Thursday, 10 May 2012
UXM #168: "Professor Xavier Is A Jerk!"
Last time on Uncanny X-Men, a newly-cloned Xavier announced that whilst he was glad to see the X-Men had kept Kitty alive during their adventures in space, the sheer implausibility of having managed that trick was evidence that Sprite would be better off joining the theoretically less danger-courting new mutants.
Kitty has not responded well to this suggestion, and has been griping at anyone who'll listen ever since it happened. Even Illyana is sick of Kitty's bitching, and points out anyone who didn't spend more than half their childhood in a demon dimension has no business complaining to her about how life is unfair when you're a kid. Stevie makes a similar point about pointless whining when Kitty screws up her dance practise, but Ms Hunter is able to make more of an impression, and Sprite resolves to prove her worth to the Professor by any means necessary. Illyana's response to this is pitch-perfect teenage girl: "I've been telling her this for a week now. Why doesn't she listen to me?"
Things seem tense across the team. Storm's powers seem to be out of whack, Scott has buggered off to hang out with Lee Forrester (a reunion filled with repression and stupidity, natch), and Nightcrawler and Wolverine are arguing regarding Kitty's situation. They were both originally dead set against Xavier's choice, but Nightcrawler is having second thoughts. He definitely has the best of this argument, pointing out that Kitty is a little young to be repeatedly risking her life, especially since her powers are still sufficiently untested to make her a potential liability. Logan for his part is reduced to arguing any lifestyle carries its dangers, which is sophistic in the extreme, and that "a decision can be logical, an' sensible -- an' still wrong", which is basically just an admission that he's got nothing.
Over in the gym, Xavier's got his own problems, he's barely any further along in his quest to persuade his new legs that there's nothing wrong with them. He's at least gotten to the point where he can walk without unbearable agony, but he can only do it by directing all of his telepathy inwards, which makes him useless to the team, something he's entirely not keen on.
It's interesting how context changes things. If you'd given Xavier this deal ahead of time - you can walk whenever you want if you switch off your powers whilst you do - he'd probably have (no pun intended) jumped at the chance. There's no downside to having the option. Giving him a body that should work and then finding out afterwards that this is the catch is a whole different matter.
Either way, Lilandra decides that this is the best moment to pile on, and tells him she's heading home. Man, I feel for them. Long-distance relationships are tough enough over the length of a country; once the intergalactic void comes into play, it's going to be a real slog.
(Still, it could be worse. Xavier could be going out with someone who places cuddly toy replicas of himself in front of his crotch when he's trying to be sexy, like 'Crawler does this issue. I swear, his relationship with his foster sister is messed up on so many levels.)
The next day sees the opening moves in Operation Reverse The Jerkiness Of The Jerk. This is another one of those moments where Kitty's character genuinely works, when the "teenage girl" label that floats above her like a blinking neon sign still allows her to be more than one note. I love how she tries both reason and passion, and when that fails, she falls back on being as helpful and complimentary as possible, in the hopes that this will make Xavier soften. My sister used to try the same thing on my father with similarly disappointing results.
Days later, Kitty shows no sign of quitting, but it seems pretty clear that it's game over. If you can't persuade your teacher to let you risk your life by calling him handsome, then what else is there left to try? That's a question that's going to have to wait a little while, though; Kitty's detected something not quite kosher in the tunnels beneath the mansion, and she suits up to check it out. Xavier rides telepathic shotgun, and warns her to be careful, but Sprite is characteristically blaze about the whole deal.
It turns out that there are two possible sources of disturbance. One proves to be Lockheed, the tiny purple dragon Kitty befriended in the catacombs beneath Sleazeworld. The other is a cadre of Sidrian hunters, the unpleasant pseudo-spiders that destroyed the X-mansion in a fit of pique fourteen issues ago. Apparently the little bidders made themselves a nest before trying to take out half of New York, and the younglings are finally ready to throw down. Between Kitty and Lockheed however, the aliens are distracted long enough for Colossus to show up and engage in a little pest control. Whilst the mutants take out the alien vanguard, Lockheed demonstrates his intelligence by torching the nest, having seen thousands of eggs there. Thousands.
When everything has calmed down, Xavier admits that he is impressed with how Kitty handled herself, and restores her to the team. Thus, for what is by my count the 5,973,659,357th time, Kitty proves all those mean nasty adults wrong by not being totally incompetent, in this case by avoiding being killed long enough for Colossus to show up and save her. Needless to say I remain, as ever, entirely underwhelmed.
Epilogue: Scott Summers arrives in Alaska with his brother and his father, to meet his grandparents for the first time. For whatever reason, though, they're unable to receive the plane in person, and instead the Summers boys are greeted by Madelyne Pryor, a young woman wearing a thick fur-lined jacket, a nervous smile, and Jean Grey's face...
Eeeeeeurrgh, this is an unholy mess. It's clearly meant to be Christmas - both Scott and Kurt mention this fact, and everything is covered in snow. On the other hand, this is almost certainly set between NMU #3 and #4, since in that latter issue no mention is made of Kitty being part of the junior team. Moreover, in NMU #2, a few days at most before the X-Men return from space, the young mutants are invited to a spring dance "a month from now", which they attend in NMU #4.
Unless this spring dance is taking place in January, we've clearly got a problem. Complicating matters still further, Dani mentioned the day of the X-Men's return that the weather was almost like summer, which makes it hard to believe it's mid December. And, as always, we have the fact that the X-Men were kidnapped in or just before summer, and their space adventures clearly lasted weeks, not months.
Of course, we already have some precedent here regarding ignoring festive seasons. We're going to have to do that again (along with the spring dance in NMU, but we'll get to that later). As regards the terrible snowstorm that's enveloped the mansion, I think our best bet is once again to make use of the Storm get-out, and assume her misery over losing Sprite from the team has caused her to start subconsciously generating snow storms.
The story itself takes place over several days, as Kitty tries to persuade Xavier to put her back on the senior roster. Cyclops has had time to finish hanging around with his father and get down to Florida, and Illyana has clearly been struggling to not punch Kitty right in her mopey mouth for a while, so we'll assume a week has passed since Xavier was cloned. That break allows us to take a suggestion from UXM.Net and bring UXM Annual #6 forward to around here. That story didn't make much sense at the time, since it featured the X-Men living at the mansion despite it having been destroyed, but nestled here it just about makes sense, if we assume Storm's relapse into vampirism was enough to shut Kitty up for a couple of days.
Sunday 17th to Wednesday 20th of July, 1983.
X+5Y+108 to X+5Y+111.
1 Marvel year = 3.68 standard years.
The government of Poland announces the end of martial law, and amnesty for political prisoners.
"We can't send Lockheed home, Professor. He doesn't have one anymore. And since the X-Men were partially responsible for that, we owe it to him to look after him."
"Eminently logical, Kitty. If I say no, will he eat me?"