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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

X-amining X-Men #131

"Run for your Life!
March 1980

In a Nutshell 
The X-Men battle the White Queen. 

Writer/Co-Plotter: Chris Claremont
Artist/Co-Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Kitty Pryde is being chased through a back alley in Chicago by a pair of Hellfire Club soldiers when Phoenix suddenly appears and destroys their car. Nightcrawler gets Kitty to safety, but frightened, Kitty runs away from him and hides inside a nearby building. Phoenix, tracking her telepathically and telekinetically changing into street clothes, finds the girl and calms her down. The X-Men, Kitty and Dazzler gather aboard the X-Men's skyship to plot their next move, and Cyclops asks Phoenix to read the mind of one of the Hellfire Club captives. She learns of White Queen's attack on the X-Men and the existence of the Hellfire Club, which startles her, as in her recent time slips she was married to a member of the Hellfire Club. With the information gathered from their captive and the help of Phoenix' power, the X-Men infiltrate the Frost Industries warehouse where their teammates are being held.


As White Queen prepares to psychically torture Storm, Kitty manages to free Wolverine but is attacked from behind, enraging Wolverine. The other X-Men and Dazzler storm the facility, engaging the Hellfire Club and freeing their teammates while Phoenix engages in a psychic duel with White Queen as Storm looks on. Their battle destroys the building around them, but Storm and Phoenix emerge unharmed. Professor X reveals he stayed out of the battle to observe his X-Men, and was impressed by what he saw. As the sun rises, the X-Men return Kitty to her parents. Professor X offers Dazzler a place with the X-Men, but she declines and heads back to New York. Kitty's father is irate over Kitty's unexplained absence until Phoenix mentally modifies his memories, an act which unsettles both Cyclops and Storm. The pair worriedly discuss Phoenix's growing dark side, and the fact that it seems like something or someone is manipulating that dark side into growing.

Firsts and Other Notables
It is revealed that when Kitty phases through something electrical, it causes the electronics to short out.


The Statement of Ownership in this issue lists the average number of copies of each issue sold per month in the previous year as 171,091, with the single issue nearest to the filing date selling 166,017 copies. This is up significantly from the 115,260 (average) and 104,915 (single issue nearest filing date) reported a year ago in issue #120.

A Work in Progress
The X-Men are randomly flying some kind of skyship (maybe the other X-Men took the jet to Chicago?).

 
Phoenix now believes her time slips are a result of her psychically reliving the memories of an ancestor, and she is shocked to learn that the Hellfire Club is behind the recent attacks on the X-Men, as her "ancestor" in the time slips was a member.


This is the first mention of the legitimate face of the White Queen's criminal activities, Frost Enterprises.


Dazzler once again "dazzles" an opponent.


As Phoenix and White Queen battle, Storm notes that Phoenix is both beautiful and terrifying, and is reminded of Phoenix saving the universe inside the M'Kraan crystal.


Wolverine is shown to be protective of Kitty for the first time, though at this point it could be attributed to a general dislike towards kids getting shot in the back.


Cyclops spends most of this issue expressing concern (whilst kicking ass) at how powerful Phoenix has become, and at how easily she uses that power.


To smooth things over with Kitty's parents, Phoenix pulls a Professor X and modifies their memories telepathically, a move which concerns both Cyclops and Storm.


That 70s Comic
The Disco Dazzler heads into combat atop roller skates...


Artistic Achievements
Repeating his trick from issue #111, Nightcrawler rapidly teleports from goon to goon, knocking each out before the first hits the floor. This time, it's depicted with a neat image of Nightcrawler teleporting between the letters of his "bamf" sound effect.


"Professor Xavier is a Jerk!"
At the end of the issue, Professor X reveals that he spent the battle holding back and observing his X-Men, instead of, you know, lending a hand...


Human/Mutant Relations
One of the Hellfire Club goons calls Colossus a freak. Apparently he doesn't realize he's working for mutants...


Young Love
Kitty's crush on Colossus begins here.


For Sale
Winter Olympic banana stickers...now I've seen everything.


