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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

X-amining X-Men #141

"Days of Future Past"
January 1981

In a Nutshell 
The X-Men of the future try to change the past. 

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 the 21st century, Kate Pryde hurries through a Park Avenue slum to a rendezvous with Wolverine. After fighting off a gang of humans, Wolverine gives Kate the final component of a jammer, and says to be ready at midnight. Kate makes her way back to the mutant internment center in the Bronx run by the Sentinels. She meets with the surviving X-Men: her husband Colossus, Storm, Magneto, Franklin Richards and a young woman named Rachel. They all agree to go ahead with the plan. After Franklin uses the last component Wolverine sent with Kate to complete a jammer that will neutralize the collars inhibiting their powers, Rachel telepathically sends Kate's mind back through time. In the present, on Halloween, the X-Men are training in the Danger Room when Kitty suddenly collapses. Taken to the infirmary, when Kitty awakens she tells the X-Men that she is Kate Pryde, the older consciousness of Kitty inhabiting Kitty's younger body. She hurriedly tells the X-Men that on this day the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants will assassinate  Presidential candidate Robert Kelly, Professor X and Moira MacTaggert, triggering a chain of events that, in the future, will lead to nuclear holocaust. Though dubious, Wolverine senses she's telling the truth, and the X-Men agree to go to Washington DC, where Professor X can mindscan her.


En route, Kate tells the X-Men about the future, in which Kelly's death leads to the passage of a Mutant Control Act and the reactivation of the Sentinels, who quickly decide the best way to protect humanity is to rule it and take control of the country, killing or imprisoning mutants and non-mutant superheroes alike. Now, with the Sentinels poised to spread their control to other countries, the world is on the brink of nuclear war, and the X-Men conspired to send Kate's mind back to the day of the assassination to try and prevent it. In 2013, the surviving X-Men have escaped the internment center with the help of Wolverine, but are attacked by a group of Sentinels. Franklin is killed, but the other X-Men fight them off, and proceed towards the Sentinels' headquarters, determined to shut them down in case Kate fails in the past. In present day Washington, Mystique and her newly-assembled Brotherhood of Evil Mutants prepare to attack Kelly. At the US Senate, Kelly is leading a hearing discussing the mutant problem, with Professor Xavier and Moira on hand to testify. As the X-Men enter the hearing and Professor X telepathically learns the situation, one of the building's walls collapses. The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants enters, but are stunned by a lightening bolt. The X-Men declare that if the Brotherhood wants Kelly, they'll have to go through them.      

Firsts and Other Notables
This issue is the first part of "Days of Future Past", and as such, is the first appearance of the dystopian future ruled by Sentinels. Though "Days of Future Past" is only a two-part story which concludes next issue, this is not the last we'll see of its futuristic reality or some of its denizens, and it introduces the idea of bleak, dismal futures to the X-Men narrative (in addition to this future, we will, in time, see several different possible futures for the characters in the X-Men universe; few of those futures are very pleasant).

This the first appearance of Rachel Summers, who will eventually join the X-Men and play a significant role in the book. Here, she is only referred to as Rachel as, I believe, Claremont and Byrne intended to establish her as Scott and Jean's daughter but were forced to leave that out of this story following the change to the ending of "The Dark Phoenix Saga" (this story having been plotted before that change occurred), leaving it to Claremont to eventually develop a workaround to that problem and christen her a Summers in later stories.


Mystique's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, the most notable incarnation of the team since the initial group led by Magneto, makes its first appearance. This iteration, with various membership changes, will continue to play a role in the book throughout Claremont's tenure.


The team is comprised of Mystique, a shape shifting mutant who first appeared in Ms. Marvel #16, also written by Chris Claremont. She is joined by Blob, Destiny (a blind woman who can see the future), Avalanche (who can create vibrations and cause localized earthquakes) and Pyro (who can control fire), and this is the first appearance of the latter three (though this incarnation of the Brotherhood and all of those characters were slated by Claremont to appear in an issue of Ms. Marvel prior to this issue, before that title was abruptly cancelled; the aborted issue later saw print in Marvel Super-Heroes #11 in 1992).


It is established here that that Mystique and Destiny are friends, and later stories will reveal that friendship to be deep and lasting, with some implications that they are lovers (something Claremont always intended to reveal, but which he was never allowed to do beyond vague implications). 

In the future, in a moment clearly meant to shock readers, a wheelchair-bound Magneto is the leader of the X-Men, referred to as "old friend" by Colossus. Though Byrne has always been opposed to the idea, this is the first inkling we get of the possibility of a less-villainous Magneto mentoring the X-Men in a Professor X-like role, and seeing Magneto in a mutant concentration camp will retroactively have added resonance once its revealed that he is a survivor of the Holocaust. 


The year given for the events of the future story is 2013, setting it roughly thirty-two years before the events in the "present" storyline, and though, thanks to Marvel's sliding timeline, the "present" is no longer considered 1981, the depicted future is still considered to be occurring thirty-two years in the future (and in the case of stories that occur after this one, some ever-sliding value less than thirty-two years). Still, just to be safe, we may all want to prepare for domination by a group of sophisticated robots next year.

The scenes at the Sentate hearings, prior to the Brotherhood's arrival, were clearly an inspiration to the opening of the first X-Men film, and the X-Men animated series adapted this story (fairly faithfully, aside from a few trappings of the 90s) in its first season.


A Work in Progress
This is another example of Claremont and Byrne putting the X-Men in more fundamentally sci-fi stories, as opposed to traditional super-hero stories.

Kitty's continued issues with Nightcrawler's appearance pays off nicely, as in one scene Kurt expresses his sorrow at the situation, only to later be immediately hugged by Kitty when Kate Pryde awakens in the past.


Kitty is shown to be able to levitate slightly while phasing.


In the future, Wolverine escaped imprisonment and is a colonel in the Canadian Resistance Army.

Magneto refers to Colossus in the future as Piotr Alexandreivitch, though his full name is actually Piotr Nikolaievitch. Also, he's going gray Reed Richards-style (from the bottom up). 


Franklin Richards, the son of the Fantastic Four's Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Girl, is shown to be a member of the X-Men in the future; he is vaporized by a Sentinel as the X-Men are escaping their concentration camp.


Similarly, the headquarters of the Sentinels in the future is said to be the Baxter Building, which is the current location of the Fantastic Four's headquarters.

The X-Men take Angel's private plane to Washington. 

Senator Kelly returns, leading a Senate hearing on the mutant problem. Moira MacTaggert is on hand along with Professor Xavier as an accredited expert on mutants. 

Blob refers to Pyro as a Limey, though later stories will reveal he's actually Australian. 

