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Appearing in "Blackbirds"Edit
- Margaret Stone (First appearance)
- Aubrey Agee (First appearance)
- Gambit (Mentioned)
- Professor X (Mentioned)
- Forge (Mentioned)
- Magneto (Mentioned)
- William Drake (Mentioned)
- New York State
Synopsis for "Blackbirds"Edit
The issue opens in a dark room. Rogue stands in a green hooded costume. Her gloves are off and she prepares to touch a grey-looking figure who is sleeping in a chair. The figure wakes up and recognizes her, but fails to prevent her from touching him. It soon turns out to be Wolverine. She apologizes but claims she has to touch him. She needs him, his life, his thoughts, his power.
Wolverine seems to be in pain but musters enough strength to throw Rogue away. She informs him that he should not have done that, and warns him that now she is going to have to hurt him. He unsheathes his metal claws and challenges her. She attacks fast and manages to punch his face. He counterattacks by penetrating her stomach with his claws, which go all the way through her back. Rogue comments that at one time that move may have killed her. But not any more, since she has absorbed his Healing Factor. As she speaks, her wounds heal instantly.
Rogue grabs Wolverine and reveals that she has also absorbed all of his delicious memories. She comments that Wolvy never told them that he had a son. She wonders what the touch of this son is like, whether good taste runs in the family. Whether its like father, like cub. As she speaks, Wolverine-like claws manifest in the back of both her hands. She draws some blood with her new claws. Wolvy recognizes the claws and threatens to make her pay for this. The two attack each other with 6 claws each. She is fast but Wolvy evades the best of her attacks, then wrestles her to the floor. They stab at each other, until Wolvy prevails and stands on top.
A wounded Rogue pleads with her former friend to kill her, as she can not control herself. Wolvy starts stabbing her repeatedly and blood flows from her body, while the word "no" is heard again and again. The blood starts turning into feathers. Rogue wakes up from her nightmare and finds herself in her own bed at the Xavier Mansion.
Rogue wonders why this is happening to her. She thought that leaving Gambit in Antarctica was the worst memory she has has to suffer through her lifetime. Now she keeps having these disturbing dreams, and she thinks it is not fair to her. She looks around and notices mist manifesting in her room. The source of the weather phenomenon turns out to be Storm, who is standing besides the bed. Ororo informs the "little one", that she heard her troubled voice and came to offer some relief.
Rogue thanks her friend for coming, though she can offer no explanation at what she was experiencing. Storm recognizes that Rogue was having a nightmare. She theorizes that it was about Gambit, whose thoughts refuse to leave Rogue. She points that Rogue claimed to have absorbed some of Gambit's persona, and that perhaps the decision to leave him behind came in part from his own personality. Rogue claims that it was not like that, but then admits that she does not know. She asks to speak to Storm about "serious staff".
Storm assures her friend that she is always there for her and willing to listen. Rogue confesses that in her dream she touched Logan and drained him dry. Storm points that dreams are not reality. She offers as an example Professor Xavier's dream of peaceful co-existence between man and mutant. This dream never became a reality, and if it did come to pass there would no longer be a need for the X-Men. Storm then explains that Rogue has no control over her dreams.
Rogue stops her and explains that she actually liked touching and draining Wolverine. She relished it, though she thought she was over that phase of her life. But she claims that this changed during the X-Men's stay in Antarctica. Their powers were taken away for a single night, and Remy and Rogue were closer than she has ever been to anyone. For a few moments, Rogue felt how real a touch can be. These few moments made the rest of her life seem empty and meaningless. She felt like she had spend these past few years on auto-pilot.
Storm prevents her friend for further explaining. She informs Rogue that what she is feeling is a rebirth, and that she felt a similar rebirth when she first found Forge. But she next points that due to Rogue's powers, Rogue can not touch others without assimilating them into her own psyche. Rogue explains that her experience with Remy was an exception to that rule. Storm points to the "child" that we people can not relive the moments they cherished. She advises Rogue to savor her memories of the past, but to also find a way to cope with her present. She can touch the world and experience grave consequences, or choose not to touch it and experience no consequences. But the choice of paths belongs only to Rogue herself.
