Posts Tagged ‘Age of X’

Northstar in flashback in “Flashback” in X-Men Legacy #250

June 28, 2011

X-Men Legacy #250
August 2011

Though not billed on the cover as an Age of X aftermath issue, this Giant Size milestone issue of X-Men Legacy (wow – has it really been 20 years and 250 issues since a comic book sold 8.1 million* copies?) contains a ten page Age of X epilogue story about the mysterious Revenant character. Likely because it has the most unimaginative title a story could have, “Flashback” is only titled in the intro page, where readers are warned of the abrupt change in artist as Steve Kurth, Age of X artist, takes over midway in the book from Koi Pham. Northstar appears as a regular member of the X-Men in flashback, and there is a possible appearance of Box’s foot.

Right before Revenant’s ghosty naked form finally leaves, a recap of various Age of X events dizzyingly radiates in reverse order from top left to bottom right across a two page spread, with the very first panel showing an image of Northstar crouching down just after reality is returned to normal. This image is a faithful reproduction of the same scene Steve Kurth drew in New Mutants #24, the last numbered issue of the crossover.

In a jagged corner of one panel on the same two page spread, a foot which may belong to Box appears. Unfortunately not enough is shown for an exact confirmation but Box was present in the depicted scene, so it is possible.

* – in 1991, the first issue of this title, the adjectiveless X-Men #1 sold a very large number of issues. It’s generally agreed that it is at least a 7-figure number. Some place it as high as 8.1 million, but I hereby disavow any actual knowledge of what the actual number might be. Since 8.1 million is the highest number I found on the Internet, I’m using it to make my point and for the fun purpose of intentionally spreading unverifiable information, so please no flames. If you know the exact number, please leave a comment.


Jeffries and maybe Jeffries in X-Men: Legacy #248

May 29, 2011

X-Men: Legacy #248
Jul 2011

The Age of X storyline continues in this “Aftermath” issue, which isn’t one of the official books that had been listed in the checklist, but may as well have been, since nearly everything that happens in the book is related to it. It carries the Age of X banner and is part 1 of a 2-part epilogue by Mike Carey, the writer of the storyline who continues his writing duties in this title, leaving the other Age of X title, New Mutants, with a new team. Similar to the way some remnants of the Age of Apocalypse universe persisted after its destruction, certain elements of the Age of X reality persist as well, making it more than a self-contained miniseries. Mister Jeffries appears in one or two panels as a regular member of the X-Men Science Team, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #505.

A group of senior X-Men and the Science Team meet in a conference room on Utopia to discuss how to deal with one of the most important residual elements: unpleasant implanted memories that remain from many years of false reality. Several of the mutants flat-out request a permanent memory wipe, so telepaths Emma Frost and the Cuckoos hold individual treatment sessions. On one page later in the book, a series of panels show a sequence of individual mutants requesting the mind-wipe and Mister Jeffries gets an unusual close-up.

Previously in the book where the X-Men are in the conference room, there is a panel showing the discussion, and on the far right is a character wearing a teal-colored shirt who may be Jeffries… or Namor. It’s ambiguous for many reasons, the first of which is that he’s not sitting with the Science Team, who are on the far end of the table. One could claim that the character is sitting where Namor ought to be sitting, on the “leadership” end of the table with Emma and Scott. Also, Namor is almost always included in these steering committee meetings, so his absence would be rather odd. Here is the panel in its entirety. Click the image below for a much larger image.

Click to enlarge

If it were Jeffries, you’d expect him to be sitting with the rest of the Science Team. However, Cyclops’ hands would obscure anyone sitting to Dr. Nemesis’ right and Emma’s head in the foreground would obscure anyone sitting to Dr. Kavita Rao’s left. Perhaps artist Jorge Molina meant to have Jeffries sit with the Science Team but had to place him further to the right in the panel than one would expect to prevent him from being obscured.

