Thursday, 29 August 2013

DAZ #35: "Brawl!"

(Skip It)


This is the third pure Shooter platter we've dealt with here (DAZ #29 being a co-write with Frank Springer, though it reads like Shooter had no small influence), and we can now see a pattern emerging.

Not a pattern in terms of quality, to be sure. DAZ #31 I absolutely adored, and her graphic novel I found mostly dull and occasionally offensive.  Reading this issue, though, it became clear that my sharply differing appraisals of those two books comes from my very different reactions to two instances of the same approach.

There are, it turns out, three concepts on which Shooter builds his Dazzler stories.  The first is examinations of what it's like to be a mutant in a mutant-hating world.  The second is the imparting of some kind of moral message.  The third, which grows to some extent from the first two, is the total removal of supervillains for Dazzler to fight, and a noticeable reduction in how much Dazzler uses her powers.

I've mentioned several times that the third of these three ideas is one I'm firmly behind, and I certainly haven't gotten sick of it yet.  The first is also clearly a good thing, and Shooter once again deploys it well here.

It's the morals of these stories that cause the problem. Well, that and the cheesecake.

But let's stick with what works for now, shall we?  The first half of this issue is dedicated to Dazzler's struggles with her genetic heritage.  Before this can really take off, though, Shooter has to take us through the events of Alison's star turn in MGN #12.  Usually I pour scorn on these catch-ups, but with the price-tag of Dazzler: The Movie potentially putting DAZ regulars off and them needing to know where Roman Nekoboh has gone to, there wasn't really any avoiding it (which might be a good reason to not have done it at all, but that's a fault of Shooter the editor, not Shooter the writer). And Shooter knows his stuff well enough to work the recap into what's going on here.  Dazzler's recollections go into a tape-recorder intended for Storm (which is a bit contrived, but we'll look past that), and no sooner has she finished than her landlord and his wife burst in armed with a lead pipe and a baseball bat.

They want Dazzler gone, you see.  Too dangerous to have her mutanty mutantness rubbing off on the furniture.  Except, now they've heard Dazzler's story, and they feel all guilty. This tells us two things. First, it gets much harder to maintain one's bigotry when forced to deal with the targets of your fear/hatred turning out to be actual people.  Second, they heard Dazzler sob out a story about losing the man she loved and any shot she had of pursuing her dream, and still decided to threaten to beat her brains out if she didn't leave her home.

It's a supremely ugly moment, and not one that feels particularly hyperbolic, though that might just be my cynicism showing through. Ultimately the pair relent, but the landlord still can't resist threatening Alison over the rent before he leaves.  They may have allowed their guilt to overcome their terror, but that will only get you so far.

This sets up a pattern over the following day as Dazzler wanders through town looking for any job that can help her with the rent. With her secret now out, no-one will so much as consider the job.  Some hate her, some fear her, some simply fear other people hating and fearing her, but it all amounts to the same thing in the end: no job for Ally.  One man even threatens her with a crowbar, forcing her to disintegrate the weapon with her powers. She's damn fortunate no-one saw the incident, really.  I was half convinced someone would, and her only moment of rebelling against the profound injustice she was suffering under would just cause her more problems.  It's what's so pernicious about social injustice; the very acts that seem the most justified and offer the most catharsis to readers tend in the real world to go very very badly. Because people are awful.

And all this is awful too, but in a very deliberate way.  For all that Bronze Age comics do other things very well (mainly in tying together the remaining spurts of Silver Age craziness with the first buds of Modern Age sensibilities), it's not often they make me genuinely feel for a character, but Shooter manages it here.

After all this, though, Dazzler finds a job in Femmes, a low-watt night-club which employs and caters to only women.  This is where the cheesecake kicks in (what kind of woman puts her lipstick on topless?  You're just going to smudge it with your top, surely?), but other than rolling my eyes, there's not much to be done here.  Let's ride on over it, and into the main idea here, which is that Dazzler's first night as a waitress is complicated by the arrival of a rather unpleasant roller derby gang.

Now, there are two different, though not mutually exclusive, ways the back half of this issue can be interpreted.  Before that though, here's what actually happens: the "Racine Ramjets" are boorish and obnoxious, issuing threats to the staff and the band, throwing drinks at Dazzler when she gets their order wrong, and verbally and ultimately physically abusing her colleague, the diminutive "Spoonsize".  Enraged by their behaviour, Dazzler confronts them, but seeing that nothing short of a fight will get the women to back down, she tries to get herself and Spoonsize out of the blast zone.  By then it's too late, though, and a brawl breaks out, one Alison has no trouble winning due to being both in peak physical shape and not being embarrassingly drunk (top tip, people: ordering six drinks apiece when you arrive at a club can seriously effect your bar-brawl performance.  Just Say No To Quite That Much Booze).

As I say, we can look at this two different ways. One is basically sound but shot through with problems.  The second is much worse.  Again, let's go with the best option to hand.  This is clearly an issue of two halves. The first subjects Alison to humiliation after humiliation over her status as a mutant, until she can finally take no more and blows up some guys crowbar to teach him a lesson.  The second subjects Spoonsize to humiliation after humiliation over her status as a five-foot one woman, until Alison can finally take no more and ends up beating up her assailants.  The message here - one that Dazzler delivers to Spoonsize directly - is that you can't spend your life ignoring the abuse of others, because sooner or later you begin to internalise it.  Better to face down the bullies than to sit back and take it.

And... well, look. I appreciate a good "fuck you" to the bullies of the world as much as the next guy who was smart and bad at sports in school. But if Shooter wants to link the treatment of short people to the treatment of mutants, itself a transparent analogy for the struggle of minorities (particularly I think gay people, at least this issue), then we need to be careful here.  It's one thing to remind people they shouldn't let bullies get to them (for all that such advice tends to strike those actually being bullied as essentially useless). It's another for a powerful character to tell a less powerful character they should be standing up for themselves more.  It's certainly another thing for a wealthy white guy - I don't actually know whether Shooter is gay or straight, but if it's the former, he has to my knowledge never confirmed it - to tell people less secure in society that they need to stand up for themselves more.  Trayvon Martin stood up for himself, and now he's dead and his unrepentant killer is on tour looking at newer and more deadly guns.  I'm not advising black and/or gay people in America should sit there and take whatever abuse comes their way.  My point is it's not my place to offer that advice at all. But neither is it Shooter's.

