Friday, 28 October 2011

UXM #121: "Shoot-Out At The Stampede!"

(The Shortstuff Redemption.)


Heh.  You can tell John Bryne is "co-plotter" on this outing - within two pages we're treated to an entirely pointless run through the story so far as Cyclops "thinks back" over how the X-Men got to where they are now.  It's as clunky as ever (though mercifully shorter than usual), and made all the worse by Scott's fond recollecting taking place in the middle of breaking into Alpha Flight's supposed field HQ.  I rather doubt that's how they do it in the SAS.

Mind you, Alpha Flight aren't exactly models of professionalism either.  Vindicator's negotiation style rivals Sunfire's for petulant combativeness, Snowbird attempts to defeat a woman capable of shattering her bones with lightning or tearing her apart with a hurricane by turning into an owl (which is the size of an Alsatian, admittedly, but even so...) and Michael Twoyoungmen uses the mystical forces bequeathed by his grandfather to create a snowstorm so fierce it threatens to destroy the entire country. Even if Wolvie hadn't quit out of a desire for freedom, this sextet of worthless chumps would have driven him out of Canada faster than a Celine Dion homecoming concert.

The freak storm becomes such a problem that Storm has to almost entirely drain herself in order to sort everything out.  Northstar demonstrates his gratitude by suckerpunching her, because Northstar was and is a classless dickhead.  For a moment the fight halted by Storm's actions looks like it's going to start up again, but Wolverine chooses the most surprising moment possible (i.e. just as Cyclops is going to punch Northstar's teeth out for his indescribable cuntishness) to announce he'll go quietly in exchange for safe conduct for his teammates.  Vindicator agrees, and the Canadian government send their finest Wolverine-proof paddy wagon to pick up everyone's favourite killer midget.

The X-Men board their battered plane with a sense of dejection, but Cyclops isn't done yet.  He announces his plan to immediately return to break Logan out, only to find there's no need - Wolverine's aboard! He cut his wait out of his cage almost instantly, and snuck back to the jet before anyone else knew what had happened.

That's pretty damn cool right there.  Not just the effortless nature of his escape (Claremont still doesn't seem entirely sure whether to write the team as spirited rookies or supremely competent super-heroes, but we certainly know which way the wind is blowing regarding Wolverine), but his total disinterest in keeping his word.  It's a very unheroic thing to do, which of course is exactly why it's so right that Logan would do it.


This story takes place over the course of about an hour, and starts a few hours after the last issue ended.

We're once gain told that it's winter (see my previous post as to why that's ridiculous) and that it's been months since Vindicator last tried to abduct Wolverine, which is at least something that we can agree on.


Sunday 15th of August, 1982.



Compression Constant

1 Marvel year = 3.58 standard years.

(Storm is 35 years old).

"Strain was pure... murder."
Contemporary Events

Turkish-Armenian Artin Penik sets himself on fire and dies as a protest against terrorist actions by Armenian separatists.

Standout Line

"You may be a match for my human form, woman.  But can even you stand against --  giant Arctic owl!" Yes, Snowbird.  Yes she can.

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