Inset from above panel

The character is wearing a teal shirt with a collar, something we’ve typically seen Namor wear. Jeffries appears later in the book wearing a rust-colored shirt or vest, not a teal shirt. However, notice the collar on the teal shirt – it does appear to be padded and a close-up image of Namor elsewhere in the book (below) shows him wearing a collared shirt but it is a very thin collar. So Namor wins on color, Jeffries wins on thickness of collar, tie.

The ambiguous character’s hair does not have Namor’s classic widow’s peak; rather he has a rumpled hairline. Namor is drawn with a prominent widow’s peak in the close-up while Jeffries is typically drawn with a more rumpled hairline. But, Jeffries also has greyed temples, which are lacking in the unknown character, so based on hairstyle, it’s a tie.

The facial hair is what clinches it for Jeffries, though, as Namor is clean shaven in the close-up while Jeffries clearly has a five-o-clock shadow in his close-up.

Revised image

I’m pretty sure the mystery character is an image of unshaven Jeffries, placed far to the right because Emma is blocking, wearing a miscolored teal shirt that should be rust-colored (and plaid) and who should be drawn with greyed temples. Toss in a white T-shirt and there ya go. My very, very brief career as a comic book colorist is now over, thankfully.

Northstar in New Mutants #24, Age of X Chapter 6

May 27, 2011

New Mutants #24
Jun 2011

The Age of X story line comes to its conclusion in Chapter 6 as the full reveal of the nature of the alternate reality is presented, then un-done, returning us to the 616 reality. Congratulations to writer Mike Carey, artists Clay Mann and Steve Kurth and everyone else involved for a well-written and enjoyable project. Northstar appears in this issue as both the Age of X and 616 version of himself in various panels scattered throughout the book.

The assembled mutant army reacts quickly to the massive assault that started up last issue. They’ve just had their worldview completely shattered by part of the reveal from last issue but nevertheless head right into the battle. In a fairly large panel, Cannonball and his mutant army are shown heading straight out of the page toward the reader. The panel is filled rather densely with fliers and runners occupying background and foreground and let’s just say that Steve Kurth is much better at drawing flying figures than running ones. Some of the running figures are in rather contorted poses as if they were suffering from a neuromuscular disorder or in need of a bathroom break, but fortunately, Northstar is a flier in this panel, and Kurth is rather skilled at drawing powerful and graceful flying figures. He can be seen under Cannonball’s armpit in such a great pose but unfortunately very tiny. I really wish he had been drawn much bigger because even though he has no face, that position is just so awesome.

As the battle begins, a giant two-page spread features Northstar zipping along with his red contrails streaming behind him. These red streaks were never explained but do appear several times in this issue, drawn more jagged than the perfect geometrical style Clay Mann used. Northstar appears to be running in this scene, but like all of the other scenes in this battle, he’s not shown directly engaging any of the invaders. Contrast this with Namor, who destroys two gunships by smashing them into each other or Basilisk (the Age of X version of Cyclops), who routinely blasts the hell out of everything in sight.

On the other hand, at one point, Cannonball calls out to Northstar, who is still running around doing who knows what, and orders him to help out Storm and her squad, so the reader does get the idea that he is a useful combatant who can quickly turn the tide of a skirmish. Well, that’s the best Northstar respect we get in this very busy book where dozens and dozens of characters don’t even get identified by name at all, so I’ll take it.

As the battle rages on, Legion takes control over the reality and eliminates all of the bad guys by uttering a slightly mangled line from Alice in Wonderland. Shortly thereafter, he winks the Age of X reality back to normal. Northstar’s left leg can be seen behind Pixie’s wings in the “before” panel which is fuzzed out with a hazy transformation effect. On the back of the next page, the clear “after” panel shows everyone in the exact same positions in the 616 world, standing on Utopia and with a normal sky behind them. Northstar can be seen again but now unobscured, as Pixie’s 616 wings are a different shape and much smaller. It would have been much better to have had the “before” and “after” panels on facing pages, so as to produce a sort of character map, but unfortunately the Alice in Wonderland scene was also a two page spread and it didn’t work out.

Northstar appears in a few more panels, drawn with the belted version of his costume. This version does not have a starburst on his right hip. We’ve seen this costume before in a few books, in his little cameo from New Mutants #15 and in Tim Fish’s featurette in Nation X #2.

