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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #142

"Mind out of Time!
February 1981

In a Nutshell 
The X-Men defeat the Brotherhood, but aren't certain the future has been changed. 

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

Plot
In Washington DC, the X-Men attack the Brotherhood, determined to keep Senator Kelly safe. Professor Xavier and Moira are unknowingly led away from the scene by Mystique, who knocks them out. In 2013, the X-Men reach the Baxter Building and take out the Sentinel guards. Leaving Rachel outside to guard Kate's unconscious body, Wolverine, Storm and Colossus enter the building. Back in the present, Kate worries that the X-Men are losing, and not knowing who is responsible for killing Kelly, determines to stay by his side. The army arrives on the scene and targets both teams. Slowly, the X-Men manage to turn the tide and send the Brotherhood running, but not before Nightcrawler notices the similarities between himself and Mystique, and Mystique tauntingly tells him to ask his adopted mother about it. As Storm whips up a fog to cover the X-Men's escape, they realize both Kitty and Destiny are missing.


In 2013, the X-Men penetrate the inner sanctum of the Sentinels, but when Wolverine attacks, a Sentinel blasts him, leaving nothing behind but his adamantium skeleton. Enraged, Storm destroys the Sentinel, but more enter the room. The remaining two X-Men attack, but are overwhelmed. Storm is impaled by a javelin launched by one of the Sentinels and Colossus, filled with fury, takes on the remaining Sentinels by himself. Outside, Rachel maintains telepathic connection with Colossus so that he won't die alone, and when he's gone, she realizes Kate is their last hope. In the present, Kate discovers Destiny has cornered Senator Kelly and is about to shoot him. Kate phases through the woman, throwing off Destiny's aim, and Kelly is saved. At that moment, Kate's and Kitty's consciousnesses return to their respective bodies. As Storm arrives and retrieves a disoriented Kitty, Mystique watches in disguise as Destiny is taken into custody, vowing the Brotherhood won't be incarcerated for long. Later, as the X-Men fly home, Angel wonders if anything they did that day made a difference, if Kate's future had truly been averted, and Professor X says that only time will tell. A month later, the President meets with Senator Kelly and Sebastian Shaw, reluctantly agreeing with Kelly's assessment that the mutant threat must be dealt with. He announces the creation of the covert Project: Wideawake to that end, under the control of Henry Gyrich. Its first order of business: the creation of a new series of Sentinels.      

Firsts and Other Notables
Though the adjective has appeared on the cover since issue #114 (except on issue #137), with this issue the title of the comic officially changes to The Uncanny X-Men, appearing that way in the indicia for the first time. As a result, the title of the post has been changed accordingly (though I will still refer to the comic itself as X-Men most often within the posts themselves).

Though the present day X-Men are successful in preventing Senator Kelly's assassination, this issue is notable for depicting the deaths of the X-Men in the future, a shocking sight for the time, and a sequence superbly handled by Claremont and Byrne. It also gives us our first look at Wolverine's adamantium skeleton.


Wolverine's healing factor is overtly mentioned for the first time, though it isn't called that, and it's nowhere near the supercharged level it is these days.


Project: Wideawake, the first official government program meant to deal with mutants, appears for the first time. It will remain a presence in the book for years to come. Henry Peter Gyrich, former NSA liaison to the Avengers, is assigned to head up the program, making his first appearance in X-Men. He too will remain a presence in the book for some time.


This issue marks the return of the Black King, Sebastian Shaw, seen in the epilogue receiving a contract from the President to build new Sentinels. His company is also noted as creating the advanced weaponry used by the army in this issue.


Mystique alludes to a shared past with Nightcrawler in this issue. Thought it will be quite some time until we learn the truth, Claremont's original idea (the one he's hinting at in this issue) was for Mystique and Destiny to be Nightcrawler's biological parents, though he was never allowed to overtly reveal this, instead only continuing to occasionally tease the relationship between Mystique and Nightcrawler before leaving the book, letting it fall to other writers to determine their official relationship.


