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Aug 17

X-Men #13 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

X-MEN vol 6 #13
“Resurrection Blues”
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: C F Villa
Colourist: Matt Milla
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller with Jay Bowen
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1: Cyclops and Jean in action alongside Ikaris and Sersi from Eternals. This is an A.X.E.: Judgment Day tie-in.

PAGE 2. Opening quote: Jean Grey. It’s obviously meant to be ironic in the light of the plot of Judgment Day, in which an artificially-revived Celestial judges the whole planet.

PAGE 3. The X-Men in battle against the Hex.

Or rather, all of them but Forge, who we’ll get to on the next page. But the rest of the newly-elected team from X-Men: Hellfire Gala are here.

This is the Hex’s attack on Krakoa from A.X.E.: Judgment Day #2. The one seen here is Thieaka the Harpsicus. The narrator gives us the very basic version of the Eternals’ motivation; the fuller version is that Druig sees this as a way to cement his authority as Prime Eternal, but that’s not really relevant to this issue.

Magik raises for the first time the prospect that Krakoa itself might be capable of resurrection, which I suppose depends on whether you class it as a mutant and on how far resurrection works beyond true mutants. There’s been some suggestion that it would work on individual humans, so why not try it with Krakoa, I guess?

PAGES 4-5. Forge makes his contribution.

I assume this piece of technology is meant to be based on plantlife, like most Krakoan things, but it really does look more like meat.

PAGES 6-7. Jean Grey contacts Ikaris.

Ikaris is the Eternal closest to a conventional Superman type, though in a much more distant way. He was basically the star of the early Kirby stories. In Eternals, he and a group of other Eternals split from the main society after learning that every time they were resurrected, a human was killed to provide the life force. That’s why he insists that no Eternals can die in the battle, but he doesn’t explain that to Jean.

This conversation with Jean is new. Ikaris does want to get involved in this fight, but he and his group are currently occupied with their own side quest over in A.X.E.: Death to the Mutants #1 (which I’m not treating as an X-book, since it’s basically Eternals under an assumed name).

The information he provides on the Hex is basically the same limited material we’ve heard about them before.

PAGE 8. Recap and credits.

PAGES 9-11. More fighting with the Hex.

assume this red thing is meant to be Syne, but frankly I’m just going by the colouring on that, since otherwise it bears no resemblance to any of the Hex as shown in other books.

PAGE 12. Ikaris clears the way for the X-Men to enter Uranos’ armory.

This is page 17 of Death to the Mutants #1, where Ikaris also has the rest of the Eternals cast with him.

PAGE 13-16. The X-Men attack the Armory.

Their arrival is also shown on page 18 of Death to the Mutants #1, where Druig panics about the Hex losing their power supply and decides that the Forgotten must be to blame for giving the mutants’ access.

Synch is apparently not an omega mutant, although if we’re still going by the nebulous “no upper limit” definition, then I’m not sure why not. If he can mimic an omega mutant’s powers, why isn’t he an omega mutant by extension…? Or is there an upper limit to how far he can copy them?

I’m not entirely sure why being synched to Iceman helps him here – I get that when Iceman’s in ice form, he can shatter and reform, but Synch isn’t in ice form. Is the idea that even if Iceman was maimed in human form then he could still turn to ice and just rebuild his body? Because Synch doesn’t exactly do that either. Basically, if Synch is synching with Iceman’s powers then shouldn’t he be, er, ice?

Nimrod from Orchis gets a somewhat random namecheck here, but we haven’t seen him in a while, so there’s no harm in reminding us about him.

PAGE 17. Scott and Jean repel another member of the Hex.

This is Phebe Reginax.

PAGES 18-20. The X-Men complete their attack on the Armory.

“It’s just like taking orders from Captain America.” Firestar used to be in the Avengers. Incidentally, if you’re nitpicking, Firestar’s powers aren’t meant to be flames, but lovely, easy-to-animate microwaves.

PAGES 21-23. The X-Men return to Krakoa.

The Hex are leaving because the newly revived Celestial told them to stand down, in Judgment Day #2.

The Celestial’s speech comes from the end of that issue, although the X-Men’s reaction to it is original. Also, the closing line “X-Men, your adjudication has begun” is new – presumably, everyone hears the Celestial differently at that point.

PAGE 24. Data page – a letter to Emma Frost from Firestar’s father.

Bart Jones is a long-established minor character. In the Firestar miniseries (1985-6), he’s presented as a hard working single father who’s initially afraid of Angelica’s mutant powers, and who accepts Emma’s offer to train her partly out of panic, but mainly in a good faith attempt to get her the support he doesn’t know how to provide; the series ends with him and Angelica reunited and embracing. He’s made very scattered appearances since then, primarily in New Warriors. Basically, he’s just a nice, supportive middle-aged dad who’s proud of his superhero daughter.

