Tuesday, 22 November 2011

UXM #143: "Demon"

 (In Westchester, no one can hear you scream...)


We begin this festive issue with a flashback to the days just after Thunderbird's death, and the battle with flesh-hungry N'Gaari demons that led to Storm obliterating the magical cairn through which they pored, somewhat coincidentally, into Xavier's grounds.  Apparently the resulting damage kept the extra-dimensional horrors quiescent - until now.

On a Christmas Eve lit by a full moon, another creature of darkness has slithered out into the world, seeking prey.  Gaze upon its hideous form and despair:

No.  Sorry.  I meant:

Easy mistake to make.  Anyway, the N'enomorph quickly finds an unsuspecting couple to act as an entree, and then it's off searching for the main course.

Meanwhile, in the mansion, Xavier is drilling Kitty on the workings of the Blackbird, a textbook example of what writers call "Chekov's suffocatingly boring lecture".  Charles rewards all her hard work by disappearing along with all the other X-Men (along with Mariko), leaving her all alone on Christmas Eve.  I know he's off to secretly pick up Kitty's parents as an Xmas surprise, but he couldn't have left someone else at the mansion.  How about that nice Colossus boy?

Of course, if he did that, then we couldn't watch Claremont re-write Alien with the ability to phase replacing flamethrowers and resourcefulness (and, to be fair, a bunch of other people to get eaten first).

Well, OK.  There's still resourcefulness.  Sprite works out pretty quickly that the marauding demon is faster and stronger than she is, as well as capable of killing her even whilst she's phased.  Her first move is to phase into a basement cupboard and so end her scent trail, but it's too smart for that. Plan B is to head for the hanger.  With only one working arm and half the mansion on fire around her, Kitty makes nine hundred metres in three minutes (!), gets to the Blackbird, and uses the afterburners to toast the Xeroxed rape analogy before it can so much as caress her with its tail.

Maybe I'm being a bit harsh with how much I'm ragging on this issue for its cut and paste job.  It's not like Scott, O'Bannon et al created the idea of a woman being chased through darkened rooms by an unstoppable killer, and at least Claremont's script is honest enough to acknowledge its debts.  Plus, whilst ghost stories are fairly standard Christmas fair, a full-blown festive creature-feature is a little bit rarer, and therefore a bit more interesting.

Also, as hard as it is to admit, the "family" scenes that bookend the action are genuinely quite sweet.  If you don't count Wolverine's attempts to disembowel Nightcrawler for kissing Mariko beneath the mistletoe, that is.


This story begins on Christmas Eve, and passes midnight into the early hours of Christmas Day.

The narration during the flashback to Storm's battle with the N'Gaari implies that the demons' first appearance took place in autumn of the previous year.  This actually tallies perfectly with our timeline, though not, in fact, Claremont's own.


Friday 24th to Saturday 25th of December, 1982.



Compression Constant

1 Marvel year = 3.69 standard years.

(Shadowcat is 22 years old.)

Also chased around empty houses.


Contemporary Events

It's my little sister's first Christmas, all of twelve days into her life.  She was actually really sweet, until my parents insisted on teaching her to talk.

Louis Aragon, French poet and Communist party member, passes away, aged 85.

Standout Line

"Too bad I don't have some king-sized flame-throwers handy.  They used them to fight that monster in that movie!  It didn't work, though -- but I remember what did!"

Who's letting Kitty watching these R rated movies?  No wonder she turned out to be a mutant.

(I guarantee you, there's someone in Arizona who would think that.)

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