I Love the 80s
Franklin Richards pulls that classic comic book exposition trick, starting off an explanation of what something does by saying to another character, "as you know..."


A pair of reporters spot Angel at the Senate hearings and recognize him, and one of them tells the other to tell Lois to try to get an interview; the Lois in question is considered to be Lois Lane, of Superman fame.


Claremontisms
During the senate hearing, Senator Kelly explains to Moira why mutants scare him: if, in a world of super-powered beings, he wonder if there's any place for ordinary humans, and if that's the same question asked by the last Neanderthal about the first Cro-Magnon. The whole "last Neanderthal/first Cro-Magnon" didactic will be repeated in one form or another throughout Claremont's run.


Artistic Achievements
The cover of this issue is one of the series' best, most-referenced, and oft-homaged covers. I remember poring over it as a kid, long before I read the issue, in the Photojournal Guide to Marvel Comics, fascinated by the wanted poster and the various character shown as slain or apprehended. Like all great covers, it definitely grabs your attention and sparks your imagination. 

In a neat little background detail, in the future, horses are shown to be pulling cars and buses.


Young Love
 In the future, Kitty is married to Colossus (and once, they had children, who were killed by the Sentinels). The adult Kate Pryde mentions she's loved Peter since the moment they met, adding a bit of substance to the crush present-day Kitty has already been established as having on Colossus. 


The Best There Is at What He Does
Wolverine can somehow smell that the mind in Kitty's body is older. It's No-Prizeable, but still a pretty dubious idea.


Human/Mutant Relations
Anti-mutant prejudice is given it's most dramatic depiction to date, as we're told that in the wake of Senator Kelly's death at the hands of mutants, the government passes a Mutant Control Act which leads to the Sentinels taking control of America, hunting down, imprisoning and executing the vast majority of mutants and super heroes in the country.


John Byrne on Kitty's levitation
"That's an unconscious levitation thing that prevents her sinking through the floor. When she manifests her power, why doesn't she just go straight down? Because she floats slightly. She is learning to use that consciously to "fly", although it's very limited. It's like running up the air; it's the best she'd be able to do.

Sanderson, Peter. The X-Men Companion II. Stamford: Fantagraphics Books, 1982. p78

John Byrne on plotting "Days of Future Past"
"Also from the day I came aboard, I wanted to do a Sentinels story. I thought (and think) Sentinels are so cool! But Chris kept saying 'no.' 'Sentinels are lame!' he said. 'No,' I said, 'You write them lame! So I 'plotted' what became 'Days of Future Past.' (I say 'plotted' in quotes, because years later, I realized I had lifted the spine of my story almost whole from the Doctor Who serial 'Day of the Daleks' [Season 9, Jan. 1972]. From this I learned to always be suspricious of storylines that pop into my head fully formed!)"

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

Teebore's Take
"Days of Future Past" represents Claremont and Byrne's second (and final) great epic. Whereas "The Dark Phoenix Saga" was, as the name suggests, a sprawling story consisting of multiple issues and multiple acts,  "Days of Future Past" is almost the exact opposite. It is a brief burst of story, telling its tale and leaving its mark in but two issues. While "Dark Phoenix" was the culmination of subplots and developing characterization left simmering for months, and in some cases years, at a time, this story manages to setup and payoff its plot with virtually no prior build-up. Yet despite its brevity, "Days of Future Past" will, like "The Dark Phoenix Saga" before it, have a lasting impact on the narrative of the X-Men, with reverberations still being felt to this day.

"Days of Future Past" also serves as Claremont and Byrne's definitive statement on one of the X-Men's central themes: anti-mutant prejudice. Curiously enough, given both the theme's significance to the X-Men mythology and Claremont and Byrne's place in the history of the title, thus far their run has steered clear of the idea that the X-Men are, as the logline that opens each issue declares, "sworn to protect a world which fears and hates them". Up to this point, Claremont and Byrne have mostly paid lip service to this notion, occasionally mentioning it in passing. Here, the idea takes center stage and again, though this story is brief, the impact is lasting. For the first time, the US government is shown to be seriously worried about mutants. Senator Kelly is running on an anti-mutant platform, the Senate is holding hearings about the mutant problem, the world is, as Professor X says, increasingly scared of mutants. Previously, the Sentinels had always been at the whim of a lone, private citizen, specifically cutoff from the government; through Claremont and Byrne's depictions of the world in 2013, we are shown what the Sentinels are capable of with the full force of the government behind them, to the point where the government itself loses control over them.

What this does is transform humanity from something the X-Men fight for, to something they must fight against, and in doing so, begins to position the X-Men as anti-establishment revolutionaries. Before, the X-Men fought to prevent humanity from being dominated by the likes of Magneto (and to, more or less, maintain an existing status quo); now they must fight that battle while also fighting to prevent humanity from rising up against them. It may have gone largely ignored up to now, but in one fell swoop, Claremont and Byrne raise the stakes on anti-mutant prejudice, and show not just how much the world fears and hates mutants, but that protecting humanity from evil mutants may not be enough to prevent that fear and hatred from leading to extinction.  

Next Issue
The X-Men vs. the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants for the fate of the future!

33 comments:

  1. ***Part 1 of a 2-part Comment***

    A note: The issue is cover-dated January of 1981, but I believe that means it would've hit the stands in September or October of 1980, and I'm pretty sure that's when it must take place. It's set on Halloween, isn't it? Kelly is running for president, and there was no election in '81; it was in '80.

    Anyway, moving on... This is where I reveal a dark secret about myself. I'm not much of a fan of "Days of Future Past". I don't hate it, but it doesn't really do a whole lot for me either. I like the present day stuff, but I've never been a fan of dystopian/post-apocalyptic futures in any genre. For the same reason, I don't care much for the "Age of Apocalypse" either, even though it's usually considered the creative high point of the 90's X-Men.

    That said, here are my thoughts...

    "This the first appearance of Rachel Summers..."

    ...and the final time she was tolerable as a character.

    "Mystique's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants..."

    I love these guys. When someone says "Brotherhood of Evil Mutants", I immediately think of Mystique, Destiny, Pyro, Blob, and Avalanche. Which is funny, because I'm pretty sure they only functioned as the Brotherhood for something like two stories before they became Freedom Force. A great deal of my love for this iteration comes from the X-Men animated series.

    "...Mystique, a shape shifting mutant who first appeared in Ms. Marvel #16..."

    Having recently read Essential Ms. Marvel, I was surprised to find that it seemed Mystique was initially planned to be an alien agent working for some otherworldly villain. I'm glad she turned out to be a mutant instead, but I am curious where Claremont was originally going to go with her.

