Wednesday, 12 October 2011
U1C #3: "The Next Life"
(After the howl fades.)
Types. We all have 'em, ay lads? Some men like blondes, some men like brunettes. The more discerning amongst us, such as myself, have a thing for redheads (also: string players). Presumably there are men who make their choice based on a mellifluous voice, or, I don't know, grace, or something. Takes all sorts, I suppose, though I've yet to find any major flaw in the three stage assessment process of hair, then tits, then competence with the cello.
Of course, what we've got down on paper isn't always what we head for in real life. I've dated a guitar player, a saxophonist, and a horn player, and my current girlfriend won't even sing in front of me in case I dump her out of sheer disgust. We all make compromises.
Still, spare a thought for poor old Sean Cassidy. So far as I can tell, his only criteria in a woman is that she not be murdered by terrorists, and he can't even manage that.
Reading through the original issues of UXM after Second Genesis, I'd always thought Banshee got relatively short shrift. Beyond his obvious love of Moira, and occasional references to his comparatively advanced age, he always seemed more like a character for others to react to than a personality in his own right. Things eventually picked up with Generation X, but once Moira died, it seemed like every writer who got their hands on him was determined to make him fuck up in as many different ways as possible.
All of which means it's really pleasant to get a closer look at the man now, whilst he still has the speed and savvy to beat the whole team in a game of capture the flag, and whilst he's caught in that first blush of love, perhaps the happiest he's ever been since his first wife died.
So guess who comes a-calling?
Well, first of all it's just Sean's father-in-law, practically catatonic and mumbling about his daughter. Soon enough, though, courtesy of Mr The Grave Robber's Unquiet Spirit and Hideous Stereotype Hire Company, Maeve herself puts in an appearance.
This strikes me as one of those pointlessly over-complicated plans. Why go to all that effort hiring a voodoo priest to raise your dead daughter from the grave to tempt Banshee out to Maine? Couldn't Rourke just have asked to see Banshee regarding some legacy of Maeve, or something, and then just shot him? I know Rourke was enjoying having his "daughter" finally obey his commands, but even so, wouldn't you err on the side of caution when trying to finish off an X-Man? And what would he have done if Sean hadn't decided to travel to Belfast or (more likely) Moira didn't think much of the idea of joining her boyfriend for a road trip in search of his dead wife?
Still, as slightly silly as it is in places, it's a nicely put-together story, and there's an undeniable melancholy in seeing Banshees struggling to overcome a trauma we all know he is destined to suffer through again.
Meanwhile, Peter Corbeau is back on Project Starcore's space station with its international crew (you can tell its international, because some of them wear US flags, whereas others wear US flags but say "Bohze moi!" as well), and it appears that the Sun is being used as a disco by a trio of medieval knights. Ooooooooh!
This story takes place over two days.
I'm not sure exactly which IRA bombing is supposed to have taken the life of Maeve Cassidy nee Rourke. From the exhaustive Wikipedia list of IRA operations, I can only find three civilians in Armagh who were killed by IRA bombs during the troubles. Of course, it's more than likely that there's no exact real-life incident that the story is referencing - I can certainly see that leading to trouble.
Let's assume that this was an entirely fictitious bomb, then, which means we can learn nothing from the fact that the anniversary of Maeve's death has only just taken place.
We do however have to consider the amount of time it would take Wolverine to get back to New York from Georgia. Given the speed of the X-Men's jet, and assuming Cyclops was feeling generous enough to go and pick Logan up, we can assume Wolverine was back at the mansion sometime on the day after he landed, and so this issue can be placed as starting the day after at.
Friday 12th to Saturday 13th of February, 1982.
X+3Y+284 to X+3Y+285.
74 people are murdered in Xococ, as part of the Rio Negro Massacres which took place in Guatemala between 1980 and 1982. As many as 5000 died overall at the hands of military personnel paramilitary organisations, who were enforcing the forced relocation of citizens from the fertile agricultural valleys to the comparatively barren highlands.
"I won't live in the past -- that's what finished Rourke." Poor Sean. I actually think he spent the rest of his life believing that line, actually. There's nothing as likely as to make us repeat the mistakes of the past than endlessly telling ourselves we've left them behind us.