After the atrocity that was Issue #18, I admit I lost some faith in the series. Let’s see if I can’t get it back by reviewing Issue #19 of Uncanny X-Men, in which the war against SHIELD is declared anew.
Our story begins in Atlanta, after Cyclops has kicked Hijack off the team. It appears that a day has passed and Hijack slept off being given the boot, only to wake up and find Maria Hill and three SHIELD agents in his home while he’s in his Spider-Man undies. She tells him they have no reason to fight, not that she didn’t remove everyone else’s car in the neighborhood to be safe, and tells Hijack to give her all the information he has Cyclops or she’ll detain him forever, claiming that since he’s been cavorting with a known terrorist she’s allowed to hack his email…
In which the moron apparently wrote about how he was booted out to his girlfriend and was begging her to take him back. Leaving aside the fact that his girlfriend got him shot before, if you gotta get relationship advice from the person threatening to arrest you, you fucked up somewhere.
At the same time this is happening, Mystique and Sabertooth have Dazzler in some undisclosed location. Her eyes and ears are covered so she can’t hear or see anything, and Mystique makes it known that she considers Dazzler a traitor to her people. But, when asked why she doesn’t kill her and be done with it, she tells Sabertooth that Dazzler still has her uses.
Mystique has been using Dazzler as the source of Mutant Growth Hormone, you know that stuff that pissed off Magneto so he dropped her through a building? She, hypocritically, claims that Dazzler is a “sell-out dirty whore” for working with SHIELD and then goes about her way. The moment she’s out the door, Dazzler says “Ow” which, given the timing, indicates that she’s not only aware of what’s going on but she knows what Mystique is doing to her. Yeah, she’s going to be pissed off as hell once she gets free.
Maria Hill, after the above, is still harassing Hijack and claims that Cyclops knew they must have been watching his place and set this conversation up. Now, while I’d like to dismiss this notion outright, given what happened to Eva and Fabio when they visited home…I have to admit she’s got some logic there in that he had to of known that was going to happen. Since Cyclops didn’t have the Stepford Sisters give a mind wipe to him, the evidence looks damning to both me and Hijack.
Speaking of Cyclops, he’s watching Cerebro for new mutants as Eva arrives. He’s looking at the big picture, reminding himself what they’re fighting for. He then notes Eva has been different after the training mission and tells her that she can tell him anything, but she hesitates and uses the signal of a powerful mutant popping up as an escape to avoid the conversation, only looking on mournfully as he leaves.
The team arrives in Chicago, only for it to be a trap in the form of a big Sentinel that gives birth to a bunch of smaller ones. Magik, Fabio, and Cyclops’ mutant powers fail to work appropriately, leaving Cyclops to cause a boatload of property damage and Magik unable to teleport them to safety before they get caught in the enemy crossfire and there isn’t anything left in the spot, making it seem as though they were blasted to atoms.
However, they appear a minute later safe and sound. Eva sealed them in a Time Bubble and warped them all a minute forward to avoid the damage. Magik then shows the fruit of her training with Doctor Strange before he started playing super-cop and uses a defensive spell, an energy manipulation spell, and a spell to make some multi-headed dragon thing that chomped on the robots.
With that done, Cyclops congratulates Eva on a job well done and she smiles earnestly, but Celeste whispers to her she needs to tell him about what went down in her trip to the future. Before Cyclops can follow up and tear the biggest robot apart it runs away. They reason that whoever sent it rigged it to mess with mutant powers, but only those they knew about. I’m calling bullshit on this because there are only a handful of ways that works.
One is magic, in which case I expect those Sentinels to be magic-proof like that ass-pull in Battle of the Atom next time. Another is like what they did to Cyclops in the prison with the shock collars. In both cases they were general purpose, but the way they’re talking is that the person making them is tailoring them, and considering Eva’s powers still work it’s not something that suppresses the X-Gene completely.
