Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Jason Powell on Uncanny X-Men #184

[I make a comment below in italics -- GK]

[Guest Blogger Jason Powell continues his issue by issue look at Chris Claremont’s X-Men run. For more in this series, see the toolbar on the right.]


Uncanny X-Men, The #184

“The Past of Future Days”

It’s probably no coincidence that, during the John Byrne tour de force of “Days of Future Past,” the year 1984 is a key date in the dystopian chronology laid out by Kate Pryde. It is and will probably always be the emblematic year for dystopian futures thanks to George Orwell. (Claremont even acknowledges Orwell explicitly in issue 183.) So Claremont choosing to do a sequel to “Days” when the actual year 1984 came about is surely no surprise. What’s more fortuitous is that James Cameron (to whom Claremont already owes a huge debt for the influence of “Aliens” upon the Brood) made a movie in 1984 all about a future where robots take over and both humans and robots head back in time to change destiny.

This confluence of serendipitous chronologies leads to “The Past of Future Days,” a scattered, schizophrenic X-Men story that falls rather shockingly below par given the tight cohesiveness of the previous issue. This is an era for X-Men that sees Claremont very much abandoning traditionally structured storytelling. Perhaps still intimidated by the shadow of his great accomplishments on the series, Claremont is deliberately pre-empting any weight of expectation to live up to something like “The Dark Phoenix Saga,” or even the more recent masterpiece with Paul Smith eventually to be christened “From the Ashes.” By eschewing any semblance of classical structure for a much messier narrative style, he forces readers to abandon any preconceived expectations and to simply surrender to the bizarre flow. The tight, laser-beam plotting of the Byrne era had been slowly diffusing anyway in the years since Byrne departed. It’s right at around Uncanny #184 that the light scatters completely, reflected disco-ball style in several directions at once (appropriate then, that part of this issue is actually set in a disco).

Hence, last issue featured Kitty Pryde packing up and heading to Chicago to visit her dad (a segue into the six-part Kitty Pryde & Wolverine miniseries, which in turn is the reason why neither of those characters appear in Uncanny for the next eight months). It also ended with a cliffhanger involving the return to the X-universe of Selene (who’d first appeared in New Mutants #s 9-11). Meanwhile, New Mutants #18 (contemporaneous with “The Past of Future Days”) opens with Rachel from the “Days of Future Past” arc having just arrived, Terminator-style, in the present. After a long introduction in New Mutants, she disappears only to turn up here, in Uncanny #184, and (apropos of nothing) battle Selene. Meanwhile, a new character called Forge is also introduced -- in one of the most embarrassing debut panels any superhero has had to endure. Honestly, I know it’s almost 25 years old, but a horizontally striped shirt, short shorts and a cane – not to mention the effeminate posture? Surely even in ’84 this looked awful.

Forge, a Native American, is lectured by Naze when we first meet him. “The ancient patterns are being broken, the proper order of things overturned!” says Naze. “The fabric of life itself is unraveling!” This may be an oblique reference to the “Demon Bear” arc in New Mutants 18-20, which focused on Danielle Moonstar, a character that – like Forge and Naze – is a Cheyenne Indian. It’s an oblique reference to something, at any rate, and the Naze thread will not find a proper resolution for over 3 years.

Claremont also makes this issue tie in to the “Dire Wraith war,” the premise of his friend Bill Mantlo’s action-figure-based comic book Rom. As if it all wasn’t overdetermined enough...?

With all this material crammed into the issue, how do the X-Men fit in? Well, four issues from the end as it turns out: That’s when they finally show up. And while it’s great to see them, it certainly raises the question of where Claremont’s mind is at. Up to this point during his tenure, Claremont has always seemed more excited about the X-Men characters he inherited than the ones he created himself. But that focus seems to have shifted now – Uncanny #184 sees Claremont more at home with Forge, Mystique, Valerie Cooper, Rachel and Selene (all original Claremont creations or co-creations) than with the staple Cockrum/Wein characters -- Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, etc. – all of whom are shunted aside here, relegated to the role of guest stars in their own comic.

[This idea of an anxiety of influence relationship not with a precursor but with the creators younger self has a big hold on my imagination this week, as I have been thinking a lot about Miller's Batman. I mentioned this in the Spirit post this week -- it is just a coincidence to see it come up here. Something very much worth thinking about.

