So basically the same thing I've been doing for the Wildstorm thread, but as a reference heavy piece of work, this one can go a bit more in-depth.
For those who haven't been reading it, X-Men Grand Design is a six-issue mini-series where Hip Hop Family Tree's Ed Piskor has the Watcher tell the story of the mutant heroes to the Recorder in chronological order, following the X-Men from the earliest days through the Lee/Kirby years, the Thomas/Friedrich/Drake run and all the way through Claremont's first run, it's planned ending is around the Claremont/Lee X-Men #1 with another issue wrapping up the story of mutant-kind with Days of Future Past. It heavily references the original comics, but it also incorporates some of the retcons introduced by Claremont and it changes some details and events as well in order to get a more streamlined story.
We're 3 issues in (or 1 trade and 1 issue depending on your preferred medium) and rereading the first two issues, there were some things I noticed and wanted to talk about. Feel free to leave comments/corrections and everything else once I get started.
Basically what I will try to address is: "Where did this scene come from. What has changed/what is still the same. How do I feel about this change." with occasional observations which will range from the blindingly obvious to the less blindingly obvious.
Note the issues themselves also have annotations in the back, listed as "Additional Reading" so I'll refer to those as well.
Credits: Unlike the Wildstorm thread, credits will be a lot easier here: Art, text, colouring, inking; it's all Ed Piskor. Editors and management are credited as well as a credit to Lee&Kirby. In the back of the issue, credits are given to a lot more writers, artists, editors, inkers and so on. Though I think more artists and writers deserve a nod here. Bill Everett should have received a nod for his creations for instance even if he was not on the X-Men title itself. This issue uses both Namor and the Fin.
The Cover: Every cover will be following the same pattern: a main character focused in the center shown half in one time period/half in another period with team shots in the background fitting with each time period. The first issue has Cyclops, half in his pre-superhero days, half in his costume in X-Men #1. The teenage school-going Cyclops has Hank McCoy, Warren Worthington, Jean Grey and Bobby Drake in the background, all dressed in regular clothes . Noticeable is that Bobby wears a T-shirt with Spider-man's mask on it. Don't ask me how that timeline is supposed to go. Early X-Men Cyclops has Jean Grey (in original X-Men costume) and Charles Xavier in the background (and we see a wing of Angel). Noticeable is here, that Xavier is not in a regular wheelchair like in those days, but is in what appears to be the yellow hoverchair he would have much later, after he met the Shi'ar.
Title/credits page: Around the title, we see images of various X-Men characters. Xavier's head with the 5 original X-Men of course, Magneto with his brotherhood (including Mesmero, who wasn't a member in the original comics), The Mutant Master, a Sentinel, Banshee, the Blob, Juggernaut and the Vanisher.
Page 1: Observing the Earth from a rocky plateau floating in space, the Watcher tells the Recorder that he finally has had enough time to reflect on all matters to tell him this story. (The annotation in the back lists the Watcher and the Recorder's first appearances, so I won't). Observations: The Recorder comments that Eternity has been worried about the Watcher's productivity (as far as I know Eternity has had little contact or interest in the Watcher's observations or with Recorder). Another detail: the Watcher is standing on a small rocky plateau floating in space, not on the Moon, his usual habitat. A sign that the moon itself has been destroyed by now?
Page 2: Some short scenes detailing the history of mutants pre-WWII: treated as freaks on stage, burned as witches or just shunned by humans. Some work hard to please humans to gain acceptance but receive little to no gratitude in return. Mutant prejudice is greatly increase by Namor the Sub-Mariner flooding New York City in his battle with the original Human Torch. Observations: We quickly go through mutant's early history to basically point to Namor as the first major cause of mutant/human prejudice, though tensions have been high before. The Watcher does not mention any of the other early mutants like Selene or Apocalypse. The catastrophe caused by Namor is also treated as far greater than it had been in the comics before, but a giant flood of a major city probably would cause that much destruction. Even though Namor was established as a mutant in the early Lee/Kirby comics, his actions usually were never linked to mutantkind as a whole. The blame mostly went to the Atlanteans as a group and Namor in particular, but in this he's the match that lit the fire.
Page 3: A group of Golden Age Heroes, led by the original Angel, ask amphibic superhero The Fin to find Namor for him, but he only finds random stray Atlanteans. The water left behind by Namor's attack has kept New York submerged for over 50 days. A situation only solved by two scientists: Brian and Sharon Xavier. Their brilliance is rewarded by Stark Industries who buy their invention and employ the couple. The two are quickly put to work on the atom-bomb project, not realising the effect it will have on their child. A child that speaks to his mother from within the womb in her dreams. Observations: The Golden Age heroes are identified in the anotations within the book itself. As is Brian Xavier's involvement with atomic testing and Charles already possessing his powers pre-birth. The last one is only mentioned in Morrison's X-Men though, a title which falls outside of the issues usually referenced within this title. No mention of Cassandra Nova though. I don't think Xavier's fortune was ever truly explained before, it usually was just referred to as the family fortune, but it was always unclear why a nuclear scientist would have a house the size of the Xavier mansion and all that money. Later X-Men runs have established that Xavier had sponsors that agreed with his ideals, but as far as I know, those all started to fund him once the X-Men were already established. Having their invention be the key part to cleaning up New York from a major disaster and then funded by Howard Stark, is a solution I like. I also like having Sharon Xavier be more than just a wife and a mother, but involved with Brian's work herself (especially as in this story Charles was conceived before Brian started working on the nuclear program). Also the Atlantean the Fin bring to the surface is neither Namor nor a regular blue-skinned Atlantean. Instead it's a half fish/half human, possible not even an Atlantean, but a poor mutant that survived Namor's attack due to his own powers.
Page 4: Logan and Captain America are on a secret mission in Germany. Logan sees a group of Nazi soldiers beating up a young man and wants to interfere, but Captain America stops him, not wanting to blow their cover. Before they can do anything though, Cap's shield flies through the air and knocks all the soldiers out. Logan wonders why Cap changed his mind, but he is as confused as Logan is. The white-haired man has disappeared. Observations: It has been established before that Logan and Cap met before during WWII, both were active on secret missions. I don't have to explain who the white-haired man is, I assume. (If I do, you are probably on the wrong boards). The scene does introduce some minor timeline .. well, not errors, but it makes things complicated: Magnus obviously evades capture here, but a bit later in the story he is captured and starts to practice his powers so he can escape. With Cap and Logan on the ground in Germany and Magnus still free would place this part of the story around 1941, years before the Normandy invasion. Still, those things can be easily explained. Cap does see Logan pop his bone claws here, another bit of information that is outside the issues used as a reference for this mini-series and something I don't think Cap knew in the regular comics. The annotations in the back note that Captain America and Logan meeting Magnus during WWII is not from the comics, but taken from the X-Men animated series.
Page 5: Back to young Charles: a nuclear accident costs Brian Xavier his life. Young Charles misses his father, but is a quiet boy, he does not protest as his mother invites Brian's colleague Kurt Marko to move in with them. During his first meeting with his new stepbrother, Cain Marko, young Charles reads his mind and discovers that Cain is a very violent young boy with all his thoughts are of killing young Charles. Observations: Some small changes to established comics here: young Charles is bald; Charles Xavier did go bald at a young age, but not until he hit puberty. Kurt Marko in the comics was involved in the accident that killed Brian Xavier (he claims it was an accident, Cain thinks it was deliberate) and was an abusive father to Cain and an abusive husband to Sharon. Charles reads his mind here and Kurt is a hard man, but honest who believes that a mother's influence can change Cain for the better. Cain seems to be naturally violent, while other comics hinted that Cain's enmity for Charles came from his father abusing him, but never young Charles. Small changes, I can understand leaving out the Brian Xavier death/potential murder subplot, it would not add much to this story, but I think Kurt Marko being an abusive father and husband worked better in motivating both Charles and Cain on the future paths.
Page 6: Magnus has fled from the soldiers that tried to kill him, but is captured as he's hit with the wooden stock of a rifle. He starts to practice using his powers, stealing small screws and bolts from the factory he's forced to work. Using his powers, he uses them to kill one of the guards and escapes with another prisoner, a young woman named Magda. (Unrelated note: I wrote Martha here the first time. I blame DC movies.) Observations: Nothing really, this is pretty much what was established before. I didn't note notable changes here.
Page 7: Charles, by now a young man, is becoming overwhelmed by his powers and stays home to educate himself. Cain and his criminal friends try to break into a safe in the X-mansion. Unable to crack the lock, Cain goes into the nearby laboratory to create “liquid adamantium” that will break the lock. He fails and causes a fire. Charles escapes the mansion through the smoke, trying to wake his mother telepathically, but his mother does not make it. Observations: Again pretty much what was established before. I don't think Sharon's cause of death was ever established before, but tying it into the fire at the mansion works. The most interesting changed detail here to me, is Cain knowing about adamantium and thinking he can recreate it. Cain never came across as somebody with any type of schooling and creating adamantium probably would be quite a feat. Obviously he failed here (in a disastrous way), but still... Minor detail: No mention of Kurt Marko's fate here. In the original story it is he, who dies in the fire/explosion at the X-mansion, protecting Charles from Cain's wrath.
