Three guys talking about comic books, sports, movies, TV shows and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #146

"Murderworld!
June 1981

In a Nutshell 
The reserve X-Men storm Murderworld.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Dave Cockrum
Inker: Josef Rubinstein
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Dr. Doom watches as a storm surges around his castle, then shows Arcade the various specially designed cells he's placed the captured X-Men in, hoping to gain knowledge about their strengths, weaknesses and strategies. The villains are served drinks by a robotic replica of Storm, while Doom reveals the real Storm has been encased in organic chrome. She is unable to move and unconscious, but her subconscious is reacting to her claustrophobia by manifesting an ever-growing storm, the effects of which are felt on the East Indian island where Cyclops and Lee Forrester are stranded. As the storm knocks free his blindfold, Cyclops optic blast is revealed. Lee replaces the blindfold, and Cyclops promises her an explanation.


Meanwhile, a few hours earlier, Havok, Polaris, Banshee and Iceman arrive at the location where the X-Men were released from Murderworld. Polaris is able to track the electrical and magnetic energy back to Murderworld, but once they arrive, they are separated and end up in a series of deathtraps. Havok is able to escape into the maintenance tunnels, and heads for the control room. As the other X-Men one by one escape their own traps and come together, Havok encounters Miss Locke and shuts down Murderworld, freeing the hostages. The X-Men emerge to find Storm's storm raging out of control, and they head back to the mansion, confidant the night isn't over yet. Upstate, with the storm centered on his castle and now blanketing the entire northeastern United States, Doom worries he's set something in motion that he hadn't anticipated. Just then, Arcade gloatingly informs him that Nightcrawler has disappeared from his cell.

Firsts and Other Notables
This issue showcases Havok, Polaris, Iceman and Banshee as a team of reserve X-Men. An idea not uncommon to super-hero teams (the Avengers, Justice League and Legion of Super-Heroes all feature some take on the idea), Claremont reportedly intended to do more with it, occasionally calling on these heroes (and more) to back-up or fill-in for the other X-Men as needed, on a case-by-case basis (he's likened it to a Mission: Impossible approach). Ultimately, the idea never went much further than this story (though certainly previous and inactive team members will occasionally pop up in the books; their appearances were just never as formal as Claremont initially intended them to be, which makes sense, given that the X-Men have never been an "official" team in the same capacity as the Avengers or the Justice League, with their charters and by-laws and whatnot).

It is revealed this issue that before he became a super-hero, Banshee was an Interpol agent assigned to infiltrate Factor Three, the villainous group he was unwillingly working for in his first appearance. It doesn't quite gel (in the early pages of his first appearance, Banshee is stealing stuff of his own volition), but it's a nifty little retcon that both explains his somewhat random involvement with the group (given what we've seen of the character since then) and provides him with some useful skills he can employ while without his power (his time with Interpol will also provide a setup for a handful of stories in various place, including Generation X, down the road). Also, apparently Louise can't be bothered to cite Banshee's first appearance in the footnote, but it was issue #28.


The panel which so enraged John Byrne:


A Work in Progress
The reserve X-Men are traveling via a hovercraft. It looks familiar, but I can't quite place it. I think it's the same craft Wolverine and Banshee used in issue #97 (though that one, like most of the X-Men's vehicles at one point or another, was destroyed). It's definitely not the stolen Sentinel craft the X-Men used in the early issues of "The Dark Phoenix Saga". 


Polaris is able to use her power to perceive the world as patterns of electrical and magnetic energy, and then trace that energy back to Murderworld.


Also, Polaris is back in the costume she wore when enslaved by Erik the Red, during Cockrum's first run. Banshee comments on it, and she explains this costume is insulated. Which, sure, whatever, but at least the costume change was addressed.


As the reserve X-Men enter Murderworld, a hologram of Miss Locke appears and welcomes them to Murderworld, calling it the place "where nobody ever survives". Except everybody survives. Every time. We've never actually seen someone killed in Murderworld.


Also, if you care, Murderworld is revealed to be beneath North Beach, New York.

I Love the 80s
Despite having the X-Men at his mercy, Doom does not kill them, instead placing them inside specially designed traps. To Claremont's credit, he offers up an explanation for it, but still...


Havok uses his power to burrow a tunnel to Murderworld, which is all well and good, except the tunnel ends up having nice, perfectly even edges. 


The Awesome and Terrible Power of Cyclops
At one point Scott trips and loses his blindfold, unleashing "the awesome, nigh-irresistible power of his optic blast" in front of Lee. 