Box and Northstar in X-Men: Legacy #247, Age of X Chapter 5

May 23, 2011

X-Men: Legacy #247
Jun 2011

The Age of X alternate reality crossover, which has been so full of awesome, begins its conclusion with Chapter 5. Note that Chapter 4, which was New Mutants #23, was not an Alpha Flight appearance, but Magneto did mention Madison Jeffries in one panel. The issue begins as the army of mutants at Fortress X are standing around for the usual daily assault that strangely does not occur. Box (Madison Jeffries) and Northstar both appear in sporadic panels as members of this large group.

The kicker for this issue is that we finally get to see Madison Jeffries inside the Box armor! He can first be see in a wide panel showing most of the mutant army. Both his left leg (on the far left) and the right half of Northstar (on the far right) can be seen in that panel. These types of “standing around” panels are reminiscent of the Infinity War and Infinity Crusade crossover issues from the 1990s where there would be dozens and dozens of heroes standing around between action sequences, drawn barely large enough to be recognized.

As the mutant army waits, Cannonball and Basilisk (the Age of X version of Cyclops) begin arguing about what is really going on. Box (and boy, oh boy, is it fun to call him that again!) can be seen just to the right of Basilisk, with his head and shoulder visible.

Basilisk draws Box into the conversation, giving him the only speaking line for either Alphan in this issue as he explains his astronomical findings, which suggest that the visible universe ends at the force walls. Madison doesn’t seem put off by being directly addressed as “Box”, as he was when outside the armor in X-Men: Legacy 246 when Magneto addressed him in just the same way. Curiously, Box is shown actually inside of the armor, similar to how we saw him in House of M: Masters of Evil #3, even sporting a flip-up face plate right out of Favreau’s design for the Iron Man armor from the Iron Man movie.

Although it’s possible for him to operate the armor this way, this is not how we’re used to seeing Box, as Madison had been phasing into the armor for about a hundred issues in the first Alpha Flight series, not wearing it as an exoskeleton. Northstar can be seen standing behind Basilisk in that panel as well, identifiable by the red goggles and red wristbands.

Iron Man is not amused.

As the mutant army deserts Cannonball to follow Basilisk into the Fortress to get answers, a very sad sequence drawn from a point of view high above shows Box very tiny in three more panels, walking off the frame. It’s a shame that despite the series being replete with so many battle sequences, the one and only time Madison is shown inside the Box armor, there’s no battle!

Once inside, Northstar (far left with red wristbands) marches into a common room along with the rest of the army as Katherine Pryde phases through a wall nearby. Oddly, Clay Mann decided it would be a great idea to show her butt in the foreground. Apparently, the main difference betweein the Age of X reality and the 616 reality is that the ubiquitous giant round butt that had been following Northstar now belongs to Katherine Pryde instead of Dazzler.

Note: This issue has a “Thor goes to Hollywood” variant, part of a series of variant covers released in April promoting the Thor movie by mashing up Thor with famous movies. This issue’s variant is an homage to the Planet of the Apes, depicting the final scene where Taylor encounters nuked Lady Liberty on the beach, with art by Koi Pham. Note that this issue was published on April 13th and the Thor movie was released on May 6th.

X-Men: Legacy #247 – Thor goes to Hollywood variant

Jeffries Bros. in Age of X: Universe #1

May 20, 2011

Age of X: Universe #1
May 2011

Though not one of the numbered chapters in the Age of X storyline which had been weaving its way through X-Men: Legacy and New Mutants, this issue is included in the official checklist as the sixth issue. This issue and its sequel show what’s going on in the rest of the Marvel Universe while the Age of X alternate reality is playing out, with stories about the Avengers, Spider-Man and Dazzler. Madison Jeffries and his brother, Dr. Lionel Jeffries appear in a single panel cameo in flashback.