Page 8-9: Charles feels the urge to kill Cain for the death of his mother and immediately starts to travel the world, to rid himself of these dark feelings and to control his powers. In Egypt he hears tales of another like him. A young Storm steals his wallet and he follows her to find out that she is being controlled by the man he was looking for; Amahl Farouk (both his and Storm's name are not mentioned in the issue by the way). Xavier and Farouk have a mind duel. Farouk is confident and toys around with Xavier, but as Xavier fights back, we see fear on his face, the moment before he dies. Observations: Again not many great changes. Xavier wanting to improve himself because he feels hatred for Cain is new, but works for me. Young Storm has a mohawk like she would later have (edit: rberman suggests that this may be a nod to young Storm as played by Alexandra Shipp in the X-Men movies, who also has the mohawk.) A minor detail. In the original stories Farouk and Xavier had their meeting within a bar, here the meeting is out in the open with Farouk standing on a balcony and Xavier on the street below.
Page 10-11: Magnus and Magda have built a life and have a young daughter, Anya. He works on nearby farms, but is used and cheated by the farmers. Having had enough, he threatens a farmer who refuses to pay his full wages, Magnus uses his powers to threaten the man. He is seen by others and they beat him up, thinking he's a warlock. When he manages to get up, he runs to his house, finding it on fire. The farmers grab him, trying to kill him, but something inside him snaps and his full power is revealed. Magneto is born and kills the farmers by controlling the iron (and therefore oxygen) in their blood. Observations: Again not much to say, in many ways Magneto's origins are so well established that there is little need for alteration (yes, I'm talking to you, X-Men: Apocalypse movie.) Magnus does not know here that Magda survived, a plotpoint that kinda changes quite a bit over the years. Some have it Magneto being unaware of his wife's survival, others have it Magda fleeing in fear of his powers.
Page 12: After Egypt, Xavier returns to the US and is immediately drafted into the Army. He ends up in the same unit as his stepbrother. They end up in cave, looking for enemy caches of weapons and find a demonic statue with a large red stone. Cain grabs the stone against Charles' advice. This unleashes a wave of energy and the cave collapses. Observations: At first sight no great changes here: the exact war they are fighting in is not named (it's obviously after WWII, but long after it, so the Korean War would make the most sense). A big change though is that in this version, Xavier is injured in the collapse, ending up in the wheelchair. Another change I actually like (for this story), it takes out the story with Lucifer, but Lucifer has never been that important to the ongoing X-Men story (he actually will show up in a later issue. More on the changes when we get to him). (Oh and a small change I forgot: in the original story, Cain's presence in the cave was actually Cain deserting after hearing stories about the fabled Ruby of Cyttorak. Here the cave is just a spot they find and check out as part of their mission).
Page 13: Permanently injured, Xavier is dismissed from the army. He returns to the states and starts to research mutants and goes to pro-mutant rallies (though hiding his own mutant powers). On one such rally, Charles meets Moira MacTaggert. The two become a couple and together they build Cerebro. Observations: Small changes in the timeline, but nothing major I think. Moira met Charles when they both went to college in the originals. I don't think Moira was around when he build Cerebro in most other versions.
Page 14:Xavier throws himself into his research. Moira tells him that he is using Cerebro too much and fears it has side-effects. Ignoring her, Charles finds his most powerful mutant so far: Magneto. When he takes of Cerebro's helmet, Moira is gone back to Scotland, leaving a letter behind. Observations: If I remember correctly, Moira left Xavier during his tour of duty in Korea/Vietnam/Afghanistan/sliding timescale war of the period. A lot of the notes hit here, merge Moira with another of Xavier's lovers, Amelia Voght. Amelia is a much later creation though, she ws a nurse who took care of Xavier after his injury during the fight with Lucifer. A mutant herself, she disagreed with Xavier's plans to lead a group of mutants and establish peaceful relations with humanity, instead thinking it wiser to stay hidden. She left Xavier after he recruited Cyclops and in a moment of weakness tried to use his telepathy to change her mind (he stopped himself in time, but she still felt betrayed that he even tried). Another minor point I noticed: Xavier's vision is of Magneto in full costume, but as far as I know, Magneto did not have his costume yet. Perhaps he already envisioned himself as Magneto.
Page 15: In search of Magnus, Xavier travels to Israel. Magnus is working as an orderly in a mental hospital, Xavier introduces himself as a psychiatrist. He helps a young concentration camp survivor named Gabriella Haller by banishing her mental demons. He then telepathically contacts Magnus. Observations: Gabriella Haller looks a little different, but no major changes here. In the original comics Xavier finds out that Baron von Strucker and HYDRA are interested in Gabriella and her memories, this subplot is left here. Magneto will get his cache of Nazi Gold somewhere else.
Page 16: Xavier and Magnus discuss their philosophical differences over a game of chess. Observations: Made famous in the movie, this is a scene we've seen before time and time again. Xavier and Magnus discussing while playing chess. This page is actually the page that made me want to write these synopsis, because pedantic as I am, I noticed a difference between text and art. The page is set so that we have 4 rows of 3 panels each. Each row has a panel with Xavier, a close-up of the chessboard and a panel of Magnus. Xavier pleads for coexistence, Magnus pleads for domination. In the end they have a stalemate. The thing I noticed is that on the board: it's not a stalemate. Xavier's move in the second row cost him his Queen, in the final panel Xavier checks Magnus, but it's an empty attack, Magnus can easily take Xavier's last Rook, leaving Magnus with a Knight, Rook, Queen and 4 Pawns. Xavier just has 4 Pawns left, all of which are locked in place. (If Xavier had made a different movie in panel 2 (moving his Queen diagonally), his Queen would not have been taken and we would have had a more even final. This was your pedantic moment of the day.
Page 17: Xavier breaks up with Gaby Haller, he fears that he may have influenced her while he was inside her mind. Gaby is angry and feels that she is her own person who makes her own decisions, but Xavier is not convinced and leaves her. A short time later, Gaby finds out that she is pregnant. Observations: In the original, Xavier would land in the wheelchair later in his life, his injuries here apparently are not complete lower body paralysis like in the original comics. Gaby and Xavier's relationship has always been problematic; a doctor dating his own patient and in the original comics Xavier himself has expressed guilt and doubts over it (though his doubt had taken the form of Magnus in his mind in that story). Legion Quest, another later story, had Gaby breaking up the relationship, triggered by visions caused by Legion, their son. Another story that falls outside the scope of Piskor's project.
Page 18: While playing outside, Jean Grey's friend, Annie, is hit by a car. Jean telepathically connects to the dying girl, trying to keep her from dying, but fails. Through Cerebro Charles notes the young mutant's emergence. Observations: No differences here; Jean's origin story is pretty straightforward and there is no real reason to change things or streamline them.
Page 19: The Watcher appears again as our narrator: noting that Xavier is not the only one who notices Jean Grey's power. In deep space, the Phoenix Force feels the young mutant and changes course for Earth. The Phoenix is tracked by various aliens who note her new course: we see Skrulls, the Stranger, a Kree soldier (possibly Mar-Vell, but it can be any pink-skinned Kree in a Captain's uniform), the Mutant Master and the Shi'ar. The Shi'ar are the first to map the new traject and set course for Earth. Observations: The timeline is once again going a bit iffy here: how fast is the Phoenix, cause most if not all of these aliens are going to arrive on Earth before their target is. This is also a major change in continuity: we finally have reasons why the Stranger and Mutant Master are so interested in humanity and mutants or why the Shi'ar had a scout ship near Earth. It's a change that overall works for me though, as the point of this series is to tell the story of the X-Men in a streamlined way.
Page 20: Christopher Summers, his wife Katherine and their sons Scott and Alex are in a small plane when they are attacked by the Shi'ar vessel. Katherine pushes her sons out of the plane with a single parachute that catches fire during the explosion of the plane. Observations: No changes here, a tiny continuity thing though: the boys are playing a game where they try to see shapes in clouds. One of the boys says that a cloud is looking like Galactus, but unless the timeline has significantly changed, Galactus would not have appeared on Earth yet.
Halfway through issue 1: this is a lot more work than I was hoping it would be, but I am enjoying myself. Do not take my comments as disliking this issue, I'm really enjoying this series including all its minor changes and references. I'll continue issue 1 next time (probably this weekend, but maybe I'll have time before then). Less boring chess comments next time, but my favourite page of the issue instead.
Note the issues themselves also have annotations in the back, listed as "Additional Reading" so I'll refer to those as well.
Observations: Again not many great changes. Xavier wanting to improve himself because he feels hatred for Cain is new, but works for me. Young Storm has a mohawk like she would later have. A minor detail. In the original stories Farouk and Xavier had their meeting within a bar, here the meeting is out in the open with Farouk standing on a balcony and Xavier on the street below.
Page 16: Xavier and Magnus discuss their philosophical differences over a game of chess. Observations: Made famous in the movie, this is a scene we've seen before time and time again. Xavier and Magnus discussing while playing chess. This page is actually the page that made me want to write these synopsis, because pedantic as I am, I noticed a difference between text and art. The page is set so that we have 4 rows of 3 panels each. Each row has a panel with Xavier, a close-up of the chessboard and a panel of Magnus. Xavier pleads for coexistence, Magnus pleads for domination. In the end they have a stalemate. The thing I noticed is that on the board: it's not a stalemate. Xavier's move in the second row cost him his Queen, in the final panel Xavier checks Magnus, but it's an empty attack, Magnus can easily take Xavier's last Rook, leaving Magnus with a Knight, Rook, Queen and 4 Pawns. Xavier just has 4 Pawns left, all of which are looked in place. (If Xavier had made a different movie in panel 2 (moving his Queen diagonally), his Queen would not have been taken and we would have had a more even find. This was your pedantic moment of the day.
To my thinking, if you're going to show something specific like a chess game in progress, why not show an accurate chess game? There are probably millions of master chess game transcriptions available to choose one to include over the course of several panels. Blade Runner had the same failing, with two chess boards that did not match each other, let alone correspond to the verbal move that was a pivotal plot point in the film. But that movie was shot in a big rush, with many gaffes like that. Drawing a chess board correctly just seems like a gimme in comparison.