Also: I like the scattered stuff in this period. It is another aspect of what you can do with a title before it becomes a total commodity: you pick the thing up and you don't know what the hell you are going to get. The overdetermination you are talking about here is genuinely absurd, and kind of awesome in a way only long running comics at big corporations can be.

And as my friend Brady said (I think, and I think I may have mentioned this before) -- how totally CLASSY to have Kitty and Wolverine out of the book for eight months while they go on their own adventure. For all of his outlandish science fiction, Claremont is unwilling to break a fundamental rule of continuity -- a rule that guides far too much at the big comics companies while paradoxically being ignored all the time -- that a person SHOULD NOT BE IN TWO PLACES AT ONCE.]

26 comments:

Jason said...

That first parenthetical of mine is, of course, wrong -- as was corrected to me the last time I brought this up, Claremont's Brood precedes Cameron's "Aliens." My bad!

Geoff, I'm glad to hear you enjoy the scattered-ness of this era. Confessedly, I'd probably like it more if so much time were not devoted to Rachel, who is the only Claremont X-Men creation of the 1980s that I genuinely can't stand.

Re: Wolverine and Kitty out of the comic for eight months -- not only classy, but a little bold as well, I think. Wolverine was a high-selling character by this point, so to leave him out of the series for two-thirds of a year is rather ballsy. (And as far as I know, such was the devotion of X-fans at the time that sales were not adversely affected by the decision.)

Finally, I'm reminded of the recent "the little touches" post on this blog, where we were invited to mention our favorite little details from stories we love. When Claremont took Wolverine out of X-Men for three months in 1983 (so he could be in the first Wolverine miniseries), that was when the other X-Men met the Morlocks.

The next time the Morlocks appear, their plan (in Uncanny 179) hinges on switching Kitty with a corpse that's been modified to look just like her. But it doesn't work -- Wolverine can sniff out fakes. The Morlocks didn't know there was an X-Man who could do that, 'cause he wasn't there in the first Morlock story.

I love that detail -- a great use of the dreaded "continuity".

Jason said...

P.S. It's always an unexpected pleasure when there's a GK addendum to one of these X-Men posts. Thanks, Geoff!

scott91777 said...

Ah, yes... ROM Space Knight... This dude and Claremont must have been REALLY good friends as he would devote much of the plot of several upcoming issues to the 'dire wraith' threat.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't just Claremont. Stern devoted 2 issues of Avengers to the Wraith threat and it played a major role in the famous FF issue where Franklin defeats Mephisto.

Jason said...

Anon, thanks for the info -- did this all happen at the same time? Maybe it was just "Wraith" season at Marvel ...

Still, Claremont and Mantlo clearly *were* pals. Besides there being just a general similarity between their writing sensibilities, there were also some shared characters here and there. Not only did the Wraiths show up in X-Men, but Forge would go on from this arc to appear in the last Rom issues to deal with the whole Wraith thing (something like issues 61-65).

There's also a Mantlo-penned issue of Hulk that guest-stars Avalance and maybe another member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. A footnote by Mantlo on the opening splash reads, "Note: Although this issue features mutants and a fight set at an airport, it WAS NOT written by Chris Claremont." So, definitely some camaraderie there.

Anonymous said...

Bill Mantlo, creator of ROM and the Dire Wraiths, seems to have been something of a social butterfly -- he was in regular contact with a lot of other comics creators, and friendly with most of them. Very well liked within the field. One of the (many) indictments against Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter was that he wasn't very nice to Mantlo... he thought he was something of a loose cannon, and didn't think much of him as a writer either. So Shooter kept Mantlo on a short leash editorially, and was reluctant to turn him loose on major titles. Mantlo seems to have taken this without much resentment, but I have the impression some of his colleagues quietly added it to the ever-growing list of grudges against Shooter.

But anyway -- yeah, for a while the Dire Wraiths were big. In fact, just a bit later the "nullifier" technology from ROM will play a major role in several Marvel titles, most notably X-Men.


Doug M.

Anonymous said...

Question: does Forge make enough of an appearance here for me to unleash my anti-Forge rant? Or should I wait?

Selene: didn't she first appear way back in Ms. Marvel?

Rachel: there are various reasons to dislike this character. I never warmed to her because her origin annoyed me, and because she herself never developed in any interesting way -- hound used to hunt mutants, blah blah guilt, big deal. But you may have other reasons. Since she's going to be around for a while (sigh), let's hear 'em.

