In Meta-Messages, I explore the context behind (using reader danjack’s term) “meta-messages.” A meta-message is where a comic book creator comments on/references the work of another comic book/comic book creator (or sometimes even themselves) in their comic. Each time around, I’ll give you the context behind one such “meta-message.” This time around, based on a suggestion from reader “idig,” we’re looking at a comic where the X-Men mock a DC comic book crossover event!
DC’s 1989 crossover event (written by Keith Giffen and Bill Mantlo, in his first major work for DC Comics) was Invasion! (the exclamation mark was to evoke classic invasion stories of Giffen’s childhood). It involved a group of aliens deciding that Earth and its multitude of superheroes were going to be a problem for the rest of the universe, so they figured they needed to step in and take control of all of the power that is involved with these superheroes (in the first issue of the series, they captured a bunch of Earthlings and tested them until they found six with the metagene that gave them superpowers). Todd McFarlane drew the first issue and then Bart Sears and Giffen handled the rest.
They invade Earth with an armada of alien ships…
They then demand that the Earth surrenders all of their superheroes to the invaders or else, you know, war. The world gets together and comes up with a response that the Daily Planet covers…
So they invade Earth. Captain Atom is put in charge of Earth’s superheroes and they manage to fight off the Invasion. However, in an attempt to wrest victory from the clutches of defeat, the invaders then drop a “Gene Bomb” on Earth, a device which attacks anyone with a metagene on Earth (as it turned out, it also ended up affecting people with dormant metagenes, as well).
Led by Martian Manhunter (who is naturally immune to an attack one metagenes, since he is not from Earth), a group of alien heroes (along with some heroes without metagene-based powers) team up to hunt down the invaders and find out enough information from them that the heroes could come up with a cure for the Gene Bomb. They come back to Earth and cure the stricken heroes, and at the same time, a number of people with dormant metagenes suddenly saw their powers become active (the Gene Bomb also brought Metamorpho back to life after he had died during the PREVIOUS major DC Crossover event, Millennium).
So that’s how DC handled their major crossover event of 1989. How, then, did Chris Claremont handle the event when he decided to poke some fun at it in Uncanny X-Men #245? Read on to find out!
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