("Any shape imaginable and you chose that?")
Ugh. This is a real mess of a comic. Vanisher shows up without explanation, despite having been rendered amnesiac. Beast develops the ability to back-flip in mid-air. We learnt hat Banshee spent the entirely of his appearance last issue wearing the symbol of Factor Three on his face. People have extended conversations whilst inches above a rocky precipice they're about to hit full-force (to the point where a text box has to be inserted to claim this is due to the speed of human thought, which apparently also makes speech instantaneous as well).
The biggest problem of all, though, lies in how casually Cyclops chalks up the first direct killing of another human being by an X-Man, after he destroys the vehicle which forced the team to jump from their plane:
I didn't mean to destroy the ship -- only to damage it! But, they were willing to murder dozens of innocent passengers to get at us -- so no use wasting too much pity on them!No pun intended, but that's simply not going to fly. The X-Men are far too noble and decent (at this early stage, at least) for any one of them - and Scott in particular - to respond to killing people (even by accident) with a shrug of their shoulders and a "shit happens" mentality. Compared to that level of appalling writing, the fact that this all happens within a panel so badly put together it looks like Cyclops just blew up a Frisbee piloted by Lilliputians barely registers.
It's not all bad, though. The Changeling makes his first appearance - the first particularly long-lasting character Thomas has introduced since Banshee nine issues earlier - though his purple-and-orange bike saddle helmet is probably best (if not easily) forgotten. It's also grimly amusing how intent Factor Three are in carrying out so ridiculous a show-trial. Letting the witnesses double as the jury must be a great money saver, and Unus' complaint about time-keeping is hilarious.
Cyclops also gets bonus novelty points for using Iceman's icicles, telepathically suspended by Marvel Girl, to create sufficient water to short-circuit the brilliantly named "Oblivio-Ray". Frankly, I don't see why Bobby couldn't just smash the whole thing with multiple ice-boulders, but I guess this method is a good deal more subtle and less exhausting.
This story opens on the plane the X-Men boarded at the end of the previous issue. Given how much of that day was spent trying to find cash, and then presumably packing and heading to the airport, I think it reasonable to assume that the team boarded the red-eye, and it's now the following day.
On the last page of the issue, the Mutant-Master announces that his infernal plan will commence in one hour, which presumably means that's the time-scale we'll be working with next time around.
Speaking of MM's evil scheme, it involves the murder of multiple "Iron-Curtain officials" (which seems rather redundant, actually, since stage two is the nuking of the USSR). This doesn't date the story to the late '60s, though, since the Curtain wasn't pulled back until 1989. God bless Soviet paranoia, I always say.
Sunday 6th of April, 1980.
1 Marvel year = 2.02 standard years.
(Iceman is 39 years old.)
|"Aw, why don'tcha go back to the|
carnival where you belong, chubby?"
Author John Collier, author of several novels and various short stories ( a few of which were adapted into teleplays), including one, "The Chaser", for which the Wikipedia summary is one of the best I've ever heard: "A young man buying a genuine love potion cannot understand why the seller sells love potions for a dollar, but also offers a colorless, tasteless, undetectable poison at a much, much higher price."
"That's enough, Vanisher! We don't have to spend all day on this trial!"