Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Uncanny X-Men #269

[Scott wanted to do the intro for this one. Here is what he said:

There are only a handful of men in this world that I truly admire: Bono, Phil Collins, Clarence Clemons... and, of course, Jason Powell. I have a dream that, one day, these men will perform a supergroup. I imagine that Jason would play bass and each note he played would be as deep and resonant as his analysis of EACH AND EVERY ISSUE of Claremont's Original X-men run. That's a lot of bass notes... Yes, Jason Powell is a great man... but he also likes Thundercats, because all heroes must have a flaw. On a personal note, I asked to do the intro to this week's post as this was my first issue of the X-men as a regular reader; a pretty odd issue to enter the series when it comes down to it- I had no idea who Rogue was as a character or any of the Carol Danvers backstory, there's no Wolverine here-or any character that I had previously associated with the X-men for that matter, in fact, I'm pretty sure that the main reason I bought this issue was the naked Rogue at the top of the issue (and, if I remember correctly, she didn't exactly put on much after that- cute little T-shirt with an 'X' logo on it, right?). So, I didn't buy this issue so much as my 13-year-old hormones did but, that's the power of Claremont, he had me hooked within a couple of issues.]


“Rogue Redux“

Carol Danvers, the original “Ms. Marvel,” was the quintessential Claremont Female – starting life as a second-stringer, she became a kind of beacon of feminist achievement when Claremont wrote her in the 70s: a solider, secret agent, astronaut, magazine editor and superhero, all while still in her mid-twenties.

Back in 1982, when Claremont was struggling to find his own voice in the wake of losing John Byrne (the Lennon to his McCartney), Carol became his icon in issue 158, wherein the character decides that her past is prologue and that the future belongs entirely to her. As I wrote in the blog for that issue, Carol was a stand-in for Claremont in that moment, declaring independence and fearlessly looking towards the future. As such, Uncanny 158 was the first issue of the series to belong entirely to Claremont himself, distinct from “Claremont AND Cockrum” or “Claremont AND Byrne.”

So, it is not insignificant that in Uncanny 269, Claremont’s last issue of Uncanny before the fall crossover (followed by an arc explicitly co-plotted by artist Jim Lee, and thereupon by Claremont quitting) … Carol Danvers dies. If there is any single comic in the latter day X-Men run that specifically points to a future in which the author leaves the franchise he poured his heart into (a franchise which would, in turn, barely miss him after he was gone), then this is it.

Ironically enough, Carol’s death probably wasn’t even Claremont’s idea. Like so many of the endings to the post-“Inferno” Uncanny storylines, it feels far too neat and tidy to be a truly Claremontian development. The Seige Perilous is, naturally, brought in as the catalyst for this development (issue 269 is the final appearance or mention of that plot device as well) – and Rogue even comments that it isn’t supposed to work this way: Rogue returns to the place she last remembers as home, her mind and memory intact, but – she soon realizes – physically split from the Ms. Marvel personality.

(Clearly, Bob Harras had no desire to see any of the X-Men suffering from psychoses. He seems to have snuffed out Wolverine’s hallucinations a few months earlier – one of whom was ALSO Carol Danvers, which couldn’t be more appropriate – and now he forces an expedient end to Rogue’s multiple-personality woes.)

And so the issue rollicks along with more and more “lasts”: Rogue is terrorized by the Reavers (in a final hurrah for the Outback setting, another milieu never seen again before Claremont’s departure) before escaping via Gateway -- one last time. Given that the Reavers so often work as a stand-in for Harras, one wonders if their presence at Rogue’s emergence from the Seige portal is a hint that it was Harras’ idea to pull Claremont’s favorite daughter (two of them, really) out of the comfortable safety of the Seige’s narrative limbo.

Carol, meanwhile, in an extremely simplified sweeping away of her complicated relationship with Rogue, is quickly recast as another Shadow-King puppet and promptly sent to assassinate Rogue. A standard slugfest ensues, and is ended prematurely thanks to Magneto. His final lines, “Only one of you could survive … I chose you,” make one wonder if Claremont was given a similar ultimatum by Harras. Could he have kept Carol and gotten rid of Rogue? Did he choose Carol to die in a symbolic gesture? Perhaps not, but the reflection between her death here and her redemptive declaration of independence 111 issues earlier is resonant indeed, whether intentional or not.