The Avengers in this reality are mutant hunters, some being darkly twisted versions of their 616 counterparts. One of the most twisted is the Iron Man character, who Captain America introduces by showing a flashback to ten years ago when he was first afflicted with a tech-virus implanted by our favorite mutant brothers, Madison and Lionel Jeffries. They are shown in a single panel in shaded blue flashback to that moment, leaving Tony Stark fused into the armor and slowly being digested by it ever since. Yuk!

Unfortunately, once the Age of X reality is unraveled and reader is aware of what’s really going on, it’s difficult to understand the framework of the plot of this book, who is experiencing the action and interactions with the characters on Utopia/Fortress X, which characters are illusory or memory implants or imaginative embellishments and in whose mind all of this is taking place in and who will remember it! Since the entirety of the reality of the Age of X is a construct, it’s a murky mess to try to tell a tale of what’s happening outside the Force Walls surrounding Fortress X. Before your brain explodes trying to understand whose memory is conjuring this false image, just sit back and enjoy the depiction of the two brothers as a gratuitious bonus from Simon Spurrier, who seems to be quite the Jeffries fan based on his previous work with the Second Coming and Curse of the Mutants X-Club spin-out books that featured Madison prominently.

The two characters are not identified by name but readers with a sharp eye will notice Lionel wearing the protective helmet and buckled straightjacket he wore while a patient at Montreal General Hospital in Alpha Flight #30. It’s the most iconic image of Lionel, made more so by Gus Vazquez who chose that as the “official” image in Lionel’s recent entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #5. Note that Lionel only wore that outfit in that one issue, never to don it again, as he was no longer a mental patient after that issue, preferring more traditional medical provider garb such as white lab coats and scrubs. However, it was a great villain costume at the time and to this day, remains the classic costume for Scramble, The Mixed-Up Man.

Jeffries is shown in flashback without the greyed temples which first popped up when he joined the X-Men Science Team in Uncanny X-Men #505. He looks so young! This pairing of the two brothers ought to remind fans of another recent team-up, also in an alternate reality, in House of M: Masters of Evil #3. In the post for that issue, I commented on “how incredibly powerful the combination of techno- and organo-morph mutant powers could be” and from the looks of Tony Stark, this sentiment holds true.

Jeffries in X-Men: Legacy #246, Age of X Chapter 3

May 5, 2011

X-Men: Legacy 246
May 2011

The Age of X alternate reality crossover continues with Chapter Three in X-Men: Legacy where the story takes an unusual burst of awesome smack in the midpoint where most 6-part story arcs are already predictable and droning. The story line has been alternating chapters between New Mutants and X-Men: Legacy with slightly different styles of art from Steve Kurth and Clay Mann. You can tell that they tightly referenced each other’s character designs and set construction in this crossover, and they ought to be congratulated for the seamless way the six chapters flow into each other artistically. Madison Jeffries appears in a 2-page spread that not surprisingly looks extremely similar to his previous appearance in New Mutants #22.

Magneto comes to visit Jeffries’ lab in search of clues as to where Legacy (this universe’s version of Rogue) has gone, suspecting that Jeffries’ powers were borrowed recently. The lab itself looks nearly identical to the way Steve Kurth drew it, down to the detailed level of the fingertip controls on the side of the telescope. Jeffries is shown wearing the same orange T-shirt and inscrutable kneepads seen previously as well. One unfortunate omission is Matilda, the floating coffee maker robot. Likely she’s off-panel somewhere nearby because Jeffries has a steaming hot cup of coffee anyway.

Magneto first addresses Mister Jeffries as “Box”, which isn’t so unusual after we’ve seen him called that occasionally in a few of the X-books, but in this universe, Jeffries has an aversion to the name. This is likely because the cumulative detrimental effect of the Box armor on his humanity as mentioned in New Mutants #22. Later, Magneto honors the request not to use the name and calls him “Dr. Jeffries” which also isn’t so unusual because writer Mike Carey still hasn’t gotten the memo that it’s “Mister Jeffries”, not “Dr. Jeffries.” I’ll give Carey a break here though, because after all, it is an alternate universe and not so much of a stretch for the modern super-smart Jeffries to have earned a degree.

