Sunday, 24 March 2013

UXM #181: "Tokyo Story"

("Why must I be a teenage dragon in love?")


And an old story it is at that.  Why, who amongst us hasn't met some gorgeous vision of loveliness, only to take them home and have them grow to two thousand times their previous size and wreck up a city?  It's bordering on cliche at this point.

Well, it is for the X-Men, if only because they're back in Japan. Apparently the additional cabin luggage of one dragon rather screwed the trajectories, and they're in the wrong place.  That said, if they had gotten back to Westchester, Lockheed's lady friend might be eating New York right now, so it all works out.  USA!  USA!

Feeling rather guilty at the surrounding chaos, Xavier dispatches Rogue to check in on Kitty, the New Mutants and Cyclops (who unbeknownst to the others has actually been deposited back with his new wife) and orders the rest of the team to sort out this giant dragon business. 

Not that they have to do it alone.  The Japanese military have constructed the kind of rapid-response inter-branch military response one can only see in countries regularly terrorised by giant rampaging monsters.  Not only are fighter-bombers and futuristic tanks deployed almost immediately, but the government gets hold of Sunfire - and, for some reason, his crime-boss cousin Mariko - to join the defense.  I'm not sure what pisses off Shiro more, actually, a gigantic flying lizard chowing down on the earthquake-proof buildings, or the fact that those amateur losers the X-Men need him to bail them out.  Seeing Mariko making eyes at the pictures of Wolverine on the monitor isn't improving his mood any, either.  Still, he heads off into combat anyway.  He's a professional..  And if he ends up singeing a few careless X-Men along the way, well, no harm done.  To him, anyway.

Meanwhile, the X-Men are on the highway to the danger zone.  I'm sure under normal circumstances a berserk dragon would pose little problem for our elite mutant cadre, but they've got their own problems.  Charles still wants to be in charge, but neither Wolverine nor Storm seem particularly interested in the idea, and the others keep deferring to Storm.  Still, maybe this is a chance for Xavier to prove himself in the field, demonstrating once and for all that his skills translate just as well to combat scenarios as they do to teaching advanced punching.  Maybe -

Ah.  Ah, no.  None of that.  A building falls on him and he starts panicking about not being able to move his legs.  Unfortunate.

At least he survives the experience (with legs undamaged, no less).  Others are not so lucky.  Wolverine rescues a small girl from the wreckage of another building.  Her mother is there too, but she's just too badly injured; beyond help.  As the last seconds of her life drift away, Logan swears to look after the child as his own.  Which is all very well, and all - though I seem to remember this storyline being suddenly dropped during Larry Hama's Wolverine run - but damn, that's a major and obviously problematic shift in tone.  I just can't understand what Claremont was thinking in linking a plump dragon on a bender with the death of an innocent mother. There's simply no way "remember that time the X-Men fought Lockheed's giant girlfriend" and "remember that time Logan adopted a child who saw her mother crushed to death" should refer to the same issue.

Still, that's what we seem to be stuck with, for the next few years at least. For now, there's still the issue of a mad dragon assaulting downtown Tokyo.  Fortunately help is on the way, as Lockheed shows up to tell the unstoppable violent beast that he never loved her anyway, so all this smashing of objects isn't getting her anywhere.  Heartbroken, she flies towards Russia, which if you ask me the Japanese are rather indecently happy about. The USSR have buildings too, you selfish jerks!

Fortunately for Andropov, the dragon disappears in a convenient but thematically appropriate puff of smoke, and the crisis is passed. Again, this all seems far too lightweight for there to be a butcher's bill attached, but at least it's all over, and the X-Men can go home and take things easy.

Except obviously that's not true. That's never true.  There's always another tempest on the horizon.  This time, it's the infamous Senator Kelly, who's decided that the X-Men saving a major metropolitan area from becoming a giant reptile's smorgasbord is just the excuse to introduce the "Mutant Control Act".  Because sure, the Fourteenth Amendment is nice and all, but Andrew Johnson couldn't foresee the arrival of mutants any more than the founding fathers could have, and that means it's time for a little originalism.  If no-one writing the constitution knew about mutants, then none of them could have meant to prevent any action taken against them.  Time, it appears, for a wee bit of institutionalised slavery...


Xavier states that it's been over a week since the Beyonder abducted them in Central Park.  That seems a little on the long side given what we saw in Secret Wars, but who knows how long it took our heroes to get to and from Battleworld, and whether said planet was working with a precisely Earth-like diurnal cycle, rather than an approximate one.

Another potential problem is the date on the front of Senator Kelly's new bill, which puts its release almost a fortnight after the X-Men first left Earth.  Of course, there's nothing to say either that Kelly's epilogue has to take place at the same time as the rest of the story (indeed the fact that the X-Men's tangle with the dragon has made it into the US papers means there must be at least some lag time), or that the bill is being put forward on the day Phillip and Robert discuss it.


Wednesday 18th January, 1984.



Compression Constant

1 Marvel year = 3.51 years.

(Illyana is 22 years old.)

Contemporary Events

Eighty-three people are killed in the Japanese city of Omuta when the Mitsui Miike coal mine explodes.

Standout Line

"<Spotters report a giant dragon, sir, heading for Tokyo!>"
"<It can't be!  This is the off-season!>"

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