Friday, 23 September 2011
UXM #96: "Night Of The Demon!"
(There can be only one one-eye!)
Claremont isn't wasting any time, is he? Three issue in (his first without Len Wein on plotting duty) and we already have Moira MacTaggert and the N'Garai demons to add to the list of major parts of the X-Universe.
Not that "major" necessarily translates into "good", of course. I'd be mad to complain about Moira, obviously, but what about those pesky demons? I've never been a fan of the N'Garai, both because the X-Men are rarely at their most interesting fighting supernatural/magical threats (or flying around in outer space, for that matter), and because even by comic book standards, the idea that they have a cairn on the Xavier's property is just ludicrously coincidental.
Also, Kierrok the Damned always just looks really silly to me. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure that if he broke through my living room wall I'd rapidly develop serious internal plumbing issues, but on paper, he's never really worked for me.
Aside from the extra-dimensional fiend angle to all this, though, there's a lot here to love. Cyclops mope through the browning leaves as he tries to process Thunderbird's death might be absurdly melodramatic (when you're describing autumnal hues as "a thousand myriad shades of... death!", you should probably think about cutting back on the Cure albums), but it's nice to see Cyclops' reaction to the death of one of his team, and to be moping about something other than his powers or Jean.
There's also Steven Lang to think about (whom I could have included in the list of important new characters, actually). This is a guy who need help urgently. It's one thing to have a death wish against all mutants, but calling your government program "Project Armageddon" is a pretty sure sign that you've completely lost the plot. Tossing around phrases like "final ultimate conflict" doesn't really help matters, either. Then again, what can you expect from a man who saw Bolivar Trask's robots almost kill their creator, then their creator's son, and thinks "Man, I got to get me some of that!"? I can't remember the exact details of how this ends, but between this and the mysterious arrival of Mrs MacTaggert, it certainly seems like Claremont has already set out his stall regarding slowly boiling subplots.
In amongst all this demon-punching, mutant-loathing hi-jinks, however, my favourite part of this whole issue is a single panel, in which Wolverine is talking to Xavier whilst simultaneously carving a game of noughts and crosses into one of Charlie's expensive tables. That's such a wonderfully nonchalant "fuck you". I don't think anyone else is even playing.
This story takes place over a day and a night.
This issue is explicitly described as taking place in September, at the start of an early autumn. It's also mentioned that it's been weeks since Thunderbird's death.
Clearly, this means the timeline is going to have to be changed (which probably was necessary anyway, to account for Beast's first few years with the Avengers). We'll put this issue on the first day of September, then go back a fortnight for John's death in the field, and another month for the Krakoa mission. I'll put a new timeline up later - I'm going to be changing the presentation of those a bit, too.
Steven Lang mentions that he' been working on Project Armageddon for six years. He also states that the Trask's had the right idea. That perhaps implies that he was inspired to start the project by their example, which would seem to contradict our time line. Maybe not, though. Maybe the Sentinels took a few years to develop (hardly a ridiculous thought) and Lang knew about them for a while before Trask went public.
Tuesday 1st September, 1981.
1 Marvel year = 3.68 standard years.
(Iceman is 29 years old)
German architect and former Nazi minister Albert Speer dies of natural causes during a visit to London, a death that presumably bothered absolutely no-one except, apparently, Lars von Trier.
"Ten years o' psycho-training. O' hypnotism. O' drug therapy. Ten years o' prayin'... An' I cut him to pieces without a thought." Apparently Claremont already knows where he's going with Wolverine. Of course, how can we know whether any of that is even true?