    Also, it may be because I first read this when I was about the right age to take notice of these things, but does anyone else find that Mystique is the most... endowed... out of all the women Byrne drew in this title? The fact that I noticed it and it always stuck with me makes me think I'm not imagining things.

    To Be Continued...

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  2. ***Part 2 of a 2-part Comment***

    "...in a moment clearly meant to shock readers, a wheelchair-bound Magneto is the leader of the X-Men..."

    This is a glaring instance of my knowledge of the future lessening the impact of the revelation. I already knew when I read this story that Magneto had been an X-Man and was an old friend of Professor X, so there really wasn't anything special about this for me. I'm sure it truly was shocking for the readers of the day, though, since at this point Magneto had never shown so much as an inkling of heroism.

    "Still, just to be safe, we may all want to prepare for domination by a group of sophisticated robots next year."

    Does anyone know where I can get ahold of one of those Larry Trask medallions?

    "...the X-Men animated series adapted this story (fairly faithfully, aside from a few trappings of the 90s)..."

    I loved that they used Bishop to fill the Kate Pryde role, and joined his "X-Traitor" storyline to this one. It was one of the 90's trappings to which you refer, but it worked surprisingly well.

    "Moira MacTaggert is on hand along with Professor Xavier as an accredited expert on mutants."

    And Banshee is taking it easy on Muir Island, rather than traveling with his girlfriend to make a little vacation of it and maybe check in with his former teammates...

    "Blob refers to Pyro as a Limey, though later stories will reveal he's actually Australian."

    A while back, Byrne said that he drew Pyro somewhat "foppish", but with no particular nationality in mind, and Claremont saw his mannerisms and made him British. I find this funny.

    "A pair of reporters spot Angel at the Senate hearings..."

    With all due respect to Lee and Kirby and Claremont and Byrne and everyone else who used it, Angel's "harness" that makes him look totally normal with not even a hint of wings showing is absolutely ridiculous. There was a story in an issue of What The --?! that lampooned that bit very nicely: he struggles to get into the harness, talking about how once he puts it on he'll be able to walk around in public with no one suspecting he's a mutant, then when he comes out of his bedroom, his clothes are stretched to bursting around him, he looks like a hunchback, the tips of his wings are sticking out of his pant cuffs, and feathers are floating all around him.

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  3. "She meets with the surviving X-Men: her husband Colossus, Storm, Magneto, Franklin Richards and a young woman named Rachel."

    Couldn't Franklin Richards just wish the sentinels away or something?

    "Rachel telepathically sends Kate's mind back through time."

    Telepathically sending thoughts into the past? Sounds complicated...(I know, it won't be the last time this happens.)

    "She hurriedly tells the X-Men that on this day the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants will assassinate Presidential candidate Robert Kelly, Professor X and Moira MacTaggert, triggering a chain of events that, in the future, will lead to nuclear holocaust."

    Don't you think the future X-Men may have wanted to send Kitty Pride's mind back in time a few days BEFORE the assassination just to give themselves some sort of buffer period (and maybe place a few sports wagers)?

    "In present day Washington, Mystique and her newly-assembled Brotherhood of Evil Mutants prepare to attack Kelly."

    At least they have enough self awareness to know they're evil. It's good to know your place in the world.

    "The adult Kate Pryde mentions she's loved Peter since the moment they met"

    Does she mention how creepy it is?

    @Matt: "Also, it may be because I first read this when I was about the right age to take notice of these things, but does anyone else find that Mystique is the most... endowed... out of all the women Byrne drew in this title?"

    If you were a shapeshifter wouldn't you be well endowed too?

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  4. @Matt: I believe that means it would've hit the stands in September or October of 1980, and I'm pretty sure that's when it must take place. It's set on Halloween, isn't it?

    Yes, I'm fairly certain it would have been on stands in October of 1980, and the story is specifically said to take place on Halloween. And the story in issue #143, cover dated March of 81, explicitly takes place on Christmas, so that fits, too.

    I like the present day stuff, but I've never been a fan of dystopian/post-apocalyptic futures in any genre.

    You're certainly not the first person I've heard express that opinion, and I certainly can't begrudge you it. However, I'm an unabashed fan of time travel/dystopian future stories in most any genre, so I definitely have a soft spot "Days of Future Past".

    Which isn't to say I don't think Claremont and later writers dipped into the "'Days of Future Past' specifically and dystopian future generally" well a few too many times (I mean, after all, all the bleak futures get a little tedious, even for me). As much as I enjoy the "change the past to prevent the future" stuff here, what I really like about this story is how it re-contextualizes the X-Men's purpose and raises the stakes for them, the latter of which I'll discuss in more detail next week.

    ...and the final time she was tolerable as a character.

    More or less, yeah. Unless you happen to like characters who cry a lot...

    I love these guys. When someone says "Brotherhood of Evil Mutants", I immediately think of Mystique, Destiny, Pyro, Blob, and Avalanche.

    Ditto (though I tend to include some of the later Freedom Force members in my mental picture). The introduction of this Brotherhood, their transition to Freedom Force, their relationship with the X-Men is all one of my favorite things about Claremont's run.

    Having recently read Essential Ms. Marvel, I was surprised to find that it seemed Mystique was initially planned to be an alien agent working for some otherworldly villain.

    I really need to sit down and read that one of these days. I'm curious where Claremont was going with it too. He definitely seemed, at the time, to be mildly infatuated with the "alien infiltrator" idea. I'm glad we got the Mystique we got, as I think she's one of Claremont's best characters.

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  5. cont...

    This is a glaring instance of my knowledge of the future lessening the impact of the revelation. I already knew when I read this story that Magneto had been an X-Man and was an old friend of Professor X, so there really wasn't anything special about this for me.

    Ditto, though at least we did get the resonance of seeing Magneto in another concentration camp that first time readers in 1980 wouldn't have got.

    It was one of the 90's trappings to which you refer, but it worked surprisingly well.

    Definitely. As with the two Phoenix sagas, they did a rather elegant job of adapting this story, given the disparate cast of characters and whatnot.

    And Banshee is taking it easy on Muir Island, rather than traveling with his girlfriend to make a little vacation of it and maybe check in with his former teammates...

    Ha! Good point; I'd completely forgotten about poor Banshee. It's one of those things where, were this a TV show, you'd just assume they couldn't get the actor to come back for a cameo.

    A while back, Byrne said that he drew Pyro somewhat "foppish", but with no particular nationality in mind, and Claremont saw his mannerisms and made him British.

    That is funny. I've also always enjoyed the fact that, according to the Marvel Handbooks, Pyro is also an accomplished romance novelist.

