COLLECTING: UNCANNY X-MEN 265-272, ANNUAL 14; FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL 23; NEW MUTANTS (1983) 95-97, MATERIAL FROM ANNUAL 6; X-FACTOR (1986) 60-62, MATERIAL FROM ANNUAL 5


Writers: Chris Claremont, Louise Simonson
Artists: Bill Jaaska, Mike Collins, Joe Rubinstein, Whilce Portacio, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Art Thibert, Rob Liefeld and lot of others

This collection features the introduction of Gambit, another cool loner type (in addition to Wolverine).

The X-Men issues in this collections start with a three-issue focus on Storm. She’s now a little girl in Cairo (Illinois, not Egypt). She steals from the rich using her erratic powers to help her. However, the Shadow King is on her trail and manages to lure her into a trap. She escapes it only with the help of Gambit. But when they manage to leave Shadow king and his hounds to the dust, Nanny and the Orphan Maker attack.

Then, we return to Madripoor where Wolverine, Psylocke, and Jubilee get some help from the Black Widow. Logan reminisces about how he first met Natasha during WWII. She was just a child whom the Hand, a guild of assassins, tried to use for their own ends. Logan and Captain America saved her.

And in issue 269 we finally get the return of Rogue who disappeared into the Siege Perilous in issue 247. She returns to the X-Men’s old hideout in Australia without Ms. Marvel’s powers. Unfortunately, the hideout has been retaken by the Reavers and Ms. Marvel has been separated from Rogue. Carol immediately attacks Rogue who just manages to escape into the Savage Land. Carol ends up in Muir Island and the Shadow King takes her over and sends her to attack Rogue again. In the end, only either Carol or Rogue can survive.

The rest of the issues in this collection were not published here in Finland. Most of them are available digitally at Marvel but they’re not part of the Marvel Unlimited subscription, except for the X-Men issues. Fortunately, the collection is in the Finnish library system.

Next, the four annuals bring us the Days of Future Present story. It starts with the Fantastic Four annual: the team (with their son Franklin, human Ben Grimm, and Sharon Ventura as Ms. Marvel who looks like the Thing) is returning to Four Freedom’s Plaza when the whole building disappears. Then, the Baxter Building reappears. When they investigate, they find an adult Franklin with frightening powers. Eventually, the New Mutants, X-Factor, and the X-Men get involved, as well. The X-Factor annual includes the historic (to me, at least) moment when Rachel meets Jean for the first time and admits to Jean and Scott that she’s their daughter from an alternate future. Unfortunately, this don’t go well for her.

I love the Days of Future Past story and some of the stories which it has spawned. This in an average offering where the story itself is buried under the clash of characters and teams. The four teams fight Ahab and his sentinels and hounds in addition to the adult Franklin. (And after reading A vs X, it was very interesting to see Reed say that Scott and the other mutants in his team are like family to the FF.)

The rest of the collection is taken over by the X-tinction Agenda which cross-overs to New Mutants and X-Factor. The story starts with Genosha essentially declaring war on the X-Men and sending out a strike team to Xavier’s school. They kidnap Storm in her child form and four of the New Mutants: Boom-Boom, Rictor, Wolfsbane and Warlock.

Then the X-tinction Agenda is in full swing. At first, Cable, Banshee, and Forge don’t know where the missing mutants have been taken but quickly X-Factor, Cable, Forge, Gambit, Banshee, Sunspot, and Cannonball head to Genosha to free the captive mutants. Also, Wolverine, Psylocke, and Jubilee appear there and are eventually reunited with the rest of the team. Meanwhile, the last X-Man who went through the Siege Perilous turns up: Havok is a dedicated Magistrate. Despite his powers he loathes all mutants. He thinks that he was born a Genoshan and volunteered to become a Magistrate.

The Genoshan president has joined forces with Cameron Hodge and Hodge was the one who decided to kidnap foreigners from foreign soil. The Genengineer and the leader of the Magistrates both want to get rid of the increasingly insane Hodge which is a wedge the X-Men exploit.

Boom-Boom and Rictor are without their powers most part of the story and most of the rest of the mutants also lose their powers temporarily forcing them to rely on their skills. This is always an interesting tactic. Warlock and Wolfsbane are greatly changed in this story and Storm returns back to her old adult self.

This is an enjoyable cross-over but the difference in art in jarring. The X-Men issues are done by Jim Lee and Scott Williams whose style is far sleeker than the other artists in the story line.

Gambit is the new character and even though he suggests once to Storm that they should just leave, he quickly becomes a reliable team member. Jubilee is actually far more reluctant to take orders than Gambit.

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