Writer: Chris Claremont
Art: Marc Silvestri
Colors: Dan Green
Letters: Tom Orzechowski
Release Date: 5/1/1989
X-Men comics are the gift that keeps on giving. There have been so many various incarnations of the team that it is easy to lose count of the members. Well back in the 1980s, it was way easier to keep track of everyone. Of course, you have the O5 (Jean, Bobby, Warren, Scott, and Hank) who ended up running around with X-Factor, the New Mutants (Roberto, Illyana, Warlock, Doug, Amara, Rahne, Danielle, and Sam), and the main team in 1989 (Ororo, Logan, Peter, Longshot, Allison, Anna Marie, Betsy, and Alex). What is easy to forget over the years is that once upon a time, the X-Men were in Australia (commonly known as the Outback years). This is a seriously underrated period of X-Stories, so let us dive into Uncanny X-Men #244 by the legendary Chris Claremont. This particular story introduces an X-Men mainstay and the basis for episode one of the classic animated series.
PS: If you automatically knew the code names of all of the listed mutants, you deserve a pat on your back. You are an X-Professor!
If you’re interested in this comic or any of the others mentioned, simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon.
What do you get when you mix the X-Women, the 80’s and a shopping mall? This amazing story. Realizing they (the X-Women) needed some much-needed R&R, Dazzler suggests that they catch a portal from Gateway (remember him) to a shopping mall in LA. As they are shopping a minor character by the name of Jubilation Lee is causing mischief throughout the mall. This is the height of the anti-mutant hysteria so a group of wanna-be mutant hunters is called. After destroying the mall in a battle, the X-Women teleports back home with (unknowingly to them) Jubilee in tow.
Silvestri was on his A-Game when he drew for this issue. When I turned to the page, I could almost smell the combination of Hot Dog on a Stick, new shoes, and the various smells of perfumes that wafts in your nose when you go to the mall. Silvestri also has a gift with facial expression and body language. From Storm awkwardly dancing with a male stripper to the internal Carol Danvers/Rogue struggle, everything was believable and beautifully drawn.
Design of a Decade:
How does this tie into the first episode of the 1990’s tv show X-Men the Animated Series? Well, in episode one, we are introduced to Jubilee who is being hunted by a Sentinel at a mall. She is promptly saved by Rogue, Gambit, and Storm who just so happened to be shopping. Granted, episode one is not a pure copy and paste from the comics the same way the Dark Phoenix Saga was, but the inspiration is there. Seeing the X-Men go blow for blow in a shopping mall is as grand as seeing Storm use her powers in a desert-scape (check out my first retro review on X-Men Unlimited # 7 HERE). This issue provided an amazing template to what would be the first episode of an iconic series.
Over the years, there have been numerous ups and downs in the X-Universe. Right now, between the upcoming Hellfire Gala and the mutants inevitable return to the big screen (and one day the small screen) we are definitely in an “up” period. Certain characters in the X-Universe speaks to certain eras. For example, Dazzler is an epic 70’s/80’s pop princess and Jubliee is a total 90’s mall rat. Lately, we have not seen much of these characters. Yes, Jubilee is now a vampire mother, and Dazzler performed at a Krakoa party, but they are in no way as dominant as they were in the late 80’s early 90’s. I would recommend anyone to pick up this issue (or read it on Marvel Unlimited). However, this is the first appearance of Jubilee so it will cost a pretty penny.