That's the best of the two ways to look at this.  The other is much worse.  And really, given the script specifically links Alison's encounter with a mutant-hating thug and Spoonsize's problems with a bunch of drunk bullies, perhaps it's unfair to even mention another reading.  On the other hand, after the T&A extravaganza of MGN #12 and panels here like this:

I'm not particularly inclined to be generous on the gender politics front.

Consider the moral we gleaned from the early pages of MGN #12: if a man is nice enough on the inside, he'll be rewarded with a woman who's nice on the outside. We talked about the fundamental internal unbalance of that message last time, but it's also worth comparing to what we see here.  Last time Shooter told the boys to be nice and they'll get pretty ladies.  This time he's warning pretty ladies they have to stand up to those butch chicks trying to boss them around.

Whatever the intent of the story, there's something fundamentally troubling in the optics here: two pretty and pleasant young women being knocked around by beefy women, some of whom are dressed in a traditionally masculine way.  And just look how short their hair is, folks!  Why, I'll bet my last dollar some of them aren't even into standard batting rules, if you get my meaning.

As editor-in-chief, Shooter took a lot of flak back in the day in his refusal to allow gay characters.  I'm not interested in rehashing the personal animus/business necessity argument over said stance - not today at least - except insofar as to point out that he clearly had no problem including obvious caricatures of a certain type of gay person, just so long as he could hold them up as an example of people pretty young girls should stand up to and tell to piss off.

Even by my standards, it's possible I'm reading too much into this, but once you see it, it becomes impossible to un-see.  And it causes a lot of damage to an issue that started out very well indeed.  But that's the problem with morality plays.  They can only work as well as your own morality and experience can let them. To absolutely no-one's surprise, the powerful white guy explaining how women should react to one another is a sight nobody needed to see.


This story takes place over two days, the second of which is explicitly referred to as Wednesday.

There's a small problem generated here, in that this issue seems to follow on more or less directly from the Dazzler graphic novel, and makes no reference at all to Beauty and the Beast.  This means pushing the latter series back a bit, but since this is one of only two DAZ issues to overlap with the miniseries, I'm not too worried.


Tuesday 3rd to Wednesday 4th October, 1984.


X+6Y+215 to X+6Y+216.

Contemporary Events

Wednesday 4th goes down in history as the only day in human existence in which Australians have conquered Everest but no Canadian has been to space.  I hope there's a plaque to that effect somewhere.  04.10.84; we salute thee.

Standout Line

"What you start out as and what you amount to can be different things. She may be one of those awful mutants, but... well, I once knew a man who was a Democrat, who later reformed!"

Mrs McCorkle is kind enough to talk her and her husband out of chasing Alison away at cosh-point.  Note a) her inability to distinguish between a reality of someone's life and a simple choice they have made, and b) that Reagan-era Republicans are awful.  You don't have to have seen Angels in America to spot the parallels here.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

UXM #189: "Two Girls Out To Have Fun!"

("Flames. Flames... on the side of my face.")


Today, we'll be focusing on two refugees from different times; the Nova Roma Amara and the future-fleeing Rachel Summers.

Actually, we'll be focusing on them slightly more than the actual issue does, which is a shame.  Linking up these two characters is an eminently sensible idea. It all plays out pretty obviously: you look at their similar discomfort at 20th Century US culture, and then generate friction over their radically different ideas of what constitutes "normal". It's Introduction to Drama, really.

Which is why it's so frustrating that Claremont doesn't really try it. There's stuff in here about how messed up Rachel's childhood was - at one point she freaks out about having to wear a disguise because it includes a collar, so traumatised is she by having been brainwashed into hunting her fellow mutants in the mid 2000s - but she keeps it sufficiently buttoned up that there's nothing for Amara to bounce off of.  For her own part, Amara seems to have acclimatised to New York sufficiently to no longer be constantly freaking out.  Which I guess makes sense, but I don't think it would have taken too much effort to think of some new and unpleasant encounter that would cause her problems.

Instead, the potentially promising dramatic pairing just becomes a standard superhero team-up when Rachel senses Selene nearby.  I suppose one could argue that this is just one more similarity between the two girls - Selene tried to kill them both, and succeeded in killing Amara's mother - but that still feels like a wasted opportunity. [1]

Maybe this is a space issue, since Claremont also uses this issue to say farewell to Storm, who has decided that without her powers she'd rather not hang around the mansion, and is instead returning to Africa. Seems a reasonable move, though I fear it'll mean another round of catastrosulks from Kitty when she gets back from Japan.  We also spend some time following Jaime Rodriguez as he fights the malign influence of the necklace he found last issue,only to get stabbed in the subway by a mugger who steals (and activates) the necklace. 

Poor old Jaime. Things really don't get any better for him.

Anyway, so: Claremont issue, sub-plots bubbling away and character moments in odd places. Fine.  The main event here concerns Amara and Rachel tracking Selene to the Hellfire Club, where she is being presented as the new Black Queen by the high priest of her cult (New York chapter). Sebastian Shaw seems to find this all somewhat presumptuous, but her power levels are such that his opinion proves to count for very little.  This is interesting, actually, because it sets up a fascinating alternate timeline, but we'll get to that soon enough.

So, whilst Selene is grandstanding, Rachel and Amara sneak into the building, dress themselves up as French maids. I'd make a comment about '80s comics here, but really, a secret society of infinitely powerful and wealthy people who are almost entirely white dudes? There's no way they don't dress their servants up as Yvette.

Sweet childhood memories...
Unfortunately they're found by the butler and forced into serving some of the club's clientele, which apparently involves Rachel wandering into rooms and bursting out laughing at the (presumably) kinky sex-games going on within.  Which, it's good to laugh, I guess.

Things turn sour when we discover Selene knows our heroines are there, however, and she captures them to present as gifts to the still smarting Shaw.  The placation plan rather backfires somewhat, though. Rachel's utter hatred of the idea of being enslaved again leads her to break free of Selene's control and, figuring her enemy will be watching her carefully for hostile signs, shunts her mind sideways into Amara's, so she can start setting fire to all and sundry.  That's pretty cool, actually, if you'll forgive the - what, anti-pun? Nega-pun?

Anyway.  The resulting ruckus allows the X-cavalry to arrive (this is becoming something of a habit), and Selene is rendered unconscious almost immediately.  Xavier asks Shaw if he wants some, but Shaw is content with the situation, and allows the X-Men to leave in peace.

