Monday, 29 August 2011
X1C (v2) #9: "The New Recruit"
Isn't this getting a little bit ridiculous. I don't mean a superhero battle in an undersea HYDRA base, obviously, that's just how these comics work. I mean the fact that this story takes a significant step forwards from the "special guest issue" tendency that already felt a little overused, and essentially marginalises the X-Men within their own book. For those of us with both an interest in and a reasonably extensive knowledge of the Marvel universe, this maybe isn't too much of a problem, but for semi-casual readers and fans of the X-Men only, it must be kind of baffling to open a copy of X-Men: First Class and find that you've bought a story about SHIELD trying to recruit Wanda Maximof.
Maybe I'm still not getting what this comic is trying to do. If Parker wanted to put together some kind of anthology series set in the early days of the Heroic Age (the first one, not the post-HAMMER period), that would be interesting in itself. Piggy-backing one through on the back of the X-Men seems a bit... confused.
Once again, though, on its own terms, this is definitely another fun issue (maybe Parker wanted to focus on an entirely inconsequential romp after the very slightly heavy going of "Adventure into Fear"). It's totally over the top, of course ("Eat Dugan's knuckles!"), but then it's a spy story in which the two competing organisations are called SHIELD and HYDRA, so a certain application of hyperbolics is probably a good idea. Ass-kicking female spies are always fun, too (shame they only get out alive by the intervention of a rich middle-aged white guy).
Also, without wishing to contradict myself too much, I am beginning to warm to having Wanda around the place as X-Man 5.5. There's something quite telling in the way Wanda responds to Jean's "cheating" at skating by plunging her into freezing cold water. Even at this stage, the girl is clearly not entirely right.
This story takes place over a single day. Warren mentions his (massively solipsistic) concern that saving Wanda will make her think he's carrying a torch, which places this issue after X1C (v1) #7. It's also clearly mid-winter, giving the ice-skating scene early in the issue.
We can therefore place this issue in the winter of 1979, which we've previously had to skip in any case (note that this issue confirms that there was well over a year between Jean arriving at the school and the end of Mimic's brief tenure on the team).
Tuesday 2nd January, 1979.
Morena Baccarin (Firefly, V) is born.
"Wha -- How did you change so fast?" Poor Wanda. So innocent in the ways of KGB strip-training.