Uncanny X-Men #320 was cover dated January 1995 and was on sale November 1994, sharing the spinner racks with Battlestone #1, Bloodshot #2, Flash #97 and Rogue #1.
Credits: Writers Scott Lobdell and Mark Waid (Plot and Script respectively) pencils by Roger Cruz and Tim Townsend on inks, edited by Bob Harras and with a cover by Joe Madureira.
Plot: Five of the X-Men, Ororo ‘Storm’ Munro, Robert ‘Iceman’ Drake, Betsy ‘Psylocke’ Braddock, Jean Grey and Lucas Bishop have arrived in Israel at the behest of Gabrielle Haller to stop the most dangerous mutant in the area, her son. After years of suffering disassociate identity disorder, David ‘Legion’ Haller is whole and as powerful as any psi on the planet and has constructed a dome in the Negev desert and anyone who has tried to go in after him has been met with defeat. That said, there’s no explanation of why there’s been an attack An Israeli Army detachment and members of PLO have set up a command post nearby and the X-Men arrive there to find out what’s going on.
The five of them face Legion, who doesn’t really take notice at first, they aren’t enough of a threat to bother with, whilst his plan moves forward. He has however been listening and when he finally reacts, he takes Storm back in time, so she can save her parents. She fails, but she uses this knowledge to realise what he is doing. His plan is to go back in time and ensure his father’s dream of mutant/human co-existence. Bishop, Psylocke, Storm and Iceman are linked with him as he makes his jump and Legion and four of the X-Men vanish from sight. Leaving Jean to answer the telepathic call from Legion’s father Charles Xavier, to tell him that they are gone, elsewhere, elsewhen.
Orbiting the Shi’Ar world Chandilar, the Majestrix of the Shi’Ar Empire and it’s ruler Lilandra Nermani sleeps, until her praetor and guard the Gladiator, is thrown through her bedroom door by the keeper of the M’Kraan crystal Jahf. Jahf exclaims that he has been forced to abandon his post, because of the end of all that is.
Notes: Mid 90’s X-Men, deep breath people, we’re going on.
The story starts in media res, moving between ongoing and flashback scenes frequently. That’s a nice touch, which makes up for some of the clunky dialogue (I mean, I was amazed that this was Mark Waid’s script) and there’s more of the pesudo-Claremontian narration filling up the pages, but the story itself kind of works. The fear of the power that Legion wields is plain to see and there’s a moment any parent could relate to when the man in charge mentions the nuclear option in front of Legion’s mum. There are obvious questions such as why the team that showed up were chosen or why Gabrielle is even really part of this situation, but the X-Men walk in, are treated as ‘well’ as ever and still go on to face Legion in his father’s name. The problems in this issue are mainly the art. The cover is pure Madureira, stylistic and with an anime wildness to it, the interior is something of a pale imitation. Cruz is competent enough as a penciller, but the 90’s propensity for exaggerated poses, unrealistic female anatomy and faces that are neither specific or expressive enough to make them look like anything other than cardboard cut outs. The stinger at the end, showing that reality itself may be in danger, seems to leave no answers and is a little bit confusing there on it’s own, but it’s nice to see two of Charles Xavier’s exes doing alright for themselves.
Next time: Time Travel, alien princesses and clones…Oh My