Chris Claremont on Doctor Doom
"The idea for me is that one should never create a character who is wholly good or whollyu evil. Or if the character is wholly evil, for example, he should have panache. I mean, Doom is unremittingly, wholly evil, but he's got style. In terms of this X-Men story, the things he does to Storm, the things he does to the X-Men are really swinish, but he's got such style. "Doom does not engage in fisticuffs, youth!" ZAP! Or when he thinks of Storm, "She's attracted to me, as I to her, lioness to lion, queen to king. She does not fear me. She should. She will." Of course, then, two issues later, Storm says the same thing to him. But the idea is that she is attracted to him; he is very magnetic - if you'll pardon the pun - person, and so is she. Yet for all that attraction, he still turns her into a statue. The idea of, "Will you join me for dinner? My chef sets a superb table. He dares not do otherwise.""

Sanderson, Peter. The X-Men Companion. Stamford: Fantagraphics Books, 1982. p114-115

Teebore's Take
The second part of the "Doom/Arcade" trilogy benefits from its focus on the team of reserve X-Men, as it's always fun to spend time with characters that haven't been in the book for awhile. That said, these reserve X-Men are still dealing with Murderworld, and the novelty of seeing say, Iceman, in action again only goes so far. Even in only its second appearance in the series, we're already dealing with diminishing returns on Murderworld: many of the traps are similar to traps used in its last appearance (right down to "BattleStarWars: 1999"), and this smaller, out-of-practice team of X-Men escapes and wins the day far easier than the main team did in their initial encounter with the place. More problematic is the fact that Dr. Doom has trapped the other X-Men in his own set of individualized Murderworld-style traps, setting the stage for a retread of this issue in the next, only featuring different characters. That, moreso than Doom slumming with Arcade or having a match struck on his armor, is what bothers me about Claremont's Doom: we're denied the opportunity to see Doom do something unique, special, Doom-esque. Instead, Claremont has Doom resort to a technique that would be generic super-villainy even if it wasn't the exact same MO as the other villain in the story. 

Next Issue
The "Doom/Arcade" trilogy concludes as we catch up with the main X-Men team.

21 comments:

  1. "Arcade gloatingly informs him that Nightcrawler has disappeared from his cell."

    You know Dave Cockrum is back when Nightcrawler becomes the title's star attraction again!

    "It is revealed this issue that before he became a super-hero, Banshee was an Interpol agent..."

    I thought he referenced that in the Savage Land. When they're recuperating in Chief Tongah's village, doesn't he think back on his life and mention Interpol? I could be misremembering. I don't have the issue with me to check.

    This makes me wonder, Did Banshee at any point mention in dialogue (or thoughts) that he was also in the NYPD? Or was his shirt in issue #109 the only reference to that? I know Lobdell made use of that bit in Gen-X also.

    "The panel which so enraged John Byrne"

    I agree with Byrne on this point. Doom would not have let anyone get away with something like that.

    I recently flipped through the Fantastic Four issue where Byrne addresses this scene, and thought it was funny that when Doom comes across this Doombot, after it tells him what caused the mark on his armor, Doom asks (paraphrasing), "In what way did you kill Arcade for this insult?"

    Not, "Did you kill him?" Just "How did you kill him?"

    Based on that one little scene, I have to say that Byrne has a better handle on Doom's character than Claremont.

    By the way, I've occasionally wondered if Arcade striking the match on Doom was even Claremont's idea! For all anyone knows, it could've just been a little visual bit that Cockrum threw in on his own. Unless Claremont has explicitly owned up to it somewhere.

    "The reserve X-Men are traveling via a hovercraft. It looks familiar, but I can't quite place it."

    I can't either... it just looks like a basic Cockrum design to me. If Byrne had drawn this issue, you can bet they'd have been in the Sentinel ship again.

    "Polaris is back in the costume she wore when enslaved by Erik the Red..."

    I get that Cockrum created the design and likes it better and wants to keep using it... but why does Polaris want to dress in the costume that was given to her by the jerk who mind-controlled her? Seems kind of odd to me. But maybe I'm biased, because I like her other outfit better.

    ""Doom does engage in fisticuffs, youth!""

    He does...?

    "Claremont has Doom resort to a technique that would be generic super-villainy even if it wasn't the exact same MO as the other villain in the story."

    Yes, this story is uninspired. I still kind of like it, but I agree with your assessment.

    I know I mentioned once before that Byrne has stated that from the moment he left X-Men,, he felt like he was "reverse-plotting" it, meaning that every one of Claremont's ideas that he had vetoed while they were co-plotters began to show up immediately after he left.

    Knowing that, I could easily see Byrne shooting this particular story down. To paraphrase commentor Michael from last week's issue, Dr. Doom would not be found slumming with Arcade, and Byrne knew it. He might use Arcade, but he would not partner with him.

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Matt: You know Dave Cockrum is back when Nightcrawler becomes the title's star attraction again!

