Thursday, 2 February 2012

UXM #164: "Binary Star!"

(White holes and revelations.)


When last we checked in with our heroes, we'd left them aboard a Shi'ar pleasure yacht, desperately trying to escape "Sleazeworld", only for them to run straight into their pursuers' gun-sights.

This issue begins, then, with a blizzard of plasma fire.  Fortunately for the X-Men, though, the incoming Brood fighter-craft are under strict orders not to harm their quarry (except Wolverine, who's no longer of any use).  You have to feel a bit sorry for Hunt-Master T'Crilee, actually, under orders as he is to persuade a spaceship to stop by repeatedly failing to shoot it, hoping that its occupants will eventually decide they'd rather return to the clawed embrace of their erstwhile torturers, rather than risk the chance the Brood will accidentally take out their life-support by failing to miss.  His queen will kill him if he fucks this up, as well.

Inside the Z'Reee Shar, it's all hands to battle stations.  Logan, Carol and Peter man the weapons consoles (there's a nice moment where Colossus fesses up to himself that he's just not quick-witted enough to make for a decent shot, which makes a change from the usual "everyone has been trained for everything" approach employed in today's hyper-militarised X-Men), and Cyclops gets to fire his eyebeams through a spontaneously-grown ruby quartz hull blister.  Storm gets a similar vantage point, only to find that the surrounding void makes her lightning super-powerful. Which, of course, is bollocks on a stick.  This is an old argument I'm about to start up again here, but even in the context of superhero comics, there's a difference between ignoring the laws of physics and swinging your dick in their face, giggling.  Either way, though, she becomes too scared of killing the Brood or their unwilling organic vessels to keep fighting.  I don't know about anyone else, but I'm officially sick of Claremont pulling this "I dare not use my awesome powers!" crap, which is kind of worrying considering we have another decade of his stories still ahead of us.

Whilst the rest of the team fend off the Brood (or in Nightcrawler's case, try very hard not to die from near-vacuum exposure), Kitty gets into a pressure suit, and heads out to try and fix the warp-drive, which has been badly damaged now that T'Crilee has realised he'd better start aiming at the Z'Ree Shar after all.  Time is quickly running out, though, not only is Storm throwing a strop rather than saving herself and her dearest friends, but Carol keeps freaking out for reasons unknown.  Something is changing inside her, an interaction between her half-Kree DNA and the after-effects of the Brood using her body for silly putty.  Power is building, reaching astonishing, dangerous levels.

She ignites at the same moment as the warp drive.  Kitty has saved the day, though not without cost - a piece of shrapnel escaped her attention, and both her pressure suit and her shoulder have taken a pretty bad hit.

Back on Earth, Xavier sits in his now-rebuilt mansion.  Which, given it was just yesterday we stood outside the skeletal superstructure of the barely-started repair job, means the Shi'ar construction devices Charles mentioned must be impressive indeed.  I'm not sure how they knew how to replicate all the furniture just so, but really, after the bullshit of unstoppable space lightning, this barely raises an eyebrow.  The Professor is dining with Ilyana, trying perhaps to figure out just how extreme the changes wrought on her during seven years in Limbo really are.  Right now, she seems entirely stable and undamaged, but when has that kind of luck ever lasted around here?

On board the Z'Ree Shar, a wounded Kitty awakes to discover that Carol has become a being of sentient stellar flame.  I think.  Or, she's just on fire and hasn't noticed yet.  Either way, she's able to use enough of her new-found power to kick-start the ship - which had floundered after the initial warp hop - and still has enough energy left to start waxing philosophical on the matter of what exactly she is now.  "My energy source is the primal fabric of a universe!" she concludes, deciding she can tap directly into "white holes."  Quite frankly, I think she's making this shit up off the top of her head, though I wouldn't want to say that to her scary burning face.  She also names herself Binary, presumably due to the two stars that adorn her new costume, and I guess we're not supposed to talk about how that makes no sense, either.

Something else isn't adding up aboard ship, for that matter, though this time the X-Men have noticed: the serious injuries Kitty sustained during her EVA have healed completely.  Wolverine (who's also healed up, though that of course is to be expected) lacks the acting chops necessary to hide that he knows what's up, but he still won't spill the beans, preferring to shout at Cyclops again for not letting him gut the Brood Queen.  It's Storm, in the end, who figures it out, sensing the presence of another life within her.  It doesn't take her long to put two and two together, and when she does, she steals a shuttlecraft and blasts off.

With Kitty magically healed but Storm inexplicably mental, Cyclops tells Wolverine he's run out of time - exposition better be forthcoming now, dammit.  Logan finally relents, and explains to everyone that they've each got anew Brood Queen growing inside them.  Oddly, he forgets to mention that Carol is safe.  The results of this are disastrous: swearing revenge for herself and her friends, Binary launches herself into the void on a mission of vengeance.  Which is good of her, and all, but the resulting explosive decompression doesn't look like it's going to be good for anyone...


This story follows on directly from the previous one, and continues into the following day, at least in terms of ship-time on board Lilandra's yacht. We do however learn that this story doesn't start on a Monday, which requires shifting things forward by a day (we can easily assume the X-Men were in their Brood-induced comas for a little longer).


Tuesday 22nd to Wednesday 23rd of May, 1983.


X+5Y+52 to X+5Y+53.

Compression Constant

1 Marvel year = 3.74 standard years.

(Colossus is 25 years old.)

"My thoughts are too slow."
Contemporary Events

Radio Moscow announcer Vladimir Danchev is removed from the air after praising Muslims in Afghanistan for standing up to the Soviet invasion.

Standout Line

"Everyone to bed!"

Empress Lilandra.  Zebedee.  You never see them together, do you?

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