Still, for all its depressing metatextual implications, “Rogue Redux” is a crackling adventure in its own right. Among the praise that Claremont gives Jim Lee in his “Comics Creators on X-Men” interview, he notes that the artist “drew great babes.” That skill is certainly on display here: There are beautiful women aplenty -- particularly in the Muir Island sequence, which features Carol in battle with Amanda Sefton and Moira MacTaggert, while Lorna Dane stands imprisoned in the background. Rogue herself is the centerpiece, however, a phenomenally gorgeous, glamorous and charismatic lead character, more than able to carry the story on her own (no other current X-Men members appear in the issue).

Rogue was always the one X-Man who stood alone as a Claremont solo creation, not associated with any artistic co-creator. Appropriate then that this, the issue that puts the final axe to Claremont’s independence, also sees Rogue nearly stolen out from under him by Lee.

33 comments:

scottmcdarmont said...

On further refection, and no disrespect to Claremont, it might have more credit to Lee for bringing me in to the X-men here than Claremont-- he does draw great babes and, as I mentioned, that's why I bought the issue. I was also JUST reaching that age where I paid attention to the artist-- I had mainly followed characters before this-- but, this was around the time of MCFARLANEMANIA and, after Macfarlane, Lee was one of the first artists I immediately gravitated to. ANd, while the babe-o-rama here brought me to the table, the overall quality of the next few issues kept me around, not to mention the writing-- but more on that when we get to it.

Jason said...

Let's just cut to the heart of the matter, Scott:

Why you all hatin' on the Thundercats?

Jeff said...

I hate to see Claremont neutered, it's a travesty, but honestly, I kind of enjoy Lee's "coplotted" issues maybe even a little more than the solo efforts by Claremont just before. Claremont is at his best with a great collaborator.

Arthur said...

Just kind of a random thought here, but whatever happened to "The Shattered Star" storyline? # 249 was marked as "Part 1 of the prelude to The Shattered Star". The next issue title actually was called "The Shattered Star", but from the tagline of 249, it sounded like it was going to be more of a defined arc than the meandering mess we got.

Thundercats? Phht. The greatest cartoon of the 80s was Star Blazers.

Art

scottmcdarmont said...

Jason,

We've been over this before: I feel the Thundercats are just a cheap, feline themed, Thundercats rip-off. I recall you expressing some sort of perverse inter-species lust towards Cheetara....

Evan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Evan said...

Jim Lee was definitely the person who got me into X-men. My first super-hero comic was the Claremont/Lee X-men #1. When Issue 3 landed, and had Claremont's farewell message on the last page, I had no idea who this Claremont person was, but I thought that he must have passed away or something. Claremont's writing was what brought me back in after a 13 year hiatus of reading X books and made me a huge fan again. Re-reading Jim Lee's early Wildcats issues have not brought me back to anything.

Jason said...

Arthur,

Yeah, I wondered the same thing in the blog for Uncanny 250. There were also ads around that time for an arc called "Dissolution and Rebirth," which does seem to roughly describe the team's going through the Seige Perilous -- thus dissolving the X-Men as a team -- and then their eventual return in different locales (Dazzler in LA, Peter in Soho, Betsy in China ...)

But yeah, a bit deceptive in terms terms of structure.

Which one was "Star Blazers"? Was that the one where they each had a badge, and when they touched the badge it activated their powers? That one was cool.

Dave Mullen said...

It was a good issue and no one can question the energy, impact and success Jim Lee had brought to the title, this was very much Claremont/Byrne in many ways and the best was yet to come.

I remember there were a couple of elements about the story that felt completely wrong even back then, I was delighted at the return of Rogue but the seperation of Carol Danvers was.... wrong.
I don't think that was the writers preffered choice at all and it did feel artificial and a little desperate, even the death of Ms Marvel (presented as being a real person) is troubling as the real Carol was still alive out there in the Mu.
No, I was never comfortable with that idea....
Furthermore You'd think seeing that happen in front of her and no longer having her inside her head would leave Rogue very disturbed and upset indeed, I always saw the dual personality as an allegory for mental illness not dissimilar to what Alpha Flights Aurora was given slightly later and Rogue had been living with this for quite awhile. Seeing Danvers dying and killed partly because of her again should have been a tough thing to live with in my opinion yet it is never once reffered to again by Claremont.
Most Definitly an editorial gun to the head decision!