"Young mohawk Storm" is presumably a nod to the Age of Apocalypse film.
Page 21: Christopher and Katherine Summers are teleported on board the Shi'ar ship. Katherine is almost immediately killed for resisting, Christopher is beaten down and taken to a mine. A large lizard creature named Ch'od is hanging from the ceiling, tied up. Christopher takes the opportunity to kill his guard and release Ch'od. Observations: Again mostly what we already knew. Katherine in the comics was killed after Christopher's first escape attempt. Christopher is doing really well unarmed against several Shi'ar soldiers, who I thought were stronger than regular humans. No Raza Longknife or Mam'selle Hepzibah in the mines, it's just Christopher and Ch'od. No Emperor D'Ken either so far (at least not named), but the Shi'ar on the ship that kills Katherine looks like D'Ken (then again why would the Emperor be on a small scouting vessel?). The guard Christopher kills is a purple alien of the same species as Hobgobling of the Imperial Guard, the counterpart to Chameleon Boy of the Legion of Superheroes.
Page 22: Alex and Scott have survived the crash, but Scott is in a coma. Alex is adopted by a loving family, but Scott remains I hospital. As he wakes a year later, ruby-red beams come from his eyes and demolish the hospital. Through Cerebro, Xavier sees this and looks worried. Observations: Again no big differences to note here.
Page 23: Xavier appears to Jean Grey in the astral plane and convinces her to come back to the physical world with him and that Annie won't be returning. In the real world, Jean wakes up to her grateful parents. Observations: Also nothing new as far as I know.
Page 24-25: The destruction of the hospital has also wiped Scott's memory of the event, he returns to high school, wearing the ruby-red glasses we all know. His classmate Trevor thinks the glasses look dumb and take them from him. Scott's tried to get them back when another beam shoots from his eyes. His classmates run away in panic and Scott flees the school. On the news bulletin though, Scott is listed as missing and a very much alive Trevor tells a reporter that Scott just freaked out and ran away. Xavier wonders who planted the false memories in Scott's mind (as we see a silhouette of Mister Sinister). In the wilderness, Scott is found by two criminals, both mutants. Jack O'Diamonds and his unnamed mutant partner. They want to get rid of Scott as an unwanted witness till Scott shoots a beam at them. Jack decides Scott is useful and uses him to break into a laboratory. Observations: The first page here was surprising as far as I knew, Scott never killed anybody when his powers first went haywire, but Sinister's involvement explains a lot. Sinister's presence here was a retcon introduced in X-Factor (and in Classic X-Men backup stories). Jack O'Diamonds was a part of classic comics' Scott origin, but his unnamed mutant partner is not. The unnamed mutant is looking more like a demon or beast than a regular human with long arms and legs, red skin, antenna and an inhuman face. Jack's powers in the 60s were a result of exposure to radiation, so he may have been not a true mutant. He also had some minor powers like teleportation and telepathy that he does not portray here.
Page 26: Using the technology in the lab, Jack wants to increase his powers, turning his whole body into diamond instead of just his hands. This scene is more like a horror story though as he can tell that the procedure is going wrong, but something is preventing him from calling out to Scott to stop the machine. Xavier appears and convinces Scott to go with him. A scan of Scott's memory reveals Sinister's appearance, but that's all. Observations: Some differences here: Xavier preventing Jack from crying out for help is one of the things I do not like. It's basically murder and Xavier has worked hard at being better than that. In the originals, the procedure worked and Xavier and Scott had to work together to defeat the more powerful Jack. Also Xavier's wheelchair here, strongly resembles the yellow hoverchair he would get years later when he returned from Shi'ar space. It's not a hover-chair though, it seems to have hidden caterpillar tracks. As said Sinister's appearance here was a retcon introduced during the 80s.
Page 27: My favourite page of the first issue. In Argentina, a large vault is guarded by Nazi supersoldier Master Man. He's approached by somebody, but we can't see who as the panel is presented from the point of view of the visitor. We can tell who it is though, as his vision has a specific shape formed by the eye-holes in his helmet. In the vault the Nazi's who have fled to Argentina have hidden all their riches and loot. Magneto tears the cybernetic Master Man apart with his powers and takes the Nazi gold for himself to fund his own crusade. Observations: In the original comics, Magnus managed to steal the Nazi gold from HYDRA and Baron von Strucker in Israel. As that subplot for Gaby Haller was taken out of this story, this scene was put in to explain where Magneto's wealth came from and it works really well for me. The setup (the whole scene is seen through Magneto's helmet) kinda reminds me of both Magneto's actions as a Nazi-hunter in the X-Men: First Class movie and his actions against the cybernetic Nazi Geist in Wolverine's solo-series.
Page 28-29: Robert Drake is bullied at school, but for the first time he fights back. His bully loses an arm due to frostbite and happens to be the son of the local sheriff. The sheriff leaves him alone in his cell and urges Robert to hang himself. When the sheriff leaves, a whole is blasted in the wall of the cell and Cyclops, in X-Men costume, enters. Bobby attacks him and instinctively covers himself with ice. Xavier appears with Robert's parents to calm him down. As they leave, everybody in the police station is frozen in place by Xavier's powers. Observations: Another origin with little changes. The injury to Robert's bully is more serious, but the rest goes pretty much as I remembered it.
Page 30: In a Carpathian village, the villagers try to burn Wanda Maximoff alive as a witch. She is saved by her brother Pietro, but it's a trap and all escapes are blocked. The twins are saved by Magneto, in full costume, who lifts them to safety and kills their attackers. Observations: Again no real changes.
Page 31: Warren Worthington III arrives home and goes to his room to take off the leather straps that keep his wings hidden. When at boarding school a fire breaks out and Warren saves a boy from his room. The boy turns out to be Cameron Hodge who develops an obsession with the winged mutant. Unbeknownst to Warren, Hodge is part of the anti-mutant group the Right. Other members include Boliver Trask, his son Larry, Stephen Lang, Donald Pierce and Robert Kelly (a mayor at this point, not a senator). Observations: Tying all anti-mutant villains together (well most of them, William Stryker is the one I'm missing the most here) is a big change. I'd like it, but not for all the characters shown here. I like the original Bolivar Trask as a man who is just misguided in the end and realises this as he actually meets the mutants he so feared. I also like Robert Kelly as a man on the fence, not a friend to mutants, but not yet involved with an extremist organisation as the Right.
Page 32: Superheroes are slowly returning to the world after being absent since basically WWII. We see Spider-Man swinging above the Flatiron Building. Warren joins the ranks of superheroes as the Avenging Angel. He is assisted by Hodge who raids his father's R&D facility for the gas-gun that the Avenging Angel uses against his foes. The gas is untested though and people exposed to it, develop damage to their lungs. Shamed, Warren quits and is convinced by Xavier to join his school. Hodge reports to the Right that he lost contact with “the mutant” he was monitoring. Observations: Hodge's involvement with the Avenging Angel's career is new. In the original comics, Warren developed the knockout-gas himself and it had no ill side-effects. Probably because Warren is never portrayed again as a very gifted chemical engineer, this part was changed.
Page 33: Scott, Robert and Warren are bonding. Robert Kelly, by now a senator, does not have the votes to introduce a mutant registration bill, but does sneak through a bill that gives funding to the Right to develop anti-mutant weapons to “defend humanity”. Bolivar Trak starts to develop the Sentinels, using mutant DNA on ice to devise a way to detect mutants. Xavier is training Jean in secret in the use of her telekinetic and telepathic powers. Observations: The Kelly bill is new, but it explains where Trask got his funding to develop the Sentinels in this version.
Page 34: Hank McCoy is very succesful at school, high marks in the classrooms and a star on the football field. This ends when Hank uses his powers to stop two masked robbers from escaping during a televised football game. When Xavier goes to the McCoy house, he and his students find out that somebody already recruited young Hank. Observations: Nothing to note here except the two masked robbers. One wears a Captain America mask, the other a Spider-Man mask.
Page 35-37: Hank is taken by the Conquistador and his sidekick the Toad. Threatening his parents, the Conquistador sends Hank to steal a device, which turns out to be part of an atomic bomb. He wants to kill Hank and his parents, leaving no witnesses, but the X-Men arrive. The Conquistador has some human henchmen as well, but the X-Men quickly defeat them. The Conquistador himself and the Toad turn out to be a greater threat, but Xavier sends support: Jean Grey enters the building as Marvel Girl and uses her telepathy to wipe the minds of the X-Men's opponents. Observations: I can't really recall the Conquistador's story with Beast, but his henchman was named Chico, a different character from the Toad. In the original comics Beast nearly took out the Conquistador and all his men by himself and the X-Men were the cavalry instead of Jean. Jean's first meeting with the X-Men in the classic comics was during a training session and she didn't show her telepathic abilities to them for a long time (her having any telepathic powers at all was in fact a retcon), using only her telekinesis.
Page 38: Toad escaped Jean's attack and is recruited by Magneto. Xavier tells his students about threats like Amahl Farouk and the X-Men start training in the Danger Room. Observations: Like said, Toad meeting the X-Men before him being part of the Brotherhood is new. For the rest no big changes.
Page 39: The X-Men spend time creating good will: helping both mutants and humans. Xavier tells Moira that he will be limiting Jean's powers as she had brainwiped the Conquistador and all his men. Moira is not happy with this. On Muir Island, young David Haller and Jamie Madrox are playing together. David felt the presence of his father, but Moira denies this. Observations: Moira and Charles getting in touch again is not addressed. Xavier willingly limiting Jean's powers is not from the original comics, but it has appeared in both the movies and in the Ultimate X-Men version. Madrox and Legion staying at Muir Island is nothing new. The mutants the X-Men bring food to with Thanksgiving are two Morlocks. Callisto is recognisable, the other one could be Caliban or Sunder if either were blue-skinned in this version.