Cover love: This may not be a very good issue, but come on -- just look at that cover! Not only is it a lovely bit of layout (and remember, layout is all about making it look effortless) but it manages to convey a bunch of key points about the story without using a single word balloon. In fact, JRJR was on a roll with covers for a while -- almost every issue is solid. None of them are as iconically great as some of the Byrne covers, but then (as you point out) it wasn't a period of iconically great stories. Given what he had to work with, JRJR managed to crank out one solid cover after another.


Doug M.

Jason said...

Doug, not sure about Selene, I'm only going by the Marvel Chronology Project, which places her first appearance as New Mutants #9.

I say save the Forge rant for "LifeDeath" (Uncanny 186). I don't really like Forge in these issues -- especially not in "LifeDeath." But I like him A LOT later, when he turns up in "Fall of the Mutants," and again in the Jim Lee days.

Funny you mention the cover -- I hadn't really thought about it until seeing it posted here, on the blog. So before today, if you'd said this was a great cover, I'd have shrugged. But yeah, it's like I'm seeing it for the first time. It's a good 'un.

Thanks for the Mantlo trivia -- that is interesting. I like the guy's work quite a bit, particularly on Incredible Hulk.

Finally --- Rachel. Ugh. My reasons are only a fraction different from yours. Her origin, I don't mind -- and I actually like the way Claremont kind of eked it out. The "hound" reveal was an interesting twist that we don't get until issue 189. Then around 207 or so there's another interesting wrinkle, when we learn that Wolverine was the one guy in the "Future Past" dystopia who "never forgave" Rachel. I rather like that.

The bad part of her origin is the explicit reveal that Phoenix was her mother. This means that even when the original story was published, we were looking at an alternate future, because Jean had already died six months previous, never having given birth. It puts a real chink in the immediacy of that original story.

But ultimately what I really hate is the characterization (typically the thing I love in a Claremont comic). Every issue of her earliest appearances plays the same beat: Rachel sees something that reminds her of a horrible thing, and she breaks down weeping. Seeing Illyana as a teenager when she's supposed to be six -- crying and weeping. Hearing Scott's voice on the phone -- crying. Learning Jean Grey is dead -- crying (this one works on its own). Learning Maddy Pryor is pregnant with a boy -- crying (this one was the crowning lameness ... she wanted it to be a girl because then it might be her? Even though it's a different mom?). Being asked to use her telepathy to find another mutant -- crying. And so on. Ad nauseam.

Also ... I don't have the same hate-on for 80s fashions that some people of my generation do. (Lots of X-fans like to make fun of Longshot's mullet, which honestly doesn't bother me.) But ... Rachel's rat-tail just makes me recoil in horror.

scott91777 said...

ROM lasted 60 plus issues? Wow...

Now did Mantlo create the whole toy or was this a property Marvel acquired (a la GI Joe and Transformers) that he was the writer on?

Another inconsistency with Rachel, I'm actually most familiar with her as featured in Excalibur... where she seemed a much 'stronger' character... i.e. seeing the weepy version of her here it seems like she's an altogether different charcter.

And, yes, the rat tail is the most hideous hair invention ever.

scott91777 said...

Going to answer my question... It was a toy property licensed to Marvel that Mantlo greatly expanded upon (much like Larry Hama and GI Joe I suppose). The toy failed within about a year but the series lasted 7. Maybe that's why Shooter relegated him to the title? After the toy failed he figured it would last that long, maybe?

Jason said...

Yeah, the success of ROM beyond the toy is impressive. A lot of people have pretty fond memories of it. Credit Mantlo with that one -- he did something similar with the Micronauts (also a toy tie-in).

Yeah, Excalibur Rachel was quite a bit better -- Claremont hit upon a more workable formula, by having his adopted all-purpose villain, Spiral, give her some kind of amnesia, so that the whole "tortured by memories" angle could be downplayed.

Also, Alan Davis designed a very sleek, stylish and sexy visual for Rachel, and that helped too, it can't be denied.

Joe Gualtieri said...

Jason- Sorry to nitpick, but Claremont doesn't owe Cameron a thing for the Brood, he owes Ridley Scott and if anything, surely DoFP is an unacknowledged influence on Cameron's Terminator rather than the other way 'round.

James said...

