Writer Chris Claremont
Artist Salvador Larroca
Letterer Tom Orzechowski
Cover Dated December 2002
Happy Thanksgiving Everybody! This is our second and final comic that helps us celebrate good ol’ Turkey day!
Actually this is a little embarrassing. I’ve been saying for years (at least two!) how this has been a Thanksgiving Day comic. Turns out, when I was reading this, that Jean and Beast make a cake and they, other guests and the X-Treme X-Men team, all sit at a long table and enjoy each others company and cake. In my mind, I must have thought it was a turkey and not cake – oops!
But the philosophy here at S&FwM has always been – now – that if I touch a back issue, I might as well review that issue. I just wish someone had pulled me aside and told me that Power Pack 19 was the only Thanksgiving Comic I own. That would have been nice!
You can follow along thanks to this website :
Onto the issue!
So in the previous issue, the X-Treme X-Men defeated Khan and his army, so this is a nice breather issue that Claremont and the X-Men are famous for – and I love.
I do own issue 18 so I will review that issue one of these days.
So the X-Treme X-Men are – Bishop, Gabmit, Lifeguard, Rogue, Sage, Storm and Thunderbird.
Their guests are – Beast, Jean, Kitty, Nightcrawler and Wolverine.
They are in New Orleans as Rogue’s foster mother (her original one, not Mystique) has left Rogue a very nice mansion. I’m not sure what ever happens to this property, does she still have it? Has it been destroyed? I do like how her foster mother kept her in the will and before she died, amassed a nice fortune. Rogue got lucky there! As far as I know, once Rogue ran away and joined Mystique’s Brotherhood of Mutants, she stopped communicating with her original foster parents. Like all good mutants who join the X-Men (and apparently evil mutant groups, as well!) do.
Jean, wearing a tube top that she would never wear! Of all of the appearances I’ve ever read of Jean, she is ultra conservative. Larroca must be thinking of Phoenix, who was the more adventurous dresser. Its okay by me though. She’s away from Scott, so why not let the lady dress however she pleased.
Beast is wearing a chef’s outfit.
They made a cake and everyone gathers around the table. Beast brags that they made the cake and Jean brags about her telepathic abilities lets her know how big of a slice everyone wants and her telekensis powers make it so that she can serve the pieces of cake without making a mess. Or touching the cake and leaving fingerprints in everyone’s slices.
Bishop sees Sage and invites her into the celebration. She politely turns him down and keeps walking into the house.
Beast applauds Rogue for killing Vargas – the villain who killed Psylocke way back in issue 2. Which was a bit of a controversy back in the day as Claremont was going to do one of those classic, kill the hero but bring her back a few issues later – but was told by Quesada that dead means dead (he was trying a new policy). The controversy comes from how Claremont was told no but Joss Whedon was told yes, when he asked to bring back Colossus. Claremont is the much bigger name in X-Men but Whedon was the fancy outsider and was being given what he wanted.
Rogue isn’t happy with Beast. She may have killed him but the price was pretty high. Gambit was seriously injured (he got better) but both Gambit and her were left powerless after the fight.
Then we get to one of my favorite moments, of many, where Kurt is bragging to Logan about how Kitty is in college now. I like how Kurt is genuinely happy that his good and dear friend is making a better life for her.
It must be sort of like a Good Will Hunting type of moment – where they know that they have a world glass genius amongst them, who is also quite young – and she is wasting her life away with fighting mutant threats and threats to mutants (they are different!). She should be out there, getting a degree in computer science and making a life for herself. Which is what she is doing now but it doesn’t last.
Kitty doesn’t like this attention, as Wolverine is joking about how he thought he will never live to see the day. Which is very nice foreshadowing on Claremont’s part as Kitty is going to blow up on Jean later in the issue but Claremont sets up Kitty’s thought process right now. Her father died in the Sentinel attack on Genosha that Cassandra Nova (Xavier’s twin sister) orchestrated. Not only did her father die in the attack, Kitty found the footage and we learn in Mekanix, that he was lucky (?) enough to find a camera, know his daughter will seek out the footage and was able to mouth that he loves her, then die on camera. It is pretty heart breaking.
