Friday, 2 September 2011

X1C (v2) #13: "Rise, Robot, Rise"

(Lava and robots and sloths.)


Today's extinct mammal: the megatherium.

It's a good job my friend A doesn't read this blog,
 she has a crippling phobia of sloths.  True story.
Even though it's a massively overrated film (except HAL's final moments, which are genuinely beautiful), I'm willing to give plenty of bonus points to Parker for a brilliant 2001: A Space Odyssey riff here, in which the megatherium bone Hank tosses in the air (whilst resembling a cave-man in both pose and rage) turns in a single frame to a telephone receiver.

The reference is more than a quick joke, as well.  We move in this issue from a gift from the prehistoric Land of the Mists to the arrival of the original Machine Man and his creator, Doctor Abel Stack.

This issue makes a lot out of the "robot fails to adequately understand human interactions/speech patterns" idea, which is frankly probably one of the laziest comedy routes available for a writer, but that doesn't mean it can't raise the odd chuckle ("I take no offence, female"; "I will not terminate canines unless they pose a direct threat to national security").  There's also a nice callback in the X-Men initially assuming Machine Man is the Super-Skrull, since his powers seem to be limited to fire, strength, and being stretchy.

Also featured: Lava Men! Giant red-hot super-strong vandals that apparently have been covered up as "hoaxes"!  How can that possibly work in the Marvel Universe?  A giant alien overlord dressed in purple and blue and sporting a helmet carved from a robotic beetle just tried to eat the fucking planet a few months ago.  Who's gonna find Lava Men tough to swallow?

And if all that isn't enough, serious shit is going down at Stack's base.  Once again humanity has flown, Icarus-like, too close to the Sun, creating machines that wish only our destructions.  Mind you, Stack hasn't really helped matters by ignoring the real First Law of Robotics: if you want your mechanical creations to stay on-side, do not make them look evil/scary as all fuck.


This story takes place over a single day.  There's no suggestion of how long Angel has been in the Land of the Mists, and presumably Hank could have been given the megatherium skeleton during his initial visit.  Bobby's insistence that Warren will come back within the fortnight also suggests that little time has passed, so we'll place this issue as taking place the day after the team returns from Brazil.

Hank mentions that it's been decades since Mt St Helen's last eruption, which suggests this issue is intended to be set in the 21st century (i.e. that we're supposed to believe that at most eight years have passed between the X-Men fighting Factor 3 and the beginning of Secret Invasion).  As usual, though, we shall ignore specific references to historical events.


Friday 21st April, 1979.



Contemporary Events

James McAvoy, future Charles Xavier, is born.

Standout Line

"In the future!  Robots will be able to talk to muffins!  They will tell them to be more delicious!" - Bobby

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