Sunday, 31 July 2011

UXM #58: "Mission: Murder!"

("Resistance is futile.")


This is really good, actually.  There's plenty of action as the mutant population of the world fights back against the encroaching "Neo-Sentinels".  Nice to see that the robots are just as happy to kidnap Mesmero and the Living Monolith as they are our heroes, and that not everyone is going meekly into that good night.  Banshee's attempt to play possum and then wreak havoc (no pun intended) from within us particularly cool, even if it gets him nowhere. I'm less convinced by Magneto turning out to have been a mutant for the last eight issues or so, but whatever.

The Neo-Sentinels are far more compelling than their antecedents.  Not only does their adaptive technology make them a far more dangerous threat (they're pretty much thirty-foot Borg at this point), but they spend far less time standing around offering soliloquies. They haven't shaken the habit entirely, but what's left consists mainly of stating how essential their task of neutering mutantkind is, which at least serves the overall metaphor.

Yes, I said "metaphor".  Hard as it is to believe, Thomas has upped his game to the point where his story has a subtext.  OK, he blatantly references it ("Sounds a bit familiar, doesn't it?"), which means that to quote Rupert Giles "the subtext... is rapidly becoming, er, text", and moreover he's just stolen the idea from Lee's original Sentinel story in any case, but at least he's able to competently develop it.  Trask is clearly modelled on McCarthy, in that whilst his methods are despicable and his thought processes a disgrace to the term, he genuinely, completely believes that his approach is the only one that can keep humanity alive.  As aggravating as it is to watch Trask frame Iceman by making it look like Bobby tries to attack him without provocation, what's really scary is Trask's unshakable belief that a single video of a homo superior attack will be accepted as proof positive by the world that all mutants are equally dangerous.

This, of course, is eventually what brought McCarthy down - he became convinced that the Communist threat had become so great that he could literally accuse anyone, on any evidence, of being a Pinko, and that would be enough to condemn them.  He confused his own unending, all-consuming crusade for the will of the people, and he over-extended himself.

Trask is clearly headed down the same road, to the point where the instant he realises he can't ignore Judge Chalmers, he immediately accuses him of being a mutant. Like McCarthy before him, Trask can't conceive of anyone disagreeing with him unless they're secretly one of the enemy.  "You're either with us or against us" is almost never true.

All of which makes the final page reveal that Trask himself is a mutant thoroughly brilliant.  OK, it's astronomically unlikely (unless issue #59 gives us more to work with), but thematically, it's total genius.

Just as an aside, it's interesting that it was Trask that gave Alex the name Havok, and that Thomas finds time in this issue to give us the first indication of the Bobby vs Alex rivalry over Polaris.  Returning the book to twenty pages (rather than fifteen + five back-up) was clearly a sensible move.


This story follows directly on from the previous one, and continues into the following day.

Hank finally confirms that he is the oldest of the five X-Men.

Trask continues to insist it's been three years since the X-Men murdered his father.  Of course, now that we know that Trask Sr. gave his son a medallion to mask his mutant powers, God only knows what crazy shit has been going down in his cerebral cortex.


Friday 23rd to Saturday 24th  May, 1980.


X+2Y+53 to X+2Y+54.

Compression Constant

1 Marvel year = 2.71 standard years.

(Iceman is 33 years old.)

"Bite your tongue, Beastie!"
Contemporary Events

The International Court of Justice demands the US hostages in Tehran be released.

Standout Line

"Jet home? Sorry, little buddies!  That's not my style!" Angel demonstrates the true nature of heroism by attempting to fly from northeast Africa to America in the time it will take Scott and Jean to check in at Cairo airport.

By which I mean, the man is obviously a total fucking idiot.

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