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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

X-amining X-Men #132

"And HELLFIRE is their Name!"
April 1980

In a Nutshell
The X-Men infiltrate the Hellfire Club, and Jason Wyngarde's plans come to fruition.

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

Plot
The X-Men arrive at Angel's New Mexican home, and are greeted by their old teammate and his girlfriend, Candy Southern. Cyclops, desiring a private word with Angel, is flown to an isolated butte a few miles away, and Cyclops tells Angel about the recent attacks on the X-Men by the Hellfire Club and the fact that the club knew a lot about the X-Men's powers and plans. A surprised Angel tells Cyclops that he and Candy are members of the club, but assures him he hasn't leaked any info on the X-Men to them. Cyclops insists there must be a leak somewhere, which is why he brought the X-Men to Angel's home instead of back to the mansion. Just then, Jean arrives and shoos Angel away, laying out a picnic dinner for her and Cyclops. Determined to lighten Cyclops' mood, Jean removes his visor, telekinetically holding back his optic blast so she can see his eyes, and the pair embraces.


A week later, the X-Men are back in New York city on the night of the Hellfire's Club latest exclusive party. As a storm rages overhead, filling the storm sewers with water, Wolverine and Nightcrawler journey through the sewer tunnels beneath the club while Cyclops, Phoenix, Storm and Colossus enter the club via invitations arranged by Angel. They are spotted by members of the club's villainous Inner Circle, and Sebastian Shaw tells Jason Wyngarde it is time for him to prove his control over Phoenix by having her lead their attack on the X-Men. As Scott and Jean dance, Wyngarde cuts in, and Jean instantly believes herself to be back in the 1700s and in love with Wyngarde. He leads an enthralled Jean upstairs, revealing himself to Cyclops as the X-Men's old foe, Mastermind. Chasing them upstairs, Cyclops is struck down by Phoenix, transformed into the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club. Hearing the commotion, Storm and Colossus spring into action, but are attacked by Shaw. Downstairs, Wolverine and Nightcrawler enter the club's basement, but are confronted by Inner Circle members Harry Leland and Donald Pierce. Though Wolverine manages to damage the cyborg Pierce's arm, he is sent hurtling back into the sewer by Leland while Nightcrawler is taken captive. Upstairs, with all the X-Men captured or presumed dead, the Inner Circle toasts their victory, and their new Black Queen. However, in the sewer, Wolverine emerges, declaring that the Inner Circle took their best shot, but now it's his turn.

Firsts and Other Notables
The Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club stands fully revealed for the first time; in addition to the previously seen Sebastian Shaw and White Queen, there is Harry Leland, a mutant with the ability to alter the mass of people and objects around him) and Donald Pierce, a cyborg (who will go on to be a fairly significant villain towards the end of Claremont's run).


As detailed here, John Byrne modeled the looks of the Inner Circle after famous actors of the time: Shaw is Robert Shaw, Wyngarde is Peter Wyngarde, Pierce is Donald Sutherland and Leland is Orson Welles. 

Jason Wyngarde is revealed to be Silver Age villain Mastermind, the illusion-casting founding member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.


The intentions behind Mastermind's issues-long seduction of Jean comes to pass, as an enthralled Phoenix, now fully believing herself to be an 18th century noblewoman in love with Jason Wyngarde, helps defeat the X-Men and joins the Inner Circle as their Black Queen.


This is also the first appearance of Shaw's personal assistant Tessa, though she goes unnamed in this issue. Tessa will later become the subject of some fairly significant retcons when Claremont returns to the X-Men titles in the late90s/early 00s.


Angel appears in the book for the first time since issue #94, making Iceman thus far the only original X-Man to not reappear following his departure in #94. It is mentioned that he revealed his identity to the public; this occurred in Champions #1. His New Mexican home, which first appeared in Hulk Annual #7, receives a name (Angel's Aerie); it will, many years later, serve as the headquarters of the latest incarnation of X-Force.

Angel's girlfriend, Candy Southern, also shows up. She's been seen in other books with Angel, but this is her first appearance in X-Men since issue #32.


The last panel of this issue, in which Wolverine emerges from the sewer, declaring the fight isn't over, is one of the most iconic and homaged images in X-Men history.