That's a nice touch, and a reminder of how far these comics have already come.  A few years ago it would be impossible to imagine a villain calmly letting the team leave (especially after smashing up so much of his HQ); they would have to insist on a fight on general lack of principle.  Not here though, Shaw is both smart enough to realise a knock-down fight in his own power centre isn't worth the collateral damage, and grateful to the X-Men for subduing Selene, presumably giving him time to figure out a way to keep her in line.

This raises two interesting ideas.  The first I flagged up earlier: what would the current X-Men line look like if Selene had killed Sebastian Shaw?  Not only would that have noticeable effects directly (what would happen to Emma Frost's life, for instance), but it would almost certainly mean directly facing off against Selene much sooner, in what would almost certainly have to be a battle to the death.

Which brings us to the second point.  Amara ends this issue furious over the fact that Selene is basically just being let off entirely, despite being a callous serial killer.  And let's face it, she has a damn good point. Rachel suggests Shaw will be keeping her in line from now on, and I can see an argument (not expressed in the issue itself) that Xavier figures attempting to incarcerate Selene would have changed Shaw's mind on the no fighting front, but simply informing Amara the X-Men do not kill and walking away still feels like a huge cop-out. I am familiar with all superhero traditions regarding the "do not kill" rule, and none of them have ever seemed to me watertight, but this is just stupid.  You can't let a serial killer, who among other victims murdered your own student's mother, walk around free because you're afraid to get your hands dirty. Not if you want to look yourself in the mirror.  And certainly not if you want to look yourself in the mirror whilst wearing a costume.

Still, the deed is done.  And in the short term, the team has bigger problems in any case. Jaime's subway mugger has bitten off rather more than he can chew, and the necklace has released the malevolent spirit of... Kulan Gath!

[1] One obvious idea would be to contrast their feelings on slavery. Rachel's experiences as a mutant-tracking Hound have left her with a deep-seated loathing of the idea of slavery. Amara comes from a culture where owning slaves had been a perfectly sensible idea for at least two millennia.  The script goes so far as to mention slavery several times, but only really from Rachel's perspective (Amara hints darkly at the terrible fate which awaited her had the Nova Roma coup gone differently, but I think that's about something else than slavery per se).

All that said, though, there's little reason to believe 1985 Claremont could have pulled this idea off in a way that wouldn't have been awful to read, so perhaps we should be grateful for small mercies.


This story takes place over the course of a single day.

Jaime Rodriguez mentions that tomorrow is payday, which suggests this issue takes place on a Thursday.

Just before Jaime meets his unfortunate end, he tunes in to a news broadcast we've seen before during the Dazzler graphic novel.  Since said broadcast is lamenting the beginning of shooting on Dazzler's first (and so far only) movie, we'll have to move this story forward into May.  This suggests Ororo has taken her time deciding it's best that she leaves the team, but that doesn't seem unreasonable. Since Wolverine and Sprite are described as still being in Japan, we may need to return to this later, but we're good for now.


Thursday 3rd May, 1984



Compression Constant

1 Marvel year = 3.46 standard years

(Beast is 32 years old.)

God, that's a year younger than me. The horror!
Contemporary Events

Standout Line

"The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center lie in ruins."

It's probably not fair to pick up on that line, since it's now so divorced from its original context of Rachel remembering the hellish future. Still, it does its job more effectively these days.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Watashi Wa Wolverine Wakarimasen

Step one in any self-respecting hero's journey to Japan: head down a well; fuck up Sadako.
Given my stated interests, I should probably say something about The Wolverine.  I'm finding myself oddly unmotivated, though.  Not because it's a bad film - it's definitely better than the first and third X-Men films, and there's a case to be made that it's better than it's predecessor.  I don't know where this malaise has come from.  Maybe the Avengers juggernaut and the surprisingly funny Iron Man 3 have set the bar a bit high. Maybe I've just seen enough superhero films for now. Maybe it's just that after almost three hours of dental surgery yesterday the film would have to really stink for it to really register.

And it certainly doesn't stink.  There's a lot to be said in its favour.  The frequent action scenes are tight, and the script is perfectly serviceable, if a wee bit workmanlike.  The Japanese setting is utterly gorgeous, but without the kind of dismissive "this is just a pretty view spoiled by weird locals" [1] approach American cinema took a long time to shake off, if indeed it every really did.  There's obviously a limit to how much cultural exploration one can fit into a film fundamentally about slashing shit with claws, but there's some nice little touches here, like the home-cooked meal scene, or the beautifully bizarre (and bizarrely shaped) hotel featured halfway through.

In most ways, then, The Wolverine is probably a better film than its predecessor, which in itself was a perfectly decent film.  There's just two problems that stop me from being more enthusiastic with the movie than I am (spoilers below):

Sunday, 18 August 2013

TWTYTW: 1984

The best way to summarise the X-books during 1984 is probably with two numbers: 6 and 800.  The former is the number of years the original X-Men comic had been running for by the point it had produced as many issues as our merry mutants romped through in 1984 alone.  The latter is, give or take, the number of comic pages Chris Claremont wrote (or co-wrote, for 88 of them) over the same year.

That's a pretty impressive output, if not in terms of rate, then certainly in terms of focus.  Claremont remains the unquestioned master of the X-universe at this point, cranking out more material than ever before.

It wouldn't last, of course.  The point at which it becomes clear Claremont has become a victim of his own success is still to come, but already the waters are being tested with the Iceman limited series, and with Hank McCoy appearing in Beauty and the Beast.  Claremont had done very little with either character at this point, of course, and one could argue that in 1984 more readers would associate them with the Defenders than with the X-Men, but between these two titles and the continuing (if inexplicable) success of Alpha Flight, it's becoming increasingly clear that whatever magic formula Claremont used to make his band of mutants such a runaway triumph, it didn't actually require him to be at the reins.

In short, then, this year probably marks the zenith of Claremont's work on the X-Men. In terms of control, at least, not necessarily creatively.  Though while we're on the subject, let's talk about the creative side. There's still plenty of ideas tossed out that will remain important to the franchise to this day - Warlock, the Hellions, Forge - but the overall impression here is of things unspooling.  There's nothing wrong in extended storylines, of course, it's one of Claremont's best features as a writer.  But the effect of his approach here is to lead to is too many issues that do nothing but mark time, or which finish a major story half-way through and then start off in a crazy new direction, or which spill over from one title into another in a way that must have been frustrating to anyone not having the time or money to keep up. 800 pages is a pretty big commitment in an industry that charges as much per square inch as comics companies do.