"a rule that guides far too much at the big comics companies while paradoxically being ignored all the time"

I know, right? I feel like the first part of that is the fans' fault, though. Everything! Must! Work!

For example: The guessing games around Whedon's Astonishing X-Men were insane, partly because Marvel couldn't just come out and say "this is now so late it really doesn't fit in [i]anywhere[/i], but we'll reflect the changes in the other comics when the last issue ships". They had to tip-toe around and entertain the idea that when all was said and done, the events would slot in somewhere between issues A and B. Who cares! Was it this mentality that robbed us of a permanently visorless Cyclops? Who knows, but clearly I am obsessed.

Having said all that, the current Wolverine thing is really dumb.

Anonymous said...

I love this era of X-Men in a nostalgic way because this is where I started reading as a pre-teen. I did not read the Cockrum/Byrne eras until they were published in Classic X-Men a few years later so I had no basis for comparison. I still like Rachel's look because it seems so alien and desperate the way JRJR draws it (it would likely have looked worse drawn by someone else). She comes across visually as someone barely keeping it together. I feel the power of her story was really taken away when it was revealed (decided) that Phoenix and Jean Grey were not the same (one of the many negative repercussions of bringing Jean Grey back). But if you can ignore that part, and view Rachel's story in terms of the Phoenix storyline, then Rachel's ultimate confrontation with Wolverine is very powerful.

-Jeff

Jason said...

Joe, sorry to nitpick, but see my first comment in this thread. :) I admitted the Alien thing was a mistake. (Still an embarrassing one, though. Sorry, again ...)

And while DoFP might've influenced Terminator, we have no evidence for that (whereas John Byrne -- who plotted DoFP, has explicitly admitted it owes a debt to "Day of the Daleks," a Dr. Who episode). And Harlan Ellison won a lawsuit claiming that Terminator owes its premise to two of Ellison's stories. So, who knows?

What IS obvious is that after Terminator came out, Claremont dipped back into the DoFP well, with a story about two people traveling back in time from the dystopian future to the present -- one, a normal-looking person wanting to change things; the other, a robot looking to "terminate" mutants. Claremont put his own spin on both characters (and he even gave Nimrod the ability to change his shape, obliquely predicting the whole "T-1000" thing of the second Cameron film). But, the influence is obvious there.

Jeff, I did indeed come to like the Wolverine/Rachel stuff (at least to some degree), but again, I think even before they brought Jean Grey back, something was eroded by the revelation that Rachel was Phoenix's daughter. It made her entire future an "alternate" one from the start, when originally that was a more open-ended question.

(And I'll agree to disagree re: Rachel's visualization. It just never worked for me.)

Anonymous said...

I always liked Nimrod, it's a shame the character got swept under the rug after the Mutant Massacre. He was an interesting character, making friends and being a houseguest to a human famly while totally being a nearly-invincible killing machine from the future. Also, Nimrod's ability to learn from each encounter where you can't beat him the same way twice seems to predict the Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

As for Rachel, I always liked her, though I am confused to this day whether or not she has access to the Phoenix Force or not. And why did it take until the 21st century for her to grow her hair? You'd think, as traumatized as she was by her past, she'd ditch the "hound" hairstyle after a while.

Interesting points about Wolverine being out of the X-Men comic for 8 months. Something like that would NEVER happen today. Can anyone say where the shift took place, where Wolverine went from being a fan-favorite character to the megacharacter-who-must-appear-in-as-many-comics-as-possible-each-month? It seems like around this time he was liked but didn't guest-star in every other Marvel comic. Was it the Jim Lee era?

Jason said...

Nimrod got what I found to be a very appropriate send-off during the Silvestri days, just after Inferno.

Good point about Rachel's hair. Tsk. Stupid Rachel. (And yeah, she did have access to the Phoenix force, though it was indeed confusing. Probably would have been less-so if the crazy Madelyne stuff hadn't occurred in the middle of it. Alan Davis did his best to sort it all out and chronologize the Phoenix Force's activities in Excalibur #52, for what it's worth.)

The tipping point for Wolverine was probably 1989, when he got his own solo series. Claremont was against the idea -- he felt it was overexposure for the character. But Tom DeFalco had recently replaced Jim Shooter as Editor in Chief at Marvel, while Bob Harras had replaced Ann Nocenti as the editor of Uncanny X-Men and its spin-offs. So it was a new regime, with new priorities. Claremont put up with it for about three years, and then resigned. (He was not, as some people erroneously claim, fired off of Uncanny. He quit because he felt control slipping away.)

