Episode 60: X-Cutioner’s Song Part 11

Call in the cavalry and prey they can get this thing over the finish line.

Listen to Episode 60: X-Cutioner’s Song Part 11.

You can subscribe to the Council of Geeks Podcast, home of 90s Comics Retrial on iTunes or on Stitcher.


Finally, a reminder that the podcast theme song is by erica dreisbach, and you can find more of her work at her website right here.


One thought on “Episode 60: X-Cutioner’s Song Part 11

  1. Frank says:

    Eponymous X-Men was perhaps the single title most responsible for unmaking me as both an fan of mutants and Marvel Comics. I’d lost interest in Uncanny and the X-titles in general during the Silvestri years, but started to come back around again as our heroes’ lives were warped by the Siege Perilous. I was blown away by the “Lady Mandarin” three-parter, the introduction of Gambit, and the Skrull Xavier arc. All of my favorite Punisher artists had revitalized the X-books, joined by this new kid I was digging named Rob Liefeld. I was underwhelmed by X-Tinction Agenda and “The Muir Island Saga” definitely was a titular overreach, but my X-fandom was still at a fever pitch in the summer of 1991 for Mutant Genesis.

    X-Force was first out of the gate, and after the throwing so much gasoline on the last three issues of New Mutants, never burned as brightly as expected. Then came the Gold team in Uncanny X-Men, which was a little wobbly in their initial issue but soon began finding its legs with Bishop and the X-traitor. PAD X-Factor came soon after, and was an unexpected pleasure.

    But the true prize X-Men #1, and I pre-ordered two copies: the bells & whistles glossy extra-length “E” cover I most wanted, and the “A” cover because I could bear to wait five weeks! I was ecstatic to read what would surely be one of the all-time great stories of the team (Blue or otherwise.) And it was… eh. I couldn’t believe that after spending most of the ’80s being developed as a Holocaust survivor and penitent former terrorist, Magneto would don his original costume and revert back to costume villainy. Likewise, Wolverine harassing team leader Cyclops while flirting with Jean Grey was exactly where those characters were when I started reading their stories, and felt like a betrayal of the evolving characterization I’d bought the series for. I felt like I was reading Classic X-Men with its somewhat hoary reprints, not a super-hyped new title.

    By then I knew that this was the last Chris Claremont arc, and instead of a last hurrah it was going to be a three issue reset button for the next writers. In a total dick move, John Byrne replaced him as scripter, but not to be outdone, he was soon out in favor of X-journeyman Fabian Nicieza. It soon became apparent that the magic of the Claremont/Lee collaboration was lost, and Jim Lee on his own seemed to want to turn the team into G.I. Joe with super powers. I new villains and allies did not capture my imagination, and Wolverine is his silly yellow & blue costume underlined how regressive and played out the X-Men were becoming. They had a nonsensical crossover with Ghost Rider for the money, and the umpteenth trip to Mojoworld for the ZZZs.

    I held out slim hope that with Lee gone, the book might finally feel like X-Men instead of a showcase for his uninspiring stories. Things only got worse once Nicieza was on his own and seemed to merely be a typing monkey for whatever Bob Harris dictated for the line. I guess As off-putting as Art Thibert aping Lee with all his might was, Andy Kubert’s blocky inexpressive characters and bland storytelling seemed even worse. If Jae Lee was the Fifty Shades of Grey of X-Cutioner’s Song, Kubert was the cinematic adaptation of the same. He was anti-sexy– the ice bucket challenge– the undesirable thought that kills your boner and sends you to the showers unsatisfied.

    In November of 1992 I purchased Death’s Head II #2 (X-Men guest spot), Marvel Comics Presents #119-120 (Wolverine strip), Stryfe’s Strike File #1, Wolverine #65, X-Men Adventures #3, X-Men Classic #79 and every X-Cutioner’s Song chapter. At the time of purchase, I knew that this was my last issue of X-Men. One year later, the only one of these titles I was still carrying was X-Men Classic.


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