Wednesday, 13 July 2011

UXM #40: "The Mark Of The Monster!"

("Also, I think the Wolf Man was a hairy vampire possessed by a demon, and that Abbott and Costello were talking insects in thrall to undercover dinosaurs!  From the future!")


I have no idea what Xavier has been smoking this issue (who can blame him for wanting to chill out following the Factor Three crisis, I suppose), but I don't want any.  "I've always suspected [Frankenstein] was based on an actual occurrence-".  Why? Shelley herself stated it was just something she literally dreamt up (which may or may not have been whilst she was also smacked off her Georgian tits). "And now I'm sure of it!" Because someone has found a body in the ice dressed up like Boris Karloff?  You can't fool anyone by painting him purple, pal, those neck-bolts were Jack Pierce's idea, they had nothing to do with Shelley's original, and if Xavier wasn't so busy slapping Iceman around for not having read the book, he might be able to remember that.

Even all that is surpassed moments later, though: "I suspect that the supposed "monster" was in truth a super-powerful android!... [B]y examining him, I may prove that his creator.... was a mutant!"

No more drugs for that professor.

Still, as mental as he's clearly become, he turns out to be right.  It is an android, and one that can't stand the deep cold, because cold is well-known as being bad for computers, as we all know.  Presumably that's why what finally activates the monster is his discoverer lowering the temperature of the ice block.  That's right, lowering it.  Dr. Powell's assistant objects on the grounds that the government want first crack at The Amazing Purple Rip-Off, but it would make far more sens if he objected because Powell is clearly a total fucking idiot.  That's like trying to investigate the wreck of the Titanic by dragging it deeper into the Atlantic.  Clearly, the real enemy this month is the disease that's struck the whole of the city, turning academics into imbecilic jelly-brains.

Not that the professor's completely lost it.  He still has the wherewithal to steal a helicopter from the government and wipe the minds of those who try to stop him (because there's nothing more important than making sure a mad android doesn't smash up a single boat which he'll total at his own peril in any case), and manages - ridiculously - to read the robot mind of the creature in order to learn his origin. 

Turns out, he was sent as an ambassador of peace by a race that lived in tropical climes.  Not explained, however, is why people who live in hot temperatures can't create machines that work in the cold, or why they'd assume the best form for a diplomat to take is an eight-foot-tall monstrosity with super-strength.  Also unknown is how Shelley ever heard about the monster, since it apparently never met a single human, having been put on ice by his creators after it went HAL 9000 on their beach-loving asses.

So, to sum up: Xavier is convinced a book explicitly declared to be fiction is actually true, only except for all the bits about the protagonist's work, creations and experiences, and that what's described as a odd assortment of dead flesh must actually be a robot.  He then learns that his guess was true, but that it's impossible the original writer could possibly have known that in any case.

David Icke would think that Xavier was jumping to conclusions, and disproved by the evidence presented to him.  About the best thing you can say about any of this is that it makes it far easier to bear Xavier's death in a couple of issue's time.  Apparently the man was on the verge of raving insanity in any case.


This issue takes place over a single day.

It's a bit of a muddled issue this time around.  The first page states that the story takes place in Autumn, and that the air is "cool".  You could argue that this implies it's late Autumn, but the trees are still very much green.  Added to that is the clear fact that when Professor X was kidnapped in issue #33, it was during the winter. That makes it impossible for this to be Autumn, since Banshee makes it clear in issue #35 that he had been in contact with Xavier only a few weeks earlier, and issues #35 to #39 take place over the span of a few days at most.

The only possible explanation might be that the X-Men have done nothing of note for the six months following the defeat of Factor Three (in fairness, they'd have earned it), but the same text box which informs us that its autumn also describes the X-Men taking a "momentary breather" after saving the world.

I think we're going to have to ignore the "autumn" label; it just contradicts too much of what's gone before.  Let's give the X-Men a week off, instead.  That sounds quite "momentary" as these things go, and allows us to place this issue at the weekend, explaining what Jean is doing there.  In truth, I think the "Jean goes to college" plot has been more or less abandoned at this point, but since we're four issues from the end of Thomas' run, it makes sense to wait and see how Gary Friedrich handles the issue when he takes over in issue #45.


Saturday 12th of April, 1980.



Compression Constant

1 Marvel year = 2.13 standard years.

(Iceman is 38 years old.)

"I was just havin' some fun, Beastie!
Can'tcha take a joke?"

Contemporary Events

A coup d'etat ends 130 years of democratic presidential succession in Liberia.

Standout Line

"We''ll never know how Mary Shelley learned any of this -- but, perhaps it's just as well!" Translation: this whole escapade made no sense to start with, then contradicts itself at the end in any case.

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