An argument could be formed from this that Claremont has at this point overextended himself, but I think the truth is slightly different. I think the problem here is that Claremont's obvious talent for generating ideas and for characterisation, as hyperbolic as he is in both instances, doesn't translate into a firm enough understanding into structure.  Two twenty-two page comic books is not the same prospect as a single double issue. A story that lasts two and a half issues needs to be reworked.  Oh, and if you insist on linking multiple titles, for God's sake get your timings right.

For all that some sniff that comics have never managed to recapture the wonders of the Silver Age - an argument I don't have much time for, actually, but that's a conversation for some other time - it strikes me as hard to argue that comic writers in general have become much, much better at figuring out how to use the nature of a comic book sensibly.

Elsewhere in the X-books, Dazzler continues to limp towards cancellation as the plan to make Alison an actress fighting selfish humans rather than villainous super-people fails to provide the hoped-for boost.  Which is a shame, really, since it does have some nice ideas, and allows the anti-mutant angle to breathe more than the main title has arguably managed since God Loves, Man Kills.  On the other hand, the painful slog of Dazzler's own graphic novel suggests that the idea has very much run its course, and with the title relying more and more on removing Alison's clothes at every available opportunity, there's little feminist case one can make right now for the only female-focused X-book (now that New Mutants have added Doug and Warlock to the team) to keep going.

(Maybe if they'd handed the title over to Ann Nocenti, we might have concluded something different.  Certainly the appearance of the first female writer in the X-Universe - arriving in December to give us the first issue of Beauty and the Beast - is worthy of note.  It would have been interesting to see what a female writer could have done on Dazzler.  That said, her first issue of BAB was far from free of problems, so who knows how that would have gone).

Finally, we got our first full year of Alpha Flight. Which, yes, is reliably uninspiring and frequently causes great problems for anyone reading it from a feminist perspective.  But at least the year was bookended by "Snowblind", which I still think is really funny, and "...Dreams Die Hard", which is proof that a tremendously anal approach to continuity can genuinely result in interesting comics (at least when Byrne is working in characters Claremont wrote, rather than the endless parade of self-referencing that helped ruin Hidden Years).  I'm still not looking forward to Byrne's '85 output, but if I'm being honest, he hasn't completely squandered his goodwill just yet.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Timeline: 1980 (Take 3)



19th UXM 32: Beware the Juggernaut, my Son!
19th UXM 33: Into The Crimson Cosmos!
19th UXM 34: War -- in a World of Darkness!
20th UXM 34: War -- in a World of Darkness!


5th UXM 35: Along Came a Spider...!
5th UXM 36: Mekano Lives!
6th UXM 37: We, the Jury...
6th UXM 38: The Sinister Shadow of... Doomsday!
6th UXM 39: The Fateful Finale!
12th UXM 40: The Mark of the Monster!
13th X1C 4: Seeing Red.
14th X1C 5: The Littlest Frost Giant.
15th X1C 6: The S-Men.
16th X1C 6: The S-Men.
29th UXM 41: Now Strikes... the Sub-Human!
29th UXM 42: If I Should Die...


5th UXM 43: The Torch is Passed...!
6th UXM 43: The Torch is Passed...!
7th UXM 43: The Torch is Passed...!
8th UXM 43: The Torch is Passed...!
8th UXM 44: Red Raven, Red Raven...!
9th UXM 45: When Mutants Clash!
13th UXM 46: The End of the X-Men!
17th UXM 47: The Warlock Wears Three Faces!
18th UXM 48: Beware Computo: Controller of the Robot Hive!
27th UXM 49: Who Dares Defy... the Demi Men?
27th UXM 50: City of Mutants.
27th UXM 51: The Devil had a Daughter!
28th UXM 51: The Devil had a Daughter!
29th UXM 51: The Devil had a Daughter!
30th UXM 51: The Devil had a Daughter!
31th UXM 51: The Devil had a Daughter!


1st UXM 51: The Devil had a Daughter!
1st UXM 52: Twilight of the Mutants!
5th UXM 53: The Rage of Blastaar!
6th UXM 54: Wanted: Dead or Alive -- Cyclops!
6th UXM 55: The Living Pharaoh!
7th UXM 55: The Living Pharaoh!
7th UXM 56: What is... the Power?
7th UXM 57: The Sentinels Live!
8th UXM 58: Mission: Murder!
9th UXM 58: Mission: Murder!
9th UXM 59. Do or Die, Baby!
9th UXM 60: In the Shadow of... Sauron!
9th UXM 61: Monsters Also Weep!
10th UXM 61: Monsters Also Weep!
19th UXM 62: Strangers... in a Savage Land!
19th UXM 63: War in the World Below!
21st UXM 64: The Coming of Sunfire!
26th XHY 12: And Death Alone Shall Know my Name.
28th UXM 65: Before I'd be Slave...
28th UXM 66: The Mutants and the Monster.


1st    XHY 1: Once More the Savage Land.
2nd   XHY 2: The Ghost and the Darkness.
2nd   XHY 3: On Wings of Angels.
3rd    XHY 3: On Wings of Angels.
3rd    XHY 4: Escape to Oblivion.
4th   XHY 5: Riders on the Storm.
4th   XHY 6: Behold a Goddess Rising..!
4th   XHY 7: Power Play.
5th   XHY 7: Power Play.
6th   XHY 7: Power Play.
7th   XHY 7: Power Play.
7th   XHY 8: Shadow on the Stars.
7th   XHY 9: Dark Destiny.
9th   XHY 10: Home is Where the Hurt is...
9th   XHY 11: Destroy All Mutants!
9th   XHY 12: And Death Alone Shall Know My Name.
10th XHY 12: And Death Alone Shall Know My Name.
10th XHY 13: Blood and Circuses.
10th XHY 14: Yet No More Like My Father...
11th XHY 13: Blood and Circuses.
11th XHY 13: Blood and Circuses.
11th XHY 14: Yet No More Like My Father...
11th XHY 15: Death be not Proud.
11th XHY 16: Echoes of a Lost Generation.
12th XHY 15: Death be not Proud.
12th XHY 16: Echoes of a Lost Generation.
12th XHY 17: Hunter and Hunted.
13th XHY 16: Echoes of a Lost Generation.
13th XHY 17: Hunter and Hunted.
13th XHY 18: Promise of a New Generation.
14th XHY 18: Promise of a New Generation.
14th XHY 19: Broken Promises.
14th XHY 20: Worlds Within Worlds.
15th XHY 20: Worlds Within Worlds.
15th XHY 21: Let Loose the Dogs of War!
15th XHY 22: Friends and Enemies.
16th XHY 22: Friends and Enemies.
17th XHY 22: Friends and Enemies.
18th XHY 22: Friends and Enemies.
19th XHY 22: Friends and Enemies.
20th XHY 22: Friends and Enemies.
21th XHY 22: Friends and Enemies.
22th XHY 22: Friends and Enemies.
23th XHY 22: Friends and Enemies.