Page 40: The X-Men can hide their abilities from the public, others are not so lucky: we see the Blob working at a circus freak show and Unus the Untouchable as a wrestler (but basically also a freak show exhibit). A photo of Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants is taken and published. Xavier knows that a confrontation with Magneto is inevitable, but his X-Men need more training first. Meanwhile in outer space, the Phoenix Force is slowly approaching Earth. Observations: The photo of the Brotherhood is taken by a young photographer named Parker. He hopes his boss, mr. Jameson, will reimburse him for the camera Magneto destroyed during the attempt. Magneto's Brotherhood has an extra member not in the original comics. (No, it's not Astra. It's Mesmero as seen on the title page of this issue.)
Overall thoughts about issue 1: As said I like most changes to this issue, linking Namor's attack on New York more closely to mutant hatred is a change that makes a lot of sense. Linking all the various alien races interested in Earth and mutants to their search for the new Phoenix host also works so far. Linking all anti-mutant villains to the Right works a little less; the ties with Robert Kelly and Bolivar Trask I don't have a problem with, but I wanted those two to not directly be members of the Right, but more useful allies to them.
Issue #2: where the first issue deals with events leading up to Uncanny X-Men #1, this issue deals with events from Uncanny X-Men #1 to #66, basically everything leading up to the All New, All-Different X-Men team. A lot of the issues in this were standalone issues, but Piskor manages to link some unrelated issues, so that the villains plots are less “evil plot of this month” and seem to have bigger plans.
Credits: Still Ed Piskor doing all the work.
The Cover: The covers all connect to each other for the whole series. Issue #2 has Iceman front and center. His original snowman-form on the left, his more refined form on the right. In the background we have Beast and Angel in their original costumes and Angel, Marvel Girl, Cyclops and Beast on the right in their graduation costumes.
Title/credits page: Same page as last time.
Page 1: The Watcher and the Recorder are still on the floating rock in space as the Watcher continues his story. We see Magneto plotting on Asteroid M to take over Santo Marco. Differences this time: Mesmero is part of Magneto’s original Brotherhood in this version. Magneto being established as a Holocaust-survivor, Piskor changed the costumes on his soldiers when taking over Santo Marco (the original costumes are basically WWII German Nazi uniforms). Also the sequence of events is changing around a bit, because Magneto took over Santo Marco later in the original stories than this.
Page 2: Magneto attacks Cape Citadel Missile Base. Basically the battle from Uncanny X-Men #1 with no real changes. Only the motivation is explained this time: Magneto is gathering a nuclear arsenal and taking out a threat to his powerbase of Santo Marco which is close to Florida.
Page 3: The X-Men fight the Blob and the Vanisher (though in reverse order of the original series). Both are freed by the Mutant Master who is after the Phoenix. Bolivar Trask is working on his Sentinels. Observations: Both Blob and the Vanisher would take some time in the original comics before they signed up with the Mutant Master. Having the Mutant Master also interested in the Phoenix is a new retcon, but it works to streamline the whole story.
Page 4: Magneto is using the radioactive material he stole at Cape Citadel to power a device that will turn the human population of Santo Marco into mutants. The device is not really working though and the test subject becomes a shapeless mass of flesh. The experiments do register on Cerebro though, so Xavier sends the X-Men to investigate. Observations: Something not from the original comics, but it’s basically Magneto’s plan in the first X-Men movie.
Page 5: The X-Men fight the Brotherhood for the first time. No Quicksilver saving the population from a nuclear device this time. Another change is Jean and Mastermind mentally connecting, allowing Mastermind to see Jean’s hidden desires. Observations: By linking Mastermind and Jean here, it makes more sense how Mastermind knows how to manipulate Jean once she becomes host to the Phoenix.
Page 6: Namor lives as a homeless drifter till some criminals throw him in the water, restoring his memory. He returns to a demolished Atlantis and teams up with Magneto. Colonel Fury tells the president that they should use Trask’s Sentinels. A Shi’ar vessel is monitoring from orbit and wonders if Namor is the Phoenix-host, but one staff member concludes that Phoenix would never bond with an aquatic creature. Observations: There is an image of Namor lifting a car on this page, which I think is an homage to Superman’s first cover? The positioning of him and the figures around him is a bit off though, so I might be wrong. Nick Fury is not coming off well this issue, promoting the Sentinels here and some actions we will get to later. The Shi’ar claim that the Phoenix would never bond with the aquatic Namor. This is exactly what happens in Marvel’s more recent AvsX event.
Page 7: Magneto gives Unus a test before he joins the Brotherhood. He beats the X-Men, but is then teleported away by the Mutant Master. Observations: In the original story the X-Men beat Unus with a device that turns his powers against him, here they don’t get the chance. As Mutant Master interrogates Unus, we see Blob and the Vanisher behind him, wearing the same mind-control devices that Banshee would later wear. They have far less control over themselves though, just mindlessly repeating the word Phoenix.
Page 8: The X-Men face Lucifer and defeat him, but he manages to escape. Lucifer has been stealing radioactive material, but it isn’t used in the bomb he set, so Xavier wonders what he wanted with the nuclear energy. Observations: With Lucifer not connected to Xavier’s injuries in this version (as seen last issue, Xavier ends up in a wheelchair due to Cain Marko’s actions), it leaves him a little disconnected from other events. Piskor solves this by making Lucifer a member of the same race as Mutant Master (both of them different from the alien species they were in the original comics. They are alien squids in this version).
Page 9: On another mission, the X-Men discover the Savage Land and meet up with Ka-Zar. Observations: Not much to say here, in this version the X-Men never meet the mutants in the Savage Land.
Page 10: The Stranger, also on the lookout for the Phoenix arrives on Earth. He takes Magneto with him and turns Mastermind into a stone statue. Observations: Again, not much to say. The main difference is that the Stranger didn’t take the Toad as well this time.
Page 11: While trying to cure Mastermind, the X-Men are attacked by the Juggernaut. Observations: The Juggernaut’s attack is basically identical to the way things happened in the original comics. No Human Torch though.
Page 12: Bolivar Trask presents the Sentinels and is interviewed with Xavier. The X-Men manage to stop them, but during the attack the Sentinels turned on Trask and he dies during the battle. His son Larry Trask takes over the production of Sentinels, working together with the Right. Observations: As said before, the Right’s involvement is new. In the original comic Bolivar turns on the Sentinels as he realizes that the mutants are not evil, but just human.
Page 13: The Blob and Unus rob a bank disguised as X-Men, the Avengers swear to stop the X-Men. On the trail of Blob and Unus, the X-Men find the super computer Dominus and figure out its link with Lucifer. Observations: More minor changes that are caused by linking Lucifer to the Mutant Master but nothing major.
Page 14: Count Nefaria uses holographic images to continue to discredit the X-Men. The X-Men face him and his goons, but he manages to escape. Jean Grey leaves the X-Men. Observations: No big changes here, but Piskor links this attack by Count Nefaria to the plot Nefaria later uses to infiltrate Norad with the Ani-Men.
Page 15: Jean at college, she becomes romantically involved with Ted Roberts. Observations: A cameo appearance by Galactus and the Silver Surfer, who visits Earth for the first time. Jean sees these events happening from far away. Another change is Jean having a fellow student, Mordecai, who tries to get her attention, but loses out to Ted Roberts. It turns out that Mordecai is Mastermind, working for the Mutant Master to capture Jean. It’s unclear at this point if Mutant Master knows that Jean will become the Phoenix or if he just sees her as a likely candidate.
Page 16: Jean’s classmate Calvin Rankin has the ability to mimic mutant powers. He fights the X-Men, but ends up joining them. Observations: Calvin conflict with the X-Men is less planned here than in the original, where he specifically seeks out the X-Men to copy their powers. Also he seems to be a regular mutant here, unlike the original where his powers are caused by a device his father built.
Page 17: The X-Men fight Banshee, but he’s too strong. The Mimic takes him on and manages to destroy the mind control device, but keeps on beating the already defeated Banshee. Banshee reveals the Mutant Master’s plan to find and control the Phoenix. Observations: In the original Banshee was able to defeat the Mimic despite his power. Also the Mutant Master’s ally the Ogre is missing from these events.
Page 18: The Mutant Master creates the Super-Adaptoid to counter the Mimic. Xavier banned Calvin from the X-Men due to his savage beating of Banshee. During the fight with the Adaptoid, Calvin returns to fight him, but their powers interfere, leaving Mimic powerless and the Adaptoid destroyed. Observations: In the original the Adaptoid was made by A.I.M. to fight the Avengers. In this version, the Avenger-fight is just a trial run. It does make a random encounter between the X-Men and the Adaptoid into part of Mutant Master’s greater plot, so this works well for me.
Page 19: Quite a departure here, Jean is in her dreams kidnapped by the magician Merlin to a fantasy land where he tries to turn her against Xavier. She manages to break Merlin’s hold and wakes up again. Observations: The most interesting page to me: the art in the panels and numbering of the panels remind me of Little Nemo in Slumberland, which works well. The original issue (X-Men #30 for those interested) always fit ill into the X-Men’s ongoing story at the time and Merlin/The Warlock was an odd villain for them. By turning the issue into a dream sequence and part of Mastermind’s long-running plot to turn Jean against the X-Men, it makes far more sense.