    ...then when he comes out of his bedroom, his clothes are stretched to bursting around him, he looks like a hunchback, the tips of his wings are sticking out of his pant cuffs, and feathers are floating all around him.

    Oh, it's funny cuz it's true. I'll have to try to track that down, I'd love to see it. Angel's harness is one of those goofy trappings of the Silver Age that can't be ditched fast enough (I rather liked the old "enormous backpack" he'd wear in X-Factor to disguise his wings, mainly because it seemed to be agreeing with me that strapping down the wings to hide them completely was impossible...).

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  6. @Dr. Bitz: Couldn't Franklin Richards just wish the sentinels away or something?

    Nowadays, yes, though at the time I don't think any of the FF writers had established Franklin's power/potential beyond anything more than vague "he'll be really powerful someday" hand waving.

    I'm not as rote on my FF history as I am other characters, so I could be wrong, but I think Claremont and Byrne can be forgiven for not yet knowing that Franklin could have just transported everyone into a pocket universe inside his ball...

    Telepathically sending thoughts into the past? Sounds complicated...

    Yeah, it's a stretch, but it still makes more sense than telepathically sending a whole person, body and all, back in time, which Rachel eventually does (though there has been some retconning surrounding the Phoenix Force to kind of rationalize that...).

    I also oversimplified it a bit; there's a couple panels where Claremont tries to massage it a bit so it's not so completely ridiculous, but it's clear the important thing is the time travel itself and not so much the how. Still, I appreciate the effort, however slight.

    Don't you think the future X-Men may have wanted to send Kitty Pride's mind back in time a few days BEFORE the assassination just to give themselves some sort of buffer period (and maybe place a few sports wagers)?

    Yeah, the story is never terribly clear about why Kate was sent back to that specific day, instead of any other day following Kitty joining the team. Nor why she never told anyone who won subsequent World Series, just in case.

    At least they have enough self awareness to know they're evil. It's good to know your place in the world.

    In more recent stories, Mystique has tried to argue that they included the "evil" in their name ironically (taking the name because to the humans they believed they were defending mutantkind against, they were evil), making her, as someone on the internet whom I can't remember said, the first hipster super-villain.

    Does she mention how creepy it is?

    Isn't it only really creepy if he reciprocates at an age when it would still be creepy? Which, he does. But we'll get there.

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  7. Dr. Bitz -- "If you were a shapeshifter wouldn't you be well endowed too?"

    It's probably the first thing I'd do, in fact... and I guess John Byrne would too! It's just funny to me that he had a pretty generic female body which he applied to everyone, but Mystique appears much more buxom than that standard.

    Teebore -- "...according to the Marvel Handbooks, Pyro is also an accomplished romance novelist,,,"

    I love that touch too, and it even gets mentioned in the comics during the Reavers' attack on Muir Island: in one of my very favorite little tidbits of Claremont characterization, when Pyro thinks he's about to die, he laments that he will never find out how well his new book sold.

    "I'd completely forgotten about poor Banshee."

    Don't worry, whenever you (and Claremont) forget about him, I'll be sure to point it out!

    Speaking of which, the other day I was flipping through the new "X-Men by Chris Claremont & Jim Lee" volume 2 omnibus, and it occurred to me that Claremont isn't the only writer to just sort of forget about poor Banshee. In X-Men #4, when Moira flees the mansion, Banshee follows. Moira returns a few months later (I think in X-Factor or maybe Uncanny), but Banshee isn't seen again for almost two years, when he finally returns with the somewhat lame excuse that he went off and searched the world for her, not realizing she came straight back home almost as soon as she left. If that wasn't Scott Lobdell or Fabian Nicieza (or editorial) covering for the fact that everyone behind the scenes forgot about Banshee, I don't know what is.

    "I'll have to try to track that down, I'd love to see it."

    It was What The --?! #25, the all-mutant parody issue. Assuming you still have a 12 year-old's sense of humor like I do, you shouldn't be disappointed. My friends and I read that issue to pieces in middle school. A different story in the same issue also gave us a parody of X-Force's leader, Cable TV Guy.

    "In more recent stories, Mystique has tried to argue that they included the "evil" in their name ironically..."

    For some reason I thought that was in the Claremont run, but I'm probably misattributing it. Anyway, I think I read someplace relatively recently (maybe even here?) that though the group was usually called the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants on covers and in narration, even in the Silver Age Magneto never referred to his group as evil, simply calling them his Brotherhood...? I don't know for sure, since I never read those old issues.

    Anyway, Mystique's group calling themselves evil seems like a very Silver Age-y thing for Claremont to do, considering the level of sophistication he seemed to be going for at this time. I wonder if it was an editorial thing? It doesn't seem like something Byrne would go for either, though I could be wrong. He loves the Doom Patrol, and their main villains are called the Brotherhood of Evil.

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  8. @Matt: Moira returns a few months later (I think in X-Factor or maybe Uncanny)

    Now that you mention it, I don't think she comes back until "X-Cutioners Song", which makes it even more egregious that Banshee doesn't return too, considering all the X-Men were in crisis mode.

    In any event, the whole post-X-Men (vol.2) #4 disappearance of Banshee has always bugged me too.

    Assuming you still have a 12 year-old's sense of humor like I do, you shouldn't be disappointed.

    I think I've made it pretty clear that I do. :)

    For some reason I thought that was in the Claremont run, but I'm probably misattributing it.

    Oh, I could be misattributing it too. Now that you mention it, it does seem like something Claremont would have said later in his run, maybe around the time of the transition into Freedom Force.

    I think I read someplace relatively recently (maybe even here?) that though the group was usually called the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants on covers and in narration, even in the Silver Age Magneto never referred to his group as evil, simply calling them his Brotherhood...?

    I've read that too (and I don't *think* it was here...), but I'm not sure how true it is. I know in more recent stories, writers have always been careful to avoid characters' calling the group evil, and while I can't recall offhand a specific instance when it occurred in any of the old Silver Age stories, I feel like it had to have slipped in there once or twice.

    At the very least, if Magneto never did call his Brotherhood evil, I feel like that had to have been a happy accident. :)

    Mystique's group calling themselves evil seems like a very Silver Age-y thing for Claremont to do, considering the level of sophistication he seemed to be going for at this time.

    It is surprisingly retro of him. I'd credit it to Byrne, who does, as you mentioned, have an affinity for such things and tends to claim the lions share of credit for "Days of Future Past", but no matter how much of the plot he did or didn't contribute on his own, I don't think he was ever in a position to put the word's in Mystique's mouth.

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  9. What a great, memorable, tantalizing, spooky cover!