This issue features an ad for Epic Illustrated magazine, Marvel's first foray into crafting stores aimed specifically at adults and creating a place for creator owned work. It would eventually lead into the similarly adult-themed and creator owned Epic Comics line at Marvel, which would last into the 90s and experience a brief revival in the 00s. 


It's in the Mail
The editorial response to a letter regarding issue #125 in this issue confirms Scarlet Witch to be Magneto's daughter (or, technically, the daughter of Magneto's former wife). It also offers a sneak preview of upcoming stories:


Of those stories, it's interesting to note the use of Kitty's first codename (Ariel) before it appeared in the comic, as well as a reference to Caliban, seventeen issues before he'll first appear. The Sauron/Savage Land/Spider-Man story referenced will eventually see print in Marvel Fanfare #1-4 (roughly two years from the publication of this issue). Arcade will return, but not Black Tom and Juggernaut (well, Juggernaut eventually...) I'm also fairly certain that the Mesmero story never actually came to be.  

Chris Claremont on the comparison between Kitty Pryde and other child super-heroes
"I don't think there is any comparison. John [Byrne] created a 13-year-old mutant. I put her in Deerfield, Illinois. I said she had middle-class parents possibly getting a divorce. John contributed the visual on them, I threw in the dancing aspect of it and the genius aspect of it, and then for characterization I just looked at the 13-year-olds who live in my building, and Louise's [Simonson, eventual X-Men editor] 13-year-old daughter, Julie, and pooled all of their characterization and synthesized them for Kitty's. The idea was to make her a rounded person first and then worry about the super-hero aspect. The operative term was she had to be plucky. She had to be the kind of girl who, in spite of being scared stiff, would go into the lion's den, who, when given a mission by Cyclops, would not fail. Otherwise, what's the point of putting her in the X-Men?"

Sanderson, Peter. The X-Men Companion II. Stamford: Fantagraphics Books, 1982. p50

Teebore's Take
Act one of "The Dark Phoenix Saga" comes to a close with this issue, and in its way, it's very much a throwback. The heroes are triumphant, the villains are defeated, Professor X even takes a page from his Silver Age playbook and "observes" the team in battle rather than helping (of course, this also answers the question of why he doesn't just knock everyone out and be done with it, but at least it still has some grounding in logic, tying in as it does with the ongoing subplot of Xavier learning of what the new X-Men are capable).

But beneath the surface, the tension continues to build. Cyclops spends the issue concerned with the level of power Phoenix is exhibiting and how casually she is using it, culminating in her telepathically hoodwinking Carmen Pryde simply to make the X-Men's lives easier. Meanwhile, Storm has observed Phoenix's battle with the White Queen (a battle deliberately staged to mimic the Xavier/Farouk confrontation in issue #118, and perhaps we're meant to see Jean, despite being the hero, cast in the role of Farouk) and is reminded of the power she saw Jean wield inside the M'Kraan crystal. The issue closes with the pair worrying over Jean's growing dark side. Storm is reminding us that Phoenix is operating on cosmic levels while Cyclops is telling us she's no longer afraid to tap into her full potential, and together they make us realize that Jean's heroism, the greatest check on that power, may be comprised. It's clear that while round one may have gone to the X-Men, the game is far from over, and the Hellfire Club may not be the X-Men's biggest problem.

Next Issue
Scott and Jean make the most of an isolated butte, and the X-Men take the fight to the Hellfire Club.

18 comments:

  1. Y'know, it's funny to me seeing these covers. As I've noted, when I first read "The Dark Phoenix Saga", it was in a trade paperback, and that trade didn't reprint the covers. It was a very long time before I saw the originals, except for #137, which was pretty much everywhere. So even though I have some major memories attached to this storyline, the covers do absolutely nothing for me, from a nostalgic point of view.

    "The X-Men are randomly flying some kind of skyship."

    I'm about 99% sure they used this ship in Neal Adams's issues, too. I get the impression it's an auxiliary craft, but I have nothing to base that on. Anyway, I imagine this must be a Byrne contribution, since I can't imagine anyone other than him inserting an obscure ship of Adams's design into the story.

    (I also assume they're using it because the rest of the team took the Blackbird for the longer trip to Chicago.)