Page 20: Jean’s stay at college does not keep her from superhero battles: she fights the Locust, she joins the X-Men against Kukulkan and the Cobalt Man. This all leads to Jean to return to the X-Men. Observations: No big changes here, as far as I know. Piskor quickly goes through some of the lesser issues so that he can focus on the bigger plots for the rest of this issue.
Page 21-22: Xavier tries to help Cain, but the Juggernaut wakes up and leaves the house, feeling a link with the Ruby Crystal of Cyttorak. He meets up with Black Tom Cassidy who managed to obtain the ruby. Meanwhile during the chaos Xavier disappears. Observations: Black Tom is introduced a lot earlier than he was in the original comics. Xavier’s disappearance is kinda weird as it seems to come out of nowhere.
Page 23-24: The X-Men ask the Fantastic Four, S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers to find Xavier. Captain America has some rumors from Scotland. Jean uses Cerebro and contacts Banshee to help them, but he’s captured by the Mutant Master. The Mutant Master believes that Xavier will be the host for the Phoenix and wants to test his more advanced mindcontrol devices on Banshee first. Observations: Still no Ogre with Mutant Master’s men, but the Changeling appears. He looks different though: his face looks like a less cartoony version of Morph (the Age of Apocalypse version of Changeling). Pale white only small, round eyes. A few pages further and we get the information that this Changeling is not a mutant, but an android. Like before, Nick Fury seems to care not for mutants and is not concerned with Xavier’s disappearance. The Avengers are willing to assist the X-Men, even though they announced earlier that they would arrest the X-Men on sight.
Page 25: Another early introduction, Forge is a mutant who designed this version of the Blackbird. The X-Men are shot down by the Mutant Master’s alien technology though and the X-Men are captured. Observations: Forge seems to have two regular hands here, regular Forge has a bionic hand, having lost a hand and a leg during the war. (We can’t see if his leg is prosthetic or not in this picture). In the early issues the X-Men didn’t have the Blackbird either, but used a plane not modelled after an existing plane.
Page 26: Jean uses her telepathy to wake Xavier and Banshee. Banshee attacks the Mutant Master and his attack reveals his true alien nature. The rest of the Mutant Master’s troops turn against him. The Mutant Master detonates a bomb to kill himself. Observations: As said before in his natural state the Mutant Master is of the exact same species as Lucifer in this version. His men no longer wear the mind-control devices they wore earlier in the issue and therefore are free to turn on him once he is exposed.
Page 27: Xavier has felt that the Mutant Master has sent an alien armada to Earth to capture him (and by extension the Phoenix). He turns the Changeling android into a duplicate of himself, while he works undercover to stop the armada. The android is killed then by the subterrean Grotesk during their next mission. Observations: Some major changes (as far as I am concerned): Changeling no longer is a dying mutant trying to atone, he is an android acting like a decoy. Also the X-Men are now in on Xavier’s deception, while in the original only Jean knew. Jean and Xavier willingly misleading the others always annoyed me, so I’m happy with this change.
Page 28: Xavier’s funeral is visited by Magnus in disguise. A short flashback shows Magnus escaping from the Strange’s planet with the help of Machine Man and landing in the Savage Land. Observations: Machine Man was not involved with Magneto’s escape in the original stories (the character was not even created back then). Also Machine Man, controlled by Magneto, manages to overpower the Stranger, who usually is far more powerful.
Page 29: Nick Fury surprises the X-Men: he knows that Xavier faked his death. He disbands the X-Men. The X-Men continues to work as individual heroes though, now adopting their graduation costumes. Observations: Once again, Fury is not coming off well here. In the original comics, the X-Men had been wearing their graduation costumes for quite some time by this point.
Page 30: A quick summation of several comics happening after the X-Men split up: Angel faces the Red Raven, a young mutant named John (who looks like he’s on fire) is walking towards a destination in a trance. In San Francisco Iceman and the Beast fight Quicksilver. A young mutant named Anna Marie is also under the influence of the trance. Jean and Cyclops are fighting a group of masked men with the Toad present. Many mutants are now gathering in Florida on way to the Savage Land under the influence of the unknown mind control, including one Lorna Dane. Iceman saves Lorna from an uncoming car. Observations: Quite a lot of changes here: Angel facing Red Raven was a backdrop to a fight between the X-Men and Magneto, but seems an individual event here. I don’t know if John is a new creation or a minor character seen before. Beast and Iceman never faced Quicksilver at this time. Cyclops is the one that fought Quicksilver, while Beast and Iceman faced the Maha Yogi/Merlin/the Warlock. With the Warlock here being a construct of Mastermind, it makes sense to change these things a little. Anna Marie is of course an early appearance by future X-Men Rogue. She looks to be quite young compared to the other X-Men and I know that Rogue was one of the younger X-Men so it can fit. Cyclops and Marvel Girl are facing faceless goons and Toad, probably the Demi-Men. In the original comics their opponents were creations of Computo/Quasimodo, but here Piskor tries to streamline the story into the Demi-Men vs. X-Men. Another big change is that Lorna already has her powers here. In the original comics she only had the green hair and her magnetic powers were given to her/activated by Mesmero’s device.
Page 31-32: Iceman brings Lorna to the apartment he and Beast share and they contact the other X-Men. Before they can arrive though, they are attacked by the Demi-Men (not named as such in this comic) who take Lorna with them. Lorna is exposed to Magneto’s machine to enhance her latent powers and Mesmero tells her that she’s Magneto’s daughter. Jean creates a mental image from a character of Lorna’s fantasy to help her resist Mesmero’s manipulations. Observations: A bit of weird continuity here for this issue, Mesmero enhances Lorna’s latent powers, but in the previous pages we already saw that Lorna’s powers are already quite strong and Iceman says that her powers could rival those of Magneto. (Bobby also seems to know her name by now, while Lorna was either in a trance or unconscious for the time they met. Maybe he went through her pockets and found some ID?). The figure Jean creates from Lorna’s mind is Erik the Red. In the original Erik the Red was Cyclops in disguise.
Page 33-34: Cyclops tells his teammates about his brother Alex. Alex is captured by the Living Pharaoh, who has knowledge of the Phoenix force. In an attempt to sacrifice Alex, the Living Pharoah absorbs his power and transforms into the Living Monolith. Observations: Somewhat the same as the original, only adding the Phoenix force to the backstory is new. The link between Alex and the Living Pharaoh’s powers were never explained in the original comics (though a writer later linked it to experiments by Mr. Sinister with Summers DNA).
Page 35-36: Lorna is the newest student at the X-Mansion, but she is kidnapped by the Sentinels while the X-Men are still searching for Alex in Egypt. Scott sends Iceman and Beast back to rescue Lorna, while they continue to search for Alex. The Right, who sent the Sentinels, plan to use the mutant’s powers for their own good, mentioning Genosha. The Sentinels capture many mutants including Alex, the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, the Vanisher and the Blob. Jean manages to sneak into the Right’s facility and plants an idea in Larry Trask’s head that he himself is a mutant. Trask, shocked by the idea, commits suicide, a reaction Jean did not expect. Beast and Cyclops manage to find the Mastermold that controls all the Sentinels and reprograms it to send all the Sentinels into the sun. Observations: The biggest change here is to Larry Trask. In the original comics Larry was unbeknownst to himself a mutant, whose powers were blocked by a medallion his father made for him. Here him being a mutant is an illusion created by Jean. In the original Larry went into a catatonic state once he finds out he’s a mutant. Here his reaction is even more extreme.
Page 37-38: All those mutants on their way to the Savage Land, guided by Mesmero and the Demi-Men, show up again: the X-Men go to the Savage Land to investigate the spike in mutant activity. On their way, Angel is attacked by pterano-man Sauron and taken to the Creator, Magneto. Magneto’s creation Lorelei controls the X-Men, but Jean is unaffected and uses her power to control Cyclops into destroying Magneto’s base. Ka-Zar asks the X-Men to leave after seeing the destruction they have caused. Observations: Originally Sauron was unrelated to Magneto’s efforts in the Savage Land, but seeing his appearance, it makes only sense to merge those two stories together. It’s unclear whether the Savage Land Mutates here are created by Magneto from the indigenous population or from the mutants that were taken there before. Combining the Demi-Men plot, Sauron and the Savage Land Mutates into one story is pretty much what I expect of this work and works well for me.
Page 39: The Mutant Master’s armada shows up, but Xavier reveals himself again to lead the X-Men against them. Using Havok’s new costume (created by Forge) in combination with Cyclops as a focus and Iceman to control the heat produced by the process, Xavier and Jean guide the combined mental power of the human population against the alien invasion and destroy the fleet. Observations: Forge is credited with Alex’s new costume, a change from the original comics. As said before several alien species are combined into a single race here: the alien invasion used to be the Z’Nox. Here the Z’Nox, the Mutant Master (a member of the alien Sirians) and Lucifer (a member of the Quist) are combined into a single race, that resembles the Sirians the most (though still looks quite different from the Sirians in the original comics).
Page 40: The strain of fighting the alien armada puts Xavier into a coma. During the coma he sees an alien apparition and also the existence of a thing called Krakoa. Waking up he warns the X-Men that Krakoa is a danger. Observations: In the original comics this is where the original X-Men series went into reruns, so Krakoa would only show up years later. The X-Men themselves would show up in various titles in the time between this issue and the return of the X-Men against Krakoa. In this, more focused and streamlined version, it makes sense to immediately lead into the Krakoa story. The alien apparition Xavier sees is Lilandra, the Shi’ar princess in her spacesuit. She would only appear many years later in the original comics.
Issue #3: or rather Second Genesis, issue #1. This issue spans the time from the introduction of the all new X-Men team to the death of Phoenix on the Moon.
Credits: Ed Piskor doing it all.