He evidently knows how badly Emma treated Angelica during the Firestar miniseries and is deeply sceptical of Emma’s motives for getting her into the X-Men now. It was indeed Emma who nominated Firestar for the X-Men in X-Men: Hellfire Gala, claiming that “Most of you never had the chance to know her and that is my fault because I pushed her away when she was young.” Since Firestar was basically appointed to the team by acclaim before she actually had a chance to say whether she wanted to join or not, there’s some truth in Bart’s description of it as a drafting.

Basically, Bart has always been very supportive of Firestar’s superhero career – he doesn’t like her being in the X-Men because he sees her falling back under Emma’s sphere of influence, and that’s perfectly reasonable, really.

PAGE 25. Trailers.

Bring on the comments

  1. Michael says:

    Note that Havok seems uncaring when it was suggested that the Five might have been killed. Havok was suffering from a mysterious split-personality problem in Hellions. A lot of people assumed that this was Emma’s and Empath’s doing but this suggests that it might not have been. OTOH, he did destroy Kwannon’s daughter’s backup under Empath’s influence, so this could simply be his reaction to that incident.
    Specifically, Emma had one of her goons point a gun at Bart in order to force a 15 year-old Firestar to attack him and Firestar put the goon in critical condition, so, yeah, Bart’s justified in hating Emma.
    Note that Illyana has her Bachelo costume and sword, and is described as teleporting through Limbo. That would seem to suggest this issue takes place before New Mutants 25-28, which potentially raises some issues. But more on that when you review New Mutants 28.

  2. Jack says:

    I recall that first time I know of Bobby taking an arm-off equivalent, the old Onslaught story where the O5 minus Beast (I think) fought Post, and a big peril part of it was Iceman took a hit that blew a hole through his chest. And everyone treated it like it was his actual body that now had a dinner sized gap front to back in it. Surprised that he was alive, panicking over what would happen if he tried to revert to human form etc.

    This wasn’t toooo long after Emma joyrode his body and showed that he wasn’t just a meat form that grew ice around him, but that he actually now transformed from human body to ‘morphic’ ice and back, and his consciousness inhabited said ice without there being organs or a nervous system or whathaveyou, but it clearly had not bedded in with anyone, much less Bobby, and so the idea of having a chunk of body missing was treated as if, well, a chunk of his body was missing and he should be dead.

    Of course it was resolved by him repairing his ice form and then when he turned back to human he didn’t immediately drop dead due to having a missing 10 pounds of torso, it was there.

    Synch should presumably be in ice form for something similar to be said here, that a regrown ice arm could be transmuted to a human one. But I seem to recall Synch doesn’t take the physical characteristics of those he synchs with, rather his aura replicates their power. At least that’s my dim memory of Generation X.
    Plus, he’s now ‘better’ in some instinctive way with the borrowed power.

    All that word salad to say that the art is probably fine if considering it one or more of Bobby being powerful enough now to selectively transmute parts, or Synch’s weird ‘improvement’ allows this, or it’s due to the nature that it’s Synch’s mutant aura that hosts the transmutation power rather than his….self?

    Regardless, hopefully such an ability to form ice parts and turn them flesh only applies to missing or ‘normal’ parts of a body. Otherwise the idea of what one could get up to could rapidly become horrifying.

  3. Si says:

    Presumably Iceman is some kind of energy spirit with the power to turn ice into a human body. Otherwise him travelling through water, regrowing ice body parts etc wouldn’t work. So following that (crazy comicbook science) logic, he could reform even if he was in meat form when mauled.

    It’s an interesting question about what makes an omega mutant or why only a select few have no upper limit. There’s probably no good answer. But at least it’s clearer now than when every second X-Man was called an omega, and then you had the inevitable “this new bad guy is even stronger than an omega!” power creep.

  4. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    My only takeaway from a very nothing issue= so Forge is just Rick Sanchez now? I hate it.

  5. K says:

    Since this issue overlaps so much with Death of the Mutants #1:

    The Zuras vs. Xavier telepathic battle was novel, but also points out that in one million years the Eternals have never gotten better at telepathy than Xavier did in one human lifetime.

    Much like how Gillen earlier showed that Ikaris has never learned to dodge a punch, their weird unchanging nature is a very old-school sci-fi concept that really deserves to be more in the spotlight.

  6. Jenny says:

    Speaking of DTTM, that issue coming out the same day as this one shows just how much weaker this title really is.

