Saturday, November 6, 2010


CLAREMONT, Chris. X-Men: Fall of the Mutants. Marvel Comics, 2001 (originally published in 1988). ISBN: 0785108254

Let us harken back to the eighties... to a time when only nerds loved The X-Men.

In 1988, Marvel Comics ran a sort-of crossover between Uncanny X-Men, the New Mutants, and X-Factor. These were the only X-Men related titles at the time. There's now something like two dozen. Like I said, different times. One of the reasons I'm going to be tackling each "chapter" individually is because the titles don't really intersect. At all. While all of them have to do with the nation's growing concern over "the mutant menance" in general; the X-Men are fighting a mystical god-like being in Dallas, the New Mutants are confronting beast creatures on a weird island in the middle of nowhere, and X-Factor is fighting one of their own. Like I said, nothing really connecting them on any one particular point. The Uncanny story is my favorite, so I'm kind of glad to be talking about that one first.

The X-Men in 1988 were as follows: veterans Storm, Wolverine, and Rogue as well as old member Havok who recently returned to the team. Dazzler, Longshot, and Psylocke have all recently joined them and, along with Rogue, defeated the Juggernaut in Scotland a few issues back. Though the team is a little green, they all effectively work well together as a unit. Also, due to a misprint in the original issue, it actually lists the wrong four members of the team who fight Juggernaut when it's mentioned at the beginning of Uncanny X-Men #225. Well, they got one name wrong. I think Havok was in there instead of Psylocke or something. I remember occasionally seeing errors in issues when I was regularly reading X-Men Classic. I miss that. It makes the comics more real or something. A fun thing to point out about this lineup is that it's also has a majority of women, something that only ever happened during this period in the X-Men's history. At the beginning of this story, Colossus (with his little sister Illyana's telepoting help) rejoins the team. Wolverine is also the leader while Storm is with Forge for most of the story, which is weird. The team kind of gets their butts handed to them in this story so let's blame Wolverine for that. Logan the Scapegoat. He also gets shot so bad he can't move early in the story. Yeah... stuff like that used to happen. He's not the coolest one, people.

Forge, a Native American inventor who works for the government, is the one with the problem here. While his mutant ability is where his technical know-how comes from, he's also a mystic who unleashed some bad mojo during the Vietnam War when some of his buddies got killed. Using nine of their souls to open, well I guess essentially a gateway to hell, he tipped over the delicate balance between good and evil. An ancient being known as the Adversary, basically a trickster god, kills his mentor Naze and assumes his form. He then plots against Roma, another all powerful entity who is essentially his counterpart in the world of good. The Adversary basically succeeds in the beginning of the story and traps Roma, but not before she engineers Colossus' return in a roundabout way.

In an unrelated plot point, there's a battle royale with "Freedom Force" - essentially most of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants from the Days of Future Past story, who are now employed by the government and charged with bringing the outlaw X-Men in. I like the X-Men as outlaws. I don't know why, but it's awesome when they're described as "the outlaw X-Men." Destiny sees the X-Men as a nexus of nothingness, which makes them targets for Freedom Force. Mystique also wants to bring them in to make the team look good. And most of the bad guys hate the X-Men anyway. Destiny is also having a lot of panic attacks because the Adversary's presence is essentially blocking her mutant power to see the future, but she knows the X-Men are going to die no matter which way it goes. She fears not seeing the outcome means all of reality is in danger and they could get "poofed" out of existence. She's not wrong. After fighting each other to a standstill, the X-Men enter Forge's building (yes, he owns an entire building in this story. W-T-F!?) to confront the Adversary. It's also worth noting this takes place in Dallas, TX. That is so random, but I have always loved that part of the story. Oh, the X-Men are in Dallas? Why is that? To DIE! I mean... right!?

Originally collected in Uncanny X-Men #225 – 227. At three issues, it's a short read. Any well worth it. If, for anything else, Spiral fighting different members of the X-Men. Magically attaching Destiny's mask to Dazzler's face? Genius.

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