Underrated: X-Men: Assault On Weapon Plus
This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet-pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: X-Men: Assault On Weapon Plus
I’ve been collecting X-Men comics for the last year and a half, and while I’ve been focusing mainly on the Uncanny X-Men, I’ve also been picking up issues of X-Men (and later New X-Men), which is how I stumbled across Assault On Weapon Plus. The four issue arc originally appeared in New X-Men #142-145, and was written by Grant Morrison, penciled by Chris Bachalo, inked by Tim Townsend, coloured by Chris Chuckry and lettered by Chris Eliopoulos. The story has been collected in the last two decades, but I’ve no idea how hard those collections are, and given the price and availability of the single issues right now, it’s easy enough to pick up the floppies.
The plot picks up after Emma Frost has been shot, shattered and reassembled (though the only relevance to of that to this story is to explain why Cyclops is drowning his sorrows because Jean caught him in a psychic affair and this is sounding more like a soap opera than I thought it would). There’s a little more to it, but the recap in #142 will catch you up for what is effectively a Wolverine, Cyclops and Fantomex story. Wolverine frequently reminds Cyclops, and by extension the audience, that this isn’t an X-Men mission.
It may seem strange that I’ highlighting a Grant Morrison story, but of the man’s often incredible body of work, this four-parter isn’t one that you hear people talking about all that often (although the run in general does get praise), and the story is more accessible than some of the writer’s other work. Assault On Weapon Plus is more of a straight shooting story about a trio of mutants trying to break into the Weapon Plus program for reasons (Fantomex wants to burn everything to the ground, Wolverine wants to know who he was and Cyclops wants to watch Logan’s back).
It’s a fun story, and definitely one that spurs you from issue to issue.
The story does end on a cliffhanger though, and while the following issues aren’t expensive either, there’d probably be a bit of an annoyance if you only picked up the four issues then you’d be left a touch stranded at the end of New X-Men #145. Ultimately though, this story is so much more than it seems on the surface, as with any Grant Morrison story, but you can’t just read the four issues and stop because there’s no conclusion to the story – although it’s not a bad thing to want to keep reading into the five issue Planet X, which I’ll be doing now.
Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.