Friday, 30 September 2011
UXM #101: "Like A Phoenix From The Ashes!"
("Mi casa, tu asshole")
Poor old JFK airport. First Havok takes out a pair of planes, and now Jean is using it as her own personal landing strip for shuttles that are on fire. The place is starting to look like the library at Sunnydale High, or Bobby Singer's front room. Indeed, I wonder if there might be times in the X-Men's history when they've destroyed more airports than they have airplanes.
We learn in this issue that Storm can "re-polarise" her unstable-molecule costume to make it look like anything she wishes. I can't remember this ability lasting for long. Which is just as well, since it's exceptionally silly (how does one "re-polarise" colours, and how could Storm possibly know how to do it), and whilst that's hardly unusual in '70s Marvel comics, if you're going to be silly, it should at least be in a way that leads to something exploding.
It's interesting that we learn about Logan's feelings for Jean the issue after she's told him she doesn't know why she even tried to like him. It immediately lets us know that he's planning on chasing her even after she's told him to piss off, and it also explains why he was such an arsehole to her on-board the Starcore shuttle - he was desperately trying to keep her alive and couldn't think of a nicer way to do it. Having spent eight issues and over a year portraying Wolverine as a bad-tempered, charmless loner, seeing him secretly bin the flowers he's brought Jean so that no-one realises he gives a damn is an important, to say nothing of rather sad, moment.
Compare and contrast to Xavier admitting to Moira that he used to have a thing for Jean. OK, so it's an impressively obscure call-back to 1964, but how mad do you have to be to tell your former fiance that there was a time you wanted to do one of your students? I make a point of never telling anyone at all about the students I want to do. Because I am a professional.
It's not clear how loudly he said it, either. Who else heard him? Did Scott? Did Wolverine? Something's clearly pissed Wolverine off; when he snaps at Xavier he seems to start belching out pink fire, and that can't possibly be healthy even for someone with a healing factor.
So it's a good job everyone's off on holiday! I'm not sure I'd necessarily recommend the Atlantic-buffeted west coast of Ireland in early January, but I suppose New York's going to be pretty miserable at around that time too. Besides, it lets Sean kill two birds with one stone, and check out his inheritance. Though, wouldn't you have figured Sean's lawyer would have written a rather less generic letter, given his desperate attempts to post it before Black Tom tracked him down? "Please come and check out the castle and kick your evil cousin in the junk!" might have been a bit more useful under the circumstances.
Still, too late now. The X-Men are about to sit down to dinner in their formal wear (all except Sean, who basically points out it's his castle, and he'll where whatever the fuck he likes) when they're thrown down a trap-door! If only some of them could fly! Never mind, at least there's time for Sean to use his screams to remove his clothes (mercifully, if confusingly, revealing he had his costume on underneath all this time) before he lands. Wolverine must have done the same after he landed (maybe it's just a bit too cold, and the spandex works as insulation). And just in time, too! No sooner have the X-Men gotten changed (rather than, say, having Nightcrawler teleport them out again) but Black Tom and the Juggernaut arrive. It's time for some killings!
As a final point, something Teebore noticed and I missed the first time around is that this is the first issue of UXM which features no superhero battling at all. Black Tom and Juggernaut don't arrive until the very end, and until that point there's been very little in the way of superhero antics of any kind. This is another legacy of Claremont's that subsequent writers have returned to from time to time (particularly Scott Lobdell) the issues in which the team get the chance to interact with each other as people, rather than as crime-fighters/walking weapons.
This issue carries on directly from UXM #100. The team are given Jean's prognosis the day after the crash, then presumably head for Ireland the following day, where they spend a week sightseeing before heading to Cassidy Keep. All told, this takes us forwards by eight days, and into 1982.
Tuesday 29th December, 1981 to Wednesday 6th January, 1982.
X+3Y+239 to X+3Y+247.
1 Marvel year = 3.56 standard years.
(Iceman is 29 years old)
Ghana suffers a coup d'etat, in which the Third Republic is replaced with a military dictatorship under Jerry Rawlings.
WIllian Bonin, the second of the "Freeway Killers" (originally believed to be a single person) is convicted.
Victor Buono, an American actor perhaps best known as playing King Tut in the Adam West Batman series, passes away, aged just 43.
"Hear me, X-Men! No longer am I the woman you knew! I am fire! An life incarnate! Now and forever -- I AM PHOENIX!" - Phoenix, first words.