Jim Salicrup replaces Roger Stern as the book's editor, though his tenure won't last long.

The cover of this issue declares the book to be the winner of five Eagle awards, the British Comic Book Fan Awards (up from the two it won last year).

A Work in Progress
Angel mentions that, as wealthy members of upper class society, he and Candy are members of the Hellfire Club, and seems shocked that they are attacking the X-Men. 


Cyclops' rundown of recent events to Angel makes it clear the X-Men believe the White Queen died last issue, choosing suicide over capture.

Cyclops continues to be concerned over Phoenix's casual use of her power.


Professor X is once again put on the sidelines, left behind at Angel's aerie while the X-Men infiltrate the Hellfire Club, unable to establish a psychic rapport with them.


While traveling through the storm sewers, Wolverine slashes the insulation off a power conduit; he figures that should something go wrong, an impromptu blackout brought on by the rising rain reaching the exposed conduit might be helpful.


Colossus doesn't feel right wearing a suit that costs more than his father makes in a year. 


Jean's black dress is a sexier version of the one she was wearing in issue #98 when captured by Stephen Lang's Sentinels and thus, also when she first became Phoenix. Claremont will return to the symbolism of that black dress later in his run.


It is revealed that Shaw's mutant power is to absorb kinetic energy and transform it into strength.
 

Shaw realizes that Wyngarde, as the one in control of the Inner Circle's most powerful member, is a threat to his leadership.


I Love the 80s
Grabbed by Pierce, Nightcrawler once again thinks about how he can't think hard enough to teleport.


Angel is rocking the striped tank top/short shorts/knee high socks/wristbands/headband look.


Wolverine compares cyborg Donald Pierce to the Six Million Dollar Man.


Hugh Hefner is in attendance at the Hellfire Club party. 


Artistic Achievements
Byrne and Austin really knock it out of the park this issue, from depicting some tremendously sexy ladies (Candy, Jean, Jean-as-Black Queen) to making Shaw, a character who is fighting in britches with a ponytail, a frilly bow, a sash and muttonchops while shirtless appear menacing (tellingly, few artists after Byrne ever quite manage to keep the silliness from creeping in to the Inner Circle's period garb).  


Young Love
It is strongly implied that Scott and Jean make love atop the butte in this issue, and it is generally considered to be their first time (with each other, and ever).


The Awesome and Terrible Power of Cyclops
Jean is able to telekinetically hold back Scott's optic blast, enabling her to see his eyes for the first time.


At one point, she tells him to stop brooding; he quips that it's what he does best.


Teebore's Take
The opening of the second act of "The Dark Phoenix" is ostensibly about the X-Men taking the fight to the Hellfire Club, but beyond that initial surface plot, it is one of the most thematically dense and symbolic issues of Claremont and Byrne's entire run. From opening on Angel flying through the air to ending on Wolverine in an underground sewer, to the transition from the sunny, warm New Mexican mountains to the cold, dark New York sewers, to the Hellfire Club presenting a public face of goodwill while masking insidious villains, to the potentially problematic sexual politics surrounding Jean's transformation into the Black Queen, it's a terrifically complicated issue to unpack. I strongly recommend everyone check out Jason Powell's post on the issue, especially the comments, as any attempt I make here to give this issue the attention it deserves will pale in comparison to what was covered there.

Amongst all that (and while still getting in some by-now-the-norm well choreographed fight sequences), this issue also contains two of the most iconic moments in X-Men history. Scott and Jean's rendezvous atop the New Mexican butte, in which Jean manages to hold back Scott's optic blast and it is implied that they make love for the first time, will hang over Cyclops' character for years to come, and will be referenced and homaged (to varying degrees of success) throughout the years and across multiple forms of medias. The final panel, of Wolverine emerging from the sewer after the Hellfire Club has claimed victory, is one of the most heavily-referenced images in X-Men history, and one which kicks off a sequence that will cement Wolverine's growing popularity and crown him a fan favorite once and for all. But more on that next time...

Next Issue
"Wolverine -- alone! 'Nuff said."

21 comments:

  1. I just keep picturing Jean telling Scott to open his eyes because she's telekenetically holding back his optic blasts. He does and accidently blasts her head off.