    I wonder what it said under the obviously relettered words "normal woman" in Kate's line "I'm just a normal woman" at bottom Pg. 2.

    Logan sure has aged a lot in "only" 30 years, given that he looked the same in at least 1990 as he did in 1941— I'm going by X-Men #268, which I picked up off the racks because of that cover with Wolverine, Cap, and Black Widow — but of course in #141 they hadn't decided (or hadn't made official, in continuity, anyway) how old Logan was yet and at what rate he aged.

    Do you think Claremont (or Byrne) picked 2013 because it was 50 years after X-Men's debut, or just that it was an appropriately random-sounding future year?

    Orz still misspells "Sentinel" as "Sentinal" now and then.

    I'd love to have seen an unknown name featured prominently among the gravestones, the way the memorial hall at LSH headquarters in "The Adult Legion" from Adventure Comics #354-355 gave us our first looks at Reflecto and Shadow Woman (only later introduced to the "present-day" Legion as Shadow Lass).

    I'm not sure how many younger readers know the slogan, but there used to be a PSA on TV that asked something like "Parents... It's 11 o'clock. Do you know where your children are?" So that's the source of the clever slogan on the placard on Pg. 18, "America! It's 1984! Do you know what your children are?"

    "Hola, Wolverine"?!? Since when did Colossus become Hispanic and/or Wonder Woman?

    I get a kick out of the fact that in her civilian clothes Destiny is dressed head-to-toe covered in a white three-piece suit out of Tom Wolfe's closet, with a prim bun, yet her costume shows thigh and cleavage (which is even weirder since she has gray hair and appears to be, let's say, older out of costume).

    Reading these issues and participating in the conversation is a highlight of my week, Teebore. I'm always glad for the respite from the daily grind checking in here brings.

    VW: calvic — Having a stuffed tiger that comes to life when nobody else is around.

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  10. all of those characters were slated by Claremont to appear in an issue of Ms. Marvel prior to this issue, before that title was abruptly cancelled; the aborted issue later saw print in Marvel Super-Heroes #11 in 1992

    I did not know that. Maybe I'll track that down one day. Did it later get included in the Essential volume, too, by any chance?

    It is established here that that Mystique and Destiny are friends, and later stories will reveal that friendship to be deep and lasting, with some implications that they are lovers (something Claremont always intended to reveal, but which he was never allowed to do beyond vague implications). 

    Huh... I did not know that either. I don't think I saw Destiny again after the Freedom Force stories early in JRJr.'s run (if she was even there).

    seeing Magneto in a mutant concentration camp will retroactively have added resonance once its revealed that he is a survivor of the Holocaust

    We haven't been told that yet? I'm not doubting you, I'm just surprised.

    Kitty's continued issues with Nightcrawler's appearance pays off nicely, as in one scene Kurt expresses his sorrow at the situation, only to later be immediately hugged by Kitty when Kate Pryde awakens in the past.

    I never consciously made that connection, but you're right. Nice observation!

    Blob refers to Pyro as a Limey, though later stories will reveal he's actually Australian. 

    Fred J. Dukes ain't the crispest apple in the fruit bin, so this is hardly an oops moment.

    Wolverine can somehow smell that the mind in Kitty's body is older. It's No-Prizeable, but still a pretty dubious idea.

    I always read that to be a pheromone thing and despite the option of it being in her sweat have by default taken it to be a reference to menstruation somehow.

    VW: Syley — Zachary Quinto's Heroes character when he was a wee lad.

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  11. Matt: ***Part 1 of a 2-part Comment***

    Hahahahahahahaha!!!

    Matt: The issue is cover-dated January of 1981, but I believe that means it would've hit the stands in September or October of 1980, and I'm pretty sure that's when it must take place.

    As Teebore noted, the story is said to take place on October 31st, 1980, "the final Friday of one of the closest, hardest-fought Presidential elections in recent memory" — as voting would take place on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Mike's Amazing World says that the issue hit newsstands on October 14th, 1980, my tenth birthday, although I'm pretty sure I picked it up as a recent back issue. [With it's latest redesign, by the way, that site invalidated all older links to it, redirecting everything to the front page. I asked Mike Voiles about that and he basically said, yeah, he doesn't care, which is a shame; I'll still link to his site on my blog when I get info from it, but I won't bother sending people to specific pages, which I consider a loss all around.]

    Matt: [D]oes anyone else find that Mystique is the most... endowed... out of all the women Byrne drew in this title?

    I'd never noticed that before, but, um, eyballing this issue, yeah, I guess so. Like Dr. Bitz said, Mystique can make herself look however she wants, which arguably explains the volume of boobage (not every guy — or gal — goes for that) but not necessarily the indigo skin and blank yellow eyes as her default image.

    Matt: And Banshee is taking it easy on Muir Island, rather than traveling with his girlfriend to make a little vacation of it and maybe check in with his former teammates...

    While she hangs out with her former paramour, no less. I don't mean that jealousy would or should be a greater motivator than having a reunion, as you say, but one expects some lip service to his absence at least. Madrox can definitely take care of the chores.

    Let's put it down to a flare-up due to injuries suffered in X-Men #119.

    Matt: With all due respect to Lee and Kirby and Claremont and Byrne and everyone else who used it, Angel's "harness" that makes him look totally normal with not even a hint of wings showing is absolutely ridiculous.

    Aside from the What The--?! you mentioned, there's an earlier Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham story in which Captain Americat (yes, really), just like his human counterpart, straps his shield to his back and then dons his civilian clothes, including a sharp tapered jacket — which causes Spider-Ham to react in disbelief and Cap to simply say, "I have a great tailor." Of course Angel's harness is even more ridiculous when you consider how big his wings are, but that shield trick never fails to get me; I don't understand, given both the placement of the straps when it's on Cap's forearm and the fact that he's not, like, triple-jointed, how he even gets it on his shoulders.

    VW: rockebo — A stone-and-sugar pill used in blind studies.

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  12. Dr. Bitz: Telepathically sending thoughts into the past? Sounds complicated...

    Especially since Cyclops wasn't there to focus his eyebeams on Polaris so that she could super-energize Rachel with her magnetic powers, or however that went with the Z'nox...

    Dr. Bitz: Don't you think the future X-Men may have wanted to send Kitty Pride's mind back in time a few days BEFORE the assassination just to give themselves some sort of buffer period (and maybe place a few sports wagers)?

    Ain't that always the rub with time-travel stories, especially of the warning-about-calamity-to-come variety?

    Teebore: It's one of those things where, were this a TV show, you'd just assume they couldn't get the actor to come back for a cameo.