  7. MasterMahan says:

    I believe Synch’s always been able to do physical transformations. He was extra muscular in the Phalanx crossover because he’d copied Sabretooth’s bulk and he could copy Husk’s transformations.

  8. Douglas says:

    Weirdly, when Druig sees the X-Men attacking the armory in Death to the Mutants #1, the specific characters arriving are Firestar, Magik, and… Laura/Wolverine! Who is nowhere to be seen in X-Men, though I suppose there’s no reason she couldn’t be off-panel there.

    I agree with Michael that the Limbo reference (and Illyana’s costume) suggest that New Mutants #25-28 are after Judgment Day, but I’m curious what issues that might raise! (The Spider-Man FCBD story where Madelyne appears seems to be comfortably far in the future.)

  9. Evilgus says:

    I wasn’t paying attention and got this thinking it was written by Gillen. A bit disappointed. Is the X-Men series basically just loosely assembled fight scenes with good artwork??

  10. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Yes.

    There’s an ongoing thread of Cyclops going slightly against the Quiet Council and his ambition to democratize Krakoa, starting with the X-Men elections, but it’s a tertiary concern.

    (And the ‘X-Men as a democratic power base aiming to revolutionize Krakoa’ subplot amounts to a couple of panels in one issue).

  11. Mike Loughlin says:

    I chalk up the continuity errors (Magic’s costume, Laura’s appearance in DTTM, Syne’s appearance) to the fact that coordinating a crossover is a massive undertaking and these things happen. Note that X-Men and DTTM are drawn by people who aren’t regular X-title artists.

    Is Synch an Omega? His power is power duplication, and he can handle multiple powers at a time. I guess an Omega power duplicator could copy *all* powers at a time, with infinite range? I don’t get too hung up on the Omega concept- if a mutant has the power to smell like roses and was the best possible at smelling like roses, that mutant is an Omega, right? Fat lot of good that does against a Sentinel.

    Anyway, that sure was a lot of fighting, huh? Yep. Not much to say beyond that except that Havok being so out of character at the end must be a plot point. He’s made a lot of mistakes, but I haven’t ever seen him act like he just wants to party and doesn’t care about important things. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to make me care.

    Oh, and Firestar saying taking orders from Magik was just like taking orders from Captain America was some awfully clumsy writing. Show, don’t tell people.

  12. Evilgus says:

    Firestar’s comment on Captain America was super clunky. Would have worked as a thought bubble. Bring back thought bubbles!!

    Also I love the idea of a mutant whose power is being smelly. For good or evil. Shame that it’s not very visual for the medium.

  13. Drew says:

    “But I seem to recall Synch doesn’t take the physical characteristics of those he synchs with, rather his aura replicates their power. At least that’s my dim memory of Generation X.”

    It was inconsistent. As MasterMahan pointed out, after the Generation Next crossover, M took everyone shopping, and she specifically asked Synch if he wanted to buy something that would fit after his body eventually shed Sabretooth’s added mass. But he didn’t, for instance, copy Penance’s spiky armored form when she showed up. I think they mostly eventually settled on “his rainbow glowy thing copies the powers, but not the visual effect.”

  14. YLu says:

    Wasn’t the “copying Sabretooth’s mass” thing just an awkward and ill-fitting retcon to explain why he was drawn off-model originally?

    I mean, since when was increased mass part of Sabretooth’s powers? I always just assumed he was really buff.

  15. Joseph S. says:

    Well, this was awkward. Sersei on the cover, doesn’t appear in this issue. Havok doesn’t appear on panel (not clearly at least) until around page 13 and doesn’t have any dialogue until page 18. Seems Duggan has something in mind for him, as he does for Forge, but all sits oddly.

  16. Alastair says:

    During Slotts spider man run the ends of the earth arc when it ock died before superior they said sand man and hydro man existed as god particles a single sentient molecule so they could reform that could work for Bobby as well

  17. Jack says:

    “Wasn’t the “copying Sabretooth’s mass” thing just an awkward and ill-fitting retcon to explain why he was drawn off-model originally?”

    One’s MMV on that but yeah, I believe they retrofitted that explanation after deciding he shouldn’t be hench. I’ve heard it said making him look physically intimidating was determined to be an error, for a couple reasons.

  18. Joseph S. says:

    I think Synch not appearing as covered in ice is more a practical matter for the reader, as it would make distinguishing between him and Bobby too difficult. Suspension of disbelief required. And anyway, if he was ice powers why not generate an icelimb and turn it back to flesh? Certainly not the most far fetched thing in this issue.

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