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  #751  
Old 02-10-2018, 10:28 AM
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#5 is Send in the Clowns picks up immediately where the last issue left off, with Kitty attempting a rescue of a Brain-swapped Excalibur in Murder World. But first she uses her phasing power to disrupt all the electronics in the park, removing the thin layer of control that it had, and then grabbing Arcade himself and chucking him right in the middle of the rapidly malfunctioning park.

To Courtneys lack of credit, it takes her a very long time to realize that Excalibur has been mind-swapped with the Crazy Gang. Eventually she pieces the truth together because Nightcrawler is no longer speaking with a German accent, and has also tied her to a lumber mill and is going to murder her with a band saw. Also, one of the Crazy Gang shows up, with a German accent yelling that they swapped bodies.

Eventually everyone winds up in the same place and Captain Britain, in Tweedle Dopes body, builds a Mind Swap Reversal Machine and puts everyone back where they're supposed to be, and then beat up Arcade and haul him off to jail (Courtney begrudgingly admits that Murder World would be a pretty fun amusement park, if not for the murder). Later, when preparing for a date with Brian, she accidentally gets replaced by a doppelganger wearing a nightie, and Brian doesn't notice because of immediate and thorough smooching.

And while all this is happening, and Kitty is trying to reprogram Murder World to rescue her friends, Lockheed is trying to keep Arcades technicians from seizing control back, which he fails at because Ms. Locke manages to seduce him. Somehow. And also Meggan is scandalized that the guy who body-swapped her couldn't figure out her shape-shifting powers and made her look really friggin' unpleasantly weird.

Next up is an Inferno tie-in. That promises to be fun!
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  #752  
Old 02-10-2018, 11:22 AM
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Colossus is such a nerd. He's a super sensitive mama's boy who paints and reads Russian literature and talks in solemn platitudes and took like 30 years to work up the nerve to nail Kitty Pryde when she'd been begging for it the whole time.

he has a good deal of hick in him, though, which also doesn't really fit on this graph -- Rogue is kind of hard to place for the same reason.
The image was clearly categorizing people by science nerdery.
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  #753  
Old 02-10-2018, 11:23 AM
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Next up is an Inferno tie-in. That promises to be fun!
IIRC... ‘twas
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  #754  
Old 02-10-2018, 11:40 AM
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Also; gotta say that Captain Britain as a nincompoop looks startlingly similar to The Tick.

Just painted up like a Union Jack
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  #755  
Old 02-10-2018, 07:41 PM
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Not a spoiler: Courtney Ross is dead as fried chicken and this plot point will lie fallow for close to a decade.
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  #756  
Old 02-12-2018, 04:51 AM
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So the first part of the Inferno crossover is Goblin Night. I didn’t read Inferno before, but from context I take it to be the Bad Ending of any given SMT game, with Madelyne Pryor apparently becoming a witch (I’m assuming Mr. Sinister is involved with that, but no idea) and teaming up with a demon named N’arstih and turning New York into hell.

Excalibur gets involved because Rachel has a nightmare involving her alternate-timeline baby step-brother who will eventually become a time-traveling grumpy future-gunman, Nathan (this family, I swear), which makes her freak out and fly to his protection in New York. And also psychokinetically dress Kitty up like a baby, because Chris Claremont. And she zooms off to New York where she’s ambushed by a demoned-up Madelyn, now the Goblyn Queen. And then she’s chucked into the Empire State Building, which is now an even creepier and more overtly sexual version of the Hand Wall from Labyrinth. Then she escapes and winds up turned into a bridal mannequin with a creepy Stepford Wife grin.

Because Claremont.

The rest of Excalibur tries to fly over to New York to help, but they don’t have an airplane, so Kurt and Kitty just piggyback on Brian and Meggan (amazing!) and also briefly stop on a fishing boat so Kitty can pee. The sailors also make Meggan briefly become sparkly and flirty, partly to establish how her powers work, and mostly because Claremont.