The purpose of this entire two page spread really is to turn Magneto from the benevolent but harried military leader of Fortress X into the darker complex character that we’ve been expecting. He’s not the Lover/Fighter Magneto from Age of Apocalypse, not the Monomaniacal Magneto from House of M and certainly not the Bizarrely Penitent Magneto from Uncanny X-Men in the 616 reality. No, this is the best Magneto of them all here as he suddenly grabs Jeffries’ arm mid-sentence in a surprising twist, spilling the coffee right out of the mug, openly accusing Jeffries of lying and collaborating with the fugitive Legacy/Rogue, complete with the dramatic blood-like drips of coffee down his knuckles. Pure awesome.

Mister Jeffries is taken aback by this behavior and indirectly admits his guilt as he pleads, “Habeus Corpus, Fifth… Fifth Amendment–“, references to legal protections for the accused and witnesses during a trial. Though Habeus Corpus is a legal concept common to many countries, “pleading the Fifth” is a uniquely American phrase, referring to the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which, for those of you who were reading Alpha Flight comics instead of paying attention in Constitutional Law class, guarantees that every person has the right to not be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself. The problem here is that Mister Jeffries is Canadian, and Canadians in this situation generally don’t burst out, “Section Thirteen of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms!!”, which is a corresponding passage in the Canadian Constitution. The largely American readership of X-Men: Legacy would be left scratching their heads if Jeffries had said this, so let’s speculate that he’s familiar with U.S Constitutional Law and knows the common phrase “pleading the Fifth” and therefore appropriately responded to Magneto. Either that or Jeffries is an American (gasp!) in this reality!

Sharp-eyed readers will notice the Box armor in the background of the lab, looking very similar to the version drawn by Steve Kurth, along with an automobile in the background of the lab, likely there as detritus scooped up during the violent upheaval of New York City buildings to form Fortress X and serving as a useful source of machine parts for Jeffries. Magneto then flat-out lays down the gauntlet before Jeffries and threatens to take away the laboratory and toys which are framed as necessary for him to retain his humanity after daily uses of the Box armor. This is a fairly badass act by Magneto and Madison is visibly shaken by it, shrinking down and finally giving in.

Daily uses of the Box armor? Oh, man! That means for the past 1000 days (according to the stated time-line of this reality), he’s been suiting up every day and blasting total Age of X butt! Since we haven’t seen the Box armor in action recently (with the exception of the alt-reality House of M: Masters of Evil #3 issue), it would have been so awesome to have seen him in any of the massive battle scenes in previous Age of X issues.

It also sets up a scenario unlikely to ever be played out but is a simmering issue for Alpha Flight Collector: Bring ’em on, Magneto! Why Jeffries cowers down so low and so quickly before Magneto is a bit of a mystery to me. Push never comes to shove in this scene, as Magneto doesn’t physically threaten, but what edge does Magneto hold over Jeffries in a putative one-on-one battle? The two characters have such similar power sets, both with the ability to manipulate metal but Jeffries has the edge with his ability to make use of glass and plastic as well. Anything Magneto does with ferrous metal Jeffries ought to be able to fend off. All Jeffries has to do is send a jagged pane of glass flying across the room aimed at Magneto’s neck and the battle is over. I call it in favor of Jeffries here (not as if the author of an Alpha Flight blog would be biased toward the Alpha Flight guy or anything) because I’m really sure Magneto is in no position to out-magnetize Madison Jeffries. The only edge Magneto has here is an administrative one – as leader of Fortress X, he can reassign the lab space to be living quarters or storage space. Oooh, I’m so scared – “Don’t mess with me! I’m a bad man! I’ll fill out a form and approve it with my signature!!”

The scene ends with Magneto unrolling a sheet of paper and asking Jeffries one final question before abruptly ending. This paper seemingly comes out of nowhere, and since the scene is composed to show the back of the paper to the reader, neither the contents of its obverse nor the “final question” is revealed to the reader.

