Sunday, 12 June 2011

UXM #9: "Enter, The Avengers!"

("Why can't we all just get along?") 


First of all, a warning.  Do not let young children, women, or those of a nervous disposition read this issue!  There is a scene, my friends, and I do not exaggerate, in which Jean Grey almost stumbles over a pothole.  Luckily, she gets out of fit OK, but it could so easily have been catastrophic.  A stubbed toe, a twisted ankle, maybe even a scuffed bootie... It just doesn't bear thinking about.

Damn, but this Atlantic cruise the team have insisted upon taking is making my calculations tough.  What happened to that helicopter they were sporting last issue?  Lack of range, I suppose.  But while we're asking questions, aren't icebergs supposed to be 90% below the surface?  Because that means Cyclops has essentially managed to render a serious hazard to navigation temporarily undetectable.  Nice work, you sexually repressed dick!

The standard jokes about the average US citizen's intellect notwithstanding [1], are we really supposed to believe that an Ohian can't recognise Captain America? And on that subject, do you think Cap has mixed feelings about hanging around Bavaria?  Sure, it's all beer halls and lederhosen now (and believe me, it is) [2], but how many super-powered Nazis did Rogers have to punch out here back in the day?

Lee is still banging on about Magneto's psychic powers.  Let it go, man! 

"The world is in peril, but I can't tell you why!  Just beat up the Avengers, would you?"  I keep saying this, but Xavier is really a dick.  I mean, obviously an X-Men/Avengers face-off is a part of the noble Marvel tradition (they did it yet again with Utopia less than two years ago), but even by hero-fights-hero standards, this is a pretty unconvincing set-up.  Though, it does feature Hank Pym pointing out to Hank McCoy that the latter's extensive vocabulary just makes him look like a dick to anyone who graduated from college, which at least made me laugh. 

Whilst on the subject of Xavier (who mentions that Lucifer is responsible for rendering his legs useless), it's interesting that he finds it so difficult to render someone unconscious with his powers without risking them having a heart attack.  Have telepaths gotten better since then, or do they just care a lot less about coronary failure when their victims aren't wired to doomsday devices?


Fighting the Avengers and Lucifer only takes a single day (because that is how the X-Men roll), but the real issue here (no pun intended) is how long it took for our heroes to sail across the Atlantic. Unlike previous journeys, they're no longer at the tiller; they have to put up with whatever speed their commercial liner will set.

Crossing the Atlantic on such a vessel would take about eight days, from what I can gather, and it would take two days or so  to get far enough into the Baltic to get the fastest train to Bavaria.  That would  fit in with Scott announcing that Xavier had contacted him "last week" if we assume the encounter with the iceberg happened about two-thirds of the way through the trip, and place the X-Men's arrival on the 19th of December.

The problem here, however, (and I suspect this will dog us throughout this analysis) is that the Bavarian village is very  much still a bastion of deciduous growth.  One option here would be to skip ahead to, say, March, but the arbitrariness of my initial choice for "date X" makes me think it might be better to redefine the date from which we're working.

So, time for a little retconning.  We shall retroactively assume the following dates for the first eight issues:

The X-Men: Friday 31st March to Saturday 1st April, 1978
No-one Can Stop the Vanisher!: Monday 3rd to Friday 7th April, 1978
Beware of the Blob!: Saturday 22nd April, 1978
The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants!: Sunday 23rd April to Tuesday 2nd May, 1978
Trapped: One X-Man!: Saturday 6th to Sunday 7th May, 1978
Submariner! Joins The Evil Mutants: Saturday 13th to Monday 15th May, 1978
Return of the Blob: Thursday 29th to Friday 30th of June
The Uncanny Threat of... Unus the Untouchable!: Saturday 1st to Saturday 8th July, 1978

As a parenthetical point, it should also be noted that Hank implies that every X-Man is a teenager, including himself.  This will prove problematic when combined with his complaints about leaving his twenties in those early '90s issues.  The easiest dodge here, I suppose, is that it's Iron Man who calls them teenagers, and Hank chooses not to correct him. Battlefield misinformation, bitches!


Saturday 15th  to Wednesday 19th  July, 1978.

X+106 to X+110.
Compression Constant
1 Marvel month = 4.44 standard months.
Contemporary Events
The 4th G7 summit is held in Bonn.
Stand-Out Line
"The unwarranted battle comes to an inconclusive end!" Bloody Hell!  Stan Lee is taking the piss out of Civil War more than forty years before it was written.
[1] A word I actually learned from the X-Men comics.  Can you feel the irony? CAN YOU? 
[2] Just kidding.  Munich is definitely my favourite city outside the British Isles, and that's despite me not being able to go there without being violently ill for at least 80% of the trip.  Mind you, the buses could do with being a bit more clearly marked...

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