Thursday, 8 September 2011

XHY #5: "Riders On The Storm"

(Gale force whinge.)


Oh, God.  This is just too stupid for words.  To do the full idiocy of this issue justice requires more than the abstract lines and curves that combine to form this written language or any other.  All that could possibly hope to suffice would be a large troupe of highly trained interpretive dancers, each ululating and twitching in a symphony of spasmodic chaos and bellowing at the top of their lungs like an atonal choir of primal scream practitioners.

Alas, words are all I have, and so they must perforce suffice.  This is a book in which we learn an airship is being kept aloft by magic radioactive steam, in sufficient quantity to suffuse the entire planet.  This is a book in which a man decides he hasn't time to search for a tunnel he's already been down once, and instead decides to travel 700 miles across the ocean to find a land about which he knows exactly two things - its on a continent larger than Europe, and it's at the other end of the tunnel he doesn't see the point in looking for.

Naturally, his choice of transport for this trip, roughly equivalent to that between John O' Groats and Land's End (especially if you give up at Truro) is a self-generated bridge of ice.

This is a book in which a man can fling himself out of an airborne vessel and into a blinding storm whilst tied to safety by a rope.  The rope does not snap.  Neither does his spine.  The winds that are busily demolishing the airship do not prevent him from being able to see or hear.  They are so strong and so predictable that they form a current he is able to pass along and catch up with a man with the power of flight who is in that same current.

Finally, at the merciful end of this ballet of bewildering nonsense, this ill-structured tale insensitive to logic or physics, this is a book in which Beast is carried away on the winds by a remaining steam-filled balloon, which is swift and sturdy enough to blow him from the Antarctic Ocean to just south of the Horn of Africa.

Oh, and Professor Xavier has a robot guardian never mentioned before or since.  This is a book with that happening in it, as well.  All told, this seems less to be an issue of a comic, and more the result of a bet made at Marvel about whether or not comic fans will literally buy anything you present them with.

(And yes, I realise that I've paid for this issue.  It doesn't count if it's FOR SCIENCE!)


The majority of this issue takes place in approximately real time, but the final few pages involve Beast travelling from Antarctica to Kenya, which is clearly a journey that would take some considerable time.

According to this truly excellent site, the distance from McMurdo Station in Antarctica to Nairobi in Kenya is approximately 5,500 miles.  The current world record for wind speed is apparently 316mph (at a height of 30 feet during an Oklahoma tornado), which would mean that, very roughly, Beast's trip took a minimum of eighteen hours, with the radiation from the balloon keeping him alive.  That would require the storm to get much stronger than how it originally seemed, though - Bobby was grounded at Tierra del Fuego, but he didn't have any problems standing up. 

If we think of the storm as being just that (rather than being the fasted hurricane-force conditions ever recorded), then we'd be looking at winds that are closer to 70mph, stretching Beast's trip to three days and change.  Of course, it's possible - indeed likely - that the winds get faster as one approaches Storm's location, so Beast may have been travelling far faster over Africa than he did over the Antarctic Ocean.

Let's split the difference, then, and assume he was blown across the world for two days.


Wednesday 25th to Friday 27th June, 1980.



Compression Constant

1 Marvel year = 3.08 standard years.

(Iceman is 31 years old)

"This is nuts."
Contemporary Events

Aerolinee Itavia Flight 870 suffers an explosion in mid-air, and crashes in the sea near Palermo.  A full explanation for the catastrophe remains elusive.

Standout Line

"...The appropriate ejaculation would be... GERONIMO!!"

Yeah, I know, sorry.  This is genuinely the best I can do.

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