The Cover: Our center figure is Jean Grey, the left half of the picture in the green Phoenix costume, the right in the red Dark Phoenix. Havok, Thunderbird, Polaris and Nightcrawler on the left, Colossus, Wolverine, Banshee, Lilandra and Kitty Pryde on the right.
Title/credits page: A new title page: the new X-Men are all around the credit box, with the Hellfire Club at the bottom left and Mystique and Rogue in the bottom right corner.
Page 1: During the absence of the X-Men, the Hellfire Club infiltrates Xavier's mansion and places bugs and cameras all over the place. When they receive their first images, Emma Frost is angry with Mastermind, saying his information is wrong: these are not the X-Men. Mastermind, their new probationary member is confused, but Leland quickly points out that he sees Cyclops and Xavier among the unknown figures.
Page 2-4: A few months earlier, Xavier sends the original X-Men to investigate Krakoa, an island that has given off strong readings of a mutant presence. Only Cyclops returns, wounded and unable to recall what happened. Xavier contacts Moira MacTaggert and quickly gathers a new team. Things go mostly as they went in the original story, only Piskor did not include the original Sunfire appearance in the previous 2 issues, so Sunfire here is a new, unknown ally who joins because he wants to meet Marvel Girl. The new team, after training finds Krakoa and the original X-men and free them. Krakoa reveals itself as a giant, living mutant and fights the X-Men, but is defeated by the X-Men (specifically Polaris). The original X-Men leave the team to recover from their time on Krakoa. Sunfire also leaves, but without any comment. Xavier still dreams of the mysterious figure. Observations"Only the presence of Beast is a real difference with the original comics, as far as I can see: Beast is still a member and still in human form, in the originals he had left the team by then and became the furry Beast. Another small change: Angel has found the time to switch to his white/blue costume that he received from Magneto in the original comics. The costume change does not receive a comment.
Page 5: The X-Men face the Ani-men and their leader Count Nefaria as they infiltrate the Valhalla Missile base. During the fight, John Proudstar aka Thunderbird, dies. Observations: No big changes here, Piskor linked this fight with the fight the original X-Men had with Count Nefaria and he includes a small bit of information: John served with several soldiers during the war, soldiers that were stationed on the missile base and killed by the Ani-Men, explaining why Thunderbird was so driven to take down Nefaria.
Page 6: The X-Men deal with their grief, each in their own way: Cyclops focuses on his training, Storm takes care of her plants, Wolverine goes out into nature and Nightcrawler prays. The Hellfire Club decides that the X-Men are now vulnerable and member Donald Pierce gives Stephen Lang of the Right, the go-ahead to start the new Sentinel program. An unrelated event: Alex Summers and Lorna Dane are kidnapped by Erik the Red.
Page 7: The Shi'ar still believe that the Phoenix will chose Xavier as his host and sent brainwashed Alex and Lorna to kill him, while emperor D'Ken contemplates destroying the M'Kraan in case the Phoenix choses a human host. The X-Men stop Havok and Polaris from killing Xavier, but the two are taken away by Erik the Red. Cyclops decides to contact Jean. Observations: As Erik the Red only exists in this version as a mental image conjured by Jean's mind, this raises a lot of question: where did the Shi'ar get the image from? They are monitoring Earth and especially the X-Men, so they could have seen it there. But where did Jean get the image from? No answers yet to that question at this point. D'Ken's obsession with and fear of the Phoenix gives some background why the Emperor was so focused on unlocking the power of the M'Kraan crystal in the original comics.
Page 8-10: Scott visits Jean and talks about Erik the Red. Their conversation is interrupted by Stephen Lang's Sentinels who kidnap Wolverine, Jean Grey and Banshee. Cyclops uses Cerebro to track them, but without Xavier's power Cerebro is not as effective. An unknown man approaches the X-Mansion and turns out to be Peter Corbeau, an astronaut and friend of Xavier's. He tells the X-Men that another Sentinel has kidnapped Xavier and more importantly that the Sentinel had the kind of protection needed for space travel. The X-Men infiltrate Lang's space station and free their teammates, but the Right who monitor Lang's progress, use this opportunity to activate the self-destruct of the space station. Observations: Piskor compromises here between pre-Claremont Cerebro (a mutant tracking device that works via a computer) and Claremont's Cerebro (a machine that amplifies a telepath's ability to track mutants): Piskor's Cerebro can work without a mutant telepath, but is far less effective. Apart from the Right's involvement, no big changes to the story so far.
Page 11-13: The X-Men make it to the shuttle, but the shuttle is damaged. Jean volunteers to fly the shuttle while the rest of the X-Men and professor Corbeau stay in the better protected parts of the shuttle. Jean lies to her teammates that her telekinetic powers will protect her, but within minutes her body is almost destroyed by radiation. The Phoenix appears and offers her life in exchange for her. The shuttle crashed in the Jamaica Bay and Jean appears as the Phoenix. D'Ken is desperate to stop the Phoenix; so desperate that he is willing to force Galactus into helping: if Galactus does not stop the Phoenix, D'Ken will use the M'Kraan crystal to destroy the planets that feed his hunger. Observations: By now the X-Men know about the Phoenix, unlike the original comics, so Xavier is immediately worried about what this means for Jean. D'Ken's bargain with Galactus will be addressed in a few pages, I will get more into it at that point.
Page 14: With Jean still unconscious, Xavier and Cyclops stay with her. The other X-Men visit Banshee's keep in Ireland. They are attacked by Banshee's cousin Black Tom and his partner, the Juggernaut Observations: Mostly what happened in the actual comic, Juggernaut and Black Tom are thrown from the castle in this version by Storm having a panic attack as she is buried beneath rubble of the castle, but it makes little difference.
Page 15: Jean has awoken, but is still weakened. The mysterious figure that Xavier has been having dreams about for months now, finally appears in the flesh. She unmasks and turns out to be Lilandra, sister of Emperor D'Ken. Firelord appears to distract the X-Men while Erik the Red kidnaps Lilandra. Jean manages to keep the portal open that Erik the Red used and the X-Men arrive at the heart of the Shi'ar Empire. Observations:[/i] In the original comics, Firelord had already left Galactus, here he is still Galactus herald and Galactus has responded to D'Ken's plot. I'm not sure about this change; it makes Firelord les gullible (in the original he's tricked by Erik the Red into helping), but Galactus is powerful enough and proud enough that he won't accept a mortal trying to force him into cooperating.
Page 16: The X-Men face the Shi'ar Imperial Guard in an attempt to stop D'Ken from destroying the universe. The Imperial Guard themselves are unaware of D'Ken's plot, but the Starjammes have an idea and come to assist the X-Men. In the end the two groups are not fast enough to stop D'Ken. Observations: Keeping the Imperial Guard unaware of their Emperor's madness keeps them a more neutral party as they will later be intead of knowing accomplices in the destruction of the universe.
Page 17: An empty white page, with just the word "Blink!" writing on it: The M'Kraan crystal has erased existence. Observations: Jokes can be made how easy on the artist these kind of pages are, but it's very effective to me in this case.
Page 18: Jean meets Annie, the girl that died and triggered her telepathic powers, but Annie's spirit sees straight through the Phoenix faced: "You're not Jeannie! You faker!" The Phoenix links with the X-Men and Starjammers and uses her power to recreate the universe, a work that takes her seven billion years, but time does not exist yet. The X-Men wake up back on Earth, just after they left. Jean's parents are there and now aware of the powers their daughter has. Observations: The fate of D'Ken and the Imperial Guard is unknown at this point. Lilandra is on Earth with the X-Men, but the universe seems to be safe for now.
Page 19-20: The Phoenix needs time to recover, so the X-Men play a little baseball. Mesmero infiltrates the X-mansion and takes control of Phoenix and kidnaps the X-Men. Xavier contacts the Avengers and asks Beast, now in his blue, furry form, to help him track down the X-Men. Beast agrees, but hopes the X-Men will attack him as they won't recognize his new face. He finds Mesmero and the X-Men and Mesmero's boss, Magneto. Observations: See general observations below: Beast's transformation has happened off-panel. In the original comics, Mesmero never worked for Magneto, but for a mechanical duplicate (which was a retcon in itself: his costume is stylized after Magneto's, so it shows that Mesmero himself respected the leader of the Brotherhood). When Magneto shows up at this point in the original comics, he casually nearly kills Mesmero as the man means nothing to him. As Piskor made Mesmero an original member of the Brotherhood, Magneto threats Mesmero as a regular underling.
General Observations: This series does not address the adventures of the various original X-Men outside of the X-Men title, so we don't see Beast's adventures in Amazing Adventures where he turns into his furry form, nor his adventures with the Avengers, Iceman and Angel's time with the Champions or their time with the New Defenders. So also, Magneto's time as a baby: Magneto was changed into a baby by Alpha the Ultimate Mutant in the Defenders comics and stayed on Muir Island for quite some time before being aged by Erik the Red to the prime of his life. In the original comics he feels humiliated by this experience and takes his revenge on the X-Men (who were completely uninvolved with Magneto's fiasco with Alpha).
Page 21: Magneto tells Mesmero to lock up the X-Men, but both are unfamiliar with the new X-Men and didn't know that Storm is skilled at picking locks. She quickly disables the power-dampening shackles on everybody and the X-Men quickly take out Mesmero. Magneto then triggers the self-dustrction of his base, build within an volcano. The X-Men are seperated: Jean manages to save Beast, but they think the other X-Men have died. Observations: As said last time, Mesmero is with Magneto here and without Magneto's time as a baby, no time for torture by Nanny.