Though Byrne fully intended, as noted below, for the "Days of Future Past" future to be entirely self-contained and wiped from existence in the course of this story, the brief panel in which Claremont has Kate acknowledge her younger self as the two consciousnesses pass one another (what has become known as the infamous "lesbian incest" scene) suggests the future reality still exists despite the X-Men saving Kelly. Indeed, it will eventually be revealed, as Rachel fears in this issue, that Kate's actions merely created an alternate reality in which the events of her timeline are different than those in the present day X-Men's timeline, and that her reality continues to exist despite the success of the present day X-Men, opening the door to a myriad of alternate future/time travel stories, both involving this specific reality as well as others, in the years to come. 


The "Days of Future Past" reality will eventually be classified as Earth-811 (in the Marvel Universe, alternate realities are numbered, with the "main" reality, the one featured in the vast majority of Marvel comics, designated Earth-616 and sometimes called the "616 universe").


A Work in Progress
Whilst facing Pyro, Colossus wonders about melting, a question that will come up again.


Mystique uses an "electronic damper field" to prevent Professor X from reading her mind. He notices the field, but not before Mystique knocks him out.

During the battle with the Brotherhood, Storm worries that she's failing as a leader, believing Cyclops would be doing a better job.


There's an odd scene in which, mid-battle, Storm admonishes Wolverine for using his claws against his enemies and the two get into a philosophical debate. It continues the recent trend of portraying Wolverine as dangerous, but seems ridiculously ill-timed.


Colossus uses Wolverine as the fulcrum of a lever to move Blob; it's a bit I've always enjoyed, though I'm not sure it would work, given the nature of Blob's power.


Wolverine notes that since Angel's identity is public knowledge now, the government is likely to come after him for the Brotherhood's attack.


For the first time, the Brotherhood are equated with terrorists.


We get a neat bit of foreshadowing as Kate is said to use Kitty's powers in a manner Kitty as yet to do, phasing through Destiny but solidfying just her elbow in order to throw off Destiny's aim.


I Love the 80s
Mystique has Professor X at her mercy, but, in true super-villain fashion, declines to kill him, believing he'll be more useful as a hostage.


In one of those devices common to super-hero comics of the time (but for which Claremont in particular gets a lot of flak nowadays), Storm thinks back on her origin while infiltrating the Sentinel's base. You know, just in case someone was...observing her for the first time and wasn't quite sure what her deal was...


For whatever reason, Destiny tries to assassinate Kelly with a crossbow, rather than, say, a pistol.


Daredevil vs. Johnny Punk!


Claremontisms
Though subtler, this is another instance of the X-Men "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory", as despite saving Kelly the epilogue suggests things aren't going to get a whole lot better for mutants. This specific instance of this particular tic has sometimes been credited as a contributing factor to Byrne's departure from the book, so fed up was he with Claremont's insistence on denying the X-Men a clean win. But we'll get into that more next week.

Wolverine and Angel refer to one another as "Short-Stuff" and "Wings", continuing Claremont's penchant for using nicknames as well as code names and real names. 

Artistic Achievements
The cover of this issue is another iconic one, albeit somewhat less so than last issue's. And, the cover blurb which declares "This issue: everybody dies" is perhaps the most accurate such a blurb (which we'll see many variations of in the future) will ever be.  

Human/Mutant Relations
When the army arrives on the scene, they target both the Brotherhood and the X-Men.


A turning point in human/mutant relations is reached, as the US government, at the order of the President, takes a stance against mutants. No longer will the X-Men only have to deal only with random bigots and crackpot inventors who hate mutants. Now, the government itself is working against them. 


For Sale
"Captain Universe: the hero who could be YOU!", but is never quite as cool as that sounds.


For the pleasure of the good Dr. Bitz:


Claremont on Storm and Wolverine's mid-fight argument
"The way it was structured in the plot is that the X-Men are in the hearing room, the fight begins, Wolverine lunges for Pyro with his claws extended, Storm whirls him away, grabs him in mid-air and says, "No killing. Not here. You're on national television. Put those claws away." She reads him the riot act right off the bat, and then they go into the fight. John felt, I suppose, that that would not work, so he waited until they were two-thirds of the way through the fight on the Mall, and then had everything stop dead, and staged the confrontation between Storm and Wolverine, which a number of readers found to be very awkward. Why stop in the middle of a fight, they wondered, when the bad guys are standing right over there, to have an argument? Obviously, it made sense to John; otherwise, he wouldn't have drawn it that way. I honestly don't remember the rationale behind it."

