Tuesday, 1 November 2011
UXM Annual #3: "A Fire In The Sky"
("It burns, burns, burns...")
Why does no-one ever just politely ask for assistance? A few issues ago Sauron tried to eat Storm on his way to begging for the X-Men's help, and this time round Arkon the Magnificent (too magnificent, it would appear, to have any use for our puny culture's "shirts") decides to engage in a spot of kidnapping. He chooses Storm as well, actually, but in all fairness I can see his logic.
Fortunately, even tired as she is after having accidentally caused a "Danger Room goes wrong!" scenario to play out (and, helpfully eat up eight pages of the book's "king-size" length), she can still hit someone with a pocket hurricane at a moment's notice, and Arkon the Magnificent (who's also too magnificent for trousers) falls through the floor and into a ruckus with the entire team. Despite their foe's prodigious strength and arsenal of lightning bolts, the X-Men are eventually able to best Arkon the Magnificent (whose magnificence precludes a decent haircut), but not before he teleports Storm back to his home dimension,
Most of the X-Men assume Storm is dead, but Cyclops remembers the last time Arkon the Magnificent (and what's with those furry briefs, huh?) was on Earth, he used similar weapons to kidnap atomic scientists. With commendable bravery, but perhaps limited forward thinking, Scott uses more of the lightning bolts to transport himself, Logan, Kurt and Peter to wherever Ororo has been taken, bringing their Magnificent prisoner with them.
They arrive in a large hall that's almost as full of battle-hungry warriors as it is needlessly ostentatious sculptures, and a truly impressive fracas breaks out. Nightcrawler sneaks away to find Storm, but discovers she doesn't need rescuing - she's perfectly happy to do what her kidnappers want, i.e. save their entire planet from disaster. Not even a ride out on the dragon Colossus has somehow learned to fly in the middle of a pitched battle will change her mind.
Jump-starting a generator built to light an entire planet is no easy matter, however, and Storm was only chosen by Arkon the Magnificent (shit helmet) because he couldn't find Thor. Cyclops hits on the obvious solution of using Storm to jump-start him so he can power the generator, thus ensuring a) energy is needlessly wasted in the transferal, b) he risks coming down with a bad case of having exploded, and c) Nightcrawler and Wolverine have only a few minutes to re-wire a machine even Tony Stark failed to build entirely to spec.
Unfortunately, this tremendously stupid plan works like a charm, saving Scott from an important moral lesson. Still, it also prevents the subjects of Arkon the Magnificent (formerly "Arkon the Counter-Productively Rude") from a slow death by cold and starvation, so there's that at least. After swearing endless gratitude to the team (though saying nothing about having learned the importance of calling ahead), the Imperion returns the X-Men to our dimension, where they can safely pretend none of this ever happened.
This annual takes place over several hours.
The opening narration places this story in summer. That seems pretty stupid from the perspective of Claremont's previous time keeping - was Arcade really the only supervillain the team faced during spring? - but it rather happily brings our count back alongside the continuity of the comic. We're also told that this is a Sunday, so we'll set this on the first weekend after the X-Men escape Murderworld.
Sunday 20th of September, 1982.
Ronald Reagan announces the formation of an international peacekeeping force, to be sent to Lebanon in order to strengthen its government and oversee the withdrawal of PLO forces.
"Damage is extensive... but casualties are remarkably light." I say the X-Men should just adopt that as their official motto/business card tagline.