Note: we do find out both of these things in the next issue in the series, New Mutants #23, which isn’t an Alpha Flight appearance and won’t be covered in this blog except to mention that the paper is Jeffries’ floor plans for Fortress X and the “final question” pertains to a mysterious room shown in the plans. Magneto later sends Legacy/Rogue and Gambit into this room to discover its contents and ultimately the true nature of the Age of X universe.

Note: there is a second printing variant for this issue, featuring interior art by Clay Mann.

X-Men: Legacy 246 – second printing variant

Jeffries in New Mutants #22, Age of X Chapter 2

April 6, 2011

New Mutants #22
April 2011

The Age of X alternate reality crossover continues in New Mutants during a convenient break between creative teams for the title. For those keeping track, the new creative team of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning was announced a few days after this issue was released, ending the speculation on who would take over from long time writer Zeb Wells after Age of X ended. Chapter 2 of the series features a 2-page spread with this universe’s Madison Jeffries.

Legacy, the Age of X version of Rogue, brings a camera she discovered and surreptitiously confiscated in Chapter 1 to an observatory-type lab in Fortress X where the Age of X version of Madison Jeffries is found peering through a telescope. He’s drawn quite similar to his 616 counterpart, but with a crew cut and an odd set of knee pads – a possible dig from penciler Steve Kurth to tease Clay Mann for his bizarre overuse of knee pads in his character designs for the crossover. Two of Jeffries’ creations are shown, the first being his mechanical assistant Matilda, a levitating combo coffee machine/astronomer robot who appears to display some level of artificial intelligence.

It’s a nice touch by writer Mike Carey, who has been occasionally including Jeffries as a character in his regular gig over at X-Men: Legacy, to have noted Jeffries recent addiction to caffeine that we’ve seen before. It also appears that Steve Kurth may have been inspired by the amazing Chopstick-o-matic from X-Men: Curse of the Mutants – Smoke and Blood #1 when designing Matilda’s coffee-serving elements.

Jeffries utilizes a “talking to machines” voice here that we’ve seen before, but unlike the irritating binary-speak used in Uncanny X-Men #505 and #506 and the childish cooing over Karma’s hideous leg prosthesis in X-Men: Second Coming #2, he actually addresses Matilda in a normal manner. Later, when talking to the camera, a far less intelligent device, he reverts to the childish cooing voice again, but this time around it seems more palatable once framed in the context of the relative processing power of the two devices.

As Legacy makes small talk with Jeffries, he drops a fairly big hint that the Age of X world isn’t what it seems to be: he mentions that the starlight measurements are off. In another more subtle hint, Legacy expresses disbelief that the stars could be measured at all, since they are outside the opaque telekinetic force walls surrounding Fortress X. Unfortunately, Jeffries explains it away with a scientifically inaccurate explanation: that he sends Matilda a thousand feet up to get a better view because the refraction index [of the atmosphere] is a lot less up there. In reality, the index of refraction of air at sea level as compared to a thousand feet up, or in the vacuum of space for that matter, is nearly exactly the same, and in any case, index of refraction of the atmosphere is not a relevant factor in optical resolution. Mike Carey typically writes Jeffries as a super-smart character full of technobabble, but come on, at least get the technobabble right!

The other Jeffries creation is the rarely seen Box Armor, which still has not been used in action in the 616 continuity since Jeffries’ return to the X-books. Unfortunately, we aren’t treated to a front-line battle sequence with this armor, which is disappointing with all the combat shown in this series but not inconsistent with the “support staff” role that Jeffries has been playing. He only refers to it to indicate to Legacy that repeated use of the armor can lead to a man/machine fusion. Sound familiar? Go pick up your copy of the Byrne-era Alpha Flight #22 where Roger Bochs faced a similar danger. Of course from 1985 to 2011 the way Jeffries puts it changes a bit:

1985 (ditch digger talking to Roger Bochs): Hadn’t you better pop outta there, before you get too comfy? ‘Member I warned ya of th’ danger of the symbiosis becomin’ permanent.

2011 (scientist talking to Legacy): Every time I get into that armor and plug myself in, I become a bit more of a machine and a bit less of a man.