Logan also comments on the fact that Kitty is working in a saloon. This is all a very clever way to build excitement for the upcoming Mekanix minseries that I can’t way to review one of these days.
Jean gives us a nice time stamp of where this is happening from Grant Morrison’s New X-Men’s perspective, which would be issue 122, if I’m getting that right.
Cassandra Nova, as Xavier, told the entire world that s/he is a mutant and that the school has always been a school for mutants and the doors are now wide open for all to enroll.
Then my second favorite scene happens :
I like how years later, Claremont can joke about how often he had the villains be attracted to Storm. It is a rule that all villains find Storm to be unbelievably attractive. Even in Avenger Spider-Man 16, Superior Spider-Man (Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man’s body) felt himself drawn to Storm.
It is a running gag that I really like.
Before Kitty can reveal that she is just joking, there is an ad for Pac-Man Fever, which was suppose to be Namco’s answer to Mario Party – which I’m not a fan of either but I bought it for the PS2.
It is odd how everyone was joking earlier about Storm but Kitty’s mind swap gag is taken serious. But then they all crack up.
Lifeguard being new, asks if this happens a lot. Beast tells her that it does actually.
Jean is here, the entire party really is for, to recruit the X-Treme X-Men back to the school to be teachers. Jean shows an image of the team in the school uniform looks. For some reason, Storm’s outfit has, instead of pants, a very short miniskirt. Whose idea is that? Jean’s? Xavier’s? Poor Storm.
A while back, poor Storm, got injured by Viper, and is slowly recovering but on her way to getting back to full health, is stuck in a wheelchair.
Bishop isn’t sure he wants to go teach at the school. Jean really pushes that they have a responsibility to mutants and humans.
This sets off Kitty, as she thought mutants were humans, that was the whole point of Xavier’s dream, that they were one and the same. Now Jean is sounding like Magneto and others, that mutants are different and thus, should be treated differently.
I sort of love seeing Kitty getting heated with Jean, as these two really don’t have any experience with each other. Kitty knew Madelyne Pryor and knew the Phoenix, but Jean proper, her exposure is pretty limited.
Kitty walks away from the foolish Jean, after stating that they don’t want to see another Genosha happen. Jean is pretty dumbfounded, she’s not sure what triggered Kitty’s outburst. Which is odd, as she reads people’s minds for how much cake they want but doesn’t get a sense feeling of what is angering Kitty? Oh the lines that Jean has that she doesn’t cross.
Kurt goes after Kitty, like a good friend.
Storm tells Jean that Kitty’s father was in Genosha. Jean had no idea. Bishop reveals that Kitty wrote Storm a letter (which then she clearly let everyone else read!).
Logan also wasn’t told about Kitty’s father. Bishop tells him that Kitty has started being more like Logan, keeping things close to the vest. Bishop also tells the team that Kitty has been having problems at college.
Beast offers Storm to come back to the school, if for anything else, for Xorn to help heal her back like how he did to Xavier. I wonder if Morrison read this issue and laughed and poor Claremont as who knows how much Claremont knew when he wrote the script that Xorn was Magneto (and then have Marvel much later make it so that Xorn wasn’t Magneto and mess even that up!).
Later, Thunderbird and Lifeguard are chatting it up. She wants to go look for her brother and Neal wants to go with her, she accepts his offer.
Gambit is off by himself in the gardens of the mansion. Beast comes to find him. Gambit tells him that Beast’s nanobot technology is healing Gambit at a quick rate and that the scar is going away. The X-Men can’t be having scars, as that damages their intellectual property and artists will have to be reminded that the scar is there. So it will be gone by the next time we see Gambit in a future issue. Just like when Colossus got that tattoo in Kitty’s memory. Good thing he became part of the Phoenix Five and that vanished. As I’m sure it isn’t there and it was never shown to be taken off but that must have been what made it go away.
Speaking of quick, Beast then jumps at Gambit to test his reflexes. Gambit jokes that Beast is as slow as they come. He takes out his playing cards and Beast surrounds. I like how Liquid! doesn’t color the cards lighting up as they can’t.
