Saturday, 30 July 2011

UXM #57: "The Sentinels Live!"

(Cairo emo)


Like I said yesterday, Alex is definitely his brother's brother.  In fact, not only is he determined to wring every ounce of self-pity from his brand new super-powers, but he decides the best way to maximise his self-inflicted, self-absorbed misery is to go and live in a cave, thereby forcing the X-Men to search for him.

Every hour they spend searching for his sorry arse, of course, is one less hour they can spend saving people from super-villains.  We learn at the end of the issue that the Sentinel who grabs him was dispatched to Africa after Larry Trask watched a news report on the X-Men being in Egypt, but frankly I prefer to believe that the robot simply followed the waves of self-indulgent solipsism that only a young mutant can generate.

On the other hand, at least Alex doesn't refer to the local police as "camel jockeys".  I get that Cyclops is upset and all, but... Dude.  Uh-uh.

Still, it's not a good day for law enforcement on either side of the Atlantic.  The NYPD make another appearance, and who could have guessed?  They immediately try to arrest our heroes as soon as they lay eyes on them.  OK, they do at least have a slightly better case this time, since Bobby and Hank are in the middle of a trashed apartment, but then they start throwing furniture at our heroes, and that's just downright unprofessional.  To paraphrase Austin Powers, what kind of person throws a swivel chair at someone, honestly?


God damn you Thomas, you've done it again!  Everything was going perfectly well, with Beast and Iceman presumably taking a single day to return to the States, and all of a sudden Larry Trask is in our faces telling us its been three years since issue # 16.

Interestingly, that's not even true in real time, so either Thomas was mistaken (hardly impossible), or he at least tried to put some effort into time compression.  Even so, though, "three years" just isn't going to work. We know issues #32 to #47 more or less follow directly on from each other, with only brief gaps in between issues if there are gaps at all. Obviously, I've tried to condense everything as much as possible, but the six week period I've set those issues in can't be too far from the mark.  Moreover, issue #32 took place on Bobbys eighteenth birthday.  Even if Iceman had only turned sixteen the day issue #1 took place, there can't have been more than eighteen months between Bolivar Trask's death and the birthday shindig in "Coffee-A-Go-Go."

Which means that Larry Trask's assertion can only be right if a year or more has passed between issues #47 and #56.  We know issues #54 to #56 took place over the same 48 hours, and that issues #49 to #52 took no more than a week, though, so that means the time between issues #47 and #49 and #52 and #54 must total about a year.

I don't deny that that is possible, but it certainly raises questions: why aren't Bobby and Lorna closer if they've known each other for six months?  Why did it take so long for the X-Men to find cover identities whilst they were split up?  Why was Xavier allowed to take a fifteen-year-old boy into his care at a school for those in their late teens?

I think a rather simpler explanation is that Trask has gotten it wrong.  Perhaps he misspoke, and his father started work on the Sentinels three years ago, rather than dying then.  Perhaps the rigorous mental gymnastics he's had to perform to twist the X-Men into his father's killers requires a change in timings.  Hell, for all we know, Trask has concluded that our heroes replaced his father with a double at the very beginning of the Sentinel program, so as to discredit the man's work.

Maybe this reads as a cheap get-out, but as far as I'm concerned, taking Thomas' characteristically thoughtless approach to chronology as valid generates significant problems elsewhere, so I think it best handwaved away as far as is possible.


Thursday 22nd to Friday 23rd May, 1980.


X+2Y+52 to X+2Y+53.

Compression Constant

1 Marvel year = 2.68 standard years.

(Iceman is 33 years old.)

"Just be glad the X-Men aren't
the killers you humans think we are!"
 Contemporary Events

Mount St. Helens releases an explosion of steam.

Standout Line

"We'll commandeer the next freighter U.S. bound!" Remember when the X-Men would gladly risk public humiliation to gain the coinage necessary to travel overseas?  Well, that's just for when they're trying to rescue their mentor and leader!  When some chick Bobby wants to fuck is in danger, it's time to turn to piracy!

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