Storm turns to leave the room. She points that Rogue slept late this morning and explains that she initially came to invite her to join the rest of the team to the pond. Rogue seems surprised to hear about going to the pond and asks what for. Storm points that they are going for fun and to enjoy nature. Two things one should not long neglect. Rogue seems confused about a nature excursion in winter.
The scene shifts to a winter scene of snowing in New York City. Several blackbirds are seen sitting on a billboard. Archangel is observing the view from the rooftop garden of his SoHo penthouse apartment. The narration explains that he is mentally far from experiencing "fun". Psylocke approaches him and asks what is troubling him. He explains that he is thinking about his relationship with the team. After all he said and did in Antarctica, he feels bad about dumping the X-Men at their empty mansion and coming here. He asks whether it is not his responsibility. She advises him not to punish himself. He simply has to decide which is more important to him, his life in the apartment or his life at the Mansion. He answers that it is not that simple.
She asks whether it is not that simple and then steps on the ledge of the rooftop. She claims that since her transformation under the Crimson Dawn, she has learned that souls are primal and that you have to go with your heart. Warren seems worried that she is going to fall off the roof, but she continues to speak. She says that life is easy, but only if you make the hard choices. She asks him to choose between his life with the X-Men or the life he is currently living with her. She then falls down and a scared Warren flies after her. He grasps Betsy at near-ground level, just before she crashes into a car.
Warren seems angry and asks his lover whether she is crazy. She smirks and claims that she is not crazy, and that she is alive. More now than ever, and so is he. She claims that Warren knows exactly what he wants. What he wants is here, because he wants her and he wants them to be together. She asks him to to shut out the bloody little voice in his head which wants him to question what he wants. He is still angry and points that he himself does not know what he is thinking. He is not certain why she believes that she figures out his thought process. But he is certain of one thing, he did not appreciate her jumping off the roof. He says that she is going to find it a lot harder to survive her next fall, if there is no one there to catch her. He then angrily flies away. She arrogantly proclaims that Warren just does not like that she made him see the truth in himself. She then calls after him, apparently confused to see him depart.
The scene changes back to the Mansion. Storm ask if everyone is ready. Cannonball, Iceman, Jubilee, and Wolverine are all there wearing summer clothing and preparing for a swim in the pond. Maggott is also there, but he seems fully dressed with only his head exposed. Wolvy points that Maggot looks like he forgot to bring a swimming suit. He hopes that his "ugly" teammate is not planning on skinny-dipping. Maggott replies that he does not not swim. He then explains that he did ask Marrow to join them. The "bony little lass" proclaimed that she will stay in the basement and asked him to tell Wolverine that she will come up when hell freezes under. Iceman jokingly offers to freeze Marrow's basement and turn it into a big meat locker. Jubilee then distracts Bobby by playfully splashing the back of his head with a water pistol.
Rogue arrives to join their excursion. She is dressed in a tank top and jean shorts, which unusually for her exposes a lot of her skin. She is also barefoot. Wolvy jokes that she finally heard the rooster and then asks her if she is okay. Noticing Wolverine standing next to her, Rogue shouts at him to not come near her. She is evidently scared of touching him, as in her dream. A confused Logan wonders why Rogue is treating him as if he is a plague carrier. He says that she is sorry, but quickly steps away. She claims that she is still joining them at the pond, but she first wants to speak to Joseph.
Still confused, Wolvy complains that this bunch is getting way too moody for him. He points that he may soon have to take off. Storm instructs him to calm himself and claims that Rogue is facing "female troubles". She tries to explain further, but Logan stops her. He sniffs around and determines that the X-Men have a visitor. He says he will deal with "him" first and them meet the team at the pond. He quickly rushes into the woods, scaring away a rabbit. He is still thinking about Rogue. He figures Storm was covering for Rogue, though he does not know why. He knows Ororo long enough to know when she is keeping something secret. He then starts thinking about the rest of the team's situation, realizing that he does not like the way things are going out lately. His oldest friends can't seem to be straight and narrow with him. He is loosing his temper with Marrow, a little punk with a big mouth. He thinks that he needs a breather and to hit the high road. But first he has to deal with this gatecrasher.
