Thursday, 22 September 2011
UXM #95: "Warhunt!"
("Better to burn out than fade away.")
Ah, here it is. This is not the first time an X-Man has died, but it is the first time an X-Man has died on panel, whilst we knew who he was, and without it being taken back a couple of years later. Thunderbird, almost uniquely at this point, was the One Who Stayed Dead.
It's hard to feel much emotion over Proudstar's passing, partially because he was only introduced two issues previously, and partially because his death is so monumentally stupid (as Banshee points out more than once, he could easily have taken out Nefaria's jet had John not been blocking his shot). And whenever people talk about events like this proving "no-one is safe", I always wonder who they think they're fooling. As with so much of fiction, it takes no intellectual heft whatsoever to recognise asymmetrical risk when you see it. It's like how the X-books have gone out of their way for decades to do as much horrendous damage to Wolverine as possible every couple of issues. No-one's under any illusions that anyone else is going to get burned alive, or shot through the skull , or what have you, because we know the only reason it happens to Wolverine is that it doesn't matter.
Same with Thunderbird, poor sod. He died precisely because hardly anyone would give a shit. Harsh, but there you go.
Beyond the ending, which might at least have been surprising had it not been alluded to on the front cover, there's not much to this issue beyond the X-Men entering Valhalla base and beating up the Ani-Men. Only the initial free-fall is worthy of note, and only then because it makes absolutely no sense - the " impact minus X seconds" conceit apparently leads to Cyclops daydreaming for almost a minute, then briefly starts running backwards. It's also always annoyed me that Nightcrawler complains he can't teleport whilst falling (though the idea his momentum doesn't change with his location is nice) but doesn't think to do it once Storm has grabbed him. It just feels like an arbitrary ramping of tension so that Banshee can swoop in at the last second, and all of that is before you consider that a fall (sans parachute) of 100 seconds would require that the X-Men start about six kilometres up in the air, which is clearly not the case.
(Yes, I did the maths. Shut up.)
This issue takes place over the course of a few hours.
Sunday 7th December, 1980.
1 Marvel year = 4.53 standard years.
(Iceman is 26 years old)
Darby Crash, lead singer of the Germs (a punk band which also included Pat Smear, who went on to play guitar with Nirvana and the Foo Fighters) dies of an intentional heroin overdose, aged 22.
"I've been a loner all my life, Xavier -- an outcast -- dumped on by everybody I met -- but I'm a man, Xavier, a warrior of the Apache -- an' today I'm gonna prove it!!" John Proudstar, last words.
 With the honorable exception of "Messiah CompleX", which fooled me brilliantly by shooting Logan through the head towards the end, made me roll my eyes about how it just so happened to have been the one X-Man who could survive that without any long term injuries, and then did the same thing to Xavier a few pages later.