In New York, things immediately become worse, Meggan responds to the emotions of the demons and shapeshifters into The Goblyn Princess at Narstihs pressing, an army of demons beat up Kurt really bad, Brian gets eaten by a movie theatre, turning into Rambo (?!?) and Kitty, once again, is fine because her whole deal is that nothing affects her.

Except for a desire to pee and have Rachel force her into revealing clothes, apparently.
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  #757  
Old 02-12-2018, 09:40 AM
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Because Claremont.
I recall from the round of interviews he gave after the end of his run that Claremont was uncharacteristically remorseful about Inferno. Basically, the editorial mandate was "Madelyne Pryor goes away and doesn't come back," and he felt she'd gotten a pretty raw deal in the process.

I also recall that they hoped Inferno would be the end of crossovers for the foreseeable future, and instead it started the tradition of the line-wide annual crossover that drove everybody crazy for years to come.
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  #758  
Old 02-13-2018, 04:48 AM
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Maddy is kind of the gold standard by which “being given a raw deal” is measured; so her becoming a super villain witch and turning New York into a monster-city is at least a decent send-off, if an out-of-character one.

Anyway, the back-half of the Inferno crossover Goblin Morn is... abrupt. Though it’s also full of Weird and Fun that made Excalibur suddenly become my favorite X-Book.

Kurt recovers from his demon-induced beating, only to find some non-transformed New Yorkers... who also beat him up thinking he’s another demon (and to be fair, that’s a pretty fair conclusion to jump to at the best of times). He gets away and befriends an animated gargoyle, who immediately falls in love with him (also understandable), and ALSO ALSO, notices that there are mannequins wandering the streets, turning into people and also turning people into mannequins. Which he rightly assumes is the reason he saw a mannequin Rachel wearing a bridal gown. So he steals (kidnaps?) the mannequin that replaced her and reversed the spell by bashing the two of them together, spoiling the attempting wedding of some Goblin that was very keen on being married to a primal force of creation. Which I assume is relevant in the main Inferno books, but IDK.

As for Kitty, Brian and Meggan in movieland; Rambo-Brian can’t actually kill Mitty, due to her powers, so Meggan changes the genre into a (honestly very convincing) Nightmare on Elm Street pastiche, followed by a Fred Astaire musical, but that ends when, somehow Kitty starts weilding Majiks Soul-Sword, and stabs the possession right out of Meggan and Brian, who are both really apologetic. And then Infernos over, with no real satisfying explanation for what happened to Narayan or why Kitty could use Limbo-Magic or anything. Possibly that’s cleared up in the next issue, maybe it’s in one of the main Inferno books, but, again, IDK. I’m flying blind here.
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  #759  
Old 02-13-2018, 05:42 AM
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Maddy is kind of the gold standard by which “being given a raw deal” is measured
See, I would have given that standard to Havok, personally. Dude just can't get a break to finish his masters degree.
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  #760  
Old 02-13-2018, 05:44 AM
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I think the reason stated why Kitty could use the Soulsword was because "they were very close".
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  #761  
Old 02-13-2018, 06:59 AM
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't we still have a few more years before Excalibur even realizes the X-Men are still alive and Rachel discovers Jean Grey has come back, despite the tie-in?
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  #762  
Old 02-13-2018, 07:03 AM
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Possibly; this collection doesn’t go past 1989, and survivors guilt is the only bit of !DRAMA! Kitty is allowed.