Anyway, it’s a beautiful rendition of the Box armor by Steve Kurth and a real treat for Alpha Flight fans, even though it’s just a tease. The scene ends with a surprising kiss from Legacy as she temporarily borrows Jeffries’ mutant powers. It’s nice for him to finally get some action from her, but it’s a few issues too late – instead of the glistening massive gigantic beautiful boobs-hanging-out massive cleavage version of Rogue from X-Men: Legacy #244, he’ll have to settle for this modestly dressed and completely covered up alternate version instead.

Note: this issue has a variant cover by Clay Mann, taken from a portion of a promotional poster for the story arc, the right half of which was one of the variant covers for X-Men: Legacy #245 and a second printing variant with interior art by Steve Kurth.

New Mutants #22 – Clay Mann variant
New Mutants #22 – second printing variant

Northstar in X-Men: Legacy #245, Age of X Chapter 1

March 16, 2011

X-Men: Legacy #245
Apr 2011

The Age of X, a multi-title alternate reality crossover, officially starts in X-Men: Legacy #245 with Chapter One. Technically, the series started already in the Age of X: Alpha one-shot (not an Alpha Flight appearance), which is helpful to read but not required. Even more technical than that, the series really started with a series of cleverly marketed teaser images that contained plot elements – Historical Logs whose URLs were coded as QR tags embedded in Age of X solicit ads. We also saw an enigmatic closing panel in issue #244 suggesting reality was changing, but Rogue’s boobs distracted us from understanding its significance at the time. Northstar appears as a member of the X-Men in this alternate reality.

Patterned similarly to the epic Age of Apocalypse from 1995, the Age of X abruptly takes over a few X-books in a Xavier-less dystopia filled with “almost the same” characters. In this reality, a scenario similar to Days of Future Past has played out – mutants are hunted, rounded up and killed – with the exception of a few mutant survivors massed at a giant fortress surrounded by telekinetic force walls. Hints are being dropped that the inhabitants of this bubble world are not aware that it is inconsistent with reality, a similar scenario to the early House of M issues before the true nature of that warped reality became known.

After a typical brutal battle with an invading military force, a mysterious intruder who turns out to be this universe’s Kitty Pryde shows up. An emergency strike team is sent in to investigate by “X”, a machine intelligence (or is it?) with telepathic powers. Thankfully, writer Mike Carey has the sense to put a speedster onto an emergency strike team, and Northstar quickly takes out the intruder. Poor Kitty. Interestingly, two of Northstar’s teammates on the strike team are Angel and Dazzler, who are also his teammates in the de facto X-Men team in contemporaneous issues of Uncanny X-Men.

It’s not clear exactly how the Northstar from this reality (which, for those of you who keep track of these sorts of things, is Earth-TRN016) differs from his 616 version, but a few elements are apparent, most notably the red contrails from his wrists that in at least one panel seem to be rope-like additions tied onto his costume, but may be just luminescent bands that appear to streak in an afterimage effect so as to give the impression of extreme speed. Additionally, his eyes are colored red, but he’s drawn so small and in so few panels (on just one page and in one other panel very tiny) that it’s not clear if they are minigoggles or a bioluminescent glow.

Similarities are easier to spot: this universe’s Vertigo calls him, “Jean-Paul” in one panel. Also, this Northstar shows forlorn love for his dear sister (presumably Aurora), who unfortunately has been killed off-panel by a Cpl. Sejanus-423, one of the countless little green army men constantly attacking the fortress.

Note: this issue has two variant covers – a “50 years of Fantastic Four” variant by Paolo Rivera which wraps around to a low contrast reprint of the cover to Fantastic Four #4 by Jack Kirby, an incentive variant cover by this issue’s artist, Clay Mann, taken from a portion of a promotional poster for the story arc and a second printing variant with interior art by Clay Mann.

X-Men: Legacy #245 – Fantastic Four variant obverse
X-Men: Legacy #245 – Fantastic Four variant back cover
X-Men: Legacy #245 – Clay Mann variant
X-Men: Legacy #245 – second printing variant