    "The Disco Dazzler heads into combat atop roller skates..."

    Another reason why I love this iteration of the character.

    "Professor X reveals that he spent the battle holding back..."

    ...And allowing Jean to apparently kill the White Queen, too! I'm pretty sure if he'd lent a hand, he could have defeated her easily with no loss of life (I know she's not really dead, but the implication here is that she is, right?).

    "Apparently he doesn't realize he's working for mutants...

    I never caught that before! I'm inclined to agree with your assessment, because why would the Inner Circle feel the need to let their henchmen in on their true nature? However, it could also be that all his employers evidence no outward manifestation of their powers, while many of the X-Men do -- making them freaks when compared with Shaw, et al.

    "Of those stories..."

    Caliban: Have you ever seen Byrne's concept for Caliban? It's very different from what eventually came about after he left the title, but kind of cool.

    I've always found it interesting that Byrne and Claremont planned together to introduce some of this stuff that Claremont eventually did on his own. Project: Wideawake is another, as evidenced by this image of Henry Peter Gyrich with a Sentinal -- something that was more or less realized around the late 170's, I believe.

    Sauron: Did Claremont keep his promise about that being the "last Sauron story"? I know the character was brought back by other writers, but I'm pretty certain that after the Marvel Fanfare story, Claremont never used him again. Lykos, maybe, but not Sauron.

    Black Tom & Juggernaut: They do reappear in Spider-Woman at just about the same time Arcade came back in X-Men. Since Claremont wrote the Spider-Woman issues, I would bet that's the story he mentions here, just published elsewhere. By the way, will you be reviewing that 2-parter? It does feature the X-Men, though I've never read it so I'm not sure to what extent they're involved. It seems kind of important, though, because of the revelation about Siryn.

    I agree that the Mesmero story never happened, to my knowledge. I could be mistaken, but I think he next appears in an issue of Amazing Spider-Man written by Dennis O'Neil.

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  2. "Professor X reveals he stayed out of the battle to observe his X-Men, and was impressed by what he saw."

    It's a good thing the X-Men weren't killed because, boy, would egg be on his face!

    "Wolverine is shown to be protective of Kitty for the first time, though at this point it could be attributed to a general dislike towards kids getting shot in the back."

    That Wolverine...what a softy!

    "She had to be the kind of girl who, in spite of being scared stiff, would go into the lion's den"

    Eh, it's not that impressive to "go into the lion's den" when you essentially can become invulnerable.

    @Matt: Trade Paperbacks that don't publish covers (in it's proper placement, between each issue) make me fly into a Hulk-like rage!

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  3. @Matt: I'm about 99% sure they used this ship in Neal Adams's issues, too

    Ah, I think you're absolutely right. Now that you say that, it does look just like the craft they used to escape from the Sentinel base (and then continued to use) throughout the Adams run. And it definitely fits that Byrne would work it in.

    I know she's not really dead, but the implication here is that she is, right?

    Definitely. It's something I never picked up on until my most recent re-reading (having always read this issue knowing White Queen would be back), but the implication is definitely there that Phoenix survived the battle/building destruction and White Queen did not.

    However, it could also be that all his employers evidence no outward manifestation of their powers, while many of the X-Men do -- making them freaks when compared with Shaw, et al.

    That's a good point. It's definitely an idea Claremont will more fully explore with the Morlocks and the division between "pretty" mutants who can blend in and "ugly" ones who can't pass for human.

    It's very different from what eventually came about after he left the title, but kind of cool.

    That it is, and considering what we got, potentially even better than Caliban as he exists. I've got a couple of quotes from Byrne about his ideas for Caliban I'll probably post for his first appearance.

    Did Claremont keep his promise about that being the "last Sauron story"?

    I think so. He certainly went back to the Savage Land well several times more, but Sauron was never a part of that. Post-Claremont, he showed up pretty quickly as part of Toad's Brotherhood in Liefeld's X-Force and another writer may have used him in another book before Claremont left X-Men, but I can't think of a post-Marvel Fanfare Sauron story Claremont wrote offhand.