I think taking away the Danvers persona robbed Rogue of quite a bit of her character and air of tragedy really as while her power kept her physically unable to have any close relationships or normal life the split persona dynamic made her curse all the more powerful as she was technically living with a mental illness....

Jason said...

Good points all, Dave.

As you say, Claremont/Lee was very much a new iteration of Claremont/Byrne. Bob Harras had his antecedent as well in Roger Stern, who was editor for a good portion of the Byrne X-Men run, and -- at least according to Byrne -- tended to side with the artist against Claremont more often than not.

The Harras/Lee team seemed very much inclined to tie up loose ends around this time, a process that continued after Claremont left (see the massacres of the Reavers and the Hellions in Uncanny 281) and -- indeed -- even after Lee left. (e.g., another attempt to kill off the Morlocks circa Uncanny 291.)

Menshevik said...

My reaction at the time was a little different, but then unlike Rogue (in-story) I never had a problem remembering that the Ms. Marvel Rogue fought in that issue and who in the end was killed by Magneto was not really Carol Danvers (who at the time was hanging out as Binary with the Starjammers IIRC). Also, although the story contained quite a bit that I had not seen coming, the surprising developments did flow kind of naturally, picking up loose ends from earlier stories.

For instance, it seemed very plausible that with the Ms. Marvel persona in Rogue's mind things could no longer continue as they had been before she fell into the Siege Perilous. Not that it was a terribly original aspect of Rogue's characterization thus far (it mirrored the inner conflict you saw in Aurora and that between Ms. Marvel's human and Kree personality during most of Ms. MARVEL vol. 1) and it did not make either of them really appear a strong character - which makes you wonder why this trope does seem to bedevil superheroines more than superheroes (DC's Rose and the Thorn is another example)). Things had come to a point where the "peaceful coexistence" that they had between UXM #182 and Genosha was patently impossible. The Carol persona wanted a body (Rogue's) for herself, Rogue had asked to be rid of the Carol persona, the Siege gave them both what they wanted, and then they both got bit by the old "be careful what you wish for".

The Carol persona's bloodthirstyness also tied in with previous stories, it did not seem to me that the Shadow King had to exercise a lot of mind-control to make her want to kill Rogue given that Ms. Marvel had almost killed Rogue twice before Avengers Annual #10 and always seemed to have much more of a killer instinct than Rogue (who by all we've seen only developed real homicidal tendencies after absorbing Ms. Marvel's personality).

Claremont also liked to continue evolving his characters, and I think it more likely than not that getting rid of the Carol personality was part and parcel of what he had in mind for Rogue - showing that she had finally come into her own, that she now was strong and self-reliant (able to survive quite happily in the Savage Land without any superpowers or special training) and setting her up as the kind of woman who could credibly engage Magneto in the conflict of wills that was to become such an important theme of UXM #274 and 275.

Menshevik said...

A couple of other things: I wouldn't call Ms. Marvel "the quintessential Claremont female" seeing that the major changes in the 1970s had been instituted by Gerry Conway (who made her go from second-stringer to (would-be) beacon of feminist achievement, launched her solo title, gave her superpowers and the job as magazine editor) and I'd say Claremont elaborated on them (also, didn't some of his additions only emerge after the solo book was cancelled?). Also I think that despite Conway's and Claremont's best efforts, the 1970s Ms. Marvel was not that successful at living up to what they wanted her to be. (Part of the reason was her recurrent psych problems, another part that her powers and original costume were lifted off an existing male superhero). And then, when Claremont took her back in after the Marcus abomination, she had become a salvage job.

Also, I have to question what you said about UXM #158. How can that issue be the first in the series to belong entirely to Claremont, as opposed to Claremont AND Cockrum when it was drawn by Dave Cockrum and with the singular exception of Rogue features only characters he co-created or on whom he worked before? Also, to my mind Carol's statement at the end of UXM #158 is little more than a more forceful restatement of her declaration of independence from the Avengers at the end of Avengers Annual #10.

