Saturday, 18 June 2011

UXM #15: "Prisoners Of The Mysterious Master Mold!"

(Better dead than purple and red.) 


It's the middle installment of the X-Men's first three-parter (which may or may not be linked to this also being the first issue to be released on a monthly rather than bi-monthly schedule).  I'm not sure shoe-horning in the Beast's origin (courtesy of Master Mold's frankly rather rambling interrogation technique) was the best way to deal with the problems that tend to plague middle installments (it reminds me of all those flashbacks in The Two Towers that end with Aragorn making out with a horse, IIRC), but it's at least an interesting approach.

We're going to have to add "nature activation rays" to the comic's madder ideas.  At least as a name, anyway, since in actuality they don't really seem to do anything more than start earthquakes.  In comparison, their "heavy gravity ray" seems downright plausible.

Apparently, X-Men "Plan G" requires Iceman to build a giant lop-sided Frisbee that he and Beast can cling onto, so that Cyclops can use his force beam to fire them directly over the enemy base.  It's far from clear what Xavier hopes to accomplish via this manoeuvre, and you have to wonder just how terrible Plans A through F were in order for him to settle on this one.

Of all the changes that comics have gone through over the years, perhaps one of the least considered is that of supervillain millinery.  Master Mold's hat looks like a cross between Galactus' helmet and a four-slice toaster.

Mind you, I'm not sure there's anything that would really work.

I could beat the heck out of you!

In Communist Russia, robot behaviour governed by four laws!

I wear a fez now, etc.
Apparently Xavier can knock out machines with the power of his mind (as well as create "sharp thought particles"), which doesn't seem very likely.  Mind you, I'm not sure the Sentinels are machines at all.  What self-respecting emotionless killing machine would witness the deactivation of his fellows and say "This is passing strange!"  It's far more likely that the entire base is actually full of giant, jobbing British thespians, simply posing as remorseless killer robots in order to make ends meet.  We're certainly never more than a hairsbreadth from a "Gadzooks!" or a "Zounds!" with these guys.  It may also help explain the hideous colour scheme.

I can't help but notice Master Mold's "psycho probe" is right in front of his massive metal crotch.  I'm not saying that anything funny's going on, or nothin'.  But damn, that crotch is hard to miss. And Beast has to stare at that whilst taking about his parents.  That's gotta be an appointment with Doc Samson, right?


.This issue follows on immediately from the last one, and takes place over just a few minutes.

 Beast calls Angel "son", which may be the first implication that Hank is a little older than the others in the team.

Wednesday 6th September, 1978.


Compression Constant
1 Marvel month = 5.17 standard months.

Contemporary Events
Mathew Horne is born, as part of a sinister plot to ensure James Cordon becomes only the second least talented man to be allowed onto the BBC in the 21st Century.

Stand-Out Line

"And then you won a scholarship to college! Now, continue your biography--!" Master Mold's interrogation of Beast apparently involves the same techniques as my mother's chats with friends over coffee.  Presumably we only just missed him offering Beast a custard cream.

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