    (In fact, I believe at one point Claremont intended for a cured Lykos to serve as the house physician for the New Mutants before passing on the idea for some reason).

    They do reappear in Spider-Woman at just about the same time Arcade came back in X-Men.

    Of course! I'd totally forgotten about that. I'm sure that's what's being referenced here.

    By the way, will you be reviewing that 2-parter?

    I've only ever skimmed it, but the X-Men's involvement is fairly limited. But it does feature Black Tom and Juggernaut, and, as you said, Siryn's role is fairly important. So I'll probably cover it (most likely as one post) but I'm not sure if it'll take the place of an issue that week, or serve as a tryout for the "Spinoff Showcase" idea.

    (Which reminds me that we are getting dangerously close to when I'm going to have to make some serious decisions about that kind of stuff...)

    I could be mistaken, but I think he next appears in an issue of Amazing Spider-Man written by Dennis O'Neil.

    That's better than what I came up with for his next appearance, which was in a Beast-centric random fill-in issue of X-Factor circa the mid-50s.

    It's a good thing the X-Men weren't killed because, boy, would egg be on his face!

    Look, if the X-Men can't survive that fight, than Xavier wants nothing to do with them. He's got no time for losers.

    Eh, it's not that impressive to "go into the lion's den" when you essentially can become invulnerable.

    In Claremont (and Kitty's) defense, at this point she didn't really know how to do much with her power, so there was still the possibility that she could need to phase and not be able to.

    But yeah, by the time she becomes a ninja super genius with complete control of her power, that element of the character is pretty much gone (something which irked Byrne to no end).

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  4. I think it's weird that Jean's hair is longer in costume as Phoenix, because it's not like she actually changes form.

    Captions, Pg. 15: "These optic blasts are both Scott Summers' mutant power and his private curse, for they cannot be controlled -- save by his visor or special ruby-quartz glasses. Still, they're very useful in a fight."

    And thus concludes today's lesson from Chris Claremont, "If You Don't Have Anything to Say, But There's Lots of Space in the Panel, Write Something Anyway."

    Terry Austin is really workin' the Zip-a-Tone.

    I've always loved that transition you show from Pg. 26, of the costumed X-Men standing around the ruins of Emma Frost's lair and then the same characters in streetclothes outside of Kitty's house.

    Professor X just showing up like that, saying he hung back to watch them in action, is sort-of strange though; I have to wonder if Claremont was surprised by Byrne drawing him into the scene and just felt he had to rationalize it.

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  5. Matt: However, it could also be that all his employers evidence no outward manifestation of their powers, while many of the X-Men do -- making them freaks when compared with Shaw, et al.

    Right. No big metal dudes or fuzzy blue guys with tails in the Inner Circle. Just a ruthless bitch in a corset, garters, and cape, plus some leering, megalomaniacal fellows in long coats, breeches, and ruffled shirts sporting muttonchops and ribboned ponytails.

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  6. @Blam: And thus concludes today's lesson from Chris Claremont, "If You Don't Have Anything to Say, But There's Lots of Space in the Panel, Write Something Anyway."

    Ha! Thanks for pointing that out. I probably should have included that in either Claremontisms or The Awesome and Terrible Power of Cyclops.

    I've always loved that transition you show from Pg. 26, of the costumed X-Men standing around the ruins of Emma Frost's lair and then the same characters in streetclothes outside of Kitty's house.

    Me too. I probably could have just used the topmost panel, but I liked that transition enough that I wanted to show the whole thing.

    I have to wonder if Claremont was surprised by Byrne drawing him into the scene and just felt he had to rationalize it.

    Dr. Bitz and I were actually talking about that, too. It definitely seems like maybe Claremont and/or Byrne lost Xavier in the narrative. He was last seen knocked out and captured in issue #130, then he suddenly appears, in his wheelchair and everything, at the end of #131.

    It's certainly feasible that he was rescued by one of the X-Men, given his wheelchair, and taken out of Frost Industries while his rescuer returned to the fray all off panel, but it does seem odd that we never got a shot of Colossus carrying him or Cyclops waking him up, or something, before he just shows up and declares he's been observing them.

