Tuesday, 6 September 2011
Giant-Size X1C: "The Thing (From Another Aisle)", "Invasion Of The Bobby-Snatchers", "The Day The Earth Just Would Not Stand Still"
(Late night triple-feature.)
Well, this is silly. Wonderfully, unashamedly silly. I don't know what got into the drinking water at Marvel's subterrenean volcanic lair that month, but it apparently convinced Parker that the best approach to the second X1C special (don't be fooled by the title, it's only "giant-size" because it re-prints UXM #40 AKA "The X-Men vs. Frankenstein's Monster That's Actually An Alien Android Shut Up Why Are You Laughing?") would be to write three stories based on classic sci-fi movies only without aliens.
I have no idea what led Parker down this gloriously insane path, though there's a clue at the very end where he implies the three "X-Files" (BECAUSE OF THE X, DO YOU SEE?) that Beast is tasked to solve were actually handed to him by a Skrull sleeper agent. What better way to tie into Secret Invasion than to have the team debunk assumed alien threats. It's just the sort of ridiculously complex yet strangely cunning plan the Skrulls live for - use their alien influence to have unsuspecting heroes disprove the existence of aliens.
Of course, maybe if Parker hadn't been chugging down quite so much H20LSD, he might have thought twice about two consecutive stories based on a mad Antarctic-based vegan accidentally creating sentient tofu, but it's not like The Thing or Invasion of the Body-Snatchers were really all that credible to begin with, or indeed are the X-Men themselves, as much as fans (including myself) want to believe otherwise (though this may be yesterday's arrival of the next three issues of the thoroughly self-unaware XHY talking).
Even so, the best of the three stories is "The Day The Earth Just Wouldn't Stand Still", in which the X-Men themselves are mistaken for alien by the North Koreans, and resort to pretending to be Gort and Klaatu in order to escape with their lives (all drawn in wonderfully atmospheric monochrome, of course).
It would be tempting to write this whole issue off as some kind of group hallucination brought on by massive cheese consumption (making it more of a hallumi-nation, I guess. Huh? Huh? SHUT UP I AM HILARIOUS!), but the Skrull coda suggests we're supposed to take this seriously, or at least as seriously as that time when Wolverine met those Leprachauns.
Xavier mentions Beast can make use of any X-Men who aren't busy with exams at that particular time, and the team goes through at least one personnel shift during the issue (dude, seriously, why is Angel back?) Let's assume the eXam period (see what I did there?) lasts a week, and all three stories take place within that period (I'm skipping the distinctly Poe-flavoured Vigil of the Mad, which is brilliant both in concept and structure, but which is too keen to have mini-Charles Xavier brick up his curious, gin-loving neighbour to be properly considered canonical).
Wednesday 26th April to Tuesday 3rd May, 1979.
X+Y+24 to X+Y+30.
Greenland acquires home rule (though full autonomy takes a further three decades).
"On our world, there are many enforcers like this. Keep up your warlike ways, and I will not be able to stop them from returning to reduce this planet to cinders! So anyway... we have another planet to threaten. Good day!" - Beast.