This is “In The Spotlight So Clear,” a feature where we spotlight times in comics where characters need to be cleared out of the way to make room for a new status quo. Like, for instance, you want to introduce a new Captain Superhero, you might want to first get rid of the previous Captain Superhero. Stuff like that.
Today, we look at the unusual case of Scott Lobdell returning to the world of the X-Men just to clear the deck for Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run.
Scott Lobdell, as you are likely aware, was one half of the writing team on the two main X-Men books in the early 1990s after Jim Lee and Whilce Portacio left Marvel to co-found Image Comics (of course, Chris Claremont HAD been in charge of the X-Men from 1975-1991, but he had been pushed out to give the books to Lee and Portacio, only for them to leave a year later). Lobdell wrote Uncanny X-Men while Fabian Nicieza wrote X-Men. Eventually, Nicieza was taken off of X-Men and Mark Waid kind of sort of replaced him but really what happened was that Lobdell ended up writing both books. He would use other scripters, but he was the main writer of both titles for another year or so and then he left the X-Men, as well, with Uncanny X-Men #350.
Steve Seagle and Joe Kelly then took over for a brief stint (on Uncanny and X-Men respectively) and then Alan Davis was given both books briefly before Chris Claremont returned to the X-Men to take over both X-Men books in 2000. That stint also turned out to be a surprisingly brief return. Before the year was up, Claremont was moved off of the two main books to launch a new THIRD X-Men book, X-Treme X-Men, with Grant Morrison coming in to become the new head of the X-Men line of books.
Before Morrison came on board, however, there were some plots that needed to be wrapped up. Marvel brought back Lobdell to resolve a few plots ahead of Morrison’s run. The interesting thing is that this wasn’t ENTIRELY coordinated with Morrison, so you got some weird stuff where Morrison, say, wanted to use Colossus in his run but in Uncanny X-Men #390, Lobdell killed off Colossus as part of his conclusion to the long-running Legacy Virus plotline. Morrison’s run sort of revolved around the idea that mutants were becoming more and more widespread and it seemed as though Homo Sapiens might actually be on their way to extinction in a few generations in favor of Homo Superior. It did not make sense to still have a virus out there that killed mutants willy nilly, so Lobdell had the Beast finally find a cure…
He was aghast, however, to discover that the cure could only be activated by a mutant dying by injecting the cure and using their mutant powers. Beast was prepared to go back to the drawing board but Colossus, who had lost his younger sister, Illyana, to the disease, wouldn’t have it and so he stole the cure and activated it, dying in the process…
Okay, so the Legacy Virus was resolved. What else did Morrison need taken care of?
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