Tuesday, 27 September 2011

XHY #8: "Shadow On The Stars"

(Space Invaded.)


When I get around to it, I'm going to go back through these issues and count the number of pages that are devoted to pointless flashbacks.  There's no doubt in my mind that with the three pages included here to recap the team's last battle with the Sentinels - something that has nothing to do with the rest of this issue - there'd be enough of them to fill an entire issue at the very least.  From the letters page in this book I assume the Sentinels will be showing up pretty soon, but are we going to get a recap of the recap?  Or is the first three pages here a complete waste?

Whilst we're on the subject of letter pages, I should note that the responses there make it clear that Bryne has put a lot of work into ensuring these stories fit seamlessly into continuity (they note, for example, that Lorna can't be referred to as Polaris at any point because she's given the name by Erik the Red in UXM #97).  Obviously, I stand and salute this noble endeavour.  Indeed, although some of the actual distances involved still make no sense, it's clear Byrne is working to a carefully constructed timeline.  That's exceptionally thoughtful of him.  Shame his stories are such guff.

Having said that, this is probably the best issue produced so far.  It's certainly better paced than usual.  It also makes extremely logical use of the characters.  Of course the Fantastic Four (who go gallivanting around the cosmos every other Tuesday) are going to be concerned about where the Z'Nox are headed next, whereas the X-Men would just be happy to get rid of them so they could concentrate on the next threat to their survival.  I suppose it also helps that story is a continuation of one in which a massively superior alien force is defeated by the power of love, so it's not like Bryne could really do it any damage.

Ultimately, the terrible dialogue drags the story down, as we've come to expect, but otherwise it's perfectly serviceable.  I'm glad they haven't dropped the "something is wrong with Xavier" idea, and that Candy Southern is still snooping around (though I'm no closer to getting any idea about what it is she's trying to achieve).   Havok and "Magnetrix" are off to find Iceman, too, so hopefully we'll have the team back together soon, so they can go rescue Angel, now sold off to a slaver(?) named Kreuger.

Assuming, of course, Jean can survive being possessed by what looks an awful lot like the Phoenix Force.  I can barely believe I'm typing this, but, I'm interested to know what happens next.

Just as a general point regarding my hatred of the dialogue, something struck me as I was reading this issue again (I generally read each book three times before I post an opinion, so I hope you appreciate the twenty-four times I've been exposed to this comic).  Maybe I'm reading it wrong, and Byrne is deliberately trying to bridge the gap between UXM #66 and Giant Size X-Men tonally as well as in terms of narrative.  In which case, I'd have to say he was wasting his time (I've read the whole of the pre-cancellation X-Men in the last four months and I still think this comic is a waste of time), but it would mean an experiment has failed, rather than a hack has been given access to a typewriter.


The main story in this issue takes place over a single day.  The captions note that Lorna and Alex's interlude (and presumably Angels', too) aren't necessarily entirely concurrent, but in both cases, it's just as likely that they happen before Scott, Jean, Hank and the Fantastic Four [1] blast off into space as after.

The opening narration places the battle between the X-Men and Larry Trask's Sentinels as being "four weeks ago".  Our current timeline has it as being three weeks ago.  That's hardly a disaster, but given the already-discussed ridiculous speed with which three X-Men reached Kenya from Antarctica, it makes sense to inject another fewdays into the time-line.  That would throw Iceman's experiences out of whack with what everyone else was up to, but after this issue's "not quite meanwhile" admission, I don't think that should get in our way.

Furthermore, Xavier stipulates that the Z'Nox attack took place nine days ago.  That's also out of synch with our current time line, and when combined with the information above, really only leaves us one choice: to pretend it's feasible for Storm's, er, storm, to blow Hank to East Africa within 24 hours.

I'll make the changes to the timeline when I post the 1980 dates later today.


Monday 7th July, 1980.



Contemporary Events

Led Zeppelin perform their last ever concert (reformations don't count!) in Berlin.

Standout Line

"The temporal conjunction is appropriate to the application of concussive force!" Hank's impression of The Thing.

[1] Who for some reason have swapped out Sue Storm for Crystal from the Inhumans.  Anyone know why?


  1. Who for some reason have swapped out Sue Storm for Crystal from the Inhumans. Anyone know why?

    I believe this was the time that Sue took a leave from the team towards the end of or shortly after her pregnancy with Franklin.

  2. Ah, that makes sense. Thank you kindly.