    X-Men really is a TV show — complete with seasons apparently, although I've never taken the equivalance to that level before. Your remarks on how "Days of Future Past" is a tight, dense two-part blockbuster, self-contained but with resonance later on, totally fits in with classic episodic genre television like Star Trek: The Next Generation.

    Teebore: I've also always enjoyed the fact that, according to the Marvel Handbooks, Pyro is also an accomplished romance novelist.

    ... Okay, I love how hilariously random that is.

    VW: inglid — n. Cap on a jar of gerunds.

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  13. all right, just read all the comments and now completely forgot most of what i wanted to say.
    Reading this, though, really really makes me want to watch the 90s cartoon. This was some good shit, back in the day (in relation to the cartoon)

    Also, as a woman, i will be first to point out that it's utter bullshit that mystique would give herself big breasts because that's what you'd do as a shapeshifter. That's what a MAN would do, probably, but mystique would try running with those breasts once or twice, or do anything athletic and say fuck it and probably settle with a full B cup, maybe ocassionally something bigger to fill out a nice dress and probably even smaller if she knew she'd have to do some major fighting.
    Big breasts are a lot like a massive dick (i presume) -awesome in theory, terrible in practicality.

    I call BS on wolverine sensing Kitty was Kate. That just sounds like utter hogwash to me.

    And why does Kate look so old? Especially compared to colussus who's at least 5 years her senior (drawing a blank on both their ages at this point in the run). I see when women age in xmen, they gain wrinkles and terrible old woman spinster hair, whereas men gain some attractive silver around their temples.

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  14. @Blam: I wonder what it said under the obviously relettered words "normal woman" in Kate's line "I'm just a normal woman" at bottom Pg. 2.

    Curious. I hadn't noticed that.

    Logan sure has aged a lot in "only" 30 years, given that he looked the same in at least 1990 as he did in 1941

    Good point. And, of course, the answer is, as you say, the fact that the full extent of his healing factor hadn't been revealed yet (heck, he technically doesn't have a healing factor yet; we've gotten a few "I heal fast" comments, but nothing more explicit).

    I believe the current in-universe, retcon-y explanation the healing factor is constantly dealing with the fact that his bones are covered in metal, and thus, is less effective at keeping him young. So pre-adamanatium in 1941 it's humming along nicely, and if he'd never gotten the metal skeleton, he'd probably have stayed that young for much longer, but after he gets the skeleton, the healing factor is less effective, and thus he ages considerably more from 1980-2013 than he did from 1941-1980.

    (Which still doesn't quite work, but then you get into all kinds of issues with the sliding timeline and whatnot).

    Do you think Claremont (or Byrne) picked 2013 because it was 50 years after X-Men's debut, or just that it was an appropriately random-sounding future year?


    Nice catch! I feel like that can't be coincidence, but stranger things have happened...

    I'd love to have seen an unknown name featured prominently among the gravestones

    Me too.

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  15. cont...

    So that's the source of the clever slogan on the placard on Pg. 18, "America! It's 1984! Do you know what your children are?"

    I'm familiar with that slogan, but I never made the connection. That would have fit nice in "I Love the 80s".

    which is even weirder since she has gray hair and appears to be, let's say, older out of costume

    Ha! Yeah, this Destiny costume is kinda...uncomfortable in that regard. I think later in Claremont's run it gets tweaked so that the contrast is less striking.

    Reading these issues and participating in the conversation is a highlight of my week, Teebore. I'm always glad for the respite from the daily grind checking in here brings.

    That's good to hear! Getting this post up (and especially reading the comments) is the highlight of my week as well.

    Did it later get included in the Essential volume, too, by any chance?

    It did indeed (that's the only place I've seen it). It's also interesting because Rogue is in it, which retroactively makes it her first appearance. It more or less leads into Avengers Annual #10, and I've always felt that issue began abruptly, like I was missing a story somewhere. Turns out this aborted Ms. Marvel issue was that story...

    We haven't been told that yet? I'm not doubting you, I'm just surprised.

    I'm fairly certain we haven't. Maybe an implication or vague reference in the Magneto two-parter or the interlude in #125, but I'm pretty sure the Holocaust stuff doesn't come up until #150, which is pretty much the beginning of three-dimensional Magneto and the official end of the raving Silver Age villain.


    I never consciously made that connection, but you're right. Nice
    observation!


    I can't take full credit; I've read that before in several places.

    Fred J. Dukes ain't the crispest apple in the fruit bin, so this is hardly an oops moment.

    Ha! "Crispest apple in the fruit bin" is going into my personal lexicon.

    I always read that to be a pheromone thing and despite the option of it being in her sweat have by default taken it to be a reference to menstruation somehow.

    The other explanation I've heard is that young Kitty has a smell of unease/fear around Wolverine still (like how animals can smell fear), whereas that disappears once it's Kate. Which makes it a pheromone thing, I suppose.

    Madrox can definitely take care of the chores.

    Ha! He can indeed. :)

    I don't understand, given both the placement of the straps when it's on Cap's forearm and the fact that he's not, like, triple-jointed, how he even gets it on his shoulders.


    Like Angel's harness, Cap's shield-on-the-back trick has always bugged me, especially when it's concealed under clothes.


    ... Okay, I love how hilariously random that is.


    Indeed. I absolutely adore that little character bit.

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  16. @Sarah: That's what a MAN would do, probably, but mystique would try running with those breasts once or twice, or do anything athletic and say fuck it and probably settle with a full B cup

    You're absolutely right, that's exactly what a man would do. :) Though, to be fair, one of Claremont's unused ideas suggests a certain...masculinity to Mystique, so that could make sense. But we'll talk about that next issue.

    I see when women age in xmen, they gain wrinkles and terrible old woman spinster hair, whereas men gain some attractive silver around their temples.

    As it is in real life, it is in comics... ;)

    Seriously though, other than the spinster hair, I don't think Future Storm looks too bad. Colossus is roughly 4-5 years older than Kitty (currently, she's 13 1/2, he's 18 ish). Maybe she looks older because she gets to/has to leave the camp, and thus comes under attack by the roving street gangs, whereas Colossus just hangs in the camp, admiring his dignified silver temples?

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  17. @Sarah - To be fair, in comic book world, Mystique's are basically B Cups.

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  18. I got this when it came out, but due to an unfortunately stupid childhood incident lost it not long afterward. Last year I bought a cheap copy on ebay, so I've just recently reread this after 30 years. Writing that made me feel old.

    Byrne and Claremont were kind of ahead of the zeitgeist with the dystopian future in 80s pop culture in this 2-parter. Escape from New York would come out in '81, the Road Warrior in '82 (two movies that pop into my head with this issue.)