Sanderson, Peter. The X-Men Companion II. Stamford: Fantagraphics Books, 1982. p27-28

John Byrne on Wolverine's skeleton
"The 'Admantium-laced' skeleton was something forced on the book after I left. As originally presented, as I drew him in Uncanny X-Men #142, Wolverine had a completely Adamantium skeleton (When I say 'originally presented', I mean once he became installed in Uncanny X-Men. As Len Wein conceived the character, he was 17 years old and the claws were in the gloves.)"

Nickerson, Al. "Claremont and Byrne: The Team that Made the X-Men Uncanny." Back Issue August 2008: p10.

Byrne on the nature of "Days of Future Past"
"I conceived 'Days of Future Past' as a completely self-contained story. When the X-Men changed the events which had led to that dark future, Kate was supposed to vanish out of Kitty, never having existed. I had even convinced 'Captain Omniverse,' Mark Guenwald [longtime Marvel writer/editor tasked with overseeing the continuity of Marvel's various timelines, realities and rules of time travel across the various books], that this worked within the established framework of the Marvel Universe and would not, as he originally insisted, create an alternate timeline. Because Kate had traveled back through her own 'mindstream', there was no point at which a divergence could occur. Unfortunately, in scripting the issue, Chris tossed in what came to be known as the 'lesbian incest' moment, wherein Kate remains conscious as she leaves Kitty, and 'impulsively gives herself a kiss.' That opened the door for countless sequels I never, ever, intended."

Nickerson, Al. "Claremont and Byrne: The Team that Made the X-Men Uncanny." Back Issue August 2008: p11.

Teebore's Take
While it may seem trite, repetitious or even quaint nowadays, both because this particular story has been revisited, expanded and homaged countless times, both within and without X-Men comics, and because the notion of changing the past to prevent a dystopian future is much more imbedded in the DNA of genre fiction now than it was in 1980, make no mistake: both issues of  "Days of Future Past"  feature heady, groundbreaking stuff. The bleak sensibility on display in this story was new to the X-Men, and was still being explored in mainstream super-hero comics. Much like having the X-Men lose at the end of the seminal "Dark Phoenix Saga", here we are presented for the first time a striking depiction of the complete and utter failure of the X-Men: humans and mutants can't live together in peaceful coexistence, most of the X-Men (and other heroes) are dead, the few remaining are imprisoned, and their last ditch efforts to pull out a win are, as far as they know, wasted, as the future X-Men go to their graves never knowing if Kate succeeded. Professor Xavier's dream is dead.  

What this does, not just for this two party story but for all X-Men stories to come, is raise the stakes considerably. Yes, the present day X-Men have won the day and (hopefully) prevented this grim future from coming to pass (though they may have inspired an equally bleak one), but we now have a very clear picture of exactly what failure means for Professor Xavier and the X-Men. For the first time, the struggle for peaceful coexistence is framed not just as a philosophical one, or one in which the outcome will either feature mutants living alongside or in dominance of humans (a relatively good ending for mutants either way), but as a struggle with terrible consequences for the characters, one where the cost of failure means the hunting down, incarceration, and eventual extinction of mutants and the grisly and unceremonious deaths of the characters we've come to know and love. Up to this point, the X-Men had been fighting for an idea, for a principal. Just as last issue positioned humanity itself as an active force working against the X-Men, this issue re-contextualizes that ideological fight into a fight for the survival of a species. Failure for the X-Men no longer means a world where humans suffer under the subjugation of Magneto and his ilk, failure means all the mutants are dead.

From this point forward, even to this day, every X-Men story will be colored by the intimate knowledge of the cost of failure depicted in this story. That, even moreso than the bevy of characters they created and the acclaim and popularity they brought to the title, even moreso, dare I say it, than the impact of "The Dark Phoenix Saga", is the lasting legacy of Claremont and Byrne on X-Men.

Next Issue
We say goodbye to John Byrne as Kitty tangles with a alien demon.

19 comments:

  1. First off, i definitely need to work "Better a hostess fruit pie than the fruits of crime!" into my daily quotation lexicon.
    Classic.

    Why is it referred to as a lesbian incest scene? Isn't it more of a temporal masturbation?

    Good stuff, though. Really good stuff.