But there was also a brief snippet of Jean wearing her X-Factor uniform, so presumably they’re aware she’s not dead.
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  #763  
Old 02-13-2018, 07:15 AM
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There's a really long comedy of missed communications going on where all the different X-Teams are suspicious/oblivious of each other. (In their defense, X-Factor are posing as mutant hunters.) I think Inferno is where the X-Men learn that Jean is alive and that X-Factor aren't evil. (They just went with the worst possible PR strategy.) Excalibur remains kind of out of the loop for a while.
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  #764  
Old 02-13-2018, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Ample Vigour View Post
Not a spoiler: Courtney Ross is dead as fried chicken and this plot point will lie fallow for close to a decade.
I am actually still irrationally mad about this to this day. Claremont was the best there is at what he does, and what he does is twist the knife into supporting cast.
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  #765  
Old 02-13-2018, 08:28 AM
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There's a really long comedy of missed communications going on where all the different X-Teams are suspicious/oblivious of each other. (In their defense, X-Factor are posing as mutant hunters.) I think Inferno is where the X-Men learn that Jean is alive and that X-Factor aren't evil.
X-Factor came out of the closet in Fall of the Mutants, but that was just in time for the main team to die in Australia.

It also kind of varies from character to character, because some folks don't come out of the Siege Perilous and get their memories back until well into the 250s or 260s? The band isn't 100 percent back together until Muir Island.

Actually, when I think about it, after the end of the Australia phase Uncanny X-Men isn't really a book about a coherent team until, what, the X-Tinction Agenda?

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I am actually still irrationally mad about this to this day. Claremont was the best there is at what he does, and what he does is twist the knife into supporting cast.
I am sure he had a good idea of where this was going to go, six or seven years in the future.
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  #766  
Old 02-13-2018, 08:53 AM
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Actually, when I think about it, after the end of the Australia phase Uncanny X-Men isn't really a book about a coherent team until, what, the X-Tinction Agenda?
This period is a key point in my head-cannon. The world thinks the X-Men are dead. X-Factor's ship took them into deep space for awhile, The New Mutants are in Asgard and Excalibur is bouncing around space-time. By 1991, you have three time-travellers from three different points in the future, so something is very wrong at that point.

I can never really settle on what to do with Jean. Does she not come back? Does Sarah Grey take her place on X-Factor? Do you dump X-Factor entirely and make Scott not suck forever? Do you even need to kill Jean in the first place?
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  #767  
Old 02-13-2018, 09:22 AM
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Do you even need to kill Jean in the first place?
I'm a total hypocrite, because even though I made fun of Kurt Busiek's angry letter to the editor, I also think that killing Jean was a mistake. The original ending was better and the version of the issue where Jean dies feels like the abrupt and hastily revised mess it actually was.

(One reason they killed her instead of taking her powers away was to prevent a situation where the Phoenix came back as a hokey reoccurring threat, gradually diminishing the story. Oops!)

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  #768  
Old 02-13-2018, 09:46 AM
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I just want to go back to my 15-year-old self who thoughts Jean's empowerment and death reflected some kind of feminist ideal and slap the shit out of that kid.
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  #769  
Old 02-13-2018, 09:53 AM
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Later stories sold it a lot better than the original one. The Watcher had a cool spiel about it at the end of the X-Factor run with the original team.
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  #770  
Old 02-13-2018, 09:56 AM
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I'm a total hypocrite, because even though I made fun of Kurt Busiek's angry letter to the editor, I also think that killing Jean was a mistake. The original ending was better and the version of the issue where Jean dies feels like the abrupt and hastily revised mess it actually was.

(One reason they killed her instead of taking her powers away was to prevent a situation where the Phoenix came back as a hokey reoccurring threat, gradually diminishing the story. Oops!)
Well, also because they felt like genocide was probably a bit much to come back from with "Hey, no more powers, all good now right?"

Really, the whole escalation of the Phoenix arc was a series of missteps.
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  #771  
Old 02-13-2018, 09:59 AM
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I can’t really agree since Dark Phoenix remains my favorite X-Men Story. Despite alllll the baggage it now engenders.

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See, I would have given that standard to Havok, personally. Dude just can't get a break to finish his masters degree.
I kind of love Havoks constant dunking-upon though. He’s a guy who sighs and says “Look, you’ve got fifteen other guys on your speed dial that can shoot lasers. Most of them probably won’t explode if they do it too much either. Please let me just sit this one out.” Guy probably already had his sweat pants on and just made a big bowl of popcorn. Rocky IV was on TV tonight and he’s always wanted to see it. But nooooo, Apocalypse was up to his old tricks again and only someone with solar energy flares can thwart his insidious schemes.