He locates a white-haired, bespectacled woman and jumps on the ground beside her. He asks the "lady" to freeze, startling her. They ask each other to identify themselves. She goes first and informs Wolvy that she is Margaret Stone, an inspector for the Board of Education. He identifies himself only as "Logan", and she asks whether it is his first or last name. He tells her to take her pick. She informs him that the Board already sent them a notice regarding an impending inspection of this school. She thinks that the Xavier Mansion is still the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, (despite the fact that it currently has no students). Logan asks her what she is doing in the woods, which are part of the school's private grounds. He claims that the school has had trouble with intruders before.
Margaret informs Logan that she chose to begin her inspection with the school grounds. She asks whether their contact with the Board is still a Mr. Charles Xavier. Logan does not answer, though he points that she mispronounces the "a" in "Xavier". She ignores his observation and reveals that Mr. Xavier has not filled his biannual report to the Board for over two years. She was send to inquire for the reasons for this lack of report, and authorized to re-accredit the institution. She opens her purse and brings out a pack of official documents, which she offers to Logan. He takes a glance but seems to not know what to do with them. He claims that this is not a good time for an inspection and asks her if she can come back in a month or so. She ignores his request, pointing that she has the authority to conduct her inspection in this day and that she intents to complete it this day. She asks to inspect the student buildings. She whispers to herself about the peculiar warm weather of the school in winter time.
The scene shifts to outer space, in a spacecraft owned by Deathbird. Inside the ship, Bishop sleeps, incapacitated and connected with various devices. He is dreaming, but the narration points that these dreams may actually be memories from a future he has already seen. A small glimpse from these "dreams" reveals Bishop blasting away at Cyclops, probably killing the fellow X-Man.
Bishop suddenly wakes up, feeling the touch of Deathbird, who stands by his side. She informs her love, as she calls him, that they are on their way. Back to the realm which they will soon rule together. She claims that his crippled body now heals with remarkable speed. He interrupts her by trying to speak, though his mouth is gagged and the sound that comes out is incomprehensible. She instructs him not to try to speak, or move, or even think. She claims that Bishop is in no condition to anything now, except from basking in her all-consumming care and her undying love.
The scene shifts back to the Mansion. Joseph is watching television and ignoring Rogue, who is constantly trying to speak to him. The news item that has him so enthralled is a television interview with Dr. Aubrey Agee. Agee claims that his research has revealed that mutant genes can be countermanded, reconfigured to mirror the genes of normal humans. The Agee Institute and its staff will one day be able to unlock the mutant gene problem entirely. Joseph uses his magnetic powers to angrily destroy the television, finding the concept offensive and the world "ghastly". He is tempted to destroy this Manhattan clinic with his own two hands.
He finally notices that Rogue is calling for his attention. She reminds him that while they were in space, she promised to help him remember everything about Magneto, the man he once was. She thinks there is a risky way to gain access to his memories. Joseph suspects where this is going, but Rogue continues with her suggestion. Her solution is a touch, just a little touch that will be enough for her to look inside his thoughts. She looks away while she speaks, probably not daring to look him in the eye.
A suddenly sweating Joseph turns his back at her. He thinks her absorption of Gambit has gone to her head and warns her about it. She claims that she is just trying to help him. He seriously points that if she believes what she is saying, she is the one who actually needs help. Rogue starts walking away dejected, failing to notice Joseph writhing in pain behind her back.
At the door of the Mansion, Logan prepares to enter with Margaret Stone. He is lying, claiming that the staff of the school cleaned out the place between terms in order to get the floors refinished. While he speaks, a crying and sniffling Rogue exits from the door. Margaret takes Rogue for a student of Xavier's School, introduces herself, and offers to shake hands with the apparent schoolgirl. An upset Rogue claims that she can not shake hands because she has a skin condition. She leaves in a hurry. Margaret seems offended, but Logan claims Rogue has "female troubles" and that there is no call of alarm. He then points that there are people down the path who will take care of the distressed Rogue.
