Saturday, 19 November 2011

UXM #141: "Days Of Future Past"

("It's all a little bit of history repeating itself.")



Kate Pryde makes her way through the ruins of New York with a medkit under her arm, an "M" on her jumpsuit, and a neural inhibitor around her neck.  She's on her way to meet Wolverine, but she's jumped by "rogues" first.  Bluffing her way out by pretending to be on "official Sentinel business" doesn't work, but Wolverine showing up to kick them in the junk does.

Logan's a major now, in the Canadian Resistance Army, part of a global resistance movement against the seemingly unstoppable Sentinel forces.  He's brought Kate the last part of the jammer she's building, just in time for her to catch the last horse-drawn tram back to camp.  Say what you want about the Sentinels, but they made the trains all blow up on time.

Kate leaves her fellow passengers behind (they're all "baseline" humans, or "anomalous" people, who are too close to mutants to be allowed to breed) and returns to the mutant internment camp.  The Sentinels have put the seemingly endless cemetery right beside the front gate, because someone at some point programmed them with the ability to fuck with people's heads.  A lot of the names on the headstones are familiar.  The heroes of this world, the ones that fought and died to save people from the depredations of the Sentinels, they're all in the first row.  Those programmers certainly knew what they were doing.

Most of the X-Men are there, too.  Aside from Logan and Kate, only Ororo and Peter remain alive.  They've formed their own resistance cell, along with Franklin Richards and his telepathic girlfriend Rachel, and a crippled Magneto.  They're pretty sure the Sentinels are planning an all out offensive tomorrow, which in turn more or less guarantees global nuclear war, so someone has to step up and be Matthew Broderick.  It looks like Kate's volunteered for the job, despite the fears of her husband Peter that not only will she get herself killed, but she'll bollix the time stream whilst she's at it.  Apparently, it's time for a little temporal topiary.  They find a secluded spot and set off the jammer, freeing them from the effects of the neural inhibitors, and Rachel lifts Kate's mind from her body, and sends it spinning through the time stream.

Wolverine succeeds in breaking them out before the Sentinels discover them, and with the comatose Kate in tow - and Magneto left behind to throw his wheelchair at the first robot to start something - they attempt to escape through the sewers.  The Sentinels jump them and fry Franklin, but the rest fight their way clear, and head onwards to the Sentinels' HQ.  If Kate fails in the past, then destroying that is the only way to stop a new world war.


There is, of course, one tiny flaw in the plan, which is that thirteen year old Kitty Pryde is a goddamn idiot.   Who in God's name walks into the Danger Room because the door wasn't locked?  We don't knock during potentially lethal training exercises?  Of course, she should be entirely safe in any case due to being entirely untouchable, but she panics and freezes up, forcing the less invulnerable mutants around her to stick their necks out. 

Fortunately she's recovered her nerve by the time her own training session starts, allowing her to just walk through everything Xavier can throw at her.  This is the problem with trying to train someone who can't be touched.  Though I guess we know just letting her wander around the mansion would do the trick.

Anyway, people are only halfway through congratulating Kitty for walking forwards when her future self arrives inside her cranium and takes over.  Kate demands the X-Men take her to Washington, where Xavier and Moira are about to testify before a congressional panel on the mutant issue.

Whilst en route, Kate offers up a history lesson.  Today is the day Senator Kelly, mutant rights skeptic and Hellfire Club member, is assassinated by mutant terrorists hoping to scare humanity into leaving them alone.  It doesn't work.  The American people respond by voting in a rabid anti-mutant bigot, who in turn hands over responsibility for the "mutie problem" to the Sentinels, hoping their superior minds can keep humanity safe.  It doesn't work Just like they did the last two times, the Sentinels overthrow their fleshy masters, and everything goes tits up.  And what with this being comics, that's a lot of tits.

(Incidentally, this whole set-up reminds me of the McCarthyite riff that I thought the Sentinels represented when they were first introduced.  Apparently, once Kelly dies, people will be so scared of evil mutants that they'll be only too happy to assume every mutant is evil, and then willingly hand over the reins of power to whomever is most likely to persecute mutants mercilessly,until one day they realise that the cure is worse than the disease.  Of course, this is hardly a story that first played out with Tailgunner Joe.   Same actions, expecting different results).

Back to ample bosoms, though, somewhere deep in the Pentagon a woman steps into a side office and shifts our form.  It's our first meeting with Mystique!  Somehow, she's managed to smuggle Destiny, Pyro, Avalanche and the recently escaped Blob into the building as well.  Displaying some fairly impressive leadership skills, Mystique manages to stop her boys from brawling for long enough for them to head off to kill someone.

At the congressional hearing, Senator Kelly is busy playing to the cheap seats about the upcoming genetic apocalypse.  Moira tries to talk him down (clearly she hasn't had much experience with US senators), but hasn't got too far when the X-Men arrive. Storm gets a telepathic warning out to Professor X, but it's too late!  The wall explodes, and Mystique reveals the New Brotherhood of Evil Mutants!

(Christ, but Raven needs to fire her PR guy.   Even Al Qaeda has sense enough to not call themselves "Muslims for baby-eating".)


This issue is set on Halloween, the Friday before the US presidential election.  Obviously, out in the real world, this would mean it can't be set in 1982, but who knows how the Marvel Universe operates?  If moving the dates forward two years was good enough for Aaron Sorkin, then it's good enough for the X-Men.

Even so, some small degree of reshuffling is needed.  There might not have been a presidential election in 1982, but the midterms were held on Tuesday the second of November.  If we try and place this on the preceding Friday, we would have to remove six days from the timeline.  On the other hand, the issue is also specific about it being Halloween, which in 1982 as only two days before the midterms.  There's no reason to choose one over the other, so we'll stick with the Halloween idea to minimise our worries.

So, we need to get rid of two days.  It would make the most sense to do so after UXM #131; since that issue is set on a Sunday, removing less than a week before it wouldn't do any good.

That really only leaves the period after Jean's funeral.  This causes us some problems regardomg the X-Men's concern over hearing so little from Cyclops since he left (as it will now be only a week and a half after he resigned), and it rubs uncomfortably against the ending of last issue (in which Wolvie and Nightcrawler were taking the long route home and the Blob had only just escaped), but it's definitely the best option available.


Sunday 31st of October, 1982.



Compression Constant

1 Marvel year = 3.78 standard years.

(Shadowcat is 21 years old.)

Starred in Ballet Shoes.
Contemporary Events

The future of pop music changes forever when the Cheeky Girls are born.  Brought into the world on Halloween, in Transylvania.  Draw your own conclusions.

Standout Line

"Where were you, Kurt?  I know it was your turn to clean the breakfast dishes, but that shouldn't have made you late for this training session."   Life in the X-Men: not as fun as you might have hoped.

No comments:

Post a Comment