But before he quit, he rolled with it for a while, writing the first 8 issues of the Wolverine ongoing (and issue 10). He would still slip gaps into Uncanny where and when he could, in an attempt to hollow out places where the arcs of the solo comic could fit. Hence, there is no Logan in Uncanny 244 (and that selfsame issue also sees Dazzler make a note of how often Wolverine has been disappearing lately).

Then there's a four-issue gap just a little later -- no Wolverine in issues 247-250. So Claremont can still be seen trying to keep a bit of sanity in the proceedings, where and when he could. (Meanwhile, Claremont's frustration can be read into the characters, with Havok in issue 249 expressing his anger over Wolverine's absence.)

Once Claremont left, though, all bets were off.

Dougie said...

Nice to see some love for Mantlo's Rom and Micronauts.
That's probably one of the better covers from this period. Poor Rachel will later suffer the indignity of one of JRJr's costume designs. He didn't inherit that particular skill!(Cf. Piotr's Soviet bondage gear or Magneto's big M for "Mah-vellous").
I enjoyed Claremont's burgeoning cast during the Romita era.Unfortunately, as in X-treme X-men,some interesting characters get lost in the crowd (Magma;Empath, Catseye and Tarot from the Hellions; Roberto's parents;Amanda/Jimaine; I could go on...)
Doug M, could you be thinking of Hecate rather than Selene? That character aided Ms. M against the Elementals from the Living Mummy series. She was also depicted as a raven-haired mystical wench in Sword-and-Sorcery robes, prefiguring that titillating "Bad Girl" trend by about twenty years.

Anonymous said...

Something occurs to me as the DoFP/Terminator comparisons are made. I agree that making Rachel explicitly Phoenix's daughter (thus making DoFP an alternate future) takes much of the immediacy out of the story. But what the Terminator franchise was able to do with and after T2 was bring a sense of inevitability to the future even when the characters were able to change what they think are the elements which cause the Terminator future. (Of course, greed plays a role here in that if the conflict in Terminator is resolved completely then they cannot make more movies and more money. Cameron should have come up with a great idea or stopped.) Claremont hints at this type of theme at times but never properly follows through.
I admit I am biased on Rachel because I knew her story before I read the Byrne material. I knew DoFP was an alternate future before I had even read it.
-Jeff
P.S. I love this blog and look forward to the next 100 of so posts.

Jason said...

Dougie, agreed on both JRJr's costume designing skills and the "lost in the shuffle" aspect of Claremont's ever-widening cast.

Also, I keep forgetting to talk about this, but -- the Nimrod/Rachel thing echoes Terminator, but it also echoes Alan Moore's Captain Britain, of which Claremont is also an avowed fan. Moore's Captain Britain did a riff on "DoFP" that involved a mutable, adaptable android (The Fury) and a tormented female superhero (Captain UK), the last survivors of a Dystopian alternate reality. That story was published before Cameron's Terminator film, I think -- I'm guessing that both stories (as well as Claremont's own "Days of Future Past," obviously) fed into the Nimrod/Rachel material.

Was it someone on this very blog who told me that Claremont wanted The Fury to be responsible for the Mutant Massacre originally, before copyright issues led to a different scenario? And then "Fall of the Mutants" was going to incorporate elements of Alan Moore's story as well (which it did, but not as thoroughly as Claremont had wanted).

Anonymous said...

Other Doug, I was indeed thinking of Hecate, not Selene. Very similar in appearance, but an alien, not a mutant.

JRJR was hit-and-miss on design. Yeah, some awful costumes. Other hand, Nimrod was pretty well turned out.

Count me as a "yes" vote on the rat-tail. Much as I disliked the character, that haircut worked. Think about it: it's halfway between her old Hound 'do (which IMS was either baldness or a very short buzz cut) and "normal" 1980s hair. Like, she /wants/ to ditch the Hound look, but can't... quite. The rat-tail adds the whole "regrowth from the ashes" thing. Okay, probably that's overanalysis even for this blog, but let's go with this: people from the future should have weird hair. So this works.