Logan lets Margaret through the door and attempts to show her the main recreation room. What they see is the broken television and Joseph having some kind of medical crisis. He is apparently in pain, screaming that "he" is near and that someone has to stay away from him. Margaret notices that the "boy" needs help and is completely unattended, wondering aloud what is wrong with Joseph. She finds the conditions at the school unacceptable and ends her inspection prematurely. She informs "Mr. Logan" that she is officially placing this educational institution on probation. He will soon be receiving a notice from her office with her recommendations. She then wishes him good day and starts leaving in a hurry. Logan contemplates his failure as the current head of "Xavier's School" and covers his face with his hands.
The scene shifts to the pond by the Mansion. The X-Men are enjoying themselves. Cannonball is hanging from a rope fastened around a tree branch above the pond, Jubilee has climbed on the shoulders of Iceman, Storm is sunbathing in a bikini. All four are in their swimsuits. The odd one out is Maggott, who is still fully dressed. Jubilee takes the time to ask Bobby about his stay in the Mansion, which she finds curious. She points that he had quit and was supposed to be spending time with his father. He assures her that he did that and now he is back with the X-Men. He warns her that she is going under.
Maggott offers to rub some sunscreen on Storm's back, supposedly for her sake. He does not want her to get sunburns. She informs him that she does not burn. He reveals his true colors by claiming that he wants to rub her anyway, and playfully asks her to do it for his sake. She turns down his offer. Iceman throws Jubilee in the pond. He then cheerfully performs a mock interview, where he explains that he plans to stay dry by dunking everyone else in the pool. Storm is not amused, and summons a shower cloud above him. She gets "Robert" thoroughly wet while lecturing that what is fun for him may not be so fun for his victims. He answers "yes, mommy". Jubilee resurfaces, trying to spit pond water out of mouth and clear her eyes. Cannonball finally jumps in the water for a swim, the splash from his fall drenching Jubilee again. She is not amused.
While the shower cloud continues to rain, Logan stomps towards the pond. Storm recognizes his anger and asks him about the intruder. He informs his friend that their intruder was a department of education inspector and that they have got big problems. He offers to explain to her later, but asks if she has seem Rogue. Storm points that Rogue has yet to arrive. Meanwhile, Maggot is staring at her body and thinking "my, my, my...". Logan finds Rogue's absence weird, since she was ahead of him in this path. While he speaks, Iceman playfully throws a snowball directly at Logan’s face. He has apparently not noticed that Logan is in a foul mood, but Storm is now worried about Wolvy's reaction.
Wolverine seems pissed and a now worried Iceman tells "Wolver-Mean" to calm down. Wolvy does not listen, violently clasps him, and drags him into the pond. While they fight, a mysterious figure spies on them. The figure feels a burning need to touch Wolverine. Wolvy grabs Iceman, unsheathes three bone claws, and threatens to stab Bobby with them. The voice of Marrow is suddenly heard, taunting that it is nice to see that Wolvy does not just pick on little girls. Wolverine notices her spying on them from a nearby tree branch. She criticizes him that he first picks on the one he does not like (Marrow herself), and then picks fights with the ones he does like. Wolverine threatens her to return to her basement, or he will fight her again. She starts threatening him back, but her voice is covered by the sound of thunder.
The thunder is the work of a now pissed Storm, who warns everyone to stop fighting and arguing. She reminds them that they came to the pond to enjoy the serenity of nature. She asks them not to disrupt it with their childish vendettas. An insulted Wolvy exits the pond and walks away in a huff. Iceman is trying to recover from the fight, while everyone else is staring at the departing figure. Jubilee is worried about her "Wolvie" and attempts to follow him. He recognizes her voice without looking back and tells "Lee" that he is not in the mood for company. He asks her to let him be. While he is alone, he is observed by a mysterious figure who sees this as an opportunity.