    So I could totally see Byrne drawing him in, having forgotten he was last seen a captive of the White Queen, and then Claremont dropped in the observation line to cover his lack of involvement in the battle, leaving his off panel rescue to our imaginations.

    Just a ruthless bitch in a corset, garters, and cape, plus some leering, megalomaniacal fellows in long coats, breeches, and ruffled shirts sporting muttonchops and ribboned ponytails.

    I don't know about you, but that sounds like a typical Friday night with my friends. ;)

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  7. Gak! I just noticed that in my first comment, I committed one of my own major pet peeves -- spelling "Sentinel" as "Sentinal". I have half a mind to just delete the comment so no one will see my secret shame.

    "...it does look just like the craft they used to escape from the Sentinel base..."

    Hmm, you're right. For some reason I thought the one they stole from the Sentinels was the long silver one, with the open cockpit, but now I think that's the one they have at the beginning of Adams's run (and Byrne re-uses that ship too, in X-Men: The Hidden Years).

    You know, now that I think about it, one thing I like about Byrne is his tendency to re-use old designs like that. He knows the X-Men need a second craft, so rather than make something up, he goes back to one they were shown to have in the past. I feel like Dave Cockrum would just make up something new. Most of today's artists, who can't even keep a Quinjet consistent, would certainly do so. Anyway, that's a little thing about Byrne that I enjoy.

    "...a cured Lykos to serve as the house physician for the New Mutants..."

    I'd never heard that before. I wonder why he didn't do it? It would fit with the fact that Xavier and Lykos were old colleagues -- something noted in Lykos's first appearance, which no one seems to remember (even Marvel editorial, if John Byrne is to be believed).

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  8. Oh, also -- regarding Xavier, I do agree that it seems like he got lost in the shuffle somehow. He's captured off-panel, and then he escapes/is rescued off-panel. It's like they needed him for the meeting with Kitty, but other than that, they really didn't want him in this story at all.

    I wonder if they were still operating in "Xavier is off in space mode", and just weren't giving him much thought. He doesn't play much of a role in the next three issues, either.

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  9. @Matt Oh, also -- regarding Xavier, I do agree that it seems like he got lost in the shuffle somehow. He's captured off-panel, and then he escapes/is rescued off-panel. It's like they needed him for the meeting with Kitty, but other than that, they really didn't want him in this story at all.

    I wonder if they were still operating in "Xavier is off in space mode", and just weren't giving him much thought. He doesn't play much of a role in the next three issues, either.


    Editorial forced Xavier back into the book and onto Claremont and Byrne's pages. Makes sense that they'd try to "send him into space" every chance they got and that's just what they did --

    He's captured here, left behind at Angel's house next, stuck on the spaceship while the X-Men duke it out with Imperial Guard on the moon, he's testifying before Congress and then promptly gassed during DOFP, and then he goes to the airport to pick up Kitty's parents, leaving her alone to fight a demon.

    Xavier may have come back from space, but he didn't really come back to the pages of the X-Men until Cockrum returned.

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  10. One of the aspects of Kitty's power that i love and i often feel is underutilized or even forgotten completely, is her disruption of electronics. I distinctly remember reading issues where everything could've been solved if Kitty just phased through some machinery, or others where kitty would phase through some electronics and nothing would happen. Sloppy writing, there.

    I also wonder what, specifically, she is disrupting? Because i always wondered, if it's like atual electronic signals, why she wouldn't stop someone's heart when she phased through actual people.

    And seriously, Xavier? What if someone died? (i wrote this comment before i read the others, so i wouldn't forget what i wanted to say, and now i see that Dr. Bitz said this better than i did. Carry on)

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  11. @Matt: For some reason I thought the one they stole from the Sentinels was the long silver one, with the open cockpit, but now I think that's the one they have at the beginning of Adams's run

    Yeah, I think that's the one they steal from the Living Pharaoh/Monolith in Egypt.

    Most of today's artists, who can't even keep a Quinjet consistent, would certainly do so. Anyway, that's a little thing about Byrne that I enjoy.

    Me too. And you're right that today's artists can't be bothered to keep that stuff straight, and Cockrum would have just enjoyed the opportunity to design something new.