And aren't Storm and Kitty Pryde Chris Claremont's "favourite daughters"? (I say this as one of the worlds foremost Rogue fans).

Menshevik said...

My reaction at the time was a little different, but then unlike Rogue (in-story) I never had a problem remembering that the Ms. Marvel Rogue fought in that issue and who in the end was killed by Magneto was not really Carol Danvers (who at the time was hanging out as Binary with the Starjammers IIRC). Also, although the story contained quite a bit that I had not seen coming, the surprising developments did flow kind of naturally, picking up loose ends from earlier stories.

For instance, it seemed very plausible that with the Ms. Marvel persona in Rogue's mind things could no longer continue as they had been before she fell into the Siege Perilous. Not that it was a terribly original aspect of Rogue's characterization thus far (it mirrored the inner conflict you saw in Aurora and that between Ms. Marvel's human and Kree personality during most of Ms. MARVEL vol. 1) and it did not make either of them really appear a strong character - which makes you wonder why this trope does seem to bedevil superheroines more than superheroes (DC's Rose and the Thorn is another example)). Things had come to a point where the "peaceful coexistence" that they had between UXM #182 and Genosha was patently impossible. The Carol persona wanted a body (Rogue's) for herself, Rogue had asked to be rid of the Carol persona, the Siege gave them both what they wanted, and then they both got bit by the old "be careful what you wish for".

The Carol persona's bloodthirstyness also tied in with previous stories, it did not seem to me that the Shadow King had to exercise a lot of mind-control to make her want to kill Rogue given that Ms. Marvel had almost killed Rogue twice before Avengers Annual #10 and always seemed to have much more of a killer instinct than Rogue (who by all we've seen only developed real homicidal tendencies after absorbing Ms. Marvel's personality).

Claremont also liked to continue evolving his characters, and I think it more likely than not that getting rid of the Carol personality was part and parcel of what he had in mind for Rogue - showing that she had finally come into her own, that she now was strong and self-reliant (able to survive quite happily in the Savage Land without any superpowers or special training) and setting her up as the kind of woman who could credibly engage Magneto in the conflict of wills that was to become such an important theme of UXM #274 and 275.

Arthur said...

Yeah, Rogue seemed to go through so much with Carol, what with her "take-overs" becoming more and more frequent, and then... Carol's just gone. And Rogue gets to keep her Ms Marvel abilities, somehow, as well.

Jason, Star Blazers was the American dubbed version of an anime called Space Battleship Yamato, and is actually the reason I got into X-Men. (After Star Blazers went off the air, I went hunting for some good animated serialized storytelling. The closest thing to a good action cartoon was Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, which sucked really, but the X-Men guessed starred on a few episodes, which led to my first X-Men purchase, Uncanny X-Men 181.)

I've been inflicted by a similar madness as you, where I started doing lengthy write-ups for every episode of Star Blazers, which has wound up, re-written, on the official Star Blazers site.

There are a few Star Blazers/Yamato refs in X-Men, btw. In X-Men 145, there's a Space Cruiser Yamato poster in Bobby's dorm room, and there's another ref in UXM Annual # 14.

I should take the time to thank you for doing such a great job on these, BTW. It fills up a gap left by Paul O'Brien, who did the indexes for just about every Uncanny except the Claremont issues.

Wow, with your series coming to a close and Lost ending, what will be left on Remarkable?

Art

Anonymous said...

"Carol's death probably wasn't even Claremont's idea."

But Claremont foreshadowed this in UXM #256, no? In her quest for the Mandarin's rings, Betsy finds Peter in an artist's loft, Alison in concert, Alex in Genosha, and Rogue and Carol separated and dead. Obviously, none of these scenarios plays out in reality exactly as presented, but the seeds are there. Although it's possible Harras may have lobbied for separating Carol from Rogue as early as this, I prefer to think that these ideas were all Claremont's.

I'd assumed Rogue's resurrection was different (with her memories intact) because her situation going into the Siege (sacrificing herself to save her teammates) was unique among the others we'd seen. Also, her separation from Carol implied the newly-sentient Nimrod could also have been separated and reincarnated as his human alter-ego, another possible happy ending for a character Claremont seemed fond of. (I heard/read about Bastion years later but haven't read any of those stories.)

Teebore said...

