Wednesday, 2 November 2011

UXM #125: "There's Something Awful On Muir Island!"

(Food, sex, power, headwear.)


It's the sixteenth anniversary of the X-Men comic, and Claremont's certainly come up with something suitably mysterious and dramatic.

Change is in the air from the very first page, as Moira attempts to gauge Phoenix's true power levels. Something's clearly bothering our Scottish biochemist, and not just because Jean is someone she's "come to love as the daughter she can never dare have" (nice set-up there, by the way).  Can Jean possibly control - or even survive - such power levels?  Jean shares the same concerns, but what they're blissfully unaware of is what they should really be worried about - the shadowy figure of the zombie boatman.

Actually, "boatman" really doesn't do anything to make that scarier, does it?  Zombie... cap-wearer?  Fuck it.  It's a zombie.  That can talk.  That should be enough.  Besides, more terrifying still is the sudden appearance of yet another patented expository flashback (this time, Claremont has to take all the blame).  Mind you, at least this one includes relevant details we weren't privy to, but more on that later.

While Jean receives a thorough probing, Cyclops is letting the Danger room do his poking for him.  Even after all this time, the new X-Men don't seem willing to treat his adventure playground seriously enough for his liking, and he's beginning to wonder if hoping for anything so advanced as teamwork is a waste of time.  One could point out that since the exercise went south once Wolverine disobeyed orders and tried to help Colossus out, the problem doesn't lie in teamwork so much as being led by a douchebag, but whatever.  We've got bigger problems.  Zombies in hats, people!  Hats!  What could be more horrifying?

I know, I know.  But better a fruit hat than a... zomberet?  Huh?
We also have to consider the threat posed by one "Jason Wyngarde", implicitly revealed as Mastermind last issue, who reveals to the audience that he's been stalking Jean Grey for months now, reappearing again and again in different forms to chat her up (that's him in Jean's flashback pretending to be a fat priest doing the robot), so that ultimately she'd start subconsciously trusting him in whatever form he took.  You'd rather think this was a plan doomed to failure when used against the most powerful ever telepath ever in the world ever, but I guess Jean must have a blind spot for greasy-haired men who've tried to kill her a couple of times. His ultimate plan is to dress her up as a fetish model, which makes sense (er, I mean, if one were evil, obviously...) and to enslave her to the Hellfire club, about which we shall learn more in subsequent issues.

So which storm will break first? Jean the psychic nuclear bomb, Jean the feisty latex model, or Jean the breakfast buffet for millinery-savvy monsters?  Well, Xavier is rushing back from Imperial Center now he's learned she kept reality in business all on her lonesome (you'd think he'd have checked the files earlier, wouldn't you; how long can zero-gravity flesh-pressing with a hot intergalactic space empress hold one's attention, anyway?), so we know where he's piling his chips, but Moira's already found the discarded golden tooth that spells trouble (also, her top-secret maximum-security cell is now empty, which is maybe the larger of the two clues).  Neither Moira nor Jean can stop the zombie (in fairness, Jean is momentarily distracted by a vision of herself in the middle of Pride and Prejudice, which only an utter tool would add zombies to), which leaves Alex, Jamie and Lorna searching the facility in shocked confusion. 

Back on the other side of the pond, Beast has come a knockin' at the mansion, having realised (eventually) that someone's turned off the burglar alarms Xavier put in before he left for his interstellar nookie tour.  I guess whatever the Avengers are up to have kept him pretty busy.  Regardless, his arrival allows him to discover that his former team mates are still breathing, and to let them know that Jean is similarly ambulatory (not that this is positive proof of life in this story). 

Cyclops runs for the phone, hoping for a cross-continental booty call, but instead receives the bad news from Lorna - his formerly missing, presumed dead girlfriend has, er, gone missing.  Polaris can't even finish her story before she's snaffled too.  That's just greedy, quite frankly, and Cyclops announces that he's not prepared to let it lie. The X-Men are once more bound for Scotland...


This story takes place over two days.

At one point the narration tells us that only weeks passed between Jean Grey becoming Phoenix and her saving the universe from Emperor D'Ken's madness.  This directly contradicts UXM #130, in which we're told the day they returned from the Shi'ar galaxy was in summer (Grey, as has been mentioned multiple times, became Phoenix a few days after Christmas).  Further proof that Claremont, whilst keen to put together a much more serialised comic book than had been seen before, had little interest in ensuring that the overall arc fit together in a particularly coherent way.


Monday 21st to Tuesday 22nd of September, 1982.


X+4Y+175 to X+4Y+176.

Compression Constant

1 Marvel year = 3.57 standard years.

(Storm is 35 years old)

"His manner is occasionally... irritating."
Contemporary Events

Ngwenyama Sobhuza II, King of Swaziland (formerly Paramount Chief, which frankly seems even more impressive) died aged 83.  His reign lasted almost 83 years, having been less than five months old when he succeeded his father Ngwane V.  Sobhuza holds the record for the longest pricely dated reign in history.

The first troops of the international force announced by Reagan two days earlier land in Lebanon.

Standout Line

"Das Bestie -- the Beast!" - Nightcrawler.

What?  German makes me giggle...

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