    Even if you believe she can do it, perhaps not opening your eyes for the first time when your one foot away from her face may have been the safer route.

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  2. Gosh, I love this issue so much. It's probably my favorite single chapter of the "Dark Phoenix Saga". The X-Men hiding out on the run, the ominous moodiness of the storm, the revelation about Mastermind, the most iconic comic book cliffhanger of all time (in my opinion)... plus, of course, the character stuff that you already mentioned, and some of Byrne's and Austin's best artwork in the entire run. In fact, this may well be one of my favorite single comic books of all!

    I love the "professionalism" of the Inner Circle -- they identify the X-Men and take them out quickly and easily, all without interrupting the fancy soiree going on downstairs. That's class!

    "Tessa will later become the subject of some fairly significant retcons..."

    Urg. I actually had little problem with Sage, "Mary Sue" though she sometimes was... she just shouldn't have been Tessa!

    "Angel appears in the book for the first time since issue #94..."

    And wearing his red costume for the first time in X-Men! I really like the red costume -- it's so much more dynamic than the blue/black version. Speaking purely visually, Angel in this costume is one of my favorite X-Men designs.

    Also, I didn't know this house appeared in a Hulk annual, or that X-Force lives (?) there. I assume you mean the current X-Force, which Archangel is part of, right?

    "Hugh Hefner is in attendance at the Hellfire Club party."

    I have never, ever noticed that. That's fantastic. And is that Jean he's hitting on, or another redhead? I can't recall exactly what she was doing at that moment.

    "It is strongly implied that Scott and Jean make love atop the butte in this issue, and it is generally considered to be their first time..."

    Didn't Louise Simonson outright say it was their first time, in an issue of X-Factor? Since I can't go a single post without paraphrasing something John Byrne said, I'll mention that a while back on his site, he opined that he never thought this was the first time, since there was plenty of downtime between issues and panels where it could have happened much earlier.

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  3. I just think that Byrne didn't want Scott and Jean's first time to be on the butte.

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  4. @Dr. Bitz: I just keep picturing Jean telling Scott to open his eyes because she's telekenetically holding back his optic blasts. He does and accidently blasts her head off.

    That's one hell of a trust exercise...

    perhaps not opening your eyes for the first time when your one foot away from her face may have been the safer route.

    Agreed, though the full panel layout of that scene *could* be interpreted such that he first opens his un-visored eyes away from Jean.

    @MattIn fact, this may well be one of my favorite single comic books of all!

    It's definitely one of my favorite Claremont/Byrne issues, too. I'm not sure where I'd place it in context of other comics I've read, but it would definitely be pretty high.

    I actually had little problem with Sage, "Mary Sue" though she sometimes was... she just shouldn't have been Tessa!

    Yeah, she really was a ridiculous Mary Sue, wasn't she? My only defense (meager though it be) for the retcon (which was rather clunky and really painted Xavier in a terrible light) was that Claremont himself did it. Not that I have any delusions that he had it planned out back in these days, but I kinda figure, he helped create the character so at least he has the most right to monkey with her...

    Speaking purely visually, Angel in this costume is one of my favorite X-Men designs.

    I'm also glad they essentially kept the look intact for X-Factor, as well, adding the white "X" while keeping the red/white color scheme and the open cowl.

    I assume you mean the current X-Force, which Archangel is part of, right?

    Correct. They don't so much live there as operate out of it, since they were, for most of their existence in this particular iteration, a clandestine group (though those issues of X-Force specifically cite Angel's aerie as being in Colorado, whereas here it's New Mexico; I can't find anything to suggest he has/had TWO different aeries, so I think the current book just flubbed that detail).

    I also think the New Defenders end up operating out of it after Beast, Angel and Iceman re-form that group, but I haven't read much of those issues, so I could be wrong (and the internet was less than helpful on the matter).

    And is that Jean he's hitting on, or another redhead? I can't recall exactly what she was doing at that moment.

    It's another redhead; that panel was after Jean-as-Black Queen blasted Cyclops upstairs.

    (And I only knew Heff was in there because it's cited in the Official Index's entry for this issue, so I scanned the panels set at the club until I found him.)

