("You taek the high road, and I'll take the road at ninety degrees to my chosen destination")
So, last time around we left Storm trying to stop Proteus with a storm that's now described as "an elemental holocaust the likes of which these Scots highlands have never seen" but looks just like Sunday afternoon on Arran to me. In any case, it isn't doing the job, and Storm is only saved when Moira arrives and tries to shoot her son dead. She almost manages it, too, but that pesky Cyclops pulls her rifle wide.
A brief deviation, here. The refusal of comic heroes (well, most of them, and until the '90s) to kill their enemies has long been a topic of conversation amongst fans. David Brothers over at 4thletter! is particularly outspoken here, maintaining that allowing a killer to survive is to take moral responsibility to every victim they rack up from then on.
I think that's taking things vastly too far - knowing that something would have been impossible had you acted differently does not make you responsible for that result. That said, when dealing with someone like Proteus, who is almost impossible to stop, even harder to catch, and who isn't a killer due to upbringing, philosophy, opportunity or circumstance, but because it is his biological imperative, it's genuinely pretty hard to understand what Cyclops thinks he's doing. Indeed, by the end of the issue, two more people at the very least are dead because Scott wants to take Proteus alive, with no reason to believe that's even possible.
Of course, by the final page Cyclops has concluded that Proteus must die after all, which makes his earlier queasiness all the more frustrating.
Having said that, Cyclops does manage to at least partially redeem himself, by figuring out the only way to help Wolverine out of his shell-shocked state (a really nice touch - Nightcrawler is freaked by having his sight and sound rearranged by Proteus; Logan's super-senses means the same experience has terrified him beyond endurance) is to fling coffee in his face and call him a coward. The resulting scrap convinces Cyclops that the team still has some fight in it, and also reminds us that whatever else Scott is, he's exceptionally well-trained and disciplined when the brawling starts.
Whilst Scott is delivering one of his more painful lessons, however, Proteus is on Culloden Moor, hoovering up a new body, and Moira (who's gave the team the slip after briefly knocking out Cyclops) is in hot pursuit. She's pretty sure she knows where he's headed. He's been heading south ever since he reached the mainland, after all. So then she ends up in Edinburgh...
Heading south? To Edinburgh?
Let's review Proteus' journey, shall we? He started out on Muir Island, which doesn't really exist, but his first stop in the real world was Stornoway. After that he fought the X-Men some fifty miles north-west of Culloden Moor, before heading there to steal another body, and setting his sights for Edinburgh (which really isn't 200km from Culloden, even if that was the unit of measurement used in the UK). If he was heading south before that first scrap, that means his journey, as the crow flies, looks like this:
I realise the man is psychotic, but that route still makes bugger-all sense. What the hell is wrong with Ullapool, huh? There's a ferry and everything.
In any case, Moira figures her son is in Edinburgh so he can murder his own father (referred to rather melodramatically as "One-I-Hate" by Proteus himself). Turns out ol' Pappa X is a Scottish politician, who refuses to divorce Moira (being married to a Nobel Prize winner is apparently a big bonus in political circles, but just try telling that to Tipper Gore), and who's been estranged from her for so long he doesn't even know he's 50% responsible for another human, let alone a murderous freak of nature. I'll admit to feeling a little sympathy for the guy, slimeball though he is: "I had your son twenty years ago, didn't tell you, and now he's coming to eat your soul" is a hell of a way to start a reunion, especially since Moira pulls a gun on poor old Joe as soon as he starts shouting (she just can't wait to shoot up her relatives, can she?)
On the other hand, I have to respect Moira for driving hundreds of miles to tell someone she desperately wants dead that he's about to, you know, become dead. Not that it works, of course. Proteus attacks the instant she leaves, and absorbs his father. Meanwhile, the X-Men have made it to Edinburgh, and are lounging around on Edinburgh Crag (depicted here as Generic Hill By Generic City). They feel Joe MacTaggart's death, and head on over to face Proteus, only to find his powers have grown to the point where gravity has become his bitch, making pitched battle difficult. Plus, he quickly gains Moira as a hostage, threatening to kill her if the X-Men don't back off.
Obviously, this is the point where Cyclops decides Proteus must be killed, whomever the cost.
The board is set...
This issue follows on directly from the last one, and runs from sometime in the morning to late afternoon.
Thursday 23rd of September, 1982.
1 Marvel year = 3.61 standard years.
(Storm is 35 years old.)
|"For once, Cyclops, my anger|
Model, actress and "Flake Girl" Alyssa Sutherland is born. So is uber-WAG Alex Curran, and porn actress Shyla Stylez. Make of this what you will.
"Push me too hard and I'll possess Moira as I did her husband!" - Proteus
"H-husband?!?" - Banshee
Way to keep focused on what's important, "spalpeen"...