Tuesday, 15 November 2011

UXM #138: "Elegy"

(The flashback episode.)


There's very little that can be said about this issue, since it's almost entirely devoted to a recap of the team's exploits to date.  It's presented from Scott's perspective, and there's an occasional reference to his feelings for Jean tossed in to try and make the issue look less like a history textbook.

It won't fool you for a second.  I suppose a primer for over a decade's worth of comics isn't necessarily a bad idea, and you'd definitely want to do it in a quiet moment like this one rather than mid-story, but I can't for the life of me understand why any writer worthy of the title would want to piss away the chance to piss away the funeral of a major character so absolutely.  "Previously on X-Men" lasts over sixteen pages, the conversations at the graveside for six panels, with two of those dedicated to Cyclops announcing his departure.

The issue ends with the arrival of Shadowcat at the mansion, which, combined with the team retrospective taking up the majority of this issue, rather implies that the team has successfully replaced Jean already.  As much as Kitty Pryde became massively (and inexplicably) popular, it seems a little egotistical to pull this sort of "cycle of life" move, given Jean's own enduring popularity and the fact she'll be replacing someone created by Stan fucking Lee.


This issue takes place over the course of Jean Grey's funeral.

Cyclops notes that it was only a week ago that he and Jean discussed making a life for themselves together.  Presumably, that conversation happened in New Mexico whilst the team planned their strike on the Hellfire Club.  We'll therefore place the funeral seven days after the X-Men struck against Shaw's Inner Circle.  That only leaves three days between her death and funeral, but who knows? Maybe the Grey's have some Jewish blood in them.


Monday 18th of October, 1982.



Compression Constant

1 Marvel year = 3.75 standard years.

(Shadowcat is 21 years old.)

Plastered on every bus in Coventry.
Contemporary Events

Pierre Mendez France, former PM of France, and Bess Truman, former US First Lady, both pass away.  So does the director of Sex Maniac, actually, but that's probably less noteworthy.

Standout Line

"The X-Men will never be the same again!"  Counting our chickens a little early, aren't we, Claremont?  Still, I suppose he has a point.  The days when I could be sure I could open an issue without vomiting in uncontrollable disgust are now behind me...


  1. No mention of Jean's gravestone saying she was 24?

  2. Good point. I guess I bypassed that at the time because the gravestone has actual dates, which I generally ignore. The years here cause us some problems, though. We could fiddle with the dates to make Jean 23 when she died, but even so that would make her 19 when she joined the X-Men, which contradicts other sources.

    I think though that considering the general flow of the X-books in later years, it's pretty difficult to justify the idea that Jean Grey was 24, or even 23, when she "died". She's still supposed to be in her early to mid twenties in the mid '90s, for example. Putting together dates for the Claremont years always involves a tension between his writings at the time and the later development of the X-Universe (as well as his own inconsistencies, of course; witness Kitty's two fifteenth birthdays). This seems like one of those occasions when it's best to ignore the on-panel evidence (or, to put it another way, to assume there was some mistake when the gravestone was put together).