Once again, fantastic job at framing the story of the issue within the context of Claremont's role as the title's chief architect. It's one of the things I've enjoyed the most throughout the course of these reviews.

Claremont’s last issue of Uncanny before the fall crossover (followed by an arc explicitly co-plotted by artist Jim Lee

Was the Savage Land arc co-plotted by Lee? That seems very much Claremont's, being as it is one of his definitive Magneto stories, while I would have guess the following Shi'Ar/WarSkrull story to be a Claremont/Lee co-plot.

Unless you're just calling the entirety of issues 274-277 one story, as the Savage Land and space stuff is so interwoven?

ruphstap said...

I didn't mind this resolution. I felt that the whole split personality thing with Rogue was played out. True, it was interesting, but it got old by the time she went through the Siege Perilous. I got tired of seeing Rogue complaining about it and everyone talking about it but noone doing a bloody thing about it.

I didn't mind Harras influencing the title. One problem I had with the Outback era, and the post Outback area was that it was just too unfocused. Too many storylines just rambled on, and I felt the book was directionless. And as someone pointed out, it was hinted that this was somewhat planned for Rogue and....I am hesitant to call her 'Carol'. To me, she never was the real Carol.

Interesting take on the symbolism of Carol's death, but I just don't see it.

wwk5d said...

Sorry, that lost comment was by me. Not sure how that name ended up being used...

Jason said...

"A couple of other things: I wouldn't call Ms. Marvel "the quintessential Claremont female" seeing that the major changes in the 1970s had been instituted by Gerry Conway (who made her go from second-stringer to (would-be) beacon of feminist achievement, launched her solo title, gave her superpowers and the job as magazine editor) and I'd say Claremont elaborated on them (also, didn't some of his additions only emerge after the solo book was cancelled?). Also I think that despite Conway's and Claremont's best efforts, the 1970s Ms. Marvel was not that successful at living up to what they wanted her to be. "

*** My error. Thank you for setting me right on that, Mensh. (I am not a big Conway fan, but credit belongs where it's due.)

"Also, I have to question what you said about UXM #158. How can that issue be the first in the series to belong entirely to Claremont,"

***See the blog entry for the issue in question.

"I should take the time to thank you for doing such a great job on these, BTW. It fills up a gap left by Paul O'Brien, who did the indexes for just about every Uncanny except the Claremont issues."

*** Thank you, Arthur. It has always bugged me that the X-Axis has reviews for issues 1-66, then jumps to 281. Basically ignoring the most important segment of the series' history.

"Was the Savage Land arc co-plotted by Lee?"

***According to the credits, yeah. Plus it ends with Magneto renouncing his attempts to emulate Professor X and become a hero. My understanding is that Claremont always intended Magneto to succeed on that path. It was Lee and Harras who wanted Magneto to become a villain again. I'm pretty sure the Savage Land story would not have played out as it did if Claremont had plotted it solo.

*** As for the question of whether this issue played out as Claremont intended and whether it was an appropriate way for that arc to end ... I'm enjoying both sides of the debate, quite frankly. There are lots of interesting points being made, and I find myself compelled by both sides. My thought at the moment is that -- given Claremont's imminent departure -- this was the most efficient and dramatically satisfying way to resolve the Rogue/Carol arc. Whereas had Claremont stuck around for a few more years, it would have been nice -- and certainly more characteristic -- to see him do something a little less pat and clear-cut.

Who says this isn't the Marvel Age of Hair-Splitting and Equivocation?

Dave Mullen said...

The fact is though the seperation of Rogue and Carol Danvers wasn't at all natural or organic, just abrupt. The fact it was purely editorial and based on where Harrass/Lee were steering the X-Men suggests to me they wanted a more mainstream assemblage with minimal flaws or baggage.
Like Psylocke's transformation to hot ninja babe, Peter Rasputin being dragged back and the Peter Nicholas identity ditched or Xavier having his back broken again, what happens to Rogue is a ditching of her baggage.

Uncanny #268 is a watershed for her as a character as by banishing the whole subject of Carol Danvers so instantly they are basically rewriting her entire character and history.
After this issue of Uncanny ended not many would know or even imagine that dear sweet Rogue actually started out as something the exact opposite - a very nasty villain.
Carol Danvers was the sum result of that choice in life and the price she eventually paid for it, what she did to Danvers was to haunt here in a very literal sense and lead her to Xaviers door and a gradual road to redemption. It's a very significant apspect of her character... and it was airbrushed right out of it in just this one issue.