    Angel's wings: you know how with bird, like a sparrow for instance, the wings sort of collapse and conforms to the birds body? That's the only explanation I can come up with, even though the wings are usually drawn huge when he straps them back.

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  19. Regarding the Mystique/Destiny relationship: I hope I'm not wrong about this (because it is kinda disturbing), but I believe it was later established somewhere that Destiny was Rogue's mother, and Mystique was the father. This being maybe plausible as she is a shape-shifter.

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  20. Anonymous - Regarding the Mystique/Destiny relationship: I hope I'm not wrong about this (because it is kinda disturbing), but I believe it was later established somewhere that Destiny was Rogue's mother, and Mystique was the father. This being maybe plausible as she is a shape-shifter.

    That was Nightcrawler's intended origin, not Rogue's. It is alluded to in the next issue.

    Also... not at all disturbing.

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  21. @Chris: ...two movies that pop into my head with this issue.

    The Rogue gang especially is very Road Warrior-esque.

    You're right that Claremont and Byrne are ahead of the curve; they certainly aren't the first writers to explore the idea of a dystopian future, but there one of the firsts to really do it in comics, where it'll eventually explode.

    you know how with bird, like a sparrow for instance, the wings sort of collapse and conforms to the birds body?

    That's probably the best explanation, except for, as you say, the fact that Warren is usually shown struggling to strap them down.

    @Anonymous: I believe it was later established somewhere that Destiny was Rogue's mother, and Mystique was the father. This being maybe plausible as she is a shape-shifter.

    @Michael: That was Nightcrawler's intended origin, not Rogue's. It is alluded to in the next issue.

    That's always been my understanding, as well (something I'll talk about a little in the next post), that Claremont intended for Mystique and Destiny to be Kurt's parents.

    That said, it's entirely possible that someone dusted off that idea and recently applied it to Rogue, as my reading of the X-Men is a lot less encyclopedic now then it used to be.

    But as far as I know, Mystique and Destiny are just Rogue's foster parents.

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  22. Chris: [Y]ou know how with bird, like a sparrow for instance, the wings sort of collapse and conforms to the birds body?

    Teebore: That's probably the best explanation, except for, as you say, the fact that Warren is usually shown struggling to strap them down.

    And that on a human I think the equivalent would be them covering his arms, wrapping around his body to touch the front of his torso. Which doesn't preclude covering Warren with a big smock that has fake arms attached to it — only slightly less ridiculous than Hank's lifelike mask...

    VW: liquesse — A delicate touch with alcohol.

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  23. The thing with Angel's harness vs. the Beast's mask is how the writer and artist sell it on the page. When Angel is shown struggling to force his wings into a harness, but he looks perfectly, absolutely, one hundred percent normal afterwards, I can't buy it because it was so hard for him to get there. When Beast is shown to easily slip on a mask and look like Hank McCoy, I have no problems, because he didn't have any problems making it happen.

    It may not make a lot of sense, but that's how my brain works with regards to these things.

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  24. you know, it seems kinda stupid for the future X-Men, if they had the means of time travel, to send Kate Pryde back to the day OF the assassination instead of say a cpl days beforehand.......y'know to give the past X-Men a little more time to prepare. I mean, if they messed up, it's not like it would have been the end of the world or anything, right? lol

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  25. When I was younger I was annoyed that they had Havok listed as "Apprehended" on the cover but not be in the story...Byrne even kept that on a re-imagining he did HERE:

    http://www.artofjohnbyrne.com/commissions-xmc/images/XM141-new.jpg

    And Byrne recently "fixed" the error with Storm's hair on the cover....but I can't find that link right now.

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  26. When I was younger I was annoyed that they had Havok listed as "Apprehended" on the cover but not be in the story

    That annoyed me too, you've got non X-Men, Franklin Richards and this Rachel character, but no Havok. Always made me think Claremont and Byrne had it in for the old team.

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  27. @Matt: When Beast is shown to easily slip on a mask and look like Hank McCoy, I have no problems, because he didn't have any problems making it happen.

    Whereas my biggest problem with Hank's mask is that I find it hard to believe, no matter how hard Hank studied those makeup books overnight, he could ever make a mask that would make anyone think he wasn't wearing a mask, short of using Mission: Impossible style technology. :)

    @Gordon Blvd: it seems kinda stupid for the future X-Men, if they had the means of time travel, to send Kate Pryde back to the day OF the assassination instead of say a cpl days beforehand

    Agreed. As Dr. Bitz mentioned, at the very least, send her back a few days before the assassination to give yourself some wiggle room and the opportunity to place a few bets. :)

    @MOCK!: I was annoyed that they had Havok listed as "Apprehended" on the cover but not be in the story

    It does seem odd that he'd label someone "apprehended" that doesn't appear in the camp. Why bother? It doesn't add anything, and just leads to discussions like these.

    @Chris: Always made me think Claremont and Byrne had it in for the old team.

    Which is odd, since we know Byrne loved the old team, even if Claremont didn't. Maybe he planned to draw in Havok and Claremont nixed it, but then Byrne never fixed the cover?

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  28. Mmmaybe they had to send her back 32 years to the day, and they only finally succeeded in jamming the power inhibitors on Halloween. Like they tried to do it a few days earlier but couldn't get the parts in time because Wolverine was randomly fighting gang members or something. I'm stretching, I know.

    Y'all sure spend a lot of time not liking Rachel. I agree she was a big depressive crybaby in Uncanny. But she lightened up considerably in Excalibur. Something about her memories of her time as a hound/in the internment camp/being tortured by Mojo being scrambled.

    Also she tended to wear red leather miniskirts.

    Anyway, great issue here at hand. Sets up, for better or worse, the thousands of dystopian possible futures that threaten to come to pass. The more the device is used, of course, the less impactful it is. But on this first go 'round at least it's some incredibly potent world-building. The horses pulling the cars and buses was always one of my favorite little touches, thanks for pointing it out. And there's plenty of seeds being planted for upcoming stories.

    I hate to belabor the comparison (even though I first brought it up) but it's like having an actress come in for a one-or-two episode stint, then come back in the following season as a regular cast member. And just for reference, in my crazy dreamworld this "season" ends with Doug Ramsey being transferred to Massachusetts Academy and Kitty on her own against the White Queen because the X-Men have disappeared to fight other heroes. In, I guess, a made-for-TV-movie or mini-series that airs before the next season premiere. So Rachel goes from a 'guest star' to a 'featured player' in the next season. where she sticks around crying for a half a season but makes a spectacular exit right around the february sweeps...

