Saturday, 24 September 2011

Giant-Size Uncanny X-Men First Class #1 (No titles)

(Why can't I have a sling made from a demon cow?)


This is one of those rare things from Marvel - a comic that's legitimately hilarious.  I haven't laughed this hard at one of books since Nextwave, and that isn't technically in the main continuity anyway.

This issue gets round the problem by having the new X-Men describe their pasts to Moira.  Storm, Colossus and Nightcrawler go for important stories that help explain their personalities - Storm learning she couldn't escape her problems with a carefree attitude, Colossus saving his friends and learning that they would happily accept him for what he is, and Nightcrawler's realisation that he could be the star of the "Winding Roads Circus", but only at the price of no-one ever knowing who he truly is. They're all nice tales, and work as brief illustrations, but it's Banshee and (especially Wolverine) who hog the limelight.

Banshee's tale takes the form of a comic poem (allegedly a song written by a friend) in which he saves a woman from being abducted by apparently half the Irish underworld (the supernatural one, not those guys from In Bruges), only to fall in love with her.  There can't be a traditionally happy ending here, of course (indeed, Banshee was presumably telling this tale to Moira whilst surreptitiously checking out her legs), and Sean learns that the lady he's saved is actually a banshee.  She can't stay with him, she tells him, but on the day he finally dies, she will return to sing him into the next life, so he won't be alone.

Maybe I'm an old softy, but I had a tear in my throat reading that, knowing (as did the writers) how Banshee met his end, surrounded by strangers and killed by a madman.  It's a wonderful bittersweet ending to a funny but otherwise inconsequential bit of fluff.

Wolverine's story is so brilliant I almost snorted my liver out of my nostrils. None of it is true, of course, but that's what makes it so funny. In Wolvie's tale to Moira, he gains superpowers by being bitten by a radioactive Wolverine, and then tries to make ends meet with various odd-jobs until he finally gives into his calling and becomes an agent of S.N.I.K.T., travelling the world fighting evil -including the zombie-clowns of Budapest ("Don't make me laugh!) and the vicious agents of B.I.M.B.O. ("Break one nail and two false ones will take its place!"). 

Eventually, he saves a bald man from B.I.M.B.O.s clutches and agrees to join his X-Men, purely so he can bone the hot red-head he'd noticed at a party.

It is, quite simply, the best four pages of anything I've read this year, even before you get to the final spread, which contains some of the mutants that didn't make the grade (the Australian "Didgery Dude" is a particular highlight), which reminds me of an irregular strip that used to show up in the UK issues of Transformers from time to time (I wanted to find one to put on the blog, but these days you won't get anything back from a Google search of "rubbish Transformers" that isn't about Michael Bay).


The framing story in this issue can be assumed to play out over three days.  The timings of the other stories - each one a tale from the past of one of the new X-Men - doesn't really concern us. 

The fact that Moira is at the mansion (though Cyclops shouldn't know she's a scientist at thus point) places the framing story after UXM #96, hence why I'm considering it now.


Wednesday 2nd to Friday 4th September, 1981.


X+3Y+120 to X+3Y+122.

Contemporary Events

The Iranian government announce a provisional Prime Minister and leader of the Islamic Republic Party to replace officials assassinated three days earlier.

The USSR perform their first underground nuclear test.

Dame Enid Lyons, the first woman to be elected to the Australian House of Representatives, passes away, aged 84.

Standout Line

I can't choose between Wolverine's various jobs: children's author ("Bouncy Bear went to visit his friend, Walter Weasel.  "Where's the money you owe me, Walter?" Bouncy asked as he pulled out his favourite mallet."); actor ("This is one salesman that ain't dyin, bub!"), or folk-singer ("How many roads must a man walk down... before he gives up and steals a car?").

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