Jason said...

"The fact it was purely editorial and based on where Harrass/Lee were steering the X-Men suggests to me they wanted a more mainstream assemblage with minimal flaws or baggage."

***I think that's exactly right.

"Wow, with your series coming to a close and Lost ending, what will be left on Remarkable?"

*** It should be noted that the Claremont series has fifteen weeks still to go.

"Interesting take on the symbolism of Carol's death, but I just don't see it."

***Color me surprised, wwk5d. You're typically so open to different interpretations.

"I feel the Thundercats are just a cheap, feline themed, Thundercats rip-off."

***Scott, you confuse me. :)

scottmcdarmont said...

Just curious, what would the modern feminist take be on the over-achievement of the Carol Danvers character? There seemed to be a lot of this "Women can do anything! And they actually do!"
I mean, it seems almost as though there was a sort of overcompensation here-- it's like in order to show that a woman was just as good as a man, she actually had to be better. And think of that resume: astronaut, secret agent, magazine editor.... does this sound like the career path of that epitome of female oppression that is Barbie? It kind of reminds me of when Denny O'Neil reinvented Wonder Woman in the late sixties-- he remodeled the character into more of a secret agent-type character with a 'feminine'-edge-- but, in the process, he took her powers away, so, in an attempt to 'empower' her as the embodiment of modern feminist ideals he actually 'depowered' her in a literal sense-- this apparently resulted in hate mail from Gloria Steinem.

Oh, and Jason...

I meant to say Thundercats was a cheap, feline themed HE-MAN rip off. Apologies....

And as for 80s anime that maintained its narrative complexity in translation-- I'm going to have to go with Robotech: The Macross Saga. :)

Jason said...

Yeah, Carol Danvers' career path probably is an over-compensation. I don't know what Steinem would say ...

Then again, Batman is good at everything. It's kind of de rigeur for comic-book heroes to be over-endowed (in several senses of the phrase, I suppose), so by that standard maybe Carol is more an example of equality than she seems at first.

And c'mon, the cheap version of He-Man WAS He-Man. That cartoon was crap! The production values of Thundercats ranged from superior to VASTLY superior. (Though I seem to recall He-Man had better toys.)

Scott, did you see the Cartoon Network re-make of He-Man that came out circa 2002? It was pretty sweet.

The creators of Thundercats were scavengers, though. They pinched and plundered from anything popular at the time -- not just He-Man but also Transformers, and of course from superhero comics as well. But then, Claremont has been accused of such scavenging too. :)

Menshevik said...

Jason -
actually I'm not that big a Conway fan either, but I do think there is a tendency among many fans to overlook or underappreciate his constructive achievements.

Dave -
the fact is that what you call "facts" in your post are actually opinion and speculation preconditioned on same. If one does not consider the separation of Rogue and the Carol revenant via the Siege Perilous an un-natural or un-organic development or something that Claremont did not want, the wide-ranging conclusions you base on these premises collapse like a house of cards.

Now for me the developments of UXM #268 were a logical development after what had happened before (things between Rogue and the Carol persona had come to an irreconcilable impasse in the issues before Rogue fell into the Siege), they were cut from the same cloth what Chris Claremont had happen to Piotr and Alison when they went through the Siege (both these resolutions could also be criticized as being too neat and tidy, at least until Xavier ended the existence of "Peter Nicholas"), and it fit in with the general thrust of the way he evolved Rogue's character over the years. I could go into great detail on this, for the moment just let me note that when Claremont returned to the X-Men, he immediately made Rogue a team leader, a decision for which he got a lot of flak, and also made Colossus able to touch her, which went against the Rogue/Gambit orthodoxy of the day, so he clearly was very comfortable with a Rogue who was not defined by psychosis, but whose strength, charisma and self-reliance resembled her portrayal in the Savage Land Trilogy a lot more than the weak and angsty Rogue that typefied the post-X-Men #3 years.