    (And that's the last time I'll talk about TV seasons, i swear. At least until we get to the actual "season" dividers.)

    --mortsleam

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  29. Matt: When Beast is shown to easily slip on a mask and look like Hank McCoy, I have no problems, because he didn't have any problems making it happen.

    That's a really good point, and in one way it jibes with my views on suspension of disbelief in comic-book "reality". I won't worry about how Superman can disguise himself with glasses (and mannerisms, and slouching) if the creators themselves don't make a big deal out of it, but once it's a story point they've sort-of burst the bubble. On the other hand, though, I have this sliding scale where of course I'll accept that Superman can fly (again, the less said about how the better unless the explanation's really good) but not that (depending on the era) there are basically only three people working at The Daily Planet who cover whatever the story at hand calls for or that Clark Kent can show up right before the local-news broadcast, etc., because as an adult I know how newspapers and TV work in the real world. Hank McCoy using something like an image inducer is more believable in context, because it's essentially magic, than a lifelike mask is, because we can all imagine how that would work or, more to the point, wouldn't.

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  30. mortsleam: And that's the last time I'll talk about TV seasons, i swear.

    Don't stop on my account, for sure... I agree that there's a confluence of some kind, and the fact that you've actually worked out seasons on paper is fascinating. You're talking (or whatever) to someone who read the Overstreet Price Guide as a kid for entertainment — less for the dollar amounts than the notations on older series of when features were added or dropped, characters had "x-overs", and such, recreating the lineups in my head of comic books I was sure I'd never actually see.

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  31. @mortsleam: Mmmaybe they had to send her back 32 years to the day, and they only finally succeeded in jamming the power inhibitors on Halloween. Like they tried to do it a few days earlier but couldn't get the parts in time because Wolverine was randomly fighting gang members or something.

    I think that's good enough for a No-Prize. I mean, they couldn't do it until the inhibitor worked, and they did as soon as they could once it was working. And if we assume Rachel could only send Kate back years and didn't have fine enough control to pick a different day, they probably HAD to send her back to 10/31/80, even if it was cutting things close, since on 10/31/79 she wasn't on the team and would have had a harder time getting her 13-year-old self to the X-Men, and then getting them to believe her.

    So really, they just needed to get that inhibitor working sooner. :)

    I agree she was a big depressive crybaby in Uncanny. But she lightened up considerably in Excalibur.

    In my defense, I've read woefully little Excalibur pre-issue #71 (something I plan to remedy as part of this series), so my opinions of Rachel are based mostly on her appearances in Uncanny, in which she was, as you said, a depressive crybaby, and her post-Excalibur return to the X-Men, in which she did very little.

    And that's the last time I'll talk about TV seasons, i swear. At least until we get to the actual "season" dividers

    Don't stop on our account; I'm obviously a big TV fan too, and remain endlessly fascinated by the comparisons between the various beats of the X-Men narrative and TV seasons. It's a perspective I've never considered before, and it's a lot of fun to contemplate and discuss, especially in relation to what I've always considered the act break/ending/shift points of the narrative.

    @Blam: Hank McCoy using something like an image inducer is more believable in context, because it's essentially magic, than a lifelike mask is, because we can all imagine how that would work or, more to the point, wouldn't.

    Well said, throughout. It always bugs me when people (usually non-geeks) complain about people complaining about reality in fiction, like, because we accept that a man can fly in a story, nothing else has in the story has to make sense. There's a difference between realism as it relates the real world and realism as it relates to the world within a story.

    You're talking (or whatever) to someone who read the Overstreet Price Guide as a kid for entertainment

    Oh, man, I used to do that too, for the same reasons you mentioned. Good times.

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  32. OK, in order to prep for the upcoming film in the X-series supposedly based on this storyline, I grabbed a copy from Amazon to brush up since I have little memory of the storyline. At this time in my life, it was pretty much Star Wars-only except when I could nick comics from my brother.

    I enjoyed it, but was honestly left a little befuddled as to *why* it gets so much respect. (As opposed to Dark Phoenix, which was my gateway to loving Marvel comics that weren't Star Wars in the first place).

    I suppose the plot was rather monumental in its concepts at that time, which is great, but the story *really* needed more than two issues in my opinion. This was worthy of a six-issue stretch and a lot of the exposition and action feels so compressed as to come across forced.

    Additionally, something that it left me with was a sense that maybe Claremont got a bit too much cred back then for X-Men. Noting John Byrne's work and co-plotting such beloved storylines makes me question not so much Claremont's skill but some selective memory about how vital Byrne was to what made us all X-Men fans in the first place. Just a thought.

    The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants here is fantastic, and at the same time is what makes me think the story should have been teased out more.

    In a sense, Days of Future past makes me think of modern blockbuster films -- so much packed in to a short time as to leave you struggling to keep up. Going back you pick up on other things and enjoy it more the second time, but truly great works should be able to grab you and communicate in a clear, uncluttered way the first time. Just my two cents.

    And I will comment on the other article about part two, but let me close out by saying that I also disliked Storm as lead for the team. I was never, ever down with that idea regardless of timeline...

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  33. @Kessel Junkie: I enjoyed it, but was honestly left a little befuddled as to *why* it gets so much respect. (As opposed to Dark Phoenix, which was my gateway to loving Marvel comics that weren't Star Wars in the first place).

    There definitely is something, as you mention, to the fact that it was dealing with now-standard themes and plot beats for the first time, but I discuss a bit more in the post on the second issue as to just why this story is so significant, to the X-Men narrative if not comics as a whole

    While I would argue that "Days of Future Past" is a bigger deal to X-Men than "Dark Phoenix", in terms of what it brings to the franchise and how it irrevocably changes it and starts it on a path it's still following, "Dark Phoenix" is probably the better story, and the one that is more significant for what it meant to comics as a whole, not just X-Men

    Noting John Byrne's work and co-plotting such beloved storylines makes me question not so much Claremont's skill but some selective memory about how vital Byrne was to what made us all X-Men fans in the first place.

    That definitely is a discussion point amongst X-Men fans. While there are later Claremont-penned stories I personally favor more than his collaborations with Byrne, there's no denying that their partnership resulted in something special on this book, something that neither could ever quite replicate on their own or with other collaborators. Something about the push and pull between the two creators (they began bickering with each other very quickly into their run) and the combination of their talents was lightening in a bottle.

    In a sense, Days of Future past makes me think of modern blockbuster films -- so much packed in to a short time as to leave you struggling to keep up.

    That's probably a pretty apt analogy. If "Dark Phoenix" is superhero comics as a serialized TV show, than "Days of Future Past" is probably an early example of superhero comics as a modern blockbuster.

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