Friday, 16 August 2013

Uncanny X-Men #261: Wolverdickery

Hello. It's been a while. I got ill, and then eventually the queue ran out. I have decided to start posting, but on a more leisurely schedule, as I promised before! In the the meantime I've been doing other writing: I put a collaborators wanted ad for Ukko, and am very excited about the replies, and am also working on The Apocalypse Bug.

So, where were, anyway? Oh, Uncanny X-Men #261. Let's remind ourselves of where we were (frankly, at this point I need to remind myself) with a quick recap:

As an official team the X-Men are no more. They faked their own deaths in the "Fall of the Mutants" crossover, soon moved to Australia and then were picked off one by one. Wolverine got back (from one of his frequent trips abroad to have solo adventures) to find the team missing (what's happened to them isn't important right now). He was briefly tortured by the Reavers and then rescued by new girl Jubilee, who then tags along with Wolverine. Wolverine and Jubilee then rescued Pyslocke from captivity in Hong Kong. She's a ninja now, by the way. And Japanese.

#261 starts with a mercenary group called "Hardcase and the Harriers" getting a commission to go after Wolverine and the girls. These guys are treated like a first-class villain team, with a box on the cover and a double-page spread introducing them with code names and earth names. There's a special credit for their creation: Claremont and Silvestri. The core: "'Axe" and "Shotgun" (these names, I swear, it really is the 90s, isn't it), came from Wolverine #5 - and want to take revenge on Wolverine (interesting that they know him by name: wasn't he going by the name Patch at that point?), but most (all) of the others have never been seen before or since. This issue is thus immediately marked as a failure by history. It is trying to establish a new antagonist team. We never see them again. It can't work, then.

But I'm cheating. I'm using hindsight. And get this: I'm wrong. Because it's a training scenario: Wolverine has hired the mercenaries to try out Psylocke and Jubilee in the field. I've fallen for the ostensible premise hook line and sinker, just as much as Braddock and Lee have. It's just a bit of silly throwaway action to mess with his charges. Xavier, clearly, has been a bad influence on Wolverine.

This wouldn't be a late-Claremont period X-Men comic without some random subplots. Banshee and Forge have arrived at the X-Mansion on a recce. They've been combing the world for X-Men and are worried about Moira MacTaggert's behaviour. Something's changed her: she's wearing much more risqué clothes than she used to, which obviously means she's evil now. And there's a bit of Jean, too, she's gone to the same place... Some paths are about to cross!


  1. Welcome back!

    I love how people's minds work in superhero comics. If my other half suddenly changed her look my first two assumptions would be 1) midlife crisis and 2) an affair. Sudden-onset evil disease would be very much at the back of my mind.

    1. Ah but middle-aged female sexuality is inherently evil. I mean, she's practically as old as Xavier! Ick!

  2. Welcome back indeed! Glad you've returned, no matter how leisurely.

    As for this issue, it's never done much for me. I think Hardcase and/or some of his Harriers show up again in a Wolverine solo issue or something, but clearly, they never took off, whether as pseduo-villains or allies. And they just scream "generic GI Joe knockoffs" too much to really care about them in their own right.