Monday, 5 September 2011
X1C (v2) #16: "4X"
(A slum of ice and fire.)
I've decided that it's the little touches that make this comic so much fun. Last issue it was Jean trying to telekinetically animate her hair, this time it's Sue Storm fashioning her force field into an umbrella to keep the falling debris off her husband while he works.
It's just another way of distinguishing this book from the kind of po-faced retro wretchedness that clogged up the first three issues of XHY (and from what I can gather, I shouldn't have high hopes for the rest of that series, either). It also means an issue like this, which are nominally supposed to brig things to a conclusion (there's still a special issue and the four part First Class Finals miniseries to get through, but this is the last issue of X1C as an ongoing book) can get away with being as lightweight as it is.
I can even forgive yet another guest appearance, since Bobby and Johnny are absolutely made for each other (did we really need Spiderman as well, though?). It makes perfect sense that the two responsibility-phobic teenage boys from their respective teams would try to prove themselves by moving into their own pad (paid for by one of their relatives, natch). It's like the first week of university, only with the emphasis more on finding cool villains to fight rather than girl to sleep with.
Not that any self-respecting undergraduate female would be caught dead in that apartment. You can tell how long our heroes have been in there by counting the pieces of discarded crap on the floor. It's like stinky tree rings.
Of course, such domestic bliss cannot last. Two adolescents who can't stand the company of adults are unlikely to do much better with each other. Like-pole magnets have nothing on teenage solipsism when it comes to mutual repulsion. The neutral observer can see trouble coming when Bobby starts bitching about his team having only one girl to a guy who's only options for an intra-team romance are homosexuality and incest. Which is a little thoughtless, I think, though admittedly Johnny ups the ante rather too much by trying to pull Bobby's girlfriend (these kids today, huh?)
Before that happens, though, there's just enough time for a scrap with two super-villains - the Scorpion and the Beetle, foes more commonly seen brawling with Spiderman but who have now been press-ganged into service in the "4X" rogue's gallery ("We ain't "your" bad guys!" "Yes you are, I called it!"). Frankly, I think these two deserve their own series. With lines such as "The beetle is un-beetle-ble." and a name like "the Insidious Insects" ("Avaricious Arthropods" would be more accurate, of course, but one shouldn't expect too great a grasp of taxonomy from one's street-level supervillains), it'd be brilliant!
In conclusion then, an entirely throwaway but very funny end to an entirely throwaway but frequently very funny book. Good job all round.
Just for the record, though, why did Angel come back?
This issue takes place over three days.
Sunday 23rd to Tuesday 25th April, 1979.
X+Y+22 to X+Y+24.
Anti-Nazi League demonstrators and the Metropolitan police clash in Southall over a National Front town meeting. Activist Blair Peach is knocked unconscious during the fight, and dies the next day.
"The Iceman is in fact... BOBBY DRAKE."
"Yeah... that doesn't really mean anything to me."