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  2. @Sarah: i definitely need to work "Better a hostess fruit pie than the fruits of crime!" into my daily quotation lexicon.

    This is true.

    Why is it referred to as a lesbian incest scene? Isn't it more of a temporal masturbation?

    Yeah, it's not like the two Kitty's are sisters. I think it's just the phrase Byrne erroneously coined when complaining about it, for whatever reason, and it's stuck since then.

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  3. That Frank Miller Dr. Strange run never actually happened, right? I recently started reading some of the Stern/Marshall Rogers/Austen Dr. Strange, really enjoying it.
    Daredevil's not into punk rock and Johnny Punks got Sonny Bono in his gang.

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  4. I generally agree with your assessment of the issue -- it did raise the stakes, and it brought the anti-mutant bigotry that we had always heard about, but barely ever seen, to the surface, where it has remained pretty much ever since (though it does subside somewhat during Cockrum's second run and the Paul Smith issues that followed, it comes back strong with John Romita Jr.). The story itself still doesn't do all that much for me, though.

    Also, I will never understand the "lesbian incest" business. Does anyone who read that narration think they were, like, making out or something??? I've always just taken it to be an innocent peck on the forehead.

    Moving on...

    "Wolverine's healing factor is ... nowhere near the supercharged level it is these days."

    The thing that gets me about this is that for a very, very long time, it wasn't all that supercharged. When he lost his adamantium in "Fatal Attractions" it became supercharged, with the explanation that the adamantium was holding it in check somehow all those years. But even after he got the adamantium back, everyone kept writing the super healing factor.

    It really irritates me when, in today's comics, Wolverine can be burnt to a crisp and then have all his skin (and hair!) grow back by issue's end. It's stupid.

    "Claremont's original idea was for Mystique and Destiny to be Nightcrawler's biological parents..."

    And as noted in last week's comments, the inention was for Mystique to be the father! I'm actually very happy that revelation never came to pass. It's just too creepy. Plus, not to get too disturbingly curious, does that mean that when Mystique shapeshifts into a man, she suddenly starts producing sperm? Or is she a man who prefers to live in a woman's body? Creepy!!!

    "Whilst facing Pyro, Colossus wonders about melting, a question that will come up again."

    And had come up previously, when Garokk tried to burn him at the stake.

    "Storm worries that she's failing as a leader, believing Cyclops would be doing a better job."

    He would have.

    "...mid-battle, Storm admonishes Wolverine for using his claws..."

    I never even considered this to be oddly placed or ill-timed. The fact that someone actually asked Claremont about it in an interview just seems weird to me. It's a comic book! Claremont's characters regularly spouted five minute long monologues in mid-leap! Why is this any different?

    "The cover of this issue is another iconic one, albeit somewhat less so than last issue's."

    And it's drawn by Terry Austin all by himself! I've often seen this one credited to Byrne, but it's clearly signed only by Austin, and Byrne has confirmed that he had no hand (or pencil) in its creation, other than drawing the interior panel that inspired it.

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  5. I like wolverine's super charged healing power. I enjoy the fact that you'd have to remove his head and keep it far enough away so it wouldn't reattach. That's awesome.

    As for Mystique, i guess it comes down to whether her powers change her actual atoms, or just her surface appearance. If we're going by the movies (which i don't think we should) it would just be her surface appearance, so she'd look like a man, but she probably couldn't get it up.

    Assuming that Claremont wanted Mystique to be Kurt's father suggests that, yeah, she essentially becomes a man and therefore could function as one, so yeah, she would start to produce sperm.

    The issue i have with that, is, what if she were pregnant (which she was at some point) and she shifted? What would happen to the fetus if she became a man?

    The solution would be to not shift for 9 months, but still. It's definitely something to think about

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  6. Totally random thought... I'm currently re-watching Mad Men in advance of the season 5 premiere. The episode I watched last night featured a minor character named St. John Powell. Probably since I had just read this review earlier in the day, I was reminded that Pyro's real name is St. John Allerdyce.

    Even though St. John looks like it should be pronounced "Saint John", it's actually spoken as "Sinjin" (something I learned from the James Bond film A View to a Kill and of which Mad Men reminded me).

    So... St. John = Sinjin = Singeing = Flames = Pyro? A nice pun on the part of Chris Claremont, or a funny coincidence? I might be inclined to think the latter, except that Claremont was born in England. I'm not sure how long he lived there, but he probably knew the proper pronunciation of the name.