    Didn't Louise Simonson outright say it was their first time, in an issue of X-Factor?

    I don't recall for sure offhand, but that definitely sounds vaguely familiar. I know she referenced that scene quite a bit during her run, when dealing with the Scott/Jean relationship, so it would make sense if she did.

    Plus, what Byrne says makes sense (the backup story to the reprint of issue #98 makes it pretty clear that, at that point, Scott and Jean haven't ever had sex yet, but there's been plenty of downtime between then and now for them to get busy), so I feel like some writer MUST have explicitly declared that to be their first time at some point, and I'm just forgetting who/when. And Weezie is a pretty good bet.

    @Dr. BitzI just think that Byrne didn't want Scott and Jean's first time to be on the butte.

    *rimshot*

    There it is... ;)

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  5. Hands-down, this is one of my favorite X-Men issues ever. Maybe my absolute favorite. But even then -- I have to say that I've read this issue dozens of times and never picked up the symmetry of settings. I picked up on little things, like the weather change, but never the whole metaphor that you laid out here.

    I've always more strongly identified with the butte scene than Wolverine's sewer scene. (Talk about an embarrassment of riches. Two of the most iconic scenes in all of X-history, if not all of comicdom, right here.) It's just so sexual. Putting aside the is-this-their-first-time-or-not discussion, the scene is quite possibly the most sexually tense scene that I have ever read in any comic. The transition to the scantily clad bikini, removing his visor as a metaphor for undressing him... It's heavy stuff for what still considered a children's book for its day.

    Speaking of whether this is their first time or not -- They lived in the mansion without a chaperone for years. (Xavier was "dead.") No way they went through the drama of the Thomas-Adams years without a little off-panel action.

    Also, "media" is the plural of "medium." No need for "medias." :-)

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  6. "What's the strangest place you've ever 'made whoopee'?"

    "Uh... That would be on the butte, Bob."

    The late-'70s incarnation of The Newlywed Game is almost as memorable a part of my childhood as my first X-Mens.

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  7. Very nice writeup... This is absolutely a classic, first-rate old-fashioned comic book.

    I liked your mention of the story's literal and metaphorical "descent". So far we've seen the "New" X-Men endure some long, tough battles, which Claremont & Byrne have paced very savvily to evoke the feeling that this is all happening in real people's lives with real time passing — but they've always triumphed and returned to a status quo back at the mansion (even as various longer-term subplots continued to brew, of course). The Dark Phoenix Saga does not end happily.

    You refer to this as "the opening of the second act," which it may well be, but I think of the whole saga as truly beginning just a few issues ago in #129 since that's how it was originally collected, although I did first read it in single-copy form — with some inevitable missed issues given my age; I somehow never subscribed to a series by mail — and although there's of course no real clear-cut start unless you go back to the very introduction of the Phoenix identity in #101 (which means including #100 for setup) thanks to the nature of serialized storytelling that didn't move in discrete arcs at the time. Remind me when the first act by your reckoning began? I'm guessing that it had to do with Jean's visions of Wyngarde or some particular display of her powers.

    Jean holding back Scott's eye-blasts is totally a memorable, landmark moment. And that final panel of Wolverine in the sewers is another. There are more, however, from that splash page of Warren alighting to Jean's first actual physical appearance in the Black Queen garb to Shaw appearing in the corridor bare-chested, that are burned into my brain and fire happy neurons every time I reread these issues. Yet it's been long enough (about 11 years, for that Comicology piece) since I've actually done so that I hadn't remembered that they all appeared in this one issue.

    For what it's worth, I did assume that Scott and Jean progressed to some hot lovin' out there on the butte but never assumed that it was their first time together — and in fact I have a feeling that there's some previous issue we've already covered that suggested such a first time during the period when Jean had moved out of the mansion but was still involved with Scott after the pair finally became an official item.

    I'm not sure why I never thought of this before now, seeing (for the umpteenth time) how out-of-place Scott's ruby-quartz wraparound glasses are in formal dress at the Hellfire Club, but he could at least paint the outside of the glasses darker or just attach some black plastic to them. What I have wondered before is why no plot point was ever made of the fact that Scott must see everything in shades of red, whether his visor and/or special glasses are on or whether he's seeing through his red optic blasts; if some writer did bring this up, it was before or (more likely) after my time.