Either way, the new students get their first taste of a hate mob and Cyclops is pissed off because this was some sick game and he’s tired of being hunted. He declares if it is SHIELD behind this they’re going to war, and if someone else was using SHIELD to do it and they didn’t care enough to put a stop to it, then more war. Basically, he’s decided SHIELD is the main enemy as the comic ends with dome-head watching from wherever he is.
Okay, review time.
Judging from how things are going, I’m just assuming they didn’t count #18 as canon, which I’m all for given the mess that it was. But the humor in this issue was rather crass and I can’t say the dialogue was anything revolutionary, in fact it felt like a step down from Issue #17, but the mediocre artwork is still miles ahead of what it was from the last issue and the plot is progressing.
3 out of 5 is my rating for this issue.
Stuff Happens. Important Stuff with the Kids.
At this point I’m starting to think that the NXS kids deserve their own side series like Wolverine’s do. But then I think about that travesty and decide this way better as I review Issue #17 of Uncanny X-Men…although I will admit the one about Toad was a good one.
The issue begins with the kids being dropped off in a strange landscape and left there with no instructions by Magik. Given that she can teleport across time and space, it’s natural to assume that they may not even be on earth, but each comes up with their own theory as to where they are and that they are being tested. Also it appears that Phoebe has dyed her hair red like she said she wanted back after Irma went black.
Anyway, Hijack reveals he kept his cellphone and whips it out. They tell him Cyclops said they can be tracked by them, but he states he couldn’t break his contract so he kept it and then states they’re in Montana. They are then split apart by a very large creature with jagged teeth and a deafening roar.
Eva, who has a very potty mouth upon being surprised, goes with Fabio and correctly guesses its training to see how they deal with unpredictable situations. That includes her and Fabio being surprised again by some Ostrich-dinosaur thing that chokes of Fabio’s goldballs (sorry for the phrasing) and keels over, but not before Eva has vanished in her Time Bubble and is nowhere to be seen.
With Phoebe and Irma, they have to put up with Triage screaming like a little girl because they ended up in a cave with a spider-slug thing the size of his fist. I will never let him live this down, but since the girls are trying to hide Irma does the mind manipulation thing they did in Limbo to make him brave. He seems to like it, but that might because he and Irma clearly are developing something and having a pretty girl in your head doesn’t sound too bad as long as you can stop thinking about dirty thoughts every few minutes. It worked for Cyclops and Emma, if you ignore she took advantage of his vulnerability while with Jean and then Jean hooked them up to avoid a bad future from the grave…Yeah, he might want to be careful in the long run. Anyway, Fabio finds them, but Eva is still nowhere to be seen.
We then skip to Benjamin, Hijack, and Celeste hiding. She explains they are in Tabula Rasa, a.k.a the place Archangel blew up and led to the bad future of Uncanny Avengers. She’s giving them an overview of them being in a bubble that will show what the earth will look like well after I’m good and dead when she can sense a mind in the distance. Unfortunately said minds don’t like her and mind-rape her to the point that her sister’s couldn’t hear her and assumed she was dead within their Hive Mind, leaving it to Benjamin to try and reason with them by using his powers to gain some level of trust and understanding and calming them down. It works to an extent, as they touch and read Benjamin’s mind, and they reactivate her brain.
She’s pissed, more than Emma when confronting an Adult Jean Grey, and tries to mentally assault them despite Benjamin stating that they are an evolved species. It goes poorly. But then Eva pops up and traps them in the time bubble.
She looks like she went through hell. Her hair is longer, her clothing are torn, and she looks like she aged a bit. But the first things she does were hug Benjamin as though she hadn’t seen him in a long time, tell Celeste not to tell anyone anything about what she gleamed from her mind, and kissed Fabio on the forehead. But she became downright hostile to Triage, who only wanted to heal her, and seeing as the two of them were the first of the team to meet up and be friends he must’ve fucked up bad in the future.
