Thursday, 3 November 2011

UXM #126: "How Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth...!"

("Split up and search Scotland!")


Man, the X-Men really aren't messing around, are they?  And by "messing around", I mean "making the slightest concession to health and safety". How close did that fishing boat they buzzed come to capsizing in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic?  Why is Colossus the only one strapped in?  And why does he then leap from a plane to crash into a building they only assume is abandoned, and which might have God knows what inside it?  This is a level of recklessness that borders on the criminal.  And what about the cost of smashing through the roof of a multi-million pound research complex?  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get insurers to pay out for an "act of superheroism"?

I much prefer Nightcrawler's approach.  Quick, quiet (other than the trademark "BAMF!"); nothing objectionable there beyond the stench.  Plus, I really like the "split-screen" effect of his teleport:

Note the vertical BAMF effect creating the "gutter". Lovely.
Fortunate no-one was standing there at the time, of course. 

Instead, they're in the kitchen, or at least Polaris (unconscious) and MacWhirter (dead, mummified) are.  The X-Men split up to search the island, a task made slightly more difficult by the original search party not knowing any of them are still alive.  Nightcrawler almost gets microwaved by Havok, and Storm and Cyclops narrowly avoid being shot before everyone is brought up to speed.

Everyone who's firing on all cylinders, at least.  Jean's so out of it that she initially assumes Cyclops is Jason Wyngarde, which has to be pretty awkward.  Mind you, at least it happened whilst Jean was having visions of Jason and herself dressed up for elegant balls, rather than the one she has later this issue.  The seedy nature of Mastermind's illusions comes to the fore as he twists Jean's mind into believing that not only is she leading a hunting party to chop up a human being dressed as a stag, but she'll do it whilst astride a horse whilst wearing a skirt.  Even John Wilmot would have considered that a bit beyond the pale.

Anyway, back to the plot: "Mutant X" has stolen first a Madrox dupe (still being referred to as "clones" here) and then a boat, and made his way to Stornoway, presumably to hunt longpig herds with somewhat less access to fancy powers and illegal firearms.  Actually, the first person he runs into is Mastermind, so that plan doesn't work out too well.  Old Mutie X might even have been in some serious trouble, had Mastermind not been too busy working out a new illusion in which Jean addresses the servants without having covered her ankles.

But who is the mysterious Mutant X anyway?  He is, it turns out, the answer to last issue's burning question - why doesn't Moira dare have a child?  It's because she already had one (to a man she hates), and he turned out to eschew breast-feeding in favour of devouring the life-force of the baby-sitter (or something).   A lifetime of searching for a cure yielded only the fact that he doesn't like metal ("Why won't he let me slice open his chest cavity with this blunt scalpel? He must despise steel!").

So Moira tells us, at least.  I don't if she can trust her, though, given she's forgotten Dundee exists and thinks her son is as likely to cross the entire country to haunt Edinburgh as he is to stop off in Inverness, less than half as distant.   It's easy for me to snark with access to Wikipedia, I suppose, but did they really not have atlases in 1979?

Jean interrupts her disturbing daydreams long enough to find another corpse, but it's Nightcrawler and Wolverine who find X himself, now inhabiting the body of a Scottish policeman.  Wolvie briefly ends up on the menu before Mutant X works out just how many calories there are in "three million bucks worth of adamantium", so he chooses instead to reveal his "true" name - Proteus - and his true mutant power - turning reality into a Dali painting.

That might have been all she wrote, except Storm arrives in the nick of time, and punishes Proteus by detonating his ride.  In response, Proteus chooses Ororo as his next vessel (possessing neither a metal skeleton nor a face like a slapped demonic arse), and no amount of hurricane winds seems able to stop his advance.



This issue begins an hour after the last one ended, and takes place over the course of roughly a day.

Cyclops mentions that it's been "months" since Banshee lost the use of his powers.  Our current timeline has it happening about seven weeks prior to that story.  I think we're safest assuming Cyclops is exaggerating a little; at this point our dates for the last twenty-odd issues are so convoluted and jury-rigged that I'm loathe to touch them again without a very good reason.


Wednesday 22nd to Thursday 23rd of September, 1982.


X+4Y+176 to X+4Y+177.

Compression Constant

1 Marvel year = 3.59 standard years.

(Storm is 35 years old.)
"While Storm lives, you'll harm no-one!"
Contemporary Events

Amin Geyamel, brother to Bachir - President-elect of Lebanon at the time of his assassination nine days earlier - is himself voted in as President of that country.

Standout Line

"Nightcrawler does his best to reassure his friend... unaware that -- thanks to Proteus -- Wolverine perceives his words as drops of orange rain."

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