Wednesday, 24 August 2011

XHY #2: "The Ghost And The Darkness"

("Shot through the heart!")


This is definitely an improvement on the first issue, albeit a minor one.  At two pages, the recap is eight times shorter, and although the issue isn't much less po-faced, it does have some momentum to it.  Having Zelda, Vera and Candy form some kind of under-appreciated X-girlfriend group is a nice idea, and I'm genuinely interested to see how that turns out, given Candy alone knows what's really happening at Xavier's.

Points are also awarded for the priests working with Magneto; revealing that their cloaks are actually both hiding their true appearance and part of their true appearance is quite nice, and they look pleasingly strange and otherworldly.  Indeed, it reminds me a great of a Cockrum design for Giant-Size X-Men #1 that was ultimately dumped in favour of Nightcrawler.

It's entirely possible that this is coincidental, of course; I suspect any humanoid creature with bat wings is going to look very similar to every other one.

There's also a few shades of grey in here, which is good.  The natives attacking Cyclops and Beast are doing so because the X-Men have deliberately trespassed on their sacred ground, and the bat-winged priests are likewise, at least from the X-Men's perspective, entirely innocent.

It still badly needs a humour injection and and to pull itself out of the morass of nostalgia [1], but I definitely enjoyed it a little more. "Slaughter in the Savage Land" is a despicably misleading cover title, though.  Even the T-Rex makes it out alive.


This issue takes place over a single day.  From the narration over Cyclop's moping, and since Iceman has clearly spent the night in Zelda's apartment after quitting the X-Men, it seems clear that this issue is set the day after Xavier sends the team back to the Savage Land.


Tuesday 24th June, 1980.



Compression Constant

1 Marvel year = 2.98 standard years.

(Iceman is 32 years old.)

Contemporary Events

Boris Kaufman, cinematographer of many famous films including On the Waterfront and 12 Angry Men (a personal favourite of mine) as well as fighting against the Nazis in France during WWII, passes away aged 82.

Standout Line

"From our speed I estimate we have come many miles already from the embarkation point!" Really, Beast?  Your boat was in bow-range from the jetty just two panels ago.  That river must be breaking the sound barrier!  I guess that means the boat's going to need a... sonic boom?


[1] I forgot to mention this yesterday, but another problem with this storyline is that we already know what happens.  It's one thing to know the X-Men will all make it out OK, one tends to assume that in any case.  But by starting this series off with dealing with Magneto's base in the Savage Land you're in a situation where you know not only will our heroes escape, but so too must the villain. Formulae that this mean you have to work even harder to generate surprises - you can't just give up on them entirely.

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