Tuesday, 19 July 2011

UXM #46: "The End Of The X-Men!"

(No-one tell Ed Tudor-Pole there's a job going.)


At it's heart, there's an interesting story here (Friedrich's first one to be free from Thomas' influence).  An examination of how Cain Marko might process the death of his step-brother would definitely be interesting, I'd have thought.

At least it would be, if his reaction wasn't to a) lament not killing Xavier personally, and b) accusing everyone of lying to him.  Sure, denial and anger feature pretty strongly in the early stages of grief (or so Kubler-Ross would have us believe), but it's a shame we don't get to see Juggernaut move beyond that before his temporary return to this dimension is up.

We do get to see him fire an awful lot of explodey discs, though, so let's not pretend the adventure was entirely wasted.

Apparently Xavier can't learn from his mistakes, though.  Having secretly hidden Marko in the basement, only for Juggs to rampage through the mansion and almost kill the X-Men, Xavier's next move is apparently to secretly hide a machine capable of returning Marko in the basement, which leads to Juggs rampaging through the mansion and almost killing the X-Men.  At least the professor was sensible enough to ensure the machine would return Cain to the crimson cosmos unless Xavier turned it off. 

Or maybe the idea was that the Professor would only let Cain stay if he completed a set task in a given time-limit.  Perhaps Xavier had dozens of different machines, to allow groups of hopeless reprobates the chance of winning big if they can navigate the fiendish puzzles and obstacles Xavier laid out before him.

Ah, well.  With Xavier dead, I guess someone else will have to pick up the slack.

"Three dead X-Men is an automatic lock-in."
I mentioned not long ago that I thought Xavier's funeral was bizarrely quiet, but apparently our heroes were all the people Xavier had in his life: his will (read by that half of Nelson and Murdock possessing the power of sight) mentions no-one else, not even Agent Fred Duncan, Xavier's friend at the FBI, who has now changed his first name to "Amos" [1]. Obviously this is changed later on, as it becomes increasingly clear that Xavier pretty much fucked his way across the world after his step-brother was lost in Korea.

Whilst on the subject of Duncan, you have to wonder whether the FBI puts any effort at all into ensuring its agents can tie their own shoelaces.  The X-Men at this point are pretty much an elite fighting unit, who have trained for years to support each other in combat.  Why the hell would you split them up?  Duncan argues they're too tempting a target, but you could say that about the Pentagon and no-one seems to think it should become five trapeziums spread out across the Eastern seaboard.

I suppose the "rapid response" argument makes slightly more sense, but the X-Men have a jet, let's not forget.  A jet they attached helicopter blades too just in case they needed to hover above something.  I mean, quite aside from the fact that the jet makes quick call-outs distinctly possible, who's going to actually get the damn thing when the X-Men split up?  I remember arguing with an ex-girlfriend during the stuff-splitting when she tried to tell me my hair-dryer was hers (it wasn't, not that I'm still bitter).   If she'd tried to take my faded red Corsa, I'd have tried to run the bitch over with it.  There's no way I'd let anyone get their hands on my plane, particularly after all the effort I'd gone into to personalising it with VTOL capability (which is so much cooler than platinum rims, by the way).

Still, it looks like this is going to be the status quo for a little while (after all, what better way to recover from a profound personal loss to your adopted family than to immediately split that family up?).  At least it confirms Jean is no longer at college, since her only reason to fear being sent to the other side of the country is how much harder it's going to be for Scott and herself to not ever bother to tell each other how they feel.

This issue's origin story back-up strip concludes the story of Iceman joining the team.  It's not very good, frankly, but it does at least involve Xavier wiping the memories of the Drakes, so they don't remember Bobby's mutant powers of what the professor's school actually entails.  Given that Bobby's father is shown to be an anti-mutant bigot in later years, this is an interesting development.  I wonder how many Thanksgiving dinners Bobby sat through listening to his pop go on about how mutants are all scum?  And even if Drake Senior wasn't so anti-mutant, I'm not sure about the ethics of making parents forget a piece of the identity of their children.  It would be like making Steven Gately's parents forget he was gay, or ensuring Eddie Izzard's parents can no longer remember he was in The Avengers.
OK, so it wouldn't be all bad.


This issue takes place over a single day.

We learn that it's been weeks since Xavier's death, so we can place this story as occurring a fortnight after the battle with Grotesk.

The strange naked tree disease is apparently still sweeping New York State. 


Sunday 27th April, 1980.



Compression Constant

1 Marvel year = 2.33 standard years.

(Iceman is 36 years old.)

"Don't bet on it, Chuckles!"
Contemporary Events

The Dominican Embassy siege ends, having started 61 days earlier when the embassy in Bogota was captured by armed guerrillas.

Standout Line

"It must have been set to activate automatically at some pre-determined time!"  Well, obviously, Cyclops.  Because what do you do when you've been diagnosed with an incurable terminal illness?  You set your "unstoppable homicidal maniac machine" to activate automatically!  Without letting anyone else know!

Man, Xavier is a dick.

[1] Is it coincidence that this is "soma" spelled backwards?  Soma is a divine drink of prodigious enervating abilities, which presumably means "amos" will be suffused with substandard and soporific mediocrity.  One hopes this is not a moment of honest self-appraisal from Friedrich, but from my memories of his brief run, I am very much afraid it will prove to be.

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