Monday, April 03, 2017

That seems slightly more suggestive than I'd realized.

I've never been big on "decompression" in comics: the trend of basically taking maybe two good issues worth of plot and stretching them into six issues for the trade. But today's book feels like six issues crammed into one! From 1990, Uncanny X-Men #269, "Rogue Redux" Written by Chris Claremont, pencils by Jim Lee, inks by Art Thibert.

Rogue had been missing in action for about a year, sucked into the deus ex machina er, Siege Perilous, with the Master Mold in Uncanny X-Men #247. (Most of the rest of the team would willingly enter the Siege later, in an attempt to move on to new lives, or some damn thing that didn't work at all; but basically wrote the characters out until Claremont wanted to come back to them!) Even though her body is seemingly torn apart and reassembled, she comes her room, in Australia. Even Rogue finds that anti-climatic, but she may have jumped the gun. Somebody's using her room, the TV news announces the deaths of Mystique and Destiny (one would stick, the other wouldn't!) and oh yeah, her flight and invulnerability powers are gone, the X-Men are also gone, and the mutant-hating cyborg Reavers have retaken their town!

Reaver Bonebreaker must've had some kind of cyborg exposition pack installed there. Rogue is saved by the surprising return of Ms. Marvel--sort of. Years ago, when Rogue fought her, she stole her powers and memories; this was the Ms. Marvel that lived in her head given form. Wanting to be quits with that, Rogue runs to the mutant teleporter Gateway, borrows his powers, and bails. This time, Rogue ends up in the Savage Land, and not only manages to go the whole issue without seeing Ka-Zar, but she seems to have possibly the most pleasant stay there of anyone ever. It's a journey of adventure and self-discovery; although Claremont does mention "the sun doesn't rise for half the year, doesn't set for the other" and I don't think that would work. The jungle plants couldn't survive six months of darkness. Right, that's the unrealistic thing about a jungle full of dinosaurs in Antarctica. Anyway, Rogue got the better end of that deal: faux-Ms. Marvel lands on Muir Island, where the Shadow King takes her over.

Rogue finds the village of the X-Men's Savage Land friends destroyed, and has about a 30-second pity party over that and the deaths of everyone else; but has just about bucked back up when Ms. Marvel sucker punches her. (She's also being monitored by someone high-tech, but we don't see who here.) Appearing as a rotting corspe, Marvel tells Rogue they don't have enough life force for the two of them; but Rogue is unwilling to kill her. Still, the Shadow King's control plus her already-pretty-strong dislike of Rogue, gives Ms. Marvel the edge, and she nearly drains Rogue dry before being struck down from Magneto! Who uses some lab stuff to fix Rogue, and make a dramatic appearance that was totally spoiled on the cover.

This is peak Claremont, Lee just hitting his stride as a penciller, and yay, Art Thibert! (He had done some Warlord art before, so I recognized his name!) It's an issue jam-fatty-packed full; if slightly derailed since the next issue wouldn't follow up on Rogue or Magneto, but would be the first part of the X-Tinction Agenda crossover, which I surprisingly don't think I ever read. Still, I think Claremont wanted to return to Rogue after her being out for a bit, and had so much stuff he wanted to do. The bit about Rogue's walkabout-quest I felt he had used before though, for Karma in New Mutants Special Edition. And Storm may have done a bit of that in Lifedeath 2 maybe. It was a theme, we'll say.


SallyP said...

Oh Claremont. He was a bit wordy, and his accents used to drive me nuts, but at least his characters had personalities beyond their powers, and you knew who was talking... unlike Bends where ALL the characters sound exactly the same.

It also was possible to get a beginning, middle and end to a story.

Dale Bagwell said...

I got this one. That Savage Land saga tale, albeit short, was pretty good, and defintiely set up Magneto's path to villainy after fighting Zalendene, leading straight up to X-Men#1.
Damn good art too, but duh.