Scott, yes, ROM lasted 60+ issues -- and, more amazing still, a lot of those issues were pretty good. ROM fans, of whom there are still a surprising number, seem to agree that the series hit its stride after the first year (when, um, the toy was no longer around to distract them) and dropped off drastically after issue 50 or so (possibly because there were only so many storylines in that particular story engine). The middle years, though, had some very solid stories. Also worth checking: Mantlo's first big story arc (first 10 issues or so) of Micronauts. Way, way better than it should have been.

Mantlo and Claremont really seem to have hit it off for a while. Not only did Claremont borrow from Mantlo's worlds, they also did crossovers (X-Men and Micronauts!) and had X-characters appear in Mantlo storylines. The "Hybrid" storyline in ROM was actually pretty good -- it guest-starred the X-Men, and ended with Kitty Pryde (plausibly!) saving the day. It also contains the word "mucosoid", which is worth the price of admission right there. A couple of years later, the return of Hybrid was marked by the appearance of Mystique and the Legion of Evil Mutants... and in obvious tribute to Claremont, the male members of the team bumble badly, forcing the women to save the day.

This is a sort of playful back-and-forth between creators that ISTM is unique to mainstream comics. I can't think of another creative medium that does this. And it's sort of orthogonal to anxiety of influence... sometimes they go together, but other times it's just "yeah! cool toy, can I play with it?"

There isn't a word for it. Maybe there should be, but I doubt one will be invented before traditional mainstream comics (with, you know, staples and such) dry up and blow away.

cheers,


Doug M.

Jason said...

Doug M, I dunno -- the rat-tail just seems so dated to me now, in a way that even Storm's mohawk and Longshot's mullet do not. Not sure why that is, but it works against Rachel to me. She's from the future, yet she has the most dated hairstyle ever.

Any thoughts on Mantlo's Hulk, btw?

Anonymous said...

I thought his early stuff was okay to good. Didn't love his "Banner-Hulk", nor the Crossroads stories either -- though people whose opinions I respect tell me that they read better today:

http://www.whiterose.org/howlingcurmudgeons/archives/007058.html

http://www.comicrelated.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=3051

Certainly his Hulk run provided a toolkit that Peter David would later use liberally, much as his Iron Man run provided a firm foundation for the much more famous Michelinie/Layton stories that came after.

In fact -- come to think of it -- Mantlo had a pretty good history of coming up with characters and concepts that were grabbed and used by other writers. As noted, several of these (Dire Wraiths, nullifier technology) will show up soon in X-Men.

As noted, Mantlo was a really nice, likable guy who was in the middle of a dense social network of comics creators. That doesn't diminish his real accomplishments -- those are good stories, and he had some cool creations -- but it helps explain why so many people were ready to adapt his stuff. There's this whole soap-opera interpersonal relationship aspect to mainstream comics creation; as I've said, when floppy-style mainstream comics disappear for good, all that will be lost too.


Doug M.

Stephen said...

Maybe it was just "Wraith" season at Marvel ...

My vague memory is that this was a (somewhat underplayed, but very real) mega-crossover, with appearances in almost every if not every Marvel comic from the time, and a big blow-out at the end in Rom.

There was a good Byrne issue of Fantastic Four in which two simultaneous stories -- Thing returns home, and Reed & Sue confront some witches or something -- has a Dire Wrath background, if memory serves.

SF

Stephen said...

...And while I may be out of sync with people here since, while I never liked her all that much, I never hated Rachel much either, I have to admit that one bit of this issue sticks with me as effective: the very end, where Rachel is shocked at the X-Men's appearance -- Storm's mohawk, Xavier's walking -- and talks about how she's known the X-Men her whole life, and Storm says, "then your memories, child, and your pictures are wrong" or something like that. As I recall, what makes it effective is largely the art: the single steetlamp, the X-Men so different from the more "classic" version Rachel knew... but it's a nice moment.

And then, yeah, she cries or something, right? Sheesh, you're right about that...

SF

wwk5d said...

I also didn't hate Rachel, but I didn't love her either. She does get much better in Excaliber, and she does have an interesting send-off from Uncanny in the late 200s.

I read something similar. The original story for the Mutant Massacre was allegedly to involve the Fury, Jim Jaspers, and another Jaspers Warp (hence his appearance in Uncanny 200 as the prosecutor in Magneto's trial). But, due to a falling out between Alan Moore and Marvel, it didn't happen.

Hey, I liked Peter's Soviet Bondage Gear outfit! lol