And indeed to my mind Rogue's portrayal after the end of Claremont's run throws doubt on the theory that Harras wanted a Rogue with minimal flaws or baggage, because after X-Men vol. 2 #3 Rogue developed a near-psychotic obsession about touching people (or more specifically Gambit) - to compensate for the loss of her "Carol" problems? - and that was soon followed by another one about the non-issue of her birth name (to be followed still later by the idiotic Cody-Robbins-never-woke-from-his-coma retcon, a replacement or repeat (prepeat?) of the Rogue/Carol thing). The wussyfied Rogue who provided the clinging-vine side of the Rogue/Remy "romance" was very much the antithesis of the Rogue Claremont had written in UXM #268, 274 and 275. So I see no reason to assume that Harras felt uncomfortable about Rogue having psychological baggage, quite the contrary.

You may still consider the solution abrupt, but that in itself is an inconclusive arguement as Chris Claremont had frequently instituted abrupt changes with little or no forewarning. If you look at events that happened a hundred issues before the Savage Land Trilogy, one could argue with equal conviction that Storm's change (highlighted by her stabbing Callisto in the heart and getting a mohawk), Rogue joining the X-Men, and Cyclops falling in love and marrying Madelyne Pryor were all forced on Claremont by Louise Jones and/or Jim Shooter.

Menshevik said...

The statement about UXM #268 "rewriting" the entire character etc., not only is a melodramatic exaggeration, it also ignores how Claremont had subtly recast things with every significant retelling of the events of Avengers Annual #10 after Rogue joined the X-Men. In UXM #182 we learned that Carol had nearly killed Rogue in an earlier encounter, providing a more relatable motive for Rogue's attack than what appears like attempted cold-blooded murder in AvAnn #10, while in the flashback to the fight in UXM #203 we were shown Carol trying to kill Rogue in that fight (punching her through a truck) and Rogue's act appears unpremeditated, more a case of attempted manslaughter largely motivated by the personality and memories Rogue absorbed running riot in her mind. And I think that the way Carol's avatar in Rogue's mind behaved post-Genosha also did a bit to erode reader's sympathies with her/it). So here too UXM #268 capped a long-running development.
(BTW, I never considered the Carol persona that an important part of Rogue's personality. Sure, she talked about it quite a bit, but it was really only SHOWN causing problems or irritation to Rogue on very few occasions - basically in UXM #171 and 182, and then not again until Genosha. Essentially, she needed what happened to her in UXM #182 to truly realize what she had done to Carol Danvers, but after that the knowledge was enough and she no more needed the absorbed Carol personality to remember than Peter Parker needs absorbed memories or a real ghost to remember Uncle Ben).

Dave Mullen said...

Now for me the developments of UXM #268 were a logical development after what had happened before (things between Rogue and the Carol persona had come to an irreconcilable impasse in the issues before Rogue fell into the Siege), they were cut from the same cloth what Chris Claremont had happen to Piotr and Alison when they went through the Siege (both these resolutions could also be criticized as being too neat and tidy, at least until Xavier ended the existence of "Peter Nicholas"), and it fit in with the general thrust of the way he evolved Rogue's character over the years.

Hmmm, That's a really nicely done opinion but all it is purest speculation, nothing whatsoever to do with what the issue and subsequent events presented.

Myself I would say for a surety that the fact the Danvers persona and Rogues villainous past were never mentioned again after Uncanny #268 speaks absolutely of the intentions and politicing going on behind the scenes. An excercise in marketing to a mass mainstream audience waiting in the wings.

But then that's just me reading into it.

Menshevik said...

Dave -
well, part of what I wrote in my posts was opinion (at least I don't misrepresent my opinions as facts) including the excerpt you quoted, but that particular excerpt is not speculation, but interpretation. Here I did not speculate on the underlying motives of Claremont, Harras and Lee, but looked at how well the story in UXM #268 fits in with two other stories of X-Men emerging from the Siege Perilous and how it fits in with Claremont's general entwicklungsroman of Rogue, i.e. the fictional biography that led to the denouement of UXM #268. So it has everything to do with what the issue presented, and that it does not deal with subsequent events is entirely due to the fact that you chose this particular excerpt from my post instead of one where I did just that.