    Ha! And he opens next issue with a big Nightcrawler splash page, too.

    I thought he referenced that in the Savage Land.

    He may have. I honestly don't remember, but I know the whole "infiltrate Factor Three for Interpol" bit is new as of this issue.

    Did Banshee at any point mention in dialogue (or thoughts) that he was also in the NYPD?

    Not that I can recall, at least up to this point. I'll keep an eye out for it. I remember when that popped up in Gen X thinking it was odd that he was a cop and an Interpol agent at one point, but it does make some sense.

    I agree with Byrne on this point. Doom would not have let anyone get away with something like that.

    I don't disagree with Byrne, I just think (like much with Byrne) he made too big a deal out of it. Writers do stuff all the time with characters I don't agree with, but I don't have to throw a hissy fit about it.

    Not, "Did you kill him?" Just "How did you kill him?"

    That said, that bit does crack me up, and is a great indicator of Doom's character.

    Based on that one little scene, I have to say that Byrne has a better handle on Doom's character than Claremont.

    Again, I don't disagree. But my issues with Claremont's Doom has less to do with the match and more to do with the fact that's he's generic and boring, and Doom should never be boring.

    Unless Claremont has explicitly owned up to it somewhere.

    I don't know that I've ever seen him explicitly own up to it, but I feel like, in all this time, if Cockrum had drawn it of his own volition, that would have come out.

    but why does Polaris want to dress in the costume that was given to her by the jerk who mind-controlled her?

    Haha, good point. And while I appreciate that an explanation was given, the whole "this one is insulated" excuse is pretty weak, since I think all the X-Men's costumes, including Polaris' other one, are insulated thanks to the whole unstable molecules thing.

    And I like the other one better too.

    He does...?

    Drat. He does NOT. That was a typo...

    he felt like he was "reverse-plotting" it, meaning that every one of Claremont's ideas that he had vetoed while they were co-plotters began to show up immediately after he left.

    I wonder how long that goes on? I know Caliban in #148 was someone that was tossed around while Byrne was still around, and that Byrne has never been a big fan of redeemed Magneto, which kicks off in issue #150, but I don't know that there was ever a specific plot to that end he would have shot down. And the Kitty's Fairy Tale/Starjammers/Brood stuff seems like something Claremont either cooked up just for Cockrum, that Cockrum suggested himself, or was born of their collaboration, as they are stories that play very much to Cockrum's strengths and interests.

    ReplyDelete
  3. To be fair, Polaris' original costume was given to her by Mesmero, a jerk who was mind-controlling her. Or at least fooling her into thinking she was Magneto's daughter. Even though she really is. My head hurts.

    The match strike seems like something Cockrum snuck in there, as he definitely has a tendency to be somewhat cartoonish (think of Wolverine's droopy mask whenever he gets it wet) BUT Claremont did have Arcade say "Thanks for the light."

    I still think this is the real Doom and he programmed the Doombot to take the fall. Doom is afraid of nothing. Except weird prop-comicy themed assassins in white tux and bow ties. Doom is afraid of what he just doesn't understand. And gingers.

    --mortsleam

    ReplyDelete
  4. @mortsleam: Or at least fooling her into thinking she was Magneto's daughter. Even though she really is. My head hurts.

    Ha! Polaris' relationship with Magneto has indeed gotten pretty whacky.

    But I think the costume she was wearing during the Proteus story was different than the one Mesmero gave her. I don't remember the Mesmero costume having the big sweeping "cape wings" like Storm's, though maybe that's just how Byrne drew it...

    BUT Claremont did have Arcade say "Thanks for the light."

    Good point. Whomever initiated it, they both had a hand it.

    Doom is afraid of what he just doesn't understand. And gingers.

    Oh man, it would be hilarious if Doom had an uncharacteristic fear of Gingers. "Doom fears naught, save fiery red hair and freckles!"

    ReplyDelete
  5. What if Doom WAS a ginger? Or what if Doom is Arcade!? He was just conversing with a Doom bot...then later destroyed it...

    ReplyDelete
  6. "Also, Polaris is back in the costume she wore when enslaved by Erik the Red, during Cockrum's first run."

    Which is a travesty. This costume is horrible. Easily the worst of all of Cockrum's X-Men costumes -- from either of his two runs.

    "Despite having the X-Men at his mercy, Doom does not kill them, instead placing them inside specially designed traps."

    And so the first-ever X-Men vs. Dr. Doom story continues to disappoint...

    As you said in your take, this is what really disappoints about this trilogy. There is no "there" there. Dr. Doom could be any early-80s villain. In fact, he is exactly like one other early-80s villain -- Arcade, who also appears here.

    Like I said last week, that this story is a standard super hero story isn't so much of a let down on its own. I