    I wonder why he didn't do it? It would fit with the fact that Xavier and Lykos were old colleagues

    I've only ever heard that it was plan, never why he didn't go through with it. I'm trying to track down more info about it before we get to that Marvel Fanfare story or the debut of the New Mutants.

    @Michael: Xavier may have come back from space, but he didn't really come back to the pages of the X-Men until Cockrum returned.

    Wow, you aren't kidding. Great rundown. I've never really put all those pieces together before, but that makes it pretty clear that for the remainder of their run, Claremont/Byrne had very little interest in doing anything significant with Xavier.

    Which makes the way they used Xavier's time in Shi'ar space to setup the finale of "Dark Phoenix Saga" all the more impressive, in terms of taking an editorial edict and using it to their advantage.

    @Sarah: I distinctly remember reading issues where everything could've been solved if Kitty just phased through some machinery, or others where kitty would phase through some electronics and nothing would happen. Sloppy writing, there.

    I'll have to keep an eye out for those instances. If you spot any I've missed, be sure to let me know.

    I also wonder what, specifically, she is disrupting? Because i always wondered, if it's like atual electronic signals, why she wouldn't stop someone's heart when she phased through actual people.

    Well, according to my handy Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe, vol. 9: "When Kitty phases through an object with an electrical system, including the human body's bio-electric system, she disrupts the flow of electrons from atom to atom, effectively short-circuiting the system. As a result, Kitty can render others unconscious by phasing part or all of her body through them, typically without harm to herself."

    So there you go. :)

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  12. Teebore: Ha! Thanks for pointing that out. I probably should have included that in either Claremontisms or The Awesome and Terrible Power of Cyclops.

    I know that Claremont would often explain if not rhapsodize about a given character's abilities or attitude — we literally get a "Her power is a song within her..." caption for Phoenix this week (a Byrne peeve). And it's true that every issue could be somebody's first. I just found it really awkward that smack in the middle of the issue, during the action, at a point when you either know the deal or you're going with the flow, we get these lines in a panel where we can't even see Cyclops' using his optic blasts. I guess Claremont wanted to clarify where the red energy ray came from for newcomers' sake, but he took care of that in the first caption; the rest are just florid extrannea.

    Also, I love the use of "KRAKOW" as a sound effect again, which seems to be a favorite of Claremont's. Do you think when the comics are translated in Poland the letterer changes it to "NEWYORK"?

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  13. I had some thoughts that tied Professor X's absence to Kitty's underutilized electronic-disruption capabilities, but once again Blogger proved why composing comments in a separate document is my usual course of action.

    The point was basically that consciously or unconsciously forgetting about them (on the writer's behalf — which can really frustrate the readers) is a lot like the same being done with Sue Storm's powers ever since the whole force-field thing was added to her invisibility. You'd think that just about every fight scene in Fantastic Four would either be a page long or be preceded by the following dialogue:

    "Would you like me to cut off their oxygen supply, Reed? I can do the standard head bubble or the whole-body wrap if you're worried about stray laser blasts — and I've also been practicing that little embolism trick for the nasty ones we need to drop right away."

    "... No, dear; I think we could use the workout."

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  14. Matt: You know, now that I think about it, one thing I like about Byrne is his tendency to re-use old designs like that. He knows the X-Men need a second craft, so rather than make something up, he goes back to one they were shown to have in the past. I feel like Dave Cockrum would just make up something new.

    I don't disagree, and yet Jack Kirby was notorious for an inconsistency that stemmed from his very nature as a creative steamroller. Galactus would look one way in one issue and another in the next — like Kirby couldn't be bothered to care about what he'd just done because he was already caught up in the next moment. Mark Evanier has said that nobody, Jack included, could truly know for sure how he once planned to end the Fourth World saga because of exactly this; he'd describe in depth the plot of an upcoming New Gods or whatever only to have whatever came out on the page be totally different. Kirby wasn't alone in doing this, either, but dropped plotlines or visual incongruities in other early comics were usually purely the result of carelessness and/or the breakneck pace of production.