We get to my final favorite scene, and this one from the other side of the emotional line. Kurt tells Storm that Kitty is upset.
Storm goes into Kitty’s guestroom. Kitty has her bags already packed, she is heading back to school – which is the University of Chicago.
Now that Kitty is with a good friend, she unloads on Storm. Kitty is tired of seeing all of her friends die or being wounded as Storm being in a wheelchair is a brutal reminder of.
If Kitty doesn’t think of the X-Men, then she can’t be hurt when she finds out that one of them got hurt.
Kitty hugs Storm, she misses her friends so much!
There is a house ad that lets us know where the Ultimate books were at this time – Ultimate X-Men 23, Ultimate Spider-Man 28 & 29 and Ultimates 9.
Bishop checks on Sage, even bringing her a piece of cake! That is a good friend! Sage started out as being a member of the Hellfire Club, then it was revealed that she was really Xavier’s mole from the very beginning. Some people go out of their way to say she was Original 6 but I don’t buy into that but it is nice that Sage has hardcore fans.
Sage doesn’t want to go to Xavier’s school. He already is surrounded by some great teachers, what the world needs is a team of X-Men who are out there looking out for non-students, essentially, everybody else.
We then are treated to a very nice scene with Rogue and Gambit. For the first time, Rogue and him are both powerless. For Rogue, this is quite the opportunity. I like how vulnerable she makes herself in this scene. She asks Gambit if he wants to go away with her. She would understand that since her power kept him at bay, if now that she doesn’t have it, that he doesn’t want her, that it is okay for him to say so. The reasoning being that it was always easy for him to not make a commitment to her as she would never let him commit if it was never going to be a physical relationship. Gambit puts her worries aside and they dance the night away. Since they can actually have a relationship, Gambit wants to take it one day at a time, for both of their sakes. Which seems to be the smart play.
The next morning, Jean and Storm are surprised they stayed up all night, chatting away and doing the dishes. I like seeing the X-Men has being friends, it seems like we don’t get enough of these scenes anymore.
There is a very awkward joke about Storm saying nature has to run its course, in regards to her healing.
Kitty comes into the room, hearing that last line, and says that Storm is the poster child for Mother Nature. Which I guess is how it works in RL, someone hears half of a conversation and tries to get involved with a lame joke. I do it all the time.
Kitty’s ride is finally here and she is ready to back to college.
Jean comments to Storm, that she tried leaving the X-Men but always came back, and she hopes Kitty has better luck. There was this one time that Jean left but then came back, then the X-Men went into outer space and on their return, the ship they were in started falling apart and Jean had to sacrifice herself. That would make for a good What If.
Once outside, they see that Gambit and Rogue are leaving too. I start getting a series finale feel with all of these departures.
Thunderbird and Lifeguard tell the gathered mutants that they are leaving too.
Jean tells the remaining members of X-Treme – Storm, Bishop and Sage – that they can always come to Xavier’s if they want.
Wolverine is going to stick behind and make sure Storm heals properly.
Now that Jean is heading back to the mansion, she is wearing a conservative outfit again. I see what you are up to, Ms. Grey!
Since they broke the destiny circle that they discovered from Destiny’s Diaries, this does wrap up the intial run on the title. There is a two part miniseries and then the title comes back with issue 20 properly. I don’t buy another issue until 25 with the sequel to God Loves, Man Kills. We’ll review those issues one of these days.
There is an ad for Mekanix, and claiming not to miss it. Which I did as in Previews, I saw the name and shook my head at it and turned the page. Now I read those Marvel ones super close. Though if I still got the book, I could at least see the covers better but still. The first issue came out on October 19, 2002.
The back cover is for Oreo Os, the breakfast cereal. Which is how I like to eat Oreos. I like to put three or four on the bottom of a bowl and then wait a minute and eat them that way with a spoon. Dunking is for fools!
. . .
So that’s X-Treme X-Men 19, not a Thanksgiving Day comic but a comic with friends and cake. Not sure what we will do going forward but I’m sure any comic can show thanks for something but that’s on me to figure out. Please enjoy whoever you get to be with this day and hope you enjoy the food you get to eat! The food is the reason this is my favorite holiday of them all!