Back at then pond, Storm kneels and examines a bleeding wound at "Robert"'s right foot. She wonders whether Logan cut him there. Cannonball is surprised, since he witnessed the fight from up-close and never noticed Logan use his claws. Iceman turns into his ice form to cover the wound and confirms that the "midget maniac" is not responsible for this injury. He cut himself by stepping in something metallic while in the pond. He freezes the pond in hopes of discovering what. The transparent ice reveals the presence of an old X-Men Blackbird at the bottom of the pond. Storm recognizes the original Blackbird, the one they replaced with Forge's upgraded version years ago.
Storm informs them that she had asked Forge to hide this Blackbird's remains, but she did not know the hiding place he chose. She finds her old lover creative in choosing a hiding spot. She thinks that Rogue, the strongest member of the team, could be able to lift it out from the ice. She notices that Rogue is still missing and wonders where is her friend. Iceman instructs his teammates that they should get the old aircraft out. He reminds them that the team no longer has any financial resources. He speculates that they can sell this Blackbird for scrap metal and get some money.
The scene shifts to Wolverine, who is lying down in the woods and is attempting to take a nap. He uses a towel as a pillow. In his thoughts, he is mocking himself for his lack of self-control and taking his anger out at his teammates. He wonders who he will attack next, old women or the sick and infirm. He then thinks that he has to face the facts. He has always been a loner and still is. The lure of domesticity works on him for a short term, but it always loses its hold in the long run. In other words, he is thinking of leaving the X-Men. He never notices the mysterious figure approaching him. Suddenly clawed fingers touch his face and a voice asks for forgiveness. Wolvy sceams in pain as strange hands begin to absorb his energy.
In the pond, Storm listens to the scream and recognizes Logan's voice. She takes the lead and commands all present X-Men (Cannonball, Iceman, Jubilee, Maggott) to follow her in going to help their teammate. Cannonball and Iceman compete for speed. They discover an unconscious Wolverine and Rogue kneeling beside him. Storm immediately suspects that Rogue has hurt Wolverine and asks Rogue to explain what she has done to him. Rogue claims that she responded to Wolverine's scream and came to help him. She just found him like this. Storm does not believe her and asks her to step away from him. A teary-eyed Rogue seems hurt that Storm does not trust her. A determined-looking Storm promises that that they will sort everything out, but repeats her request for Rogue to step away from Logan. An emotionally hurt Rogue walks away, while complaining that she trusted Storm. Storm seems surprised by the reaction and asks her to wait.
While everyone else is staring at the departing Rogue, Maggott examines the unconscious Wolverine. He seems seriously hurt to him. Storm claims that she knows his symptoms. She instructs the X-Men that they should get him to the Mansion immediately. Maggott attempts to lift Wolverine but struggles with the weight of his teammate. A worried Jubilee tries to get Logan to speak to her. A voice proclaims that Wolverine can no longer speak to anyone. Storm thinks she recognizes the voice of Marrow, though she finds it strange-sounding. Someone points that the voice is coming from a flying pteranodon. The amused creature proclaims: "It's a plane! It's a bird! It's Sauron! Evil incarnate is among you once more!." Then he flies towards the X-Men, ready to attack. Someone screams.
The scene shifts to Alaska, in the vicinity of Anchorage. Former X-Men Cyclops and Phoenix have reached their new home, only to find it buried under tons of snow. The house has been through a blizzard. Scott is frustrated but offers to blast the snow away. Jean reminds him that using his optic blast will only fatigue him. And the reason they are in Alaska is his need to recuperate from his injuries. She volunteers to deal with the snow herself. Scott points at the enormous mass of the snow, and points that she can not use her telekinesis to just lift it. She reveals that she has been practicing with her powers. She now can do this with no problem. She blows gently, uses her powers, and the snow clears away. The couple is free to step into their new home, with Jean proud of her powers. A view from the sky reveals that there is a giant area entirely devoid of snow in front of the house. It has the shape of a bird and looks suspiciously similar to a Phoenix. The story ends.