Page 22: The Hellfire Club notices Jean and Beast returning and Jean delivers the bad news. Xavier decides to leave Earth with Lilandra to retake her throne. Jean is hurt that Xavier does not think of her when he leaves Earth. Mastermind starts his plans to control Jean once again. The other X-Men have survived and travel home through the Savage Land, Japan and Canada. Lilandra is crowned Majestrix of the Shi'ar, Xavier spends most of his time in the Shi'ar libraries. Observations We speed through a lot of issues here within one page, so some important events are not happening (or not happening on page); in the original comics, Scott realises in the Savage Land that Corsair of the Starjammers is his father. Colossus fathers a child in the Savage Land (even though he is unaware of the results of his meeting with the young girl). In Japan Logan meets Mariko Yashida (this event is depicted), but the fight with Moses Magnum is not. At this point in the original comics Banshee loses his powers for a long time. In this version the events are not depicted, but Banshee won't show up for the rest of the issue. The X-Men run into Alpha Flight in Canada: a minor difference here in Alpha Flight's line-up: Marrina is part of Alpha Flight in the Grand Design comic, but in the original comics she won't appear till Alpha Flight #1.
Page 23-24: Moira MacTaggert investigates Jean's new powers. Her full power unleashes a burst of energy that disables the security system, allowing Mutant X to escape and kill one of Jamie Madrox's duplicates. Meanwhile Xavier finds the testimony of the Watcher in the Shi'ar library including the recreation of the universe by Jean. The X-Men and Beast speed to Muir Island to stop Mutant X, but Phoenix has killed him already by the time they arrive. Phoenix is now under the influence of Mastermind seeing herself and the people around her in 18th century garb. Observations: The Watcher is pretty fast with publishing his knowledge to third parties. How his files end up in the Shi'ar library are unknown and why there are no scientists studying those files 24/7, because there is a lot of valuable information in there. In the original comics, the disturbance that freed Mutant X was caused by Magneto, but this is another change caused by the Mutant Alpha story not existing in this world. In the original comics, Mutant X manages to escape the island and take over his father's body, before finally being killed by Colossus. Here, poor Kevin barely stands a chance against the Phoenix.
Page 25: Jean meets Jason Wyngarde, Mastermind in disguise. Scott is not happy with this man being interested in his girlfriend. The X-Men discover two new mutants, using their taps on the X-Men, so does the Hellfire Club.
Page 26-28: Emma Frost, on behalf of the Hellfire Club, investigates one of the two mutants, Katherine Pryde to join her school. As she leaves the X-Men arrive with a similar offer. Kitty likes the X-Men a lot, but the Hellfire Club use the opportunity to attack and kidnap the X-Men. Kitty is not taken along with them, so sneaks aboard the truck the X-Men are transported in. At the same time Cyclops, Phoenix and Nightcrawler investigate the other mutant, singer Alison Blaire alias Dazzler. Alison is not interested in joining the X-men. Scott sees Phoenix kissing with Jason Wyngarde, but can not interfere as Nightcrawler appears with Kitty's warning that the other X-Men have been captured. The three arrive at Frost Industries and Kitty runs into them, telling them that she managed to free Wolverine before having to flee: the results are predictable, Wolverine has killed or seriously injured the Hellfire Club guards. Phoenix reads the mind of one guard and discovers that the Mansion has been bugged for months. Emma Frost escapes unseen. Observations: In the original comics Dazzler's concert was interrupted by Hellfire Club goons, but nothing special happens here. Dazzler is wearing the blue costume with a yellow star on it instead of her original silver costume and her style is more punk rock than disco here. Wolverine would not be this agressive in his time as an X-Men until a few issues later, also in a mission against the Hellfire Club.
Page 29: While the Beast scrubs the X-Mansion of bugs, the X-Men move in with Angel in one of his house. Phoenix starts to use her powers more and more freely, worrying the X-Men around her. Observations: Having the X-Men move into Warren's place while the mansion is being cleared works as a way to bring Angel back onto the team.
Page 30-32: The X-Men visit the Hellfire Club to find out more about them: Storm, Colossus, Phoenix and Cyclops pretend to be visitors during an open party, Nightcrawler and Wolverine infiltrate through the sewers. While Phoenix is asked to dance by Jason Wyngarde, she once again has hallucinations of living centuries ago. Emma Frost invites Cyclops to dance. Jason Wyngarde reveals himself to Scott as Mastermind, but his control over Phoenix is complete by now and she defends him against Cyclops. Nightcrawler and Wolverine make it inside the mansion but face Leland and Pierce. Colossus and Storm face Sebastian Shaw, but have little success against him. Observations: Mostly what happened in the actual comic again. Scott dancing with Emma may hint to their relationship in the far future, but we have had little to no mentions of anything done in Grant Morrison's run so far, so I chalk it op to coincidence.
Page 33: The Hellfire Club celebrate their victory, only Wolverine is missing, crashing down the floor as Leland increased his mass. Pierce sends 3 men to bring him in (Cole, Macon and Reese), but they are seriously injured during their fight with Wolverine. A Japanese partygoer who has been tracking Wolverine walks in to find the three men. Observations: The mystery woman is of course our future Lady Deathstrike, Yuriko Oyama. I think at this point in Marvel comics back in the day, Yuriko was not focused on Wolverine, but more concerned with her insane father. It's only after the death of her father and fiancee that Yuriko loses her mind and becomes obsessed with the death of Wolverine. She would team up later with Cole, Macon and Reese, all of them focused on revenge against Wolverine and the four would join Pierce's Reavers even later.
Page 34-36: In order to severe Jean's final link with the X-men he has a mental duel with Cyclops and defeats him. His actions do not have the desired outcome though; seeing Scott injured triggers Phoenix to turn against the Hellfire Club. Inside the Hellfire Club, senator Kelly is flirting with a woman, but their conversation is interrupted as Leland is blasted through the wall by Cyclops. Shaw falls down a pit and Pierce follows him. They manage to escape. Phoenix destroys Mastermind's mind and then turns into the Dark Phoenix. Observations: Pretty much the same way things went in the original comics. For a moment I thought that this was how Kelly's wife dies in this version, crushed beneath Leland's body, but the way she talks to Kelly makes it clear that the woman and Kelly have just met. It's also not explicit that Leland's body actually falls on anybody. Kelly's later wife was well a former hostess at the Hellfire Club where he met her, so she can turn out to be his future wife in later issues.
Page 37: Phoenix flies into outer space, Earth's sun too small to satiate her hunger. She feeds on a star, wiping out life on the planets orbiting it. The Shi'ar notice this and report to Lilandra. With heavy heart, Lilandra orders an intergalactic conference to decide the fate of Phoenix. Observations: The aliens inhabiting the planet in the original comics where the D'Bari, nicknamed Broccoli aliens due to their distinct headshapes. The aliens here are different (even though we see them only in silhouette, with horns, large ears and hands and tentacles instead of legs.)
Page 38: The Dark Phoenix returns to Earth to the house of Jean Grey's parents. Xavier attempts the impossible: to separate the minds of the Phoenix and its host. He succeeds and Phoenix acts like Jean Grey again, but too late: the X-Men are teleported away. Observations: No changes here that are worth mentioning.
Page 39-41: Lilandra tells the X-Men of the Phoenix's crimes and that she will be executed. Xavier uses his knowledge of Shi'ar to ask for a honor duel to save the Phoenix life. The Kree and the Skrull present agree to the duel, trusting the Shi'ar Imperial Guard to defeat the X-men. The Guard easily defeats most of the X-Men and Jean feels herself losing control. Before this can happen she paralyses Cyclops so he can't interfere and kills herself with one of the weapons around. The intergalactic leaders make sure that the Phoenix is indeed destroyed and disappear. Scott tells Professor X that he will need some time off. Lilandra leaves a crystal with Jean's parents that hold her essence. Unknown to all, a cocoon is gestating at the bottom of the Jamaica Bay and a new student, Kitty Pryde, is waiting for the X-Men to return to the X-Mansion. Observations: Of course when the original comics were published, it was never intended for Jean to be replaced by the Phoenix. The two were one and the same. Apart from the cocoon in the bay, pretty much everything is as it happened in the comics. The Imperial Guard member that defeats Storm and Nightcrawler in this looks to be an original creation by Piskor: a pink alien with horns, no hair, but a long tail from the back of his head with a mace-like extrusion at the end.
Issue #4: or rather Second Genesis, issue #2. This issue spans the time from Rogue stealing Ms Marvel's powers to Storm losing her own powers.
Credits: Ed Piskor on wrting, art, inks and colours.
The Cover: Our center figure is Wolverine, on the left side his blue/yellow costume on the right his brown/orange costume. Behind him on the left side, Storm, Cyclops, Beast (in his blue, furry form) and Kitty (in the standard X-Men costume). On the right Angel (in his blue/white costume), Rogue, Magik and Kitty Pryde in her self-made costume.
Title/credits page: The same one as last issue.
Page 1-2: This series usually skips over events not happening in the X-Men books, but this is the big exception so far: in 1 page we get the history of Carol Danvers: her work at the Air Force, at the C.I.A., joining S.H.I.E.L.D, becoming Ms. Marvel and then the moment she meets Rogue, while guarding a room where several US senators have a meeting. Rogue touches her and takes her powers and mind. While Rogue notes this time it feels weird, Mystique takes Carol's form and enters the room. She escorts Senators Kelly and Stern to have their speech about the mutant registration act. During the act, Mystique reveals herself while Avalanche and Pyro create distractions. Kelly survives, but Stern is killed. The attack backfires though as now Kelly has the support to push the mutant registration act. Observations: A very shortened version of Carol's backstory and the events around Avengers Annual #10, without the actual story in Avengers Annual #10.