    Plus, Avanlache's real name is Dominic Petros, "petros" being Greek for "rock". It stands to reason that Pyro might have a punny name as well since they were created at the same time. I'm honestly kind of embarassed that I never noticed this sooner since I already knew about Avalanche.

    Anyway, I'm sure someone smarter than me figured this out ages ago, probably back in 1980, but it just occurred to me last night so I thought I'd share. Now we just need to figure out why Destiny is named after a character from a Sherlock Holmes story.

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  7. @Chris: That Frank Miller Dr. Strange run never actually happened, right?

    I'll defer to our resident Dr. Strange expert (when he gets back from vacation), but I don't think so.

    Daredevil's not into punk rock

    Probably muddies his senses too much. :)

    @Matt: though it does subside somewhat during Cockrum's second run and the Paul Smith issues that followed, it comes back strong with John Romita Jr.

    Yeah, the Cockrum and Smith stuff is lot more traditional superheroic stuff: Dr. Doom, aliens, etc.

    Does anyone who read that narration think they were, like, making out or something??? I've always just taken it to be an innocent peck on the forehead.

    Ditto. I never even thought anything of it until I read Byrne ranting about it. I think he was just pissed about Claremont leaving things open ended and fixated on that, making a bigger deal out of it than it was.

    It really irritates me when, in today's comics, Wolverine can be burnt to a crisp and then have all his skin (and hair!) grow back by issue's end. It's stupid.

    Agreed. It's a personal pet peeve of both me and Dr. Bitz. He blames the movie for a lot of it (though it definitely started getting ramped up before then, post-adamamntium, like you said). The healing factor isn't very exciting, visually, unless it works fast. Once you see it handle things sealing up his claw-openings and cuts and whatnot, then its pretty easy to extrapolate that speed to other, bigger injuries. And then pretty soon writers are having him come back from getting the flesh flayed from his bones, and by then that take on it is pretty firmly embedded in the pop culture zeitgeist.

    Plus, not to get too disturbingly curious, does that mean that when Mystique shapeshifts into a man, she suddenly starts producing sperm?

    As far as Claremont is concerned, it seems like she must. I can't remember: have we ever seen Mystique, disguised, pass a blood test or anything like that? That would suggest that when she shape changes, she copies everything.

    And had come up previously, when Garokk tried to burn him at the stake.

    Ah, good catch. I even pointed it out back in that issue, then forgot all about it...

    He would have.

    Ha! No argument here.

    It's a comic book! Claremont's characters regularly spouted five minute long monologues in mid-leap! Why is this any different?

    What stood out to me was the length of the exchange (six panels) while Pryo is standing right there. It's one thing to have Storm think back over her origin mid-punch, because we're seeing a linear representation of Storm's thoughts. She's probably not thinking those words, exactly, but rather thinking of memories/images that are conveyed to the reader via words.

    Whereas here, Storm and Wolverine stop fighting to have a verbal moral debate, and Pyro kindly stands by to wait until they're done. Just seems odder to me than the usual comic book manipulation of time/space.

    And it's drawn by Terry Austin all by himself!

    Cool, I'd never noticed that before!

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  8. @Sarah: I enjoy the fact that you'd have to remove his head and keep it far enough away so it wouldn't reattach. That's awesome.

    Agree to disagree. I mean, that's a cool idea for a character, but not for a main character in an ongoing narrative. We already know Wolverine is in no real danger because he's Marvel's cash cow, but if his healing factor is reigned in such that he'll recover from serious wounds but still be slowed down, it adds some drama to his stories.

    As it is, if he's effectively immortal and able to come back from anything, it's a lot less fun to read about him.

    Also, you wouldn't be able to sever his head anyway: adamantium spine. ;)

    he issue i have with that, is, what if she were pregnant (which she was at some point) and she shifted? What would happen to the fetus if she became a man?

    Oh, that's a good question. She probably would have to stay a woman for the duration of the pregnancy.

    @Matt: A nice pun on the part of Chris Claremont, or a funny coincidence?

    That's gotta intentional, especially given, as you mentioned, Claremont's time in England.