- The issue claims that Rogue promised to help Joseph regain his memories about Magneto. Technically this refers to a scene in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 345 (June, 1997), where she promises to tell him everything about Magneto. There is a subtle difference here.
- The issue has Jubilee asking Iceman about his continued presence among the X-Men and he responds that he has returned to the team. This line apparently resolves a storyline introduced in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 340 (January, 1997), where Iceman quits the team to spend some time with William Drake, his injured father. He returned to active duty during the Operation: Zero Tolerance crossover, but it was unclear whether he intended to return to his family once the crisis was over. Apparently he has decided to stay with the X-Men indefinitely.
- The X-Men Blackbird seen in this issue has not been depicted for several years. It was replaced with a new version of the Blackbird, designed by Forge. The new version first appeared in X-Men Vol 2 1 (October, 1991), and its debut coincided with a major reorganization of the X-Men team.
- In Rogue's dream, she absorbs Wolverine's memories and learns that he secretly has a son. This is left unexplained. The reference may be to Erista, an illegitimate son of Wolverine introduced in Wolverine: The Jungle Adventure Vol 1 1 (February, 1990). Erista remains an obscure character. Some online commentaries have seen this dream scene as a foreshadowing of the existence of Daken, a more prominent son of Wolverine introduced in Wolverine: Origins Vol 1 5 (October, 2006). A few years later came the introduction of the Mongrels, an entire team consisting only of biological children of Wolverine.
- The Marvel Chronology Project, which keeps track of of character appearances, has the following information about the characters of the issue:
- Dr. Aubrey Agee appears here following a flashback in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 359 (September, 1998). His next chronological appearance is in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 355 (May, 1998).
- Archangel appears here following Iron Man Vol 3 1 (February, 1998). His next chronological appearance is in X-Men Vol 2 73 (March, 1998).
- Bishop appears here following Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 348 (October, 1997). His next chronological appearance is in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 354 (April, 1998).
- Cannonball appears here following X-Force Vol 1 76 (April, 1998). His next chronological appearance is in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 354 (April, 1998).
- Cyclops appears here following Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 352 (February, 1998). His next chronological appearance is in Cable and Machine Man Annual Vol 1 1998 (May, 1998).
- Deathbird appears here following Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 348 (October, 1997). Her next chronological appearance is in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 354 (April, 1998).
- Iceman appears here following X-Men Vol 2 71 (January, 1998). His next chronological appearance is in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 354 (April, 1998).
- Joseph appears here following X-Men Vol 2 72 (February, 1998). His next chronological appearance is in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 354 (April, 1998).
- Jubilee appears here following Generation X Vol 1 40 (July, 1998). Her next chronological appearance is in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 354 (April, 1998).
- Maggott appears here following X-Men Vol 2 72 (February, 1998). His next chronological appearance is in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 354 (April, 1998).
- Marrow appears here following X-Men Vol 2 72 (February, 1998). Her next chronological appearance is in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 354 (April, 1998).
- Phoenix appears here following Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 352 (February, 1998). Her next chronological appearance is in Cable and Machine Man Annual Vol 1 1998 (May, 1998).
- Psylocke appears here following Iron Man Vol 3 1 (February, 1998). Her next chronological appearance is in X-Men Vol 2 73 (March, 1998).
- Rogue appears here following Spider-Man/Kingpin: To the Death Vol 1 1 (November, 1997). Between pages of this issues is inserted a flashback from Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 354 (April, 1998). Her next chronological appeance is the main story of Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 354.
- Sauron appears here following the main story of Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 351 (January, 1998) and a flashback in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 354 (April, 1998). In between pages of this issue he appears in another flashback of Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 354. His next chronological appearance is the main story of Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 354.
- Margaret Stone makes no further appearances, but her voice is heard in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 355 (May, 1998).
- Storm appears here following Spider-Man/Kingpin: To the Death Vol 1 1 (November, 1997). Her next chronological appearance is in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 354 (April, 1998).
