Monday, 1 August 2011

UXM #59: "Do Or Die, Baby!"

("...Where leads the siren call of logic!")


Ah, the old "force your robot opponents to attempt to destroy the Sun" trick.  Ordinarily I'd be angry at such a ludicrous conclusion to a three-part story, and indeed I'm less than impressed, but I am (uncharasteristically) willing to give Thomas the benefit of the doubt.  The immediate problem with the Neo-Sentinels' new plan (other than it being utter lunacy) is that destroying the Sun will exterminate all humanity.  That's in direct contravention of the Sentinels' programming, of course.  Essentially, though, what Cyclops does is demonstrate (quite cleverly) that mutation is a natural part of human existance, and that the only way to stop it for good is to remove our capacity to grow, or change, or live.

In effect, Cyclops makes them choose between their two overriding goals: protect humans, destroy mutants.  The fact that they go for door #2 just reinforces the McCarthy metaphor so prominent in the previous issue. The Sentinels claim that their first goal is to protect humanity, but as soon as they're given the excuse, they're more than happy to allow them to become extinct, just so long as they don't hurt anyone directly, all so as to ensure mutants die alongside them.  As Commander Jeffrey Sinclair once said: "When you become obsessed with the enemy, you become the enemy!" 

So as ridiculous conclusions go, it does at least have a good point buried inside it.

This is a good issue for Cyclops all round, actually.  I've always wondered why it's such a problem when the X-Men are in free-fall with fewer flyers than non-flyers, since I figured you could just have the former arrest each non-flyer's descent every so often and then let them start falling again.  Sure, the flyer would have to be damn fast, and even then the fall could end up quite nasty, but these people are trained to land well, right?

Anyway, in this issue, Cyclops works this out as well, having Jean slow only herself and him whilst Hank plummets downwards, so that when she switches her attentions to Hank just before he hits, the resulting free-fall they experience can then be arrested once Hank is safely on the ground.  It's a neat solution (certainly better than Drake's idea of Cyke using his eye-beams to fly), and it's nice to see Thomas taking a break from writing the X-Men as total idiots. Even more bonus points go to Cyclops for having his team switch costumes with the Brotherhood, so as to confuse the Sentinel's memory files.

Ah, so Trask has the power of clairvoyance, which the medallion blocked.  That's pretty ironic, actually, given that if he'd been allowed to keep his abilities, he might have been able to tell his father that creating the Sentinels would get him killed.  It can also explain why he keeps shouting "three years" all the time; maybe it's been three years since he saw his father die, using whatever power leaks through the medallion.  It's no wonder he's confused.

(Also: Trask Sr built the Sentinels so as to stop other mutants from finding out his son was one of them?  What a turd!)

I note that every mutant ever featured in the books has been mentioned in this story, with three exceptions.  The Vanisher is presumably teleporting away whenever the Sentinels get even slightly close.  Professor X, of course, is believed dead.  Interesting that they can't find Changeling though, isn't it?  Almost as if... he were already dead !?!

And who was the mutant on the sourthern perimeter that had the Sentinels so worried?  Maybe we'll find out next issue.


This story follows directly on from the previous one, taking place on the same day.


Saturday 24th  May, 1980.



Compression Constant

1 Marvel year = 2.75 standard years.

(Iceman is 33 years old.)

Contemporary Events

Exiled former Soviet Union poet Joseph Brodsky turns forty, and writes a poem to "commerate" the day.  Personally, I can't believe anyone would let knives rake their nitty-gritties even once, let alone thrice, but I guess there was a lot of weird shit that went down in those days.

Standout Line

"Unus has proved not completely untouchable..." Apparently the Neo-Sentinels weren't just kitted out with new and fancy mutant-negation systems.  They've acquired a dry wit as well.

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