    Also, I had no idea "St. John" was pronounced "Sinjin" in that case, so I'd never made the connection before. Crazy brits...

    Now we just need to figure out why Destiny is named after a character from a Sherlock Holmes story.

    Over on Jason Powell's blog he (or one of the commenters) pointed out that Destiny shares her name with Irene Adler, the closest thing Holmes had to a love interest, and Mystique is Raven DarkHOLME, so maybe it's a hint, albeit a rather subtle one, to their relationship?

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  9. I also did not know the sinjin bit. The more you know!

    Also, i think you could probably get a knife in between his vertebrae and cut off his head that way. Though you'd have to be super quick to offset any flesh knitting that happened at the same time.

    I guess, for me, yeah he's a MC, but he's not the only one. I'm not reading Wolverine, i'm reading X-men and therefore, it bothers me less that he's nigh-invulnerable. But that's just me. Your mileage may vary

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  10. @Sarah: I'm not reading Wolverine, i'm reading X-men and therefore, it bothers me less that he's nigh-invulnerable.

    Yeah, I can see that case when you're dealing with him in a team setting. But still, the fact remains: my favorite Wolverine stories are the ones where he's something akin to mortal. But, as you say, YMMV. :)

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  11. But still, the fact remains: my favorite Wolverine stories are the ones where he's something akin to mortal

    Oh i agree there. There's some good crap coming up that i can't wait for

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  12. Cover artist: Terry Austin!

    I always knew that he'd drawn the cover to the next issue, but I'd never realized that he both penciled and inked this one until I was reading it this time and noticing how un-Byrne-like the Storm figure was. Then my eyes scanned down the spine for the signature(s), and sure enough there was Austin's solo.

    Sprite, meanwhile, is posing for one of Byrne's covers to The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe on Pg. 12, but looking the wrong way. The rest of the gang gets in on the act in the panel you reprinted from Pg. 21.

    Any idea who Joanie and Rick are on Pg. 14?

    It's kind-of neat variation/limitation that Pyro can manipulate fire but not actually generate it himself — like Dazzler needing sound to turn into light, I guess.

    what has become known as the infamous "lesbian incest" scene

    You have to be frickin' kidding me. I'm sure you're not (and I've now read the Byrne quote) — that was rhetorical — but I have never heard anything like that before these posts, although granted I've not been knee-deep in X-Men for decades. Kitty doesn't say that she felt a tongue in her mouth, for Pete's sake (although where Pete is concerned, I'm sure she wouldn't mind)... How is giving your own younger self a mothering peck on the cheek, which is all I read into those panels, "lesbian incest"?

    it will eventually be revealed, as Rachel fears in this issue, that Kate's actions merely created an alternate reality in which the events of her timeline are different than those in the present day X-Men's timeline

    Given who Rachel turns out to be, her future was in a different timeline than this present to begin with, too.

    Colossus uses Wolverine as the fulcrum of a lever to move Blob; it's a bit I've always enjoyed, though I'm not sure it would work, given the nature of Blob's power.

    They don't actually "move the earth [Blob] stands on", based on the pictures, which is what they say they're doing — but rather use the I-beam to see-saw him up, which is exactly what they shouldn't be able to do. A neat idea, yeah, but not passing muster...

    For whatever reason, Destiny tries to assassinate Kelly with a crossbow, rather than, say, a pistol.

    I found that really strange, but assumed (recalling almost zilch about the character) that it was just her thing.

    VW: radom — Haphazardly missing letters.

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  13. Sarah: Why is it referred to as a lesbian incest scene? Isn't it more of a temporal masturbation?

    Exactly! Not even that, of course, but much more that than the other... Although maybe there's another version not approved by the Comics Code Authority. 8^)

    Matt: Or is she a man who prefers to live in a woman's body?

    For what it's worth, I always took the theory of Mystique being Nightcrawler's father to mean that she was born a man who preferred for whatever reason (transgender issues, an extreme disguise, self-gratificationary perviness) to live primarily as a woman.

    Matt: Even though St. John looks like it should be pronounced "Saint John", it's actually spoken as "Sinjin" (something I learned from the James Bond film A View to a Kill and of which Mad Men reminded me).