    I suspect that the breakdown over the generations — when it comes to shared-world DC or Marvel Universe stuff, and perhaps creator-owned riffs on the same — would go like this:

    The early creators, from artistic geniuses like Kirby and Will Eisner to marketing geniuses like editor Mort Weisinger, felt that they were turning out largely disposable entertainment, and, whether because of the assembly-line / hamster-wheel system (for many) or (for certain select talents) the focus on the present being all that mattered artistically, there was constant invention, often discarding or contradicting what came before.

    The next couple of generations of creators, who'd grown up reading the comics of the first, wanted to incorporate as much visual and narrative continuity with the past as possible into their own work, taking what they loved and paying homage while also making it their own (and feeling the need for it to "make sense"). Roy Thomas kicked this off and John Byrne capped it.

    The more recent waves of creators have almost exclusively been concerned with putting their own stamp on things, damn the history, because they know what's "kewl". While it's tempting to say that such an impetus is now itself a bygone phase, really there's been a strange mash-up in the past decade between the wholesale redesigns undertaken the decade before (in the armored, grim-'n'-gritty, future-cyber-clone era) by the likes of Rob Liefeld and Jim Lee, on the one hand, and on the other hand the work done in the generation before that by the likes of Thomas and Byrne, which is where guys my age like Geoff Johns and Brad Meltzer and Alex Ross come in applying a different kind of dark would-be realism to their nostalgic indulgences.

    I apologize if any of that is conceptually muddy or syntactically hard to parse, but trying to finesse it right now wouldn't do much. 8^)

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  15. i really gotta remember to comment on these posts ASAP instead of letting them go a day or two

    So the Hellfire Club is willing to just kill off their hired goons willy nilly, but the White Queen hasn't inserted some sort of psychic block in their heads so other telepaths can't gleen info from them? Poor planning

    Sarah said what i wanted to say about Kitty. The book says people are knocked unconscious when she phases through them... but i'm not sure i've ever seen that happen

    Was everyone still naked when they were rescued (Wolverine sure looked like it). I bet Kitty was groded out by all the body hair.

    Also- Colossus being 'neat' again really freaks me out

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  16. "Was everyone still naked when they were rescued (Wolverine sure looked like it)."

    I believe they're in their underpants. And in a way, I feel like fighting Wovlerine in his briefs would be scarier than fighting him in costume...

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  17. @Blam: Do you think when the comics are translated in Poland the letterer changes it to "NEWYORK"?

    Ha!

    "... No, dear; I think we could use the workout."

    I have a feeling Byrne would take you to task for thinking about it too much, but you're definitely on to something. :)

    I apologize if any of that is conceptually muddy or syntactically hard to parse, but trying to finesse it right now wouldn't do much.

    Makes sense to me! I like the progression you put forth from the early innovators who figured no one would remember the details years down the road to the fans-turned-pros who tried to tie everything together to the modern creators who are compelled to put their own stamp on everything while still being nostalgic for the books of their youth.

    @Anne: the White Queen hasn't inserted some sort of psychic block in their heads so other telepaths can't gleen info from them? Poor planning

    Yeah, she kinda dropped the ball on that one.

    The book says people are knocked unconscious when she phases through them... but i'm not sure i've ever seen that happen

    The important thing to remember is that, eventually, she can phase other people too, so there's plenty of times where she phases with someone but doesn't knock them out, because they're phased too.

    @Matt: I believe they're in their underpants.

    Yeah, issue #130 showed them in their cages with their underwear.

    And in a way, I feel like fighting Wovlerine in his briefs would be scarier than fighting him in costume...

    "Oh my God, there's hair EVERYWHERE!"

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  18. Matt: I believe they're in their underpants. And in a way, I feel like fighting Wovlerine in his briefs would be scarier than fighting him in costume...

    Yeah, I almost commented on this because I had the same thought when I reread the issue. They're in those blue speedos (except for Storm, who I think is just wearing her bikini-ish costume minus accoutrements and hidden lockpicks) — and Wolverine has all... that... body hair. Kitty must've thought, "Gross! And I thought he looked creepsville in the cowboy hat and bolo tie!"

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