- Wolverine appears here following Maverick Vol 2 4 (December, 1997). In between pages of this issue he appears in a flashback of Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 354 (April, 1998). His next chronological appearance is the main story of Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 354.
- The issue largely deals with the consequences of Rogue's stay in Antarctica. She temporarily lost her powers and got to feel the intimate touch of Gambit, with the implication that she lost her virginity to him. She then regained her powers, and had to absorb the memories and powers of Gambit. After learning that her lover was a former Mister Sinister and had blood on his hands, she decided to kick him off the team and abandon him in Antarctica. She now craves the intimate touch of other humans, craves absorbing more powers and memories, and feels guilt about sentencing Gambit to die in Antarctica. The issue has the following additions to make to her characterization:
- In Rogue's case, knowing physical intimacy once in her life is worse than never having it all. She now knows what she is missing and craves it all the more. With her powers rendering this a forbidden fruit.
- While her conscious self craves affection and intimate touches, her subconscious and dreams apparently really enjoyed absorbing the memories and powers of another mutant (Gambit). She now fixates on absorbing the powers and memories of Wolverine and tries to get permission to do that to Joseph. Her cravings are vampire-like, as pointed by a narration which compares her powers to a vampire's kiss. At the same time she fears loosing control and her dream ends with Wolverine having to kill her to end her threat.
- She no longer feels certain of her decision to abandon Gambit to a potential death of exposure. (A decision which was rather unpopular with readers as well). The issue introduces the idea that when she absorbed Gambit, along with his memories, she also absorbed his guilt and intense self-loathing. That in effect Gambit sentenced himself to death for his crimes.
- The summer weather that the Xavier Mansion and its vicinity are experiencing is strongly pointed to be abnormal, during a winter period where it is snowing in New York State. The implication, though not directly stated in dialogue, is that Storm is controlling the weather to an impressive level. She wants a summer day, she gets a summer day.
- Archangel's scene in this issue largely continues from a scene in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 352 (February, 1998). There he arrived in the Xavier Mansion and was met with general hostility and accusations that he has been neglecting the X-Men and their needs. He now feels torn between tending to his personal life and his relationship with Psylocke on one side, and his life with the X-Men and his obligations to his teammates on the other. Psylocke's suicidal stunt of jumping off a rooftop and waiting to see whether he comes to her rescue, does not exactly seem to help his decision. This follows a number of previous issues where he finds her new powers and personality quirks to be rather bewildering and off-putting.
- Jubilee's presence among the X-Men in this issue is largely left unexplained. She mostly manages to have some fun and get into a minor prank war with Iceman. She gets him wet with a water pistol, he gets her wet by throwing her into a pond. They seem to represent the fun-loving elements of the team, while the rest of the X-Men are either caught in personal dramas or are acting a bit too serious.
- While the Xavier Mansion actually has no students or school-aged people since Jubilee got transferred to the Massachusetts Academy, this issue deals with the idea that officially it is still Xavier's School and has to report to a Board of Education. The new information is largely that Charles Xavier has had to file new reports to the Board every two years. With his long absence from the Mansion, nobody has bothered to replace him in this duty. This is getting the "School" in trouble with the educational authorities and is now costing them their accreditation.
- Joseph is clearly having a medical crisis of some sort and is screaming that "he" is near and that someone has to stay away from him. This plot point is never really explained. Due to his recent interaction with the original Magneto, Joseph seems to be feeling strange whenever he senses him. The implication might be that he is sensing Magneto again, though Magneto is nowhere to be found in this or the following issues.
- There is a particularly odd moment in this issue. Wolverine witnesses Joseph having a medical crisis and Margaret Stone clearly states that this "boy" needs help. Wolvie never bothers to offer any help, never checks up on his condition, or notifies anyone else. He just leaves Joseph alone and goes in search of Rogue. He then seems to forget all about Joseph. This seems rather callous of Wolverine and is never really explained.
