Thursday, 17 November 2011

UXM #139: "...Something Wicked This Way Comes!"

(Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary...)


So, now that Kitty has joined the X-Men, it's time she learned the ropes.  The issue therefore opens with her first view of the Danger Room, safely behind the glass of the control room.  From there she can squeak with excitement as "hunky" Colossus dismembers his own weight in killer robots (actually, that probably wouldn't be very many killer robots, even when Peter's armoured up).  And, as a bonus, Xavier has arranged for her to see just how screwed someone is if they're simultaneously in the Danger Room and embarrassingly shite.

Poor old Angel, huh? Years after his graduation and departure, and here he is, back under Xavier's disapproving eye, and pissing it all away all over again.  This must be like bumping into your old maths teacher and them suddenly demanding you solve some simultaneous equations, except that nothing but your pride would be hurt if you flunked that particular test.  If Angel doesn't make it through his work out, it's going to get him killed.

Him, or someone else.  Nightcrawler draws the short straw, and only some quick reactions from Wolverine and new team leader Storm get him out alive.  Angel is suitably abashed (I guess he's learned something over the years), but Wolverine offers him the closest to a pep talk the diminutive Canadian is capable of; basically "You're gonna keep screwing up, but we'll have your back until you stop sucking."  How motivational.

Apparently almost watching your first brutal maiming constitutes some kind of christening for X-Men, because Xavier immediately suggests giving Kitty her codename.  "Ariel" is floated and rejected, but "Sprite" gets a happier reception.  No accounting for thirteen year old tastes.

Wolverine announces that he's headed back to Canada.  After twice being bushwacked by Alpha Flight, he figures he should head home and smooth some ruffled feathers.  I wouldn't trust Logan with that job if he replaced his claws with grooming brushes, but the man is determined, and it clearly has to be done.  Xavier suggests he brings back-up (he doesn't want Wolvie on ambassadorial duty either), and Nightcrawler volunteers.  He's hoping to run into Aurora again.  Dude!  It's not enough you're fooling around with your foster sister, you're gonna cheat on her too?  That's low.

Whilst Logan practices passing over olive branches without stabbing anyone, and Nightcrawler thinks about fooling around with someone who he never played tig with, Ororo takes Kitty to a local dance studio, so she can return to her hobby.  Sprite casually announces that she's a certified, honest-to-FSM genius, and so she took up dancing as a way of finding something she wasn't obviously the best person in the room at.  Is that how a child's mind would work?  I desperately ignored all the stuff I sucked at, and embraced anything that put me above everyone else.  But then I'm not a genius, or particularly nice.

Anyway, this particular dance studio is run by Stevie Hunter, a former professional dancer forced into retirement by injury.  Storm is immediately suspicious of her.  I admit that I don't remember why, but I do remember Stevie sticking around as a recurring character for an awfully long time.

Speaking of recurring characters, we move forward a day to where Heather Hudson - wife of James, who tried to abduct Wolverine twice and almost killed civilians both times - returning home from grocery shopping.  She's worried about paying the mortgage and finding money for a family (which after the hyperbolics of the last few issues makes for a nice change) when she discovers that Logan and Kurt have broken in to the house.  Clearly Logan hopes to make peace with Department H using the exact same tactics Pete Doherty employed to settle things with Carl Barat.  Next stop for Wolverine: Pentonville Prison and a string of shitty, shitty albums.

Heather takes this invasion remarkably well, though, mainly because she's so glad to see Logan.  Apparently they go way back.  Wolverine enquires after James, but learns he's by Hudson Bay, checking up on some local developments.

Specifically, Guardian has taken Snowbird and Shaman and is searching for some kind of terrifying creature.  He'd have taken the whole team, only the other half of Alpha Flight are on a covert mission to kidnap a robot.  There's a hell of a choice of assignments, huh?  Logan and Kurt track James down, and - after the former tries to start a fight (obviously) - offer to help.  There's a Wendigo prowling the woods (Wolvie identifies it, he's fought it before), and he's killed one camper and abducted two more already.

The five supeheroes agree to go after the creature at dawn.  The Wendigo has other ideas, though, and ambushes Nightcrawler that very night...


This story takes place over at least three days.  It's not clear whether we cross midnight in this issue or not, but we'll assume that happens early into UXM #140.

According to Nightcrawler, it's been "months" since Jean's death.  However, that's contradicted by three other events this issue: Angel taking his first spin in the Danger Room despite him rejoining the team before Jean died, Kitty getting her first view of said Danger Room, and Kitty returning to her dancing classes.  It's very difficult to believe any of that would have taken months (it also seems unlikely that even Wolverine would take so long to conclude Storm is a good choice for the new leader).

Of course, it has been months since the X-Men first thought Jean had died aboard Starcore One, and since they thought she'd been buried alive under the lava flow in Magneto's Antarctic lair.  Frankly, the ratio of time spent believing Jean alive to believing her dead has been exceptionally small since last Christmas.  It's hardly surprising that Kurt is getting confused as to what has happened where.  Indeed, I suspect that Kurt meant to say "weeks", here.  That would certainly make more sense.


Tuesday 2nd to Wednesday 3rd of November, 1982.


X+4Y+217 to X+4Y+218.

Compression Constant

1 Marvel year = 3.73 standard years.

(Shadowcat is 22 years old).

"Marry me!"
Contemporary Events

Michigan elects its first woman lieutenant governor.  They elect their first female governor 21 years later.

Standout Line

"Wolverine, call me "Professor", "Professor X", "Professor Xavier", or even, if you must, "Charles".  But not "Charley."  Is that understood?"
"Sure, Chuck".

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