Wednesday, 9 November 2011

UXM #132: "And Hellfire Is Their Name!"

("Party over here, fuck you over there!")


Brace yourselves, readers!  The X-Men are heading to New Mexico!

Actually, they're already there, visiting Warren in the "Angel's Aerie", which might be a ludicrously pretentious name but certainly sounds like something Worthington would come up with.  The team are here because Cyclops is convinced (entirely correctly) that the mansion has been compromised somehow by Hellfire, a decision which has led Xavier (equally reasonably) to freak out that Cyclops is ignoring him (clearly Scott hasn't explained his fears in case the plane is bugged too, though I don't entirely see why a little psychic congress couldn't have straightened all this out).

Out on a distant butte (snigger), Scott explains the situation to Warren, and then tries to move on to the thorny topic of Jean's increasingly strange behaviour, but Jean herself interrupts almost immediately, having tracked them from the Aerie.  Warren beats a hasty retreat back to Candy Southern (probably the most ludicrously proportioned female character to date, though of course things are going to get much worse before they get better), and Jean allays Scott's fears with the simple two-step process of psychically retarding his eye-beams, and then (presumably) screwing him senseless.  I can't help thinking that if she'd done that before she got all smashy-smashy, Cyclops might be noticeably less tense.

A week passes, and the Manhattan branch of the Hellfire Club throws itself a birthday party, which the X-Men seize on as perfect cover for a little snooping.  Wolverine and Nightcrawler sneak through the sewers (pausing for just long enough to strip some power lines to guarantee a blackout later in the evening), whilst Scott, Jean, Ororo and Peter walk in through the front door, snazzily dressed and brandishing tickets acquired for them by Warren (a Hellfire member through is deceased father).  There's a lovely moment when Peter starts fretting to himself about wearing a suit that would cost his father more than a year's wages - a nice nod to where Peter hails from without driving the point home - and then it's time for a little bit of Alias action.

Unfortunately, they're already scuppered.  Donald Pierce (who we shall see a great deal more of) has already noticed Scott and Jean arriving, and Sebastian Shaw responds by sending Wyngarde downstairs to prove his hold on Jean is as strong as he keeps insisting.

Whatever else Mastermind is, though, he wasn't wrong about that.  Cutting in whilst Jean and Scott dance, he whirls Phoenix away, drags her back into their "shared past" with another illusion, and takes her over completely.  Moments later, she's following him upstairs, and blasts Cyclops into a coma when he tries to follow.  Storm and Colossus are hot on his heels, along with the newly-arrived Nightcrawler and Wolverine, but the raw power of Shaw, the gravity-altering effect of Leland, and the sheer, er, robotiness of Pierce quickly overwhelm our heroes.  Within minutes they've all be captured, save for Wolverine, who was flung back into the sewers, and Jean, who has now fallen completely under Hellfire's influence, and has the heels, corset and fuck-me knickers to prove it...

Eastenders drum roll!


This issue takes place over the course of a week.

It's not immediately obvious where to place the initial scenes of this book.  Cyclops and Xavier both mention that Scott has taken the X-Men to Angel's rather than back to the mansion, which suggests they've come here directly from the Pryde residence in Deerfield.  On the other hand, Scott tells Warren that Cerebro detected Dazzler and Shadowcat "last week".

If we rule out the possibility of a long trip (which seems reasonable, given the X-Men's access to the Blackbird), the least implausible explanation I can come up with is that the X-Jet left Chicago the day before, and so technically since this is a Monday, Saturday would indeed have been in the previous week.  I'm not sure why it took more than a couple of hours to get to New Mexico - maybe someone on the jet has a dicky bladder.


Monday 4th to Monday 11th of October, 1982.


X+4Y+188 to X+4Y+195.

Compression Constant

1 Marvel year = 3.66 standard years.

(Shadowcat is 22 years old.)

Gods, I'd forgotten they remade Halloween.
Contemporary Events

Poland bans the worker's union Solidarity.

The wreck of Henry VIII's flagship, the Mary Rose, is raised.  She sank in 1545 during the Battle of the Solent, though the exact cause is not known (most likely she turned too quickly and began taking water through the open gunports.)

Philip Noel-Barker, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1959, passes away, three weeks before his 93rd birthday.

Standout Line

"Was that a man's scream...?  It is so hard to be sure over the noise of this party." - Colossus.

Sometimes a superhero's life is different from what you might think it would be...

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