- The vampire-like absorption powers of both Rogue and Sauron seem to be compared in this issue, along with the burning need they both feel to use them on Wolverine. Rogue is caught standing over a drained Wolvie and is immediately blamed for a recent crime of Sauron. The similarities of the effects their powers have on victims are noted when Storm can not tell the difference.
- The opening scene with Rogue absorbing Wolverine's powers, manifesting a Healing Factor and her own set of claws, and getting into a rather brutal fight with Wolvie serves as the main action scene of the issue. It offers some interesting visuals. It is rather telling that Rogue is wearing a hooded green costume, reminiscent of her uniform while serving with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. In her dream she is returning to a villainous persona.
- While Bishop and Deathbird get a minor scene in this issue, it does not really offer new information on them and Deathbird's monologue is rather cryptic. For the time being, she seems to be in love with Bishop and has plans for them as a couple, but is also holding him against his will and lying to him. It is unclear whether his crippling injuries are real or whether they are part of her ruse.
- Following the departure of Joe Madureira with Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 350 (January, 1997), Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 spend a couple of issues with no regular artist. This is the second issue of the series drawn by Chris Bachalo, the previous one being Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 349 (November, 1997). While he did not draw every issue, Bachalo remained the regular artist of the title until Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 365 (February, 1999).
- Marrow is mentioned frequently in this issue, but only appears briefly. There are mentions of her recent fight with Wolverine in X-Men Vol 2 72 (February, 1998). Technically her presence at the Xavier Mansion may be a continuity error and/or point to poor coordination between the writers of the two X-Men titles. Joe Kelly, the writer of X-Men Vol 2, had ended that fight with Marrow running away from the Mansion and returning to the Alley. She had decided to quit the team and was not convinced to return until X-Men Vol 2 74 (April, 1998). Steven T. Seagle, the writer of Uncanny X-Men Vol 1, was apparently unaware of this detail.
- Sauron humorously uses the phrase "It's a plane! It's a bird! It's Sauron!". This is a reference to the famous comic-book related phrase "Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird. It's a plane. It's Superman!" It was prominently used in the introduction of the television series "The Adventures of Superman" (1952-1958) and has come to be associated with various incarnations of Superman over the decades.
- While not particularly prominent, various scenes of the issue feature a motif of birds. Birds seen in dreams, seen in reality, birds mentioned, and bird-like names. Culminating with the bird-like manifestation of Jean Grey's powers at the finale. This bird motif kept running for much of Steven T. Seagle's run in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1. It was presumably connected with his plan to have Jean increasingly manifest the powers of the Phoenix Force. This plan was aborted, because the Marvel editors rejected it. While Jean remained very powerful for some time, her powers were soon reduced again. Curiously enough, Seagle-like hints to Jean manifesting the powers of the Phoenix were then re-introduced by Grant Morrison in his run of New X-Men Vol 1.
- Deathbird's supposed love for Bishop comes off as possessive, obsessive, and rather creepy. She acts like she owns the man, and uses his supposedly crippling injuries to justify her ownership. A few online commentaries compare his captivity to that of Paul Sheldon by Annie Wilkes in the film "Misery" (1990). Sheldon is a noted writer who has just ended his prominent series of novels and got seriously injured in an accident. Wilkes is a nurse who rescues him from death, holds him captive in her home, and abuses him. She is an obsessive fan of his novels and has an agenda of having him continue her favorite series indefinitely.
- Technically the reintroduction of Sauron and his upcoming fight with the X-Men, seem to be an attempt of writer Steven T. Seagle to make some use of the rogues gallery of the X-Men and have the team fight supervillains again. This makes for a change of pace for the series. Following the Onslaught crossover, the main opponents of the team were Bastion and Graydon Creed. The methods of these villains mainly consistent of political manipulations and use of private armies, rather than physical fights. By early 1998, Creed was dead and Bastion largely out of the picture. The recent issues of the series under Seagle have depicted the return of Magneto, an update of Pyro's medical condition, and a plot by agents of A.I.M., but no classical superhero and super-villain fights. The change of pace was perhaps needed following a rather distinct lack of action scenes.
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