    More to come!

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  8. Teebore: Byrne and Austin really knock it out of the park this issue

    You can say that again. I jotted down a note to the same tune.

    I have no idea who Sage is, or what's so big about the fact that she turned out to be Tessa — nor even any recollection that Tessa ever got a name. But I'm sure curious to get to these later issues (with a secure level of detachment) that take all sorts of characters in all sorts of directions that I've only heard or read about via friends and acquaintances and fanzine articles and wiki entries.

    Teebore: Grabbed by Pierce, Nightcrawler once again thinks about how he can't think hard enough to teleport.

    Okay, I'm actually going to defend this one, because Nightcrawler's thought balloon reads that he can't concentrate. I've been there; hell, I'm there far too often. What I find eye-rolling are the thought balloons that state in well-constructed sentences that the character "can't even think". A distinction between "think" and "concentrate" (or just "think hard enough") together with broken syntax like the dashes, ellipses, and dropped words that we get here — to me that passes muster. Claremont did have to explain why Nightcrawler wasn't teleporting, after all, although a caption or a dialogue balloon from Wolverine ("The elf's bein' choked t' death -- can't even teleport away!") would also have worked.

    Dr. Bitz: Even if you believe she can do it, perhaps not opening your eyes for the first time when your one foot away from her face may have been the safer route.

    Point.

    Matt: I really like the red costume -- it's so much more dynamic than the blue/black version. Speaking purely visually, Angel in this costume is one of my favorite X-Men designs.

    While I like the red costume a lot*, and proudly count myself as one of the proud few who bought Champions off the spinner rack, I'd never seen the blue/black version at that point, and for some reason liked it better than the red when it popped up later during Paul Smith's X-Men run as more in keeping with the original uniforms — the way all the other characters' outfits did, except for Angel, when they all got their "graduation" costumes from Jean in #39 (or the reprint in #87, my one pre-'New' X-Men purchase). [*Now. As a kid I had a real hate on for cowly things that didn't actually function as masks, like this or the original Starman's hood over at DC; yes, it's more acceptable if you're not keeping your identity secret.]

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  9. Teebore: Hugh Hefner is in attendance at the Hellfire Club party.

    Matt: I have never, ever noticed that. That's fantastic. And is that Jean he's hitting on, or another redhead? I can't recall exactly what she was doing at that moment.

    While I hadn't remembered he was there (unlike the infamous Popeye in #125 or Joker in #130) I recognized him right away — and I wondered if that redhead as well as the other "civilians" in the panel were supposed to be contemporary references, although they're more in the traditional Byrne style than Hef is. For some reason I almost immediately came up with Art Buchwald for the white-haired guy with the combover, leading me to believe I'd read that somewhere, but a cursory online search turned up nothing.

    How much more awesome would a Hellfire Club series have been, by the way, than The Playboy Club (which, admittedly, I never actually saw)? Not that the Fox Generation X TV movie was good enough to go to series, but we've had 15 years of growth in production values and X-Men-franchise awareness since then...

    Teebore: I can't find anything to suggest he has/had TWO different aeries

    What part of "vast personal fortune" do you not understand?

    Teebore: the backup story to the reprint of issue #98 makes it pretty clear that, at that point, Scott and Jean haven't ever had sex yet, but there's been plenty of downtime between then and now for them to get busy

    Maybe that's what I'm thinking of, if you mentioned it during your post on #98, but I also have some scene nagging at me where we discussed here that Jean had intimated that Scott would be getting lucky that night. And it's really more mental energy than I want to expend on the sexual history of comic-book characters. I already feel plenty skeevy for the thought I had when the pair got horizontal in that last panel before we cut away and I wondered what other kind of bursts Jean's power could hold back until the right time.

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  10. anything i had to say to contribute to the conversation was completely wiped out by the delightful butte puns.
    Bravo. Bravo

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  11. Blam: "but I also have some scene nagging at me where we discussed here that Jean had intimated that Scott would be getting lucky that night."

