Tuesday, 5 July 2011
UXM #32: "Beware The Juggernaut, My Son!"
("The fists that punch, the hands that catch!")
Thomas definitely seems to be upping his game now, which is nice to see. The overall plot - the sinister machinations of Factor Three - is really picking up speed, as the shadowy organisation engineers the escape of Cain Marko.
An escape, mark you, from being locked in the basement by his own half-brother. That's actually brilliantly fucked-up, even if Xavier is convinced he's doing Cain a favour by keeping him in a coma whilst the Professor searches for a cure.
And, whilst Thomas might still be relying on obvious filler to pad out his two-parters, at least this time round the X-Men's scuffle with entirely ordinary humans a) doesn't have the humans outnumbered, b) has the humans on motorbikes rather than horsies, and c) happens in public forcing the mutants to hide their powers. I'm not sure that even Hell's Angels (sorry, "Satan's Saints") are mental enough to try and attack a coffee house because one of the occupant's turned down their leader for a date, but maybe I'm being too kind to them. I feel on somewhat firmer ground suggesting that "cats" and "squares" wouldn't be high up their list of dialogue choices, though.
Annoyingly, Juggernaut is some way off model, repartee-wise. "I am no mere prankster, you frigid foe -- as you shall learn to your ultimate dismay!" That's skirting dangerously close to Adam West-era Batman; replace "frigid" with "feathered" and it could easily be Cesar Romero mocking Burt Ward. I'd say it was just a case of a character not being fully defined yet, but Lee's two Juggernaut issues set the template pretty well. I suppose it was a lot to ask for Thomas not to be thoroughly appalling for an entire issue.
This issue takes place over a single evening.
Well, this cut out a lot of theorising and hypothesising: Iceman just turned eighteen, so there is no chance whatsoever that in the Marvel Universe these first 32 issues took less than a year, or more than two years, to play out.
As far as our own count is doing, this is just fine. If we wait until the other side of the weekend (otherwise Iceman would have been pretty unlikely to forgot when Friday came around), we can put Iceman's birthday as being Monday the fourteenth of December, 1961. This puts Bobby as being only 25 months younger than Beast according to what we already know, but we'll worry about that when we have to.
One slight problem stems from the Juggernaut claiming it took him a decade to escape from the collapsed cave in which he found the Gem of Cyttorak. Of course, even if we reset our timescale to make sense of this comment, we're still going to have massive problems later on by tying ourselves so directly to the Korean War (it would put the Onslaught Saga in the mid '60s, for instance). So let's take an alternative approach, and simply assume Cain didn't make a bee-line for Xavier once he was free. Indeed, we can be fairly sure he took something of a roundabout route; a direct line of devastation from the Korean Peninsula to New York State is probably something that would attract attention.
Monday 14th of December, 1979.