Wednesday, 28 September 2011

UXM #99: "Deathstar, Rising!"

("The space between us...")


There's an awful lot going on here.  That's a welcome change from Hidden Years (even if last issue was somewhat faster than normal), but you could argue that this book goes a little too far in the other direction.

First up: the big reveal - Banshee, Wolverine and Jean's attempt to escape the Sentinels goes horribly wrong when they break through the walls to discover they've thrown themselves into the

You gotta admit, that's a great twist.  I'm not sure it makes any sense - did S.H.I.E.L.D. not leave any kind of monitoring device when they left?  Are they really OK with the US using it for undisclosed purposes? - but I certainly didn't see it coming the first time I read it.

The next surprise comes hard on the heels of the first, as Lang scrambles his Sentinels to save his foes from an ugly death.  Which might seem like a terrible waste of energy (especially with all this pesky solar activity screwing up the robots - looks like their beef with the Sun is far from over).  But Lang knows what he's doing.  He has a bachelors degree in planning, and a master's in making those plans sinister.  Dude is on the case.

Meanwhile, also to be added to the "What the Hell?" files, Corbeau has re-wired Cerebro (because apparently that's no great shakes for an astronomer) so that it can detect Sentinels.  Or at least it can in theory - there's no signals to be found.  This leads Corbeau to conclude the robots can't be on Earth (optimistic, but whatever) and that therefore the X-Men need to search space.

Think about that for a minute.  The X-Men need to search the parts of the universe that aren't Earth.  

Still, Corbeau seems to have a rough idea where they should be headed (I blame the Sentinels and their ultra-linear leaping; that must be a dead giveaway), so he hastily arranges a shuttle-launch (because how hard can that be), and the remainder of the team blast skywards.

But OH NO!  The significant solar activity which has been known to everyone for days turns out to not be much fun to fly in.  Corbeau and Co are barely out of the troposphere when they realise an ugly death is very much in the offing.  Fortunately, they're close enough to a sinister space station to radio for help.  At this point, they either don't know that this is Lang's base, in which case the level of coincidence in this comic has now quite literally reached cosmic proportions, or they do know, which makes asking to borrow a cup of oxygen a distinctly high-risk strategy.

Still, it's worth it just to demonstrate an important character point - Steven Lang is a prick to everyone he considers different.  He's all like "No aerobic respiration for you, you've got a Red aboard" even before Sentinel Bob (that's not his actual name, but I like giving them back-stories) tells him that the shuttle is packed to bursting with mean ol' mutants.

That means it's time for another Sentinel throw-down, and this time they have the distinct advantage of only having to puncture a shuttle-craft to deal with everyone on board.  Or so they think!  Storm turns out to be able to manipulate the solar winds (which probably annoyed a lot of people, but I thought was a great idea), and then Corbeau rams the space station, because as unlikely as that is to result in an airtight seal, at least the team might be within range of somewhere that's still fleshling-friendly.

Throughout all of this - and here's why I suggested that maybe too much was going on - Storm is having a crisis of confidence because she's worried the Sentinels she's blasting might be manned (weren't the new guys briefed on the nature of previous X-Men foes?  Or did they all start giggling so hard at The Locust that Xavier had to abandon the briefing?), and Colossus is giving off signs that his feelings for Ororo might be more than casual friendship.

It's all very chaotic, and melodramatic, but then this is Claremont's X-Men, so what can one expect.  In any event, we conclude the book (which is all of nineteen pages long, remember) with Cyclops freeing Jean, only to be knocked down by... the X-Men?

Seems Lang was only using the Sentinels for muscle (which is why they've been so rubbish this time around -which is a nice suberversion of the Law of Inverse Ninjas) whilst he built the real anti-mutant weapon - the original team of X-Men themselves.  Ooooooooh!

Also in today's issue: a brief nod to Judge Chalmers (who tried shut down Larry Trask's Sentinel force, and who is know apparently a known mutant sympathiser) and a warning from Claremont that you don't want to be Irish - you'll invariably sound like an idiot - and, if you have to be Irish, you don't want to be Banshee's lawyer. Ooooooooooooooooh!


This issue takes place over the course of a few hours.

The opening news bulletin places the Sentinel attack on Christmas Eve, rather than Christmas Day, so we'll change the timeline accordingly.  Otherwise, this issue carries on directly from the previous one.  Since the launch of the Starcore shuttle is at midnight, this issue straddles two days.


Monday 28th to Tuesday 29th  of December, 1981.


X+3Y+238 to X+3Y+239.

Compression Constant

1 Marvel year = 3.49 standard years.

(Iceman is 29 years old)

"Like heck you are, lady!"
 Contemporary Events

Frank Turner is born.  If you don't know who that is, you should correct that mistake immediately.  Here, I'll give you a hand:

Standout Line

"I find the Sentinels easier to survive than your bear hugs." Storm, to Colossus.

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