Anyway, SHIELD shows up with Nick Fury, Coulson, Fucking Hawkeye, and Spider-Woman because of Hijack’s phone. Yeah, he fucked up. They want Cyclops, the big fish, not the small minnows and tell them to put their hands up.
The Stepford Sisters can’t affect them because SHIELD regularly has anti-telepathy equipment given their line of work. Now Eva could probably take them again, but Hijack turns their fancy gear on them. It’s then that Magik teleports them out and back to their base.
Cyclops is pissed off. It was a field test to see how they reacted, and most of them passed with flying colors. Even Fabio, who stumbled his way into a victory. While I doubt Celeste and Triage did as well, the only one to outright fail was Hijack.
They were in the most unexplored place on the planet and SHIELD tracked them down in 15 minutes, because of his cellphone at that, and he revealed his power. Next time SHIELD is going to be prepared for it like they were with the Stepford Sisters. Cyclops can’t have that so they drop him off at his old place, which is bad when you remember what happened to Fabio and that Mystique will most likely be the one talking to him with that silver tongue of hers to turn him evil, and the issue ends.
Okay, review time.
First off, considering that Kitty was in the background during that lecture I’m assuming this is before the Trial of Jean Grey. Second off, according to rumors next issue revolves around Cyclops, Teen!Cyclops, the aftermath of this chapter, and Tempus’ crush on him.
While I want to believe she went to a bad future and took some training from hell, there is a chance that the writers aged her so they could pair her with Cyclops if what I’m hearing about her romance for him coming into play. You can’t blame the young girl either for the crush. He’s hot enough that Pixie, Irma (for a while), and even the teenage host of Lady Deathstrike in X-Men #11 wants him.
Teenage girls find him hot, to the extent even his teen version was getting some play before BOTA, but while Cyclops is a lot of things, and most of them positives with a spattering of negatives, he’s not skeezy enough to have a relationship with her like that. Even though he did meet her mother already, and she was his first rescue, and so on. That’s Wolverine’s department.
Not to mention, whenever she was at clearly traumatized her. I mean, getting lost in time is mandatory for an X-Men with powers remotely close to hers. But if there is any luck she learned more about her powers and will serve as the leader of the team behind the adults.
As for Hijack, I’m conflicted on how to feel because Cyclops was a little harsh, but he has a point since they stated he warned the idiot about the phone thing. It’d be one thing to kick him off the team because he was disobeying an order that was morally wrong, but Hijack admitted the main reason he didn’t toss his phone was because of the damn contract. You’re an X-Man, and a fugitive one at that, fuck the phone contract and worry about the giant-ass robots SHIELD and Helmet-Head keeps sending at you!
Honesty, Cyclops can’t have that sort of reckless behavior right now and was somewhat right to kick him out, despite the benefits his power-set has to offer. If he’d used his phone at the base, they would have been compromised in a hurry. Like Cyclops said, mistakes have killed good X-Men before.
But Hijack knows wayyyy too damn much to be let go if he decides to go traitor and turn them into SHIELD. I don’t normally agree with mind-fuckery, but at least fudge the location of their base in his mind so he can retain his abilities and know how they work without compromising the group. Even if he’s being used as SHIELD bait by some chance, like a couple of people suggest when I lurked in the forums.
The sad thing is that I liked Hijack as he had the potential to be a great character. A victim of prejudice-turned-crusader of their rights without going overboard, a neat power, and as an older member of the team he would have been an excellent big brother figure to the rest of the younger members (barring Benjamin since he’s collage-age). On the other hand, the X-Men are lacking interesting villains and if you can’t join or stay with the team…in the end it really depends on what the storyboard has laid out for Hijack, but this won’t be the last we see of him.
So, between Tempus having aged and gone on her own time travel trauma and Hijack gotten the boot, many things have happened. I’m calling this a must-have issue that will have major effects on the plot, so it gets a 5 out of 5.