bunch of women with his positivity. Alex is mopey and a bit dick-ish. And Logan’s just having a good time, and is also a bit crazy. The satirizing of Invasion! is pretty amusing, even if I’ve never read the event. Claremont was clearly just having a blast writing this.

The art . . . is not as bad as usual, for Liefeld. (Fun fact: In the issue, he’s miscredited as Leifeld.) There’s still plenty of Liefeld-isms. The weird poses he likes, the weird faces he does, the bizarre anatomy. His eternal vendetta against feet. But for the most part, it feels a bit toned down from his usual style. Not as line-heavy. I actually wonder if Dan Green might have done some revisions while inking, because there’s a lot of times where the art just doesn’t look like Liefeld, or at least not just Liefeld. Still, all his weaknesses are here, and it is often distracting.

On the whole, though, this is just a really fun done-in-one issue.

There’s also Classic X-Men #34, a reprint of X-Men #128. The back-up is by Nocenti, Bolton and Rosen. Mastermind is hanging out at the Hellfire Club, thinking the skimpy lingerie looks silly on a woman he scorns. Not that it stops him from ogling her. Clearly, he’s trying to think of himself as classy and dignified and refined, but he’s just a dick. The waitress goes back into a dressing room, where the White Queen is getting herself ready, and the waitress complains about the outfits and how worthless the place makes her feel. Emma is unimpressed with the girl’s whining. And I think I’ve gotta post most of the speech, because it’s great.

Classic X-Men #34

Classic X-Men #34

It’s all a matter of confidence.

The girl doesn’t really get it, and thinks they’re all horrible people. Emma points out they’re called the Hellfire Club. I mean, it’s hard to argue. Emma then goes in to meet Mastermind, for a psychic chess game. And it’s pretty awesome, and Bolton draws the crap out of it.

Classic X-Men #34

Awesome.

The game is a draw, for the record. This is a pretty fun story. Emma’s speech on looks and power is some good feminist stuff, though complicated by coming from a villain who was created by two guys based on something from an older TV show created by more guys. But Nocenti is still able to make her speech compelling, without necessarily making it true. It’s certainly what Emma believes, but the waitress believes different, and believes that Emma is too wrapped up in the Club’s power games. And it’s hard to argue she’s wrong. The one thing I will take issue with in the story is the game ending as a draw. I feel like Emma should’ve won. She’s way more clever than Mastermind. But other than that, the writing during the game is really good.

The art is great, all through the story. Bolton does fantastic work here. Especially with the game, which is really abstract and shadowy, and kinda reminded me, at times, of Sienkewicz. Which is about the highest praise you can give someone. Nocenti and Bolton really seemed to work well together.

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One Comment
  1. this was such an odd issue for me and kind of a love/hate relationship. Issues that don’t really make any sense have always kind of bugged me and this one doesn’t seem like it belongs in continuity since it’s obviously a parody issue. However, I didn’t realize it was a parody of DC’s Invasion! thanks for that! but I do love all of the little jokes that are in it (much like X-Treme X-Men later on with the alien invaders had alien versions of Grand Moff Tarkin, Admiral Motti, and the Lone Gunmen from X-Files)

    It also has typical Liefeld which looking back bugs me, but it’s not his worst issue.

    also, the freeing of Pierce IS followed up, somewhat. I think this was necessary to show how he suddenly appears at the start of Uncanny #248. although I don’t remember when/if he was actually held captive by the Hellfire Club.

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