    Same here! I remember watching A View to a Kill and thinking that "Sinjin" was a weird name for a guy who didn't have any Chinese ancestry (hey, I was 14 and the world was less enlightened) until I saw it spelled out "St. John" — and then I just though it was a weird pronunciation, albeit that the rushing of the pronunciation over time makes sense (cf. "Worcester").

    Teebore: She probably would have to stay a woman for the duration of the pregnancy.

    I have nothing to say about that except that it's just a hilarious sentence.

    VW: Thesca — Citrus diet soda made in Northeastern Greece.

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  14. From this point forward, even to this day, every X-Men story will be colored by the intimate knowledge of the cost of failure depicted in this story. That, even moreso than the bevy of characters they created and the acclaim and popularity they brought to the title, even moreso, dare I say it, than the impact of "The Dark Phoenix Saga", is the lasting legacy of Claremont and Byrne on X-Men.

    Too true. Thankfully, Dave Cockrum takes us on my favorite X-Men space epic and Paul Smith introduces the Morlocks before things get too serious, though.

    On another note -- One of my favorite things about the animated series is that they lift some of Gyrich's line in the two-part pilot episode directly from this issue.

    "They will be dealt with -- permanently!"

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  15. @Blam: The rest of the gang gets in on the act in the panel you reprinted from Pg. 21.

    Ha!

    Any idea who Joanie and Rick are on Pg. 14?

    Not a clue, unfortunately. I assumed they were someone, but the Index doesn't single them out, and I didn't find anything online in a quick Google search.

    It's kind-of neat variation/limitation that Pyro can manipulate fire but not actually generate it himself

    I've always liked that myself, too.

    Given who Rachel turns out to be, her future was in a different timeline than this present to begin with, too.

    Good point. And though nothing in this story is explicit about it, the implication is there, and could be blamed for the continuation of the timeline as much as the "lesbian incest", meaning Byrne is slightly more culpable than he believes.

    A neat idea, yeah, but not passing muster...

    I'm glad someone else thinks its wrong. I keep thinking "do levers not work like I think they do, cuz if they do, that shouldn't work..."

    I found that really strange, but assumed (recalling almost zilch about the character) that it was just her thing.

    Yeah, that's really the only explanation, but this being her first appearance, it's odd. And I'm fairly certain we don't see her use one again, or at least not in a way that draws attention to it.

    Maybe it's a comics code thing? Like a gun would have been too violent or something?

    I have nothing to say about that except that it's just a hilarious sentence.


    Only in comics!

    @Michael: Too true. Thankfully, Dave Cockrum takes us on my favorite X-Men space epic and Paul Smith introduces the Morlocks before things get too serious, though.

    Yeah, a lot of the anti-mutant stuff this story sets up doesn't really come into play until Romita Jr. comes aboard, though I maintain that the direction Claremont takes Magneto starting in #150 is possible almost entirely because of how "Days of Future Past" positions the X-Men relative to humanity (but we'll get into that when that issue comes along).

    One of my favorite things about the animated series is that they lift some of Gyrich's line in the two-part pilot episode directly from this issue.

    Ah, I never noticed that before. Very cool! That show really did have an amazing attention to detail, at least in the writing.

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  16. No disrespect meant, but you've made a mistake there: Wolverine was established as having a healing factor back in the Ka-Zar/Garrok Savage Land story. I'm not sure of the exact issue off the top of my head, but I definitely recall him killing a velociraptor by sticking his arm down its throat, and then mentioning that he heals quickly. Granted, it was a quick mention, so I can see why you would miss it.

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  17. @Harry: Wolverine was established as having a healing factor back in the Ka-Zar/Garrok Savage Land story.

    That was issue #116; in my post on it, I mentioned the whole "heal fast" business. In this issue, however, he specifically mentions having a "fast healing ability", which I felt was worth pointing out as an element of his continued development.

    The first mention, on its own, could be read simply as tough guy/action hero-style posturing, whereas in this issue, it's made clear his "fast healing" is in fact a mutant ability. Hence, the separate mention.

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  18. @Teebore:

    My bad, I'm reading your blog posts backwards (#178 - #1), so I haven't encountered it yet. I guess that I probably should have checked the issue itself to see whether you had mentioned it, though.

    These are really good analyses (analysises? analysi?), by the way.

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  19. @Harry:
    These are really good analyses (analysises? analysi?), by the way.


    Ha! Thanks.

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