Wednesday, 14 December 2011

UXM #155: "First Blood"

("It's a bug hunt.")


Hoo, boy.  There's a chill in the X-Jet even Storm can't sort out, as Cyclops demonstrates once more his almost infinite capacity for petulant sulking.  Not that finding out your friend has kept secret the fact your dead father is actually still breathing isn't a fairly decent justification for getting the hump, of course, and Storm doesn't exactly help matters by putting on the blame on his dead fiancee.  Corsair, for his part, argues he'd always assumed Scott and Alex had died when their parachute caught fire, but Cyclops seems less bothered about the twenty years his father has been gone, and more about the fact he's such a dick now he's returned.

In keeping with last issue's constant interruptions, however, the recriminations have to be put on hold when the entire Blackbird is beamed onto the transporter deck of an orbiting Shi'ar Dreadnought.  Xavier and the X-Men in the Caribbean are likewise dragged upwards moments later.

The Shi'ar have, as Corsair claimed, come to retrieve their kidnapped Empress.  Their plan is pretty simple: use Xavier's psionic rapport with Lilandra to pinpoint her, and then send all the troops they've got to blow up everything between them and her, up to and including Earth (Corsair has been grabbed so he can be executed for treason, which rather damages the meaning of the word, if you ask me).  This doesn't particularly sit well with Xavier, who demands the aliens follow his lead as the Empress' lifemate, which grants him exactly twenty-four hours to find Lilandra himself before the big guns start firing.  Chancellor Araki also demands two hostages to ensure Xavier doesn't try and take on the Shi'ar armada if he runs out of time. 

Which is a pretty major acknowledgement of how much respect he holds the X-Men in, when you think of it - to need a human shield to ensure the cream of the Shi'ar Navy doesn't get its arse kicked by a half dozen "barbarians."  In the event, the professor justifies Araki's nervousness, choosing Nightcrawler and Sprite to remain on the ship - the two X-Men most capable of fucking up an interstellar battlecruiser and getting out alive, especially after Xavier sneakily gives Kitty a psychic crash-course on Shi'ar technology.  Smart thinking, I reckon, even if Sprite's first use for her new found knowledge is to program the clothing replicators on board to play dress-up.

Also in the "unusually bright move" column: the first move the team makes upon returning planetside is to call in the Avengers and the Fantastic Four.  Unfortunately, only new recruit Tigra (best known these days as being one of the last women in the Marvel universe to doggedly stick to the tradition that superheroines should dress like hookers in a heat-wave) is available to answer the call to arms, but them's the breaks sometimes.

Charles manages to get a rough fix on Lilandra, and the team head off to save her, newest kitty kat in tow.  For some reason, though, Corsair and Storm have already left, which no-one noticed, for some reason, but fortunately, for some reason, they've ended up where Lilandra is being held hostage anyway!  How lucky is that?

Well, perhaps not all that lucky, considering their immediately gunned down by an alien sniper.  The Brood have arrived at long last, presumably because Claremont concluded that the N'Garai weren't quite ripping off Alien quite enough.

Actually, the Brood don't just riff off Alien - alien blood, embryo implantation - but share a devotion to their queen that resembles that seen in Aliens, despite Claremont's critters predating that film by four years.  So maybe the whole thing is a wash, especially considering how the Brood themselves seem to have been shamelessly ripped off twenty years later by a certain major UK gaming, er, workshop. 



 This particular band of gribblies has apparently allied itself with a Shi'ar rebel calling herself Deathbird, who's about to execute our injured heroes when the rest of the team show up, and an inter-species dust-up takes place.  One on one, the Brood are no match for the X-Men (especially Wolverine, natch), but Colossus is doused in acid which eats away part of his chest, meaning he has to be left behind with the smart-but-unable-to-fight guy whilst the alien nest is stormed.

Ultimately the Brood are unable to hold the line (that's what you get for infesting an IBM building and hoping it'll double as a fortress), but whilst the X-Men have been bunker-busting, Deathbird has kidnapped Xavier!  Forced into surrender, Deathbird zaps them all and, believing them dead, hops into the spaceship hidden within the building.

Our heroes, however, have managed to survive, but as they clamber out of the rubble left by Deathbird's exit, they discover how their enemy was able to snaffle Professor X in the first place: she's stabbed Colossus through the chest, killing him.  And, if that wasn't bad enough, the cops have shown up, guns pointed at Cyclops and co., and they don't seem all that concerned about having to read mutants their Miranda rights...

Eastenders drum roll!


This story follows on quickly from the last one, and takes place over several hours.  It's difficult to tell exactly how long this issue lasts, but considering the fact that last issue's Sidri attack took place after dinner, and the X-Men spend hours at the Avengers mansion but the streets are still crowded once they leave, I'm guessing we've passed into a new day at some point.


Tuesday 6th to Wednesday 7th April, 1983.


X+5Y+6 to X+5Y+7.

Compression Constant

1 Marvel year = 3.69 standard years.

(Shadowcat is 22 years old).

With the Skins and such.
Contemporary Events

The space shuttle Columbia returns to Kennedy Space Centre, having landed a week earlier at White Sands, the only shuttle ever to do so.

Standout Line

"I will withold Imperial action for one rotation of your world around its planetary axis..."  - Araki.

God, but I hate crap like this.  If an alien knows the words for "rotation", "world", and "planetary axis", it fucking knows what a "day" is, right?  Hell, it's been five years since my last Japenese lesson, but I could still say "one day" if I was trying to extort something out of battleship Yamato.

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