Page 3: The Watcher appears again: Storm has taken over as leader of the X-Men. Colossus is visited by his sister Illyana. Wolverine has killed Mariko Yashida and proposed to her, he tells her that he has to leave for the US to deal with the mutant registration act. Kitty Pryde has her first danger room session and is the first X_Men to complete her first Danger Room excercise. Kitty learns of Senator Stern's death during a dance class at Stevie Hunter's studio. In Florida Cyclops takes a job at a fisherman's boat, the Captain turning out to be Madelyne Pryor, who looks exactly like Jean Grey. Observations: The biggest change here is Madelyne Pryor receiving the background of Lee Forrester. Lee Forrester is not seen during this series.
Page 4: Rogue has a hard dealing with Carol's memories, no longer knowing if she is Rogue or Carol. As a result of the death of Stern, anti-mutant sentiment sweeps the world, including the nation of Latveria. Its leader, Dr. Doom, plans how he can use these developments. Wolverine returns to Alpha Flight, willing to assist them with taking down the Wendigo, in return all information the Canadian government has on him will be deleted. Professor Xavier is brought in to help the catatonic Carol Danvers and she is brought to the X-Men. Observations: Again no big changes, some of the details are a bit different, but the main stories remain the same.
Page 5: During an evening along in the X-Mansion, Kitty is attacked by a weird creature, but manages to defeat it. Observations: The biggest change here is that the creature is alien, brought to Earth by the X-Men during their recent space missions and unrelated to the demonic N'Garai the creature in the original story came from.
Page 6-7: Many of the X-Men's closest allies are kidnapped and Storm receives an invitation from Dr. Doom. She arrives at his castle and he turns her into a statue. Being imprisoned in the statue does not block her powers though and her fear and powers cause worldwide storms. She is freed and takes down Dr. Doom. The storm causes Scott and Madelyne to crash on an uncharted island. A man on the island welcomes them, identifying them as Scott and Jean (understandably confusing Madelyne). Rogue is losing her mind more and more. Observations: With Madelyne in place of Lee, it makes sense that Magneto would misidentify the woman.
Page 8: Worried that Magneto has been quiet for so long, Xavier sends the X-Men to investigate Magneto's volcano base. Kitty Pryde is not invited, but she sneaks aboard the Blackbird and is discovered by Wolverine mid-flight. The volcano base holds no information about Magneto, but a creature called Garokk has moved in and attacks the X-Men. The creature throws Storm down a hole, causing an enraged Wolverine to attack him. On the island, Magneto has revealed his identity to Cyclops and Madelyne. Observations: By skipping over Garokk's earlier fight with the X-Men, his appearance here is a bit weird. The X-Men fights with him also is slightly changed: in the original comics, Garokk himself falls down the crevice he threw Storm down when he tries to push Kitty, but phases through her. Here, he is injured by Wolverine.
Page 9: Magneto reveals his latest plot, turning Earth's nuclear arsenal against itself. This new burst of energy allows Cerebro to penetrate Magneto's cloaking and the X-Men race towards the island, this time with Kitty as official member. Due to her knowledge of computers, Kitty disables Magneto's power-dampening devices. The X-Men find Cyclops and Madelyne (and also think she is Jean). Magneto attacks the X-Men in anger, but when he sees he's injured Kitty who is just a child, he gives up.
Page 10: Back in New York, Kitty, Storm, Stevie Hunter and Spider-Woman are having dinner, when Kitty is approached by a mutant named Caliban. Caliban's appearance scares the other costumers and Spider-Woman reacts violently. Caliban flees back onderground and tells his fellow Morlocks that he met his future wife. The leader, Callisto, agrees to get her for him. Observations: Usually when a guest character appears Piskor leaves them out of the story (we don't see the Human Torch when the Juggernaut appears or Spider-Man when the team goes up against Factor Three) or he takes the time to introduce them (see Carol Danvers at the beginning of this issue), but he keeps Spider-Woman in this story without actually introducing her. Caliban's appearance is a bit different, his skin is yellow rather than white.
Page 11: Forge shows Nick Fury a weapon he has created that will disable a mutant's powers permanently, but he can't find a way to test this device in a humane way. Forge is already established to also work for Xavier. In another location Mystique has discovered Forge's invention and starts to plot. She looks in on Rogue, who tell her that she has not been sleeping for days now. Back at the X-Mansion, Ororo looks how Carol Danvers is doing. Carol has been living for most of her life without superpowers, but she still swears to kill Rogue if she ever meets her again. Observations: In the original comics Forge shows his invention to Val Cooper and Raven Darkholme of the US government, not knowing that Raven is actually Mystique. Here it remains unknown for now how Mystique nows about the device (was she disguised as Nick Fury or did she find it out through other contacts that she has?).
Page 12-13: The X-Men stay on Magneto's island base (here called an Atlantean island), while Storm and Cyclops stay in Westchester to help oversee the rebuilding of the mansion (apparently Kitty's fight with the Non-Garai alien destroyed a lot of the mansion). The Starjammers appear and Corsair tells Cyclops about his true identity, but they (and the other X-Men) are teleported to a Shi'ar spaceship. The Shi'ar demand the return of Lilandra, keeping Nightcrawler and Kitty Pryde as hostages. On Earth the X-Men look for Lilandra but are attacked by the alien Brood, led by the alien Deathbird who kidnaps Charles Xavier. Observations: In the original comics, I don't think the island was ever identified as Atlantean in origin, but that the statues and architecture hinted at a non-human origin. The damage done to the X-Mansion during the fight between Kitty and the N'Garai demon was also far less. Also, in the original comic, Storm already knew about Corsair's true identity at this point.
Page 14-15: Deathbird has injured Colossus, but the Starjammers doctor Sikorsky can save him. The Starjammer is then attacked by a giant space-whale, the home of the Brood. Xavier contacts the X-Men and helps them to rescue him and Lilandra. It turns out that the Shi'ar nobility had a deal with Deathbird, allowing her to kidnap Lilandra, so that they could blame it on Earth and destroy the planet. Xavier discovers the plot and contacts Kitty and Nightcrawler on the Shi'ar vessel. Kitty uses the Shi'ar's costume creating machine to disguise herself as Dark Phoenix and together with Nightcrawler they sow panic in the ranks, buying the X-Men and Lilandra enough time to return. Lilandra finds that the two traitors behind the plot have committed suicide to escape their punishment. Contacting Nightcrawler and Kitty across lightyears has put a heavy strain on Xavier's brain though and not even Sikorsky can help him. Observations: No big changes I believe. I don't have the original comics here for this story, but I think it's mostly the same.
Page 16: The fight with the Brood has done a lot of damage to New York City and sentator Kelly uses this damage to condemn the X-Men, calling back to the attack by Namor on the city decades earlier. The X-Men, assisted by Carol Danvers, who may have lost her power, but still has her security clearance, infiltrate the Pentagon to erase all information the US has on the X-Men. On site they run into Nick Fury. Carol notices something odd about him, but they have their mission. Fury turns out to be Mystique who performed a similar mission on behalf of her Brotherhood. Observations: In the original the mission does not go quite as smoothly for both involved teams and Carol runs into Rogue, but Rogue in this version is by this point too confused to be of any use to Mystique.
Page 17: Xavier stays in sickbay on the Starjammer. Back on Magneto's island, Illyana is kidnapped by an unseen force. The X-Men follow her into Limbo, but the Watcher's vision does not reach into this dimension. The X-Men return seconds later, but for Illyana it has been years. The teenage Illyana is not pleased that it took the X-Men so long to save her. Observations: I like that the adventure in Limbo happens outside the Watcher's vision.
Page 18-20: Xavier is still on the Starjammer in a coma, but inside his mind he is constantly under attack till a vision of Jean Grey saves him. He wakes up to find himself alone in the sickbay, surrounded by Brood corpses. The X-Men who were visiting their mentor are gone. Xavier transports to Earth, while the X-Men (and Carol Danvers) are captured by the Brood. The Brood infect the X-Men, but Wolverine's healing factor rejects the alien egg. His teammates are not so lucky. The Brood are especially interested in Carol, whose body is already a mixture of 2 different species: human and Kree. Wolverine frees the other X-Men, but Storm's body is taken over by the Brood Egg, she flies up, but Storm still has control over her powers. She uses the solar radiation to boil the Brood egg inside her, restoring her back to normal. Observations: The big question mark in this version of the story is: where is the crew of the Starjammer? They are not with the captured X-Men, but Xavier wakes up alone on the ship. Storm's cure was a lot more complex in the original comics, involving alien space whales for instance.
Page 17: Xavier stays in sickbay on the Starjammer. Back on Magneto's island, Illyana is kidnapped by an unseen force. The X-Men follow her into Limbo, but the Watcher's vision does not reach into this dimension. The X-Men return seconds later, but for Illyana it has been years. The teenage Illyana is not pleased that it took the X-Men so long to save her. Observations: I like that the adventure in Limbo happens outside the Watcher's vision.
This is different than in the Magik mini-series, in which the X-Men did not rescue Illyana at all. Rather, after spending years as a pupil of Ororo the Witch, Cat the Warrior, and Belasco the Demon-Lord, Illyana gained the magical wherewithal to defeat Belasco herself, then step through the portal back to Earth into the waiting arms of Kitty Pryde.
Sorry, that was my mistake more than the issue itself: nothing that happens inside Limbo is adressed in the issue. Illyana just appears at a teenager, stepping out of the portal just a few seconds after the X-Men, but as a grown teenager with the comment "What took you guys so long? I could have used your help in there against those demons." So the X-Men did not actually save her in this issue, we just don't see what actually happened out there.