4th X1F 1: Senioritis.
4th X1F 2: Beginning of the End.
4th X1F 3: Higher Learning.
4th X1F 4: The Mind of Jean Grey.
5th X1F 4: The Mind of Jean Grey.


26th AMA 11: The Beast!
26th AMA 12: Iron Man: D.O.A.
27th AMA 12: Iron Man: D.O.A.
27th AMA 13: Evil is All in Your Mind!
28th AMA 13: Evil is All in Your Mind!
29th AMA 14: The Vampire Machine.
29th AMA 15. Murder in Mid-Air!
30th AMA 15. Murder in Mid-Air!
31st AMA 16. ...And the Juggernaut will get you... if you Don't Watch out!

Friday, 16 August 2013

XHY #22: "Friends And Enemies"

(Kenji Awakened)


The sand was an unending as the wait; a half-world of pale disinterested brown joining painful blue sky at the end of the world.  Kenji had fixed her attention at that shimmering boundary over every spare moment she had, for more days than she cared to count. Perhaps more than she was able to count.

It didn't matter. He had never returned.  Months had passed since his last message, buried inside silver silk and brought to them by an indolent camel train. Most of the others had already given up hope. Those who had held hope in the first place, that was.  Too many in the settlement had something to gain if the storyteller never returned, and too many others worked hard to convince themselves they had something to gain, so as to disguise their shameful joy from their neighbours and from themselves.

Today, they would be disappointed.  Today, the wanderer returned.

It was Karhil who saw him first, the only one in the village with greater reason than her to keep watch for the old man. He was hollering and cheering from the moment the horizon was torn by a tiny dark mark, swelling by imperceptible degrees. Had he been able to, she knew Karhil would have hurriedly thrown his protective clothes about himself and run out into the desert, another dark smudge, this one shrinking as it moved to meet its twin.  That would be a flagrant waste of body-water, though; there are some things you don't do for any reason.  Not while people can see you, at least.

Instead, Karhil had to wait by the grease-stained gates, growing ever more agitated, until the slow figure could first be recognised - it was him! It was! - and then arrived, his bone-weary shamble swallowing the distance a handful of inches at a time. Karhil was through the gates the instant they were wide enough, reaching for the newcomer and embracing him as though terrified he might prove a mirage. After long moments and with visible reluctance, Karhil stepped backwards, allowing his hug to stretch until he had his friend held by the shoulders.  By now Kenji was close enough behind to see the look Karhil was giving the newcomer; joy and hunger and an unbearable premonition of loss. If love were a fire he could burn the world.

"You're late," Karhil said, and stood aside to let his companion enter.

"Do you have it?" asked Kenji desperately, running to his side and then matching his slow, small steps.  "Do you really have it?"

"I do", the man replied simply, a smile gathering at the edge of his words.

"Then you know!" she said, unable and unwilling to hide her excitement.  "What happened to Angel!  Whether Lorna was saved! Whether Professor Xavier ends up with Teri Martin!  You know it all!"

"I do", the man repeated.


"And I'll tell you all about it this evening."

*                    *                   *

Kenji hated the work days.  There were always far too many hours haphazardly inserted between the ones that were supposed to be there. Someone had once suggested to her that God stole minutes from those times you were enjoying yourself and added them to those times you were bored, though notably he had been unable to offer any plausible reason for Him doing so.  Kenji wasn't convinced by the idea anyway.  There were always far more hours added than subtracted.  If God was screwing with her, He wasn't doing it with arithmetic.

Every clock has to move forwards eventually, though, for fear of being taken apart, and eventually, at lost last, she found herself cross-legged on an earth floor, a bowl of thick soup warming her hands and fellow listeners interfering with her elbows. Before the jostling crowd a wooden stage stood unconcerned beneath a four-legged wooden stool, which stood equally unconcerned beneath a thin elderly man wearing a smile that threatened to overwhelm his face.  The storyteller raised one thin, browned arm, and the forest of whispers around Kenji was felled almost immediately.

"Where should I begin?"

The floor exploded with suggestions. "What happened to Angel?"  "Is Lorna OK?" "What about Charles and Teri?"

The hand was raised again, and silence once again fell.  The other hand reached into voluminous robes, and produced the thin book of illustrations and text that contained the final scenes

"I will begin with the Fantastic Four."

A ripple of excitement passed through the audience, though Kenji thought it a little muted.  Or maybe that was simply a reflection of her own feelings. It was hard for her to see why the Fantastic Four were suddenly so important to a story in which they'd barely featured.  She shook her head clear and focused on the storyteller, waiting for his voice to wrap itself snugly around her imagination,

The war had begun.  Shots had been fired, and they had been aimed at the Baxter Building.  The army of Prince Namor was coming.

Curiously, at least as far as the Fantastic Four were concerned, they were coming by elevator.  If Ben Grimm thought such an attack strategy odd whilst he dragged the cable upwards to begin clobbering all the quicker, it didn't seem to overly concern him Iif Ben Grimm found the arrival of a elevator car packed with explosives surprising, the others would have to wait until he regained consciousness to learn.

With his great friend and conscientious bouncer down, Reed Richards felt his options collapsing just as quickly. Crystal's elemental powers could, optimistically, buy them a few minutes of safety, but even then, once the Atlanteans realised they could just obliterate the lower levels and let their enemies fall through empty air, the chances of constructing anything complicated enough to use as a weapon were fairly slim. Absent the arrival of an invulnerable floating expert on Magneto's weaknesses, the situation looked bleak.

It was at that moment that the astral form of Professor Xavier arrived, and began explaining his plan.

But other events drag our attention elsewhere. Reed Richards might recommend that we reflect our cognitive focus in the crude approximation of a polar plane so beloved of geologists and other charlatans. Were he feeling playful, that is.  Below the sprawling concrete virus of New York, four of the original X-Men - Angel still being missing to them, and a Renaissance sculpture to the Eternals - awoke to found themselves suspended from a rock ceiling in another of the Mole Man's caverns.

