X-Men Unlimited #33 (2001)

Several short stories this time, which, frankly, is the best use of this anthology title.  Even better, they’re really short clips—six stories in one issue—mostly by then-lesser-known creators, several of whom have gone on to become titans. 

First, Steven Grant and Sean Phillips show Blob getting into a fight at a rodeo after someone spills a beer on his head.  The townies attack him with a bull and…

…Yeah.  That’s cool.  He then gets outsmarted by a little kid, who bets Blob that he can’t do something the little kid can do.  Blob takes the bet, and the kid touches his toes.

Blob has always been a redneck, but also a guy who really is only bad because he doesn’t see much else for himself.  This story is perfect.  I would have read twenty more pages of it, and I would have given this issue an A+ if the whole thing were like this.

Not that the rest of the stories are bad—it’s just that this one is great.

Story #2 has a decommissioned Sentinel at a carnival, where it registers a mutant and causes problems.  There’s nothing wrong here, but it’s not much of a story and since it’s just about a robot it doesn’t develop any characters either.

The third tale is bafflingly close to fanporn.  I’m not going to say anything else about it and instead let the above panel tell you all you need to know.

Mastermind stars in the fourth story.  It starts with Jean Grey as Black Queen ejecting him from the Hellfire Club.  From there, either she broke him or he lost his mind and started using his own illusory powers to make himself believe he’s been accepted into the Hellfire Club.  In truth, he’s in the back of a police car for the whole story.  It takes place long in the past—probably during the Claremont/Byrne Hellfire Club stories.  It’s actually pretty solid—I liked it.

Then what I’m guessing is this series’ Nuff Said entry.  It’s a wordless Magneto story by John Ostrander and Sean Phillips.  It’s just a few pages: A guy gets shipwrecked, winds up on Magneto’s island, sees him displaying his power, and runs back to the sea.  Cute.  Short.

The final story is even shorter, as a guy happens to hail a cab driven by Sabretooth.  Meh.

Overall, the quick hits and the stories with more content balance each other out.  Nothing lingers too long.  This is one of the better issues of this (generally bland or boring) anthology series.

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