Now I don't know if it actually is a fact that Rogue's villainous past was not mentioned at all during the period you refer to with "never again", it obviously did pop up again eventually, e.g. in a number of stories involving Mystique and Carol Danvers. That the Ms. Marvel persona was not mentioned again is no more surprising to me than that after ca. UXM #170 Storm's claustrophobia was no longer an issue. If it is a fact, it shows that separating Rogue from the Carol persona was a change with which the post-Claremont creative and editorial teams felt comfortable, but that does not prove that Harras and/or Lee had forced it on Chris Claremont against his wishes. Both the way Claremont had written Rogue before and the way he wrote her later fail to provide any indication that this was something he did not want himself. But as long as we don't get clear statements from Claremont, Harras or Lee, we're left to speculate on whose choice it was.

Teebore said...

@Jason: And c'mon, the cheap version of He-Man WAS He-Man. That cartoon was crap! The production values of Thundercats ranged from superior to VASTLY superior. (Though I seem to recall He-Man had better toys.)

Look, I love me some He-Man, but I love me some Thundercats too, and you're totally right about the differences in the cartoon.

Just saying, I like Thundercats too.

did you see the Cartoon Network re-make of He-Man that came out circa 2002? It was pretty sweet.

It was indeed, and I've seen the DVD set collecting the entire series for around $10 at different places, which is a steal.

scottmcdarmont said...

Yeah, the new He-man was pretty good from what I saw of it... honestly, He-man is pretty far down on my nostalgia scale for toy/cartoons of the 80s-- I remember the He-man toys with more fondness than the cartoon, when it comes down to it, I was more of a Transformers GI Joe: A Real American Hero sort of guy. Nothing Michael Bay comes up with can compete with that 1986 animated movie in my opinion. Honestly, in hindsight, a lot of those cartoons sucked-- we have the Dini/Timm Batman to thank for the massive shift in action adventure cartoon quality over the last 20 years-- and honestly, the first couple of seasons of Batman are a lot rougher than you remember them... which only goes to show how BAD cartoons were in the 80s.

Dave Mullen said...

John Byrne recently made a telling comment on his forum about the state of Marvel 1990, commenting about his Iron Man written run he says:

Here we see yet another example of something that was becoming all too common back then, and persists to this day: Editorial being controlled by Marketing.

The first ARMOR WARS had sold well, so Marketing demanded another. One was put into the pipeline, then the creative team left. But the title had already been announced and solicited, so when I accepted the IRON MAN assignment, the first thing I was handed was having to come up with something that would fit the title ARMOR WARS II

...Bishop, in X-MEN, was created on an order from Marketing that there must be a new Black mutant. Nothing else was specified.


Positive proof of the sort of Marketing/sales power that had built up in the late 80s and was now flexing it's muscle at this time in Claremonts run.... a book that was now being micro managed and directed by a team of marketing guru's and wannabe editors.

wwk5d said...

I heard the same thing too about Bishop.

It's interesting, how short-lived the Rogue/Magneto relationship was, but it did have something of an impact on the X-titles once Claremont left. They were one of the main couple during Age of Apocalypse, and Marvel tried to set up a triangle with Gambit/Rogue/Joseph (Magento's clone) for a while.

Poor Rogue. I always felt she was one of the characters who suffered the most after Claremont left. Too much time spent angsting about her relationship with Gambit. She definitely wasn't as interesting during much of the 90s. But Mike Carey is doing some decent work with her for a while now.

Evan said...

Actually Mullen, the Carol Danvers/Rogue backstory was brought up again in the last few years in the recent Ms marvel series, just after the Civil War crossover. The author of that book has an alternate universe Ms Marvel who never emotionally or psychologically recovered from Rogue's attack. In her confusion, alt Ms Marvel attacks 616 Rogue, and the plot comes to a head when 616 Ms Marvel fights alt Ms Marvel and 616 Carol expresses her feelings about what happened to her in a very closure-centric way.

I know this doesn't really count since it's outside what we would normally consider an X-book. (Although as I read through Ms Marvel, I'm seeing a lot of classic Uncanny X-men influence in the plots and villains.)

NietzscheIsDead said...

Speaking of Mike Carrey and this issue, it is worth noting that he did eventually reinstate Rogue and Magneto as the official couple over Rogue and Gambit... even if the two later broke up over an editorially-mandated storyline.