    Maybe you're thinking of all those (days or weeks?) they spent under the spell of Mesmero? There seemed to be some implied out-of-character foolin' around if I recall.

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  12. @Michael: The transition to the scantily clad bikini, removing his visor as a metaphor for undressing him... It's heavy stuff for what still considered a children's book for its day.

    Definitely. I think one of the reasons the Claremont/Byrne stuff resonates so much still today is because of that: they were still writing what was, ostensibly, a children's book, but there was tons of adult subtext that flew over the heads of young readers while impressing older ones.

    They lived in the mansion without a chaperone for years. (Xavier was "dead.") No way they went through the drama of the Thomas-Adams years without a little off-panel action.

    Ha, good point. Heck, forget the mansion: I'm pretty sure Scott and Jean were living together during the very short-lived "roving FBI agents" days, when Scott was a radio news reporter and Jean a model.

    Also, "media" is the plural of "medium." No need for "medias." :-)

    That's what I get for writing fast and proofing even faster...

    @Blam: "Uh... That would be on the butte, Bob."

    Another rimshot! :)

    Remind me when the first act by your reckoning began?

    In terms of "The Dark Phoenix Saga" I consider the acts to consist of #129-131 (the White Queen attacks/the X-Men learn they are targeted by the Club), #132-134 (the X-Men battle the club), and #135-137 (the X-Men deal with the fallout of that battle, i.e. Jean).

    I just like the symmetry of the nine part story breaking into three acts of three issues each, but a case can certainly be made that the story doesn't break down that neatly. Especially in the context of Claremont's entire run on X-Men (in which case the whole Phoenix saga, from #98-137, could be seen as Claremont's first act) or the Claremont/Byrne run, in which "Dark Phoenix" can be seen as either the last or middle act of their run, depending on how you want to break it out.

    Not that any of that really matters; it's just one of those fun discussions we comic geeks like to do. ;)

    ...how out-of-place Scott's ruby-quartz wraparound glasses are in formal dress at the Hellfire Club, but he could at least paint the outside of the glasses darker or just attach some black plastic to them.

    I was thinking that same thing during this issue; he could certainly makes his glasses look like normal glasses, albeit with red lenses...

    What I have wondered before is why no plot point was ever made of the fact that Scott must see everything in shades of red, whether his visor and/or special glasses are on or whether he's seeing through his red optic blasts

    To my knowledge, no story has ever addressed this, but I do remember a letter column from an early 90s issue that explicitly stated he was, for all intents and purposes, color blind, in that he saw everything in the world with a red tint as a result of the glasses (which isn't to say it hadn't been brought up prior to the 90s, but that was the first time, as a reader, it was made clear to me that he sees the world in red).

    I have no idea who Sage is, or what's so big about the fact that she turned out to be Tessa — nor even any recollection that Tessa ever got a name.

    Tessa gets a name at some point during Claremont's run, either during the Club's next big appearance in #151-152 or else during the Paul Smith run, I believe.

    Skip over this if you don't want to be spoiled about Tessa (it's really no big thing), but basically when Claremont returned to the books in the late 90s he revealed that Tessa was actually a double agent working for Xavier all these years, with a power that basically made her a living computer (she could store and process large amounts of data). Then had her break cover and join the X-Men as Sage, and she remained a fixture of pretty much every title he wrote at Marvel from that point forward.

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  13. cont...

    A distinction between "think" and "concentrate" (or just "think hard enough") together with broken syntax like the dashes, ellipses, and dropped words that we get here — to me that passes muster.

    Yeah, I am being a bit too hard on Claremont here. There is a distinction between thinking and concentrating, and Claremont probably even deserves credit, like you said, for establishing why Nightcrawler didn't just teleport away.

    I wondered if that redhead as well as the other "civilians" in the panel were supposed to be contemporary references

    I wondered that too, though if they were, I imagine the Index would have pointed them out it did Hef (which isn't to say they couldn't have missed/been unable to corroborate anyone else, of course).

    How much more awesome would a Hellfire Club series have been, by the way, than The Playboy Club?

