Thursday, 21 July 2011

UXM #48: "Beware Computo: Commander Of The Robot Hive!"

("You will never find a more wretched hive of robot villainy!")


Well, that didn't take very long: it's out with Friedrich, and in with Arnold Drake (just in time for the comic's fifth anniversary) as well as gratuitous cheesecake, apparently.

Yes, this is the infamous issue in which Jean Grey becomes not only a model, but "the tastiest package of goodies we've opened around here in months!".  It's like watching a car crash, if both vehicles were packed with immodestly dressed babes of brobdingnagian boobage (sorry, Dean Swift!).

Drake attempts to distract us from all this horrible sexism by having Jean secretly avert three "disasters" whilst she's working (though how a photographer getting his hair singed by a falling spotlight could be considered a disaster is not explained), but he then tears off what little camouflage he's assembled by having the boss slime all over Jean until Scott arrives to rescue her.

And what's Jean's response?  To give just as good as Cyclops does?  No.   She just drags him away jealously when the other models take an interest in him.  Girl power, indeed.

It would also help if Drake could keep his stories straight.  Alright, so he co-wrote the previous issue with Friedrich, but you'd hope he'd have at least been sufficiently on the ball to remember that said story (set post split-up) featured Bobby and Hank in New York, which rather contradicts this issue's suggestion that Agent Duncan ordered them to head for California.

Still, I'm not sure story logic is Drake's strong suit.  After all, do robots in "electronic hibernation" really require waking with a "reviva-ray"?  Isn't electronic hibernation just, y'know, being switched off?  For that matter, do you really need to give your robot-crushing device like "the automatic canceller"?  Does the "inverse ninja law" genuinely stretch to super-powered killer robots?

Finally, while I'm not entirely sure what noise is made when you angrily grab someone's tie in a brawl, I'll bet all the money in my pockets that it isn't "WOINNG!".

Still, Drake at least manages to avoid predictability, I suppose.  Like how it turns out that Computo's base was built by Quasimodo.  I did not see that coming.

The back-up strip in this issue is great: a five-page run-down of Hank McCoy's unquestioned awesomeness.  His reading list is especially interesting: "Shakespeare, Plato, Tolstoy, McLuhan, and, uh... Thor!"  I assume that last one is an in-joke, but I prefer to take it literally, and assume that the Thunder God of the Marvel universe also has a side-line in vanity publishing.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills
When all at once, I saw a crowd
Of trolls to smite 'til each lay still
Beside a lake I at once seized
And then drank dry, for it was mead!
Well, I'd buy it.


This issue takes place over a single day.

There are two things to take into account here.  Firstly, how quickly can Jean Grey get a modelling job.  Secondly, why does she think Beast and Iceman are in California, when the last we saw them they were desperately trying to score some touch from their NY paramours?

I suppose the answer to the former question is fairly unambiguously "Whenever she damn well wants to".  Pretty much the entirety of the X-Men have been salivating over Jean since she arrived at the school (even if last issue's stats seemed to be going through the motions somewhat), so it's not too much of a stretch to assume she'd have no problems landing a modelling gig, even if she's yet to evolve into the pneumatic-breasted woman of the '90s.  As to Beast and Iceman, we can suppose, I assume, that California is indeed their destination, but that they stayed in the Empire State long enough to give their other halves a decent farewell (which, it turns out, said other halves had to pay for, but no-one ever said being a super-hero was easy), and are heading to California as Jean speaks.

Let's set this story as happening the day after Beast and Iceman defeat Merlin, then.


Friday 2nd May, 1980.



Compression Constant

1 Marvel year = 2.39 standard years.

(Iceman is 36 years old.)

The aptly-named "Sir Not Appearing In This Issue"
Contemporary Events

The football player Zat Knight is born, which I mainly mention to keep my friend Christopher happy.  "Don't you mock Bolton!  Bolton's your mother!"
Standout Line

"I've even invented a machine that can open pop-corn bags noiselessly in movie houses!  There's only one minor flaw -- the machine makes up three rows of the theatre!"  Ah, Hank.  How I love you.  But how many rows would it take to set up a machine that crotch-punches anyone texting during a movie?  Because I'm pretty sure that would be worth trying.

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