For a few moments, no-one spoke.  Perhaps their failed escape attempt had left our heroes demoralised.  But it had also left their captor over-confident, which in turn left him helpless to fight his desire to gloat. The specifics of his greater scheme need not concern us, though - an invasion here, a culling there, all very familiar - for the nature of Hank McCoy was irrepressible.  With one flex of his oversized muscles, the chains were shattered. With one bound he was free -

"Wait!" Kenji thought, her soupbowl halfway to her lips, and to her surprise the storyteller did.  It was only then that she realised she had spoken aloud.
The storyteller had raised his eyebrows like his nose was a bird readying for flight.

"A problem, Kenji?" he asked calmly.

"I'm so sorry!" she replied quickly, horribly aware of the number of stares breaking against her.  "it's just... wasn't that too easy? Wouldn't the Mole Man have stronger chains?  He has dozens of massively powerful subterranean monsters; wouldn't he have ways of making sure they couldn't escape? If it has been this easy earlier, they could already be fighting Magneto!"

The silence that followed was excruciating.  The only person who seemed unconcerned with her outburst was the storyteller himself, who seemed more amused than anything else.  After a few more moments, he uttered a simple "Hmmm..." before returning to the tale.

- and busy tearing out his fellows.

At this point we can assume that the Mole Man was running out of patience.  First the X-Men had breached his realm, and not even had the decency to admit he had bested them despite him zapping Beast personally.  Minutes later, they had run rampant, forcing him to release his menagerie of subterranean creatures, many of whom had required extensive medical treatment afterwards.  The youngest of them had even tried to stop Mole Man pushing his buttons in his cavernous interiors.  And now they were tearing apart his finest chains?  We can only imagine how angry all this must have made him.

His response was to collapse the entirety of the cavern.

Whether Mole Man himself escaped the resulting rockfall, we cannot know.   The fate of his subjects, who just moments ago thought themselves tremendously lucky to have been invited to a public execution with all necessary safety precautions taken, must also remain a mystery.  The X-Men at least remained unhurt, safe beneath the sweep of Cyclops' eye-beams.  As long as he was providing cover for his retreating friends, though, Cyclops could not head for the exit and escape himself.  It would usually be at this point that a Worthington Industries airlift would be performed. With that option suddenly gone, Cyclops was trapped where he was and running out of space.

Meanwhile, in a nearby chamber, a fallen statue twitched to life. Cold stone began to warm and soften, becoming white feathers and pale flesh. Scattered dust dissolved into desperate sweat. An angel was returned to life. Glancing around the cave his attackers had brought him to, Warren tried to push some sense into his thawing brain. How had he ended up here? Why was his entire body alive with pins and needles?

The hurried self-diagnostic would need to be shelved, he realised, as the sounds of shouting, rocks falling, and the unmistakable noise of Cyclops' eyebeams filtered through into his consciousness. Taking to the air, Angel ignored the raging storm of tiny fiery pins in his pinions, and headed for danger.  A few beats of his protesting wings, and at long last he found himself among his friends.  Also, falling rocks, but the interaction of heavy objects and standard gravitational rules were hardly an obstacle for a man who'd spent so much time in a combat simulator constructed by a control freak. A few seconds of well-practised evasion, and Cyclops was safe.

"Come on!" Kenji exclaimed.  This time she was fully aware she had interrupted, she was just too frustrated to care. "Those two strangers turned Angel to stone and then took him to his friends?  Why?  Why did he wake up at the exact instant  he was needed?  Wouldn't the Mole Man have guards in chambers that close to him?"

Uproar. Interrupting a story in progress was close to unheard of.  Certain things, one simply does not do.  Apparently, though, once a story had been interrupted, it was fully permissible to start shouting all the time.

"Please," the storyteller said, his voice strong but not raised.  The angry voices began to quieten, becoming disgruntled mumbling, and finally stopping altogether.

"Should we ask her to leave?" Karhil asked from the other side of the hall.  Apparently he was the only person there comfortable enough to address the speaker directly. Of course, he was one of the only people there above the age of twenty five, which probably made a difference. Living with the storyteller probably didn't hurt either.

"Oh, no", the elderly man replied. "I think we can all understand what it's like to care too much about a story to ride silently over the cracks. But if I may-"

He cleared his throat, and Kenji took the hint.

At long last, the X-Men were heading back to the surface.

Miles above, and many more miles along, Reed Richards stood away from his work bench, and nodded. Between Xavier's experience and his - well, pretty much his everything else, really - they finally had a weapon that stood a chance of defeating Magneto, by cutting away the power sources he was using to regenerate his fading abilities. With the first wave of Atlantean troops beaten back, and the Thing recovered -

So they were never in any danger after all, Kenji thought. That opening was one explosion amongst several tons of pointess.  This time though she held her tongue.  The horrible thought was dawning that this was a tale that could do nothing so welcome as coming to an end. Best get to that point as quickly as possible.

- the Fantastic Four took to the Fantasticar, and headed into battle.

Magneto, of course, was not a hard megalomaniac to find. Basic battlefield prudence was for the weak. Nothing could hurt him anymore. He was just marking time before his inevitable victory, and that being the case, the front lines of his invasion struck him as likely to provide the best view. Namor stood beside him, a seething attack-dog ready to smash anything in front of him in displaced rage.  Every foe would have Magneto's face.

But arrogance has ever been the lord of magnetism's undoing.  Arrogance in assuming himself invulnerable.  Arrogance in believing extorting his will was more efficient than persuasion and cooperation.  When the Fantastic Four came for him, Namor stood by and watched. When Reed Richards fired his strange new weapon and crippled him, there was no ally to come to his aid.  After all his dreams of glory, Magneto once more stood alone, and failed just as utterly as each time he had done so before.

After Namor had departed in peace with his fiancee -

"Arrgh!" Kenji said loudly. She just couldn't help herself.  This was now nothing short of physically painful.  "Just like that?  Just shoot the new gun and Magneto is defeated?  The X-Men didn't even get the chance to fight their oldest enemy!  They spent the entire war - in which the Atlanteans were utterly useless, by the way - being gloated at by the Mole Man!  Why did the Fantastic Four do all this?  This isn't their story!"

There was another explosion of angry objections, though this time Kenji thought there were somewhat muted.  Perhaps she was winning people over.  Though more likely it was the story losing support, rather than her gaining it.

"You seem upset", the storyteller pointed out, his expression hard to read.

"Aren't you?" she asked.  "You've spent how long now tracking down the pieces of this tale, and this is how it's coming to an end?  The heroes and the villain don't even meet!  Do they at least get to save Lorna?"

