Took Place In: Uncanny X-Men 270-272, New Mutants 95-97, X-Factor 60-62
Written By: Chris Claremont (Uncanny X-Men), Louise Simonson (New Mutants, X-Factor)
Art By: Jim Lee (Uncanny X-Men), Rob Liefeld, Guang Yap (New Mutants), John Bogdanove (X-Factor)
Characters Involved: Cyclops, Beast, Iceman, Archangel, Marvel Girl (X-Factor), Cable, Cannonball, Sunspot, Boom-Boom, Rictor, Wolfsbane, Warlock (New Mutants), Storm, Forge, Banshee, Gambit, Jubilee, Wolverine, Psylocke (X-Men), Cameron Hodge, Havok, Genegineer, Genoshan Magistrates (villains)
Story: We are rapidly getting to the point where the X-Men franchise is nearly impenetrable to new readers (aka the 1990’s), and this story kind of points to that. You need to know a lot about who everyone is and what their relationships are outside of this story, so people who maybe thought this would be a nice gateway into the X-books was probably bleeding from the ears, eyes, and nose by the end of the story.
The story focuses on the island nation of Genosha, which has been built on the back of mutates, which are mutants that have had a procedure forced on them that erases their memories and personality, and for some reason makes them bald and gives them silly full-body suits. The island is being run in secret by a ‘man’ named Cameron Hodge, who was a friend of Warren Worthington, aka Archangel, until Warren cut his damn head off of his body with his razor wings. Hodge made a deal with a demon to grant him eternal life, and has had his head attached to a giant, ridiculous robot body. He holds one hell of a grudge against Worthington, and by extension his friends in X-Factor, and by crazy town banana pants logic, the rest of Xavier’s students.
LOOOONG story short, Hodge sends some of Genosha’s a-hole enforcer squad to the X-Mansion to kidnap mutants so he can subject them to the mutate process, thereby sticking it to the X-folks and making Genosha that much stronger. In charge of the douche patrol is none other than an amnesiac Havok!
And here is where the problems start. Havok is amnesiac because he went through the Siege Perilous, as did the rest of the X-Men, and each of them were separated and put through the ringer as a result. What’s the Siege Perilous, you ask? Good question! The Siege Perilous is like a magic mirror/portal that the X-Men got their hands on, and were forced to through it when they were fighting the Master Mold Sentinel (before Cyclops blew it to smithereens all by his lonesome). Each X-Man went through some different craziness as a result of their trip through the Siege, and they were scattered around the world. For instance, Storm was turned into a child! For Havok, he lost his memory and was discovered on Genosha, where he was allowed to remain free of the mutate process because he was already acting like a dick, and they thought, “Hey, he’s a dick, let’s put him in charge of our gang of dicks!” and because Hodge thought it would be funny to attack the X-Men with one of their most powerful members.
ANYway, Havok and the goon squad attack the X-Men, and kidnap a few of the New Mutants: Rictor, Wolfsbane, and Warlock. So the rest of the New Mutants, X-Factor, and what few members of the X-Men are around band together to find them and to get them back. As they get to Genosha they get into all kinds of shenanigans, and eventually run into the remaining X-Men, including Jubilee, Gambit, li’l Storm, Wolverine, and the now- Asian Psylocke. Of course, in typical X-Men fashion, almost all of them get captured, and Hodge forces them to fight one on one in front of their teammates for his amusement, the best of which is Archangel vs Wolverine, in which the little smelly Canadian gets this living bejeezus torn out of him by Warren’s razor wings.
Hodge spends his time torturing and taunting the X-Men, having a grand old time, until the X-Men are freed by Gambit’s lockpicking skills and Psylocke’s quick thinking. Eventually Cyclops, Wolverine, Marvel Girl/Phoenix (Jean Grey), and a now brainwash free Havok are left to fight Hodge, until he impales Wolverine and smashes Marvel Girl into the ground pretty good, taking them out of the fight.
Finally, it comes down to Cyclops and Havok vs Hodge, and if you’ve been paying attention to my posts at all, you know that if Cyclops is involved this fight is only going to go one way….
So this story is a bit of a mess. The real appealing aspects here are the X-Men issues, which feature sweet Jim Lee art, the fight between Wolverine and Archangel, and seeing Havok and Cyclops unleash on someone together for once. Some other things of note are the ‘death’ of Warlock, who is basically incinerated, Wolfsbane being turned into a mutate which sucks for her human form, but makes her werewolf form super huge and scary, Storm somehow being turned back into an adult (seriously, I have no idea how), and the X-Men reuniting with new member Gambit and sort of new Psylocke (new body, at least). Other than those things this story is entirely forgettable. The art is wildly inconsistent (with the exception of the aforementioned Lee), the writing is all over the place characterization wise, and the villains pretty much suck. Not really recommended, unless you’re just a huge sucker for Jim Lee.