    Very, very awesome. I think there's a couple of really strong potential TV concepts built into the X-Men canon, even putting aside a straight adaptation of the concept. The Hellfire Club would make for a neat series, as would a New Mutants/Generation X "Hogwarts with super powers crossed with 90210" series.

    What part of "vast personal fortune" do you not understand?

    Touche. :)

    I wondered what other kind of bursts Jean's power could hold back until the right time.

    DOUBLE rimshot.

    ...that one led Mrs. Teebore to give me a quizzical look and wonder why I was laughing so hard at my email.

    @Sarah: anything i had to say to contribute to the conversation was completely wiped out by the delightful butte puns.

    I almost worked a few into the post, then I thought, "nah, let's see what comes up in the comments".

    And I wasn't disappointed.

    @Chris: Maybe you're thinking of all those (days or weeks?) they spent under the spell of Mesmero? There seemed to be some implied out-of-character foolin' around if I recall.

    Ah, yeah, there was definitely some skeevy implications to that whole setup.

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  14. "A distinction between "think" and "concentrate" (or just "think hard enough") together with broken syntax like the dashes, ellipses, and dropped words that we get here — to me that passes muster."

    "Yeah, I am being a bit too hard on Claremont here. There is a distinction between thinking and concentrating, and Claremont probably even deserves credit, like you said, for establishing why Nightcrawler didn't just teleport away.

    And I think we got off easy here. The Claremont of five years later would have written that balloon as one of his patented "panicked stream of consciousness thought balloons", which I personally hate... something like: "Griplikesteelcan'tbreathecan'tconcentrate elecetriccalfieldHURTScan'tteleport!"

    That may be how a "real person" would think in such a situation, but those balloons are always hard to read and they look stupid.

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  15. @Matt: something like: "Griplikesteelcan'tbreathecan'tconcentrate elecetriccalfieldHURTScan'tteleport!"

    Ha! I honestly don't remember any of those offhand (well, maybe a couple with Rachel, now that I think about it...) but I'll definitely keep an eye out for them.

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  16. i am WAAAY late to this party, but had one comment to add (unless someone said this already and i missed it. then my bad)
    Blam commented about Scott possibly seeing in shades of red

    According to Science of the XMEN, Power aside (meaning who knows what his optic blast does to color), by wearing the red glasses at first he would've seen eveything in red, but eventually his eyes would adjust to 'normal' colors again- only when he would take off the red glasses he would then see the world in shaeds of green due to the adjustment in his eyes to fileter out red.
    always thought that was an intersting science-y factoid

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  17. I picked up the last issues of the Defenders from the 25-cent bin and, yes, the Defenders operated out of Angel's NM home. That series ended to make way for X-Factor.

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  18. @Anne: by wearing the red glasses at first he would've seen eveything in red, but eventually his eyes would adjust to 'normal' colors again- only when he would take off the red glasses he would then see the world in shaeds of green due to the adjustment in his eyes to fileter out red.

    Wow, that's really fascinating. I should probably read that Science of the X-Men book sometime...

    @Anonymous:I picked up the last issues of the Defenders from the 25-cent bin and, yes, the Defenders operated out of Angel's NM home. That series ended to make way for X-Factor.

    Good to know, thanks. I remember that X-Factor #1 opens with Beast, Iceman and Angel at Angel's aerie, but wasn't sure if that was where the New Defenders hung out prior to that.

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  19. Anne: but eventually his eyes would adjust to 'normal' colors again

    That is indeed totally awesome.

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  20. I always looked at Shaw's outfit as being dressed like how boxers used to dress back then. You see it movies like Gangs of New York or Sherlock Holmes.

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  21. Three years late to the party, but since I just found the blog a couple weeks ago (love it, by the way!), I figured I'd weigh in on whether Scott can see colors or not.

    Basically, it seems to vary by writer. I believe Morrison and Whedon both wrote scenes showing him seeing everything in shades of red. On the other hand, waaaay back in the '60s, I know Stan Lee addressed the question in a letter column by telling readers that the ruby quartz glasses function like sunglasses, so he can SEE colors, they're just muted.

    I don't know if Claremont ever addressed it, and failing that, I'll always go with what the character's creator established. MY Cyclops can see colors, anyway. But I wouldn't blame anyone who, er, sees it differently. ;)

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