Madlyne, on the other hand, got so dunked so cartoonishly severely that throwing her in the fridge would have been a welcome relief.
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  #772  
Old 02-13-2018, 10:01 AM
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Well, also because they felt like genocide was probably a bit much to come back from with "Hey, no more powers, all good now right?"

Really, the whole escalation of the Phoenix arc was a series of missteps.
There were a lot of reasons, and the moral issue is definitely the most well known and probably the most important. I just thought their arguments about the impact on future stories was very funny, given what happened later.

And also the genocide was just a whim of Byrne's, which you can imagine was frustrating for Claremont when Shooter started yelling at them to fix this somehow at the last minute. (Some early pencils for the Jean Is Depowered Now issue exist, at least the cover, maybe a first page or two, I forget...)

The biggest takeaway from interviews about this is that Claremont and Berne never spent a few minutes on the phone to clear up "uhhh so what is this whole Phoenix thing anyway???"
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  #773  
Old 02-13-2018, 10:03 AM
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Well, also because they felt like genocide was probably a bit much to come back from with "Hey, no more powers, all good now right?"

Really, the whole escalation of the Phoenix arc was a series of missteps.
I was never totally on board with that explanation. Jean Grey is too boring to be genocidal. That was the Phoenix, Jean is only the vessel. She's a victim, really... so of course it would be her fault.
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  #774  
Old 02-13-2018, 10:06 AM
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I was never totally on board with that explanation. Jean Grey is too boring to be genocidal. That was the Phoenix, Jean is only the vessel. She's a victim, really... so of course it would be her fault.
That's what Byrne thought too, which is probably why he drew the Broccoli Genocide.

Claremont thought Phoenix was still basically just Jean Grey, with a solar radiation based power boost. Phoenix wasn't an independent entity, just Jean Grey who had become too powerful to relate to human beings anymore and manipulated by Mastermind.

Retroactively, everyone decided that Byrne was right all along, leading to years of Phoenix Force events.
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  #775  
Old 02-13-2018, 10:11 AM
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Claremont thought Phoenix was still basically just Jean Grey, with a solar radiation based power boost.
Huuuhhhh... never heard this.
I shall reflect on this info in my regeneration pod.
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  #776  
Old 02-13-2018, 10:16 AM
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Huuuhhhh... never heard this.
I shall reflect on this info in my regeneration pod.
Not everyone agrees with this reading, but I read all these issues for the first time as an adult recently and couldn't see any other interpretation.

People who read Phoenix/Dark Phoenix assuming the existence of a "Phoenix Force" are retroactively applying current cannon to an idea that didn't exist in the book, in the letters pages, or in contemporaneous interviews.

Phoenix was just Jean.
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  #777  
Old 02-13-2018, 10:18 AM
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Retcons are what comics are made of, though.
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  #778  
Old 02-13-2018, 10:19 AM
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Retcons are what comics are made of, though.
Of course! But it's also interesting to read a story in its original context, on its own terms.
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  #779  
Old 02-13-2018, 10:26 AM
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Not everyone agrees with this reading, but I read all these issues for the first time as an adult recently and couldn't see any other interpretation.
I had never really considered this but it makes so much sense it nudged my third eye open a little. Jean has earned more respect in my eyes in the last 10 minutes than in the last 30 years.
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  #780  
Old 02-13-2018, 10:34 AM
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IIRC, whenever Jeans powers manifested as a giant flaming bird in those days it was decreed to as The Phoenix Force, but it was also plainly not referring to any kind of entity.

Honestly, Phoenix being a big space-bird that happens to take a hankerin’ to red-headed telepaths never really sat with me, either as a character or plot device. Outside of explaining why it inevitably gets an awful grasp on how to handle emotions, at least.

But it’s naturally the one that everyone writing X-Books opted to stick with.
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