Thursday, 23 June 2011

UXM #20: "I, Lucifer..."

("This is how the world will end. Not with a bang, but with two clowns in spandex who fail to rob a bank.")


You know, three years ago I would have said that this entire scenario was ridiculous; that it was obviously idiotic to expect the US press to blame the X-Men for a bank robbery just because two self-confessed and well-documented criminals said they were affiliated with the group. 

Nowadays I know better.  The only surprising aspect to this story by contemporary standards is that John McCain hasn't been invited onto a talk show to blame the bank heist on the Democrats.

(The fact that the general public are all idiots, on the other hand, would have surprised me at no point whatsoever.)

Having said that, though, I love the idea that Unus, with his essentially defensive power set, can fake being phenomenally dangerous just by dint of being a mutant.  It seems entirely reasonable that when the police face someone with an unspecified but clearly real power set they'd choose to exhibit a fair amount of discretion.  By that logic, Skyn, Sammy, Beak, Choir and all the other Z-listers (said with love) could do the same thing: just wander into a bank and say "Give me all your cash, or I'll go back in time and screw your momma prevent your birth!" This concept is rather undermined by the Blob actually displaying super-strength in marked contrast to his established powers, of course, but this is the '60s: we take what we can get.

Even at this point, I'm so thoroughly sick of Cyclops whinging about his uncontrollable powers that my immediate reaction to him quitting the X-Men is a resounding "Don't let the door hit you on the way out."  It is interesting to think about what would have happened if he had disappeared, only to return some time later with his powers under control.  Would he be any more of a pompous, tightly-wound prissy jackass?  We can never truly know.  Though I'd tend to doubt it.

Having labelled the radar-image beam as one of Lee's failures yesterday, it's only fair to point out that Thomas uses it this issue, which is a smart way to confirm the identity of Unus.  It's a shame the Blob blurts out his name during a struggle with the cops, I liked the idea that the two villains needed a little thought and knowledge for the reader to recognise.  The same should have been true for Lucifer, by the way, but the issue's cover renders that a moot point. 

I'm trying to think of a description of Lucifer's tower that's more interesting and original than "It's a huge fucking dick", but it is a huge fucking dick, and that's making my job more tricky than usual.

Also: damn, but that Xavier is a filthy racist.  After he slaps together a resistance movement against Lucifer in the Himalayas (apparently entirely populated by purchases from , he starts pulling out the enlightened white man card, all "Through means you cannot understand..." and so forth.  What a dick. I hope he gets his legs crushed by an implausible death-trap involving a falling block of stone. Oh wait...


 This story takes place over a single day.

There's quite a lot to think about here.  Firstly, Angel notes that it's good to be back in action, which suggests that at least a little time has passed since Mimic's violent house call.  On the other hand, Xavier mentions that it's been "several weeks" since he bought his (newest) private jet, but that he hadn't gotten a chance to show it to the X-Men during their battles with Magneto and the Sentinels.  That places the purchase of the plane on the 4th of September at the latest, two months before the Mimic attacked.

I think the best way to reconcile all this is to assume Warren's delight at being back in action is a reference to how nice it is to actually be sent on a mission, rather than just having someone come to his house and start summat. So let's set this on the Monday following the Mimic encounter, since it looks like a workday at the bank.  That curtails the X-Men's holiday by quite a bit, of course, but at this point you can forgive Xavier for abandoning the idea entirely, given that so far the X-Men have managed two holidays and been attacked three times during them.  This will of course become a long-standing problem for the X-Men: the only thing more dangerous than a holiday is a romantic getaway.

(There's also the greenery around the mansion to take into account, but since we know winter started after the Sentinel attack, we can't possibly be in spring already, given Xavier's comments on his plane purchase.  Maybe the grounds have bushes that don't lose their leaves.  Or maybe their not even real, and are just camouflage for a row of missile silos, or mental boosters to allow Xavier to contact teenage boys at greater range.  I mean, last time round his order of "One teenage boy: extra hot" nearly didn't make it on time.)


.Monday 6th of November, 1978.

Compression Constant

1 Marvel month = 4.42 standard months.
Contemporary Events
The first world championships of korfball (a Dutch sport, a bit like mixed-sex basketball) are held in Assen, Nuenen and Amsterdam.

Stand-Out Line
"As usual, a mob seldom makes the right decision!" If only Gerald was an X-Men fan, the Ratner's Group might still be going strong.  Or maybe he is a fan, but he'd have needed Cyclops to say "Keep your mouth shut, Jerry; not everyone can take a joke".

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