The storyteller raised his eyebrows again.

"No," he said thoughtfully. "No, they don't get back in time.  Professor Xavier saves her."

"What?" she said, stupefied. "How?"

"It doesn't say.  It happens whilst the X-Men get back to the surface and find they're on Monster Island."

"What?" she said again.  "That's hundreds of miles from New York! How could they possibly - arrgh!"

Throughout this exchange Kenji was aware of the unalloyed hostility all around her, like clouds of insects by a sun-shrunken river. She suddenly felt very old, and very tired.

"I don't think there's much point my continuing," announced the storyteller. "Not with young Kenji here offering her own angry commentary."

Gasps everywhere.  The cloud of insects buzzed more hatefully still.  That was it, then.  Kenji turned towards the exit.

"So perhaps she'd like to finish the story for us?"

The insects stopped.  The gasps did too.  All around was a silence so complete you could hear a pin whether it was dropping or not.

"I'm quite serious," the storyteller said smoothly. " Kenji, come up here, if you would, and you can bring this home for us."

Kenji swallowed.  All the moisture seemed to have fled her throat, so it was a trickier operation than usual.  She could refuse, she supposed, but not if she wanted to stay here and hear the story come to an end. Besides, as much as the idea terrified her, she couldn't deny the attraction of what was being offered. She'd never seen anyone else perform atop that stage than the thin, scraggle-haired man who was offering her his place.

Kenji swallowed again, and headed for the stage.

In later years, Kenji would remember this as being one of the most important moments of her life.  Ascending those steps to that stage? The metaphors were almost too easy.  At the time, though, there was very little beyond blind fear.  By the time she reached the centre of the stage the storyteller had slid from his stool and was standing, holding out his slim book toward her.  She reached for it eyes lowered, not wanting to look at his face while she performed this blasphemy.

"Kenji," the man said quietly.


"May I take the stool? Old knees, I'm afraid."

 She looked up at that, catching the tail end of a truly expansive smile.

"Of course", she said, stepping aside so the elderly man could shuffle past.  This he did, walking quietly down the stairs and through the sea of listeners until he came to the spot where Kenji had been seating, marked out by her cooling soup.  He placed down the stool, lowered himself upon it, and fixed his attention upon her.

Kenji looked around the room, trying to hide her fear.  Everyone was quiet, at least. Clearly the storyteller's choice was something they intended to respect; they were no less silently attentive than they had been for him, though they had been wearing rather different expressions back then.  Only Karhil seemed remotely happy with the switch, and the grin he was wearing didn't seem like it was meant for her.

Still, there was nothing to do but get to work.

OK... so. OK. With Magneto defeated, Charles Xavier finally had time to apply his immense knowledge of mutant DNA and robot assembly to deactivate all of the Promise's cryo-tubes. Everyone stumbled out, confused - even Lorna, who's pretty much OK now, hooray - except for Messenger, who didn't so much stumble as collapse, and was less confused than he was deceased.

As it turned out, no-one in the Promise was all that much more invested in Messenger's insane schemes than Lucy was, so his sudden demise went by comparatively unremarked.  Lucy's insistence that there was nothing unusual in the moments before Messenger's death probably had something to do with that as well.  A tremendously persuasive woman, isn't she; Lucy? Always handy when you tell someone to drop dead, I guess.

"Actually, that is pretty brilliant" she said, glancing up at the storyteller. He nodded, once, in agreement, and it was back to the book.

With Lorna and New York safe, and the whole team finally reunited, we move into the period of tying off loose ends. The various members of the Promise left to start a new life, and Xavier returned to the Martins to tell Teri he had observed her daughter enough, and her too. He was headed out.  Not that he didn't have feelings for her too - despite them not having anything at all in common - but his calling was too important for him to spend time on anything so frivolous as romance.  Which is stupid, really, but then maybe he's still suffering from whatever was making him act strangely. Not that we'll ever know what that was.

Anyway, that's us almost done.  Just time for a quick trip to the Savage Land to drop off Avia, and the X-Men can settle down to more important things: celebratin Beast's birthday.  The big guy just turned twenty; hooray!  Time for a party.  A nice thing to end on, isn't it?  Not that things are over for the team. It says here - and I swear I'm not making it up  - that they fought happily ever after.  Which is a stupid thing to say.  Unless they all get into dysfunctional relationships that somehow last the distance.  But whatever.  Curtain. Finis. The end.  Er... fade to black, indeed.

The silence that followed her final words was essentially indistinguishable from the silence that had  preceded her first.  After a few moments, applause began to break out.  Nothing flashy, or particularly suggestive of gratitude, but polite enough.  A recognition of the role she was filling.   Here and there a little more enthusiasm was being applied, but that was mostly her friends, and those that weren't were probably just grateful the whole wretched experience was over.

Not knowing what to do with such grudging acknowledgement, she simply nodded a few times, and sank to sit on the stage. After a little while the audience began to file out, until ultimately only the storyteller remained.

"Well done", he said, carrying the stool to the foot of the stage before sitting down again.

"Really?" Kenji asked, feeling more than a little dejected.


"You thought that was good?" Kenji was increasingly sure she was the target of some kind of elaborate and hurtful joke, though whether the storyteller was responsible or the universe in general bore the blame, she hadn't figured out just yet.

"Absolutely", he repeated. "Well, really no, not at all. It was almost uniformly terrible. Not that the material deserved better."

"Thank you" Kenji said sourly, though what she was hearing struck her as neither unsurprising nor unfair.

"It was never about how good you were", the storyteller told her. "We get better with practice."  He glanced at the book Kenji had placed on the stage, its function fulfilled. "Well, we're supposed to."

"So what was it about?"

"Understanding how this is supposed to work, and caring when it doesn't."

A penny somewhere was heading for a cliff.

"Well," Kenji started, "That's not necessarily as comforting as you - wait. Wait, did you say 'we'"?

The expansive grin returned to the storyteller's face.

"Do you know," he said, "I don't think anyone around here really knows how I got this job in the first place. Other than Karhil,  of course, but he doesn't much like to talk about it. He's never been particularly pleased with my choice of vocation. I believe he once described it as 'ninety percent missing, ten percent spouting crap'." The storyteller grinned at the memory. "It is a good job I love him, otherwise he would be utterly unbearable."

Kenji was trying to follow this, but she was finding it hard. There was too much hope buzzing in her ears.

"Are you saying you're hiring?" she asked.

"Do you want the job?"

The idea had quite simply never struck Kenji before, but as the old man asked her the question she realised she'd never wanted anything more. The answer was obvious.

"Not if I have to read any more Byrne".

The storyteller laughed.

"No, I think we can put him aside now," he replied. "He's done his job.  Why don't you come over for dinner with us?

Kenji nodded, and the two of them headed for the exit, two storytellers arm in arm.
"And afterwards, I'll tell you a little story about a man named Claremont."


This story takes place over the course of a few hours, with a coda that stretches out over a week.  The arrival of Hank's twentieth birthday is fortuitous, as it gives us someone new to use in our time-keeping pictures in UXM posts.  It's worth noting that Bobby turned eighteen four months previously, which gives us the range of possible ages for Warren, Scott, and Jean.


Tuesday 15th to Wednesday 23rd July, 1980.


X+2Y+103 to X+2Y+111.

Contemporary Events

Ronald Reagan officially becomes the Republican Party's candidate for US President at their National Convention. At the same convention the party drops its support for the Equal Rights Act.  Because the Republican Party have been vicious racist pricks for waaaaaaaaay longer than the last few years.

Speaking of bigots, the 1980 Summer Olympics are held in Russia.  On this occasion it was their invasion of Afghanistan that led to demands of a boycott, rather than the decision to legally insist upon the persecution of a proportion of their own people.

(Glenn Greenwald is still insisting on Twitter that it's idiotic to point out Snowden decided the US government wasn't doing well enough by their people and so fled to Russia, by the way.)

Standout Line

"An attackin' army -- comin' up by elevator! If the blasted thing wuz outta order they'd probably call off the whole war!" - The Thing.

Genuinely the best joke Byrne pulls off in the entire run. The degree to which this is faint praise is left as an exercise for the reader.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

XHY #21: "Let Loose The Dogs Of War!"

(Toothless poodles of impotent shouting.)


Last time around, I tried to be as generous as possible to John Byrne, figuring a series being cancelled out from under you is a pretty solid reason for stuffing up your timing. This time round, I'm less inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Because this issue is just as weirdly paced and frustratingly slow as last issue. Could Byrne really have been informed his book was being cancelled with his very next issue? Maybe, I guess, but if that's true, then why was last issue so badly put together? Just how long had Byrne been planning to have Xavier sitting around being hit on by Mrs Martin? How many issues was Angel going to spend failing to rescue Alex and Lorna?

The cancellation excuse, in other words, only works once. By the end of this issue events still haven't moved on regarding almost any front. The Martins' are still hanging around discussing this strange newcomer in their house (Ashley wants rid of him, her mother... doesn't). The four X-Men trapped beneath the ground are still there, indeed with their escape attempt last issue thoroughly foiled here, they're actually moving backwards. Namor's army has invaded New York, but apparently in the same way the Occupy Movement invaded Wall Street; there's just an awful lot of them there, and they could start trouble pretty quickly if they felt like it. There's even time for an utterly gratuitous cameo from two characters I didn't even recognise, and whose only role here is to delay Angel further.

At least the Promise storyline is moving onwards. With the Robinsons' affair concluded, Angel and Lucy are able to rescue Havok from his bio-tube by tricking it into thinking a decade has past. Somehow this interferes with Havok's power, though (it thinks it's been building up for ten years, which makes about as much sense as setting the clock on my laptop forward six hours and expecting it to recharge instantly as a result), and the resulting explosion damages Lorna's tube, leaving her close to death. Xavier insists Havok join him on the surface to join the cold war against Namor, and Angel is sent to try and rescue the other original X-Men. Naturally, he fails, having been intercepted by Ikaris and Pixie (who have no reason to be here at all), who turn him to stone with pixie dust. It's tempting to laugh at how stupid this is, but the irony of a main character in an utterly unmoving story being literally turned into a statue is a far more worthy target of derisive laughter. Ha ha ha.

With all of this not going on, it's down to the freshly awoken Havok to push things forward. This he does, and I'll gladly admit, he does so in glorious fashion. By which I mean a gloriously dumb fashion, but one that fits in very well with his character at this point in his life. Havok runs out into the street, and immediately blasts the first Atlanteans he sees. The Atlanteans that are everywhere. The Atlanteans who seem to be almost looking for an excuse to tear down New York. Those fellas. SHRAKOWed. There's a bit here where some locals arrive just after his initial assault and assume that he must be working with the Atlanteans - because bad mutant-hating humans are bad - but really, had they gotten their sooner, they might have been just as enraged because attacking the blue-skinned newcomers was so obviously a stupid thing to do.

Meanwhile, back at Antihero Central Command, Namor has discovered that Magneto has kidnapped not just Sue Storm - apparently having stumbled into her by chance, I think, but it's tough to tell, there's no time to explain such things when space has to be taken up explaining Mole Man's actions after his previous appearance four decades earlier - but also the Lady Dorma (Namor's fiance at the time, I believe), too. That backfired pretty quickly. Or did it? I'm not seeing Magneto's endgame here? Get Namor to start banging the war-drums and then blackmail him into destroying humanity? Even by the '60s standard of Magneto arrogance Byrne is approximating here, that's pretty out there. How does one get from "I lack the power to destroy mankind" to "Namor has sufficient power to destroy mankind" to "I can challenge Namor without fear due to my greater power"? This is Marvel warfare, not Rock-Paper-Scissors. And yes, maybe Mags is gambling that Namor won't be able to react quickly enough (and/or call in his air force - which I still don't see why the King of Atlantis would need), but really? You're going to bet your plan on Namor the Submariner not being impetuous?

So, that's the state of play as we move into our final ever issue of Hidden Years: five X-Men captive, one a statue, one prepared to declare war on, like, the ocean. Magneto and Namor argue while Xavier looks on helpless

Will Lorna survive? Will Angel recover? Will the other X-Men actually get back to the surface? Will Magneto ever create a plan that makes sense this side of UXM #150? Soon, we shall know. Soon, this will all be over.


This story begins at dawn the day after Magneto and Namor forge their alliance. Actually, dawn broke at the end of last issue, so I'll need to add that to the timeline. Of course, the - for now - definitive 1980 timeline will be up after I've gone through XHY #22. So close to freedom!


Tuesday 15th July, 1980.



Contemporary Events

Your humble blog writer turns six months exactly.

Standout Line

"Your actions come a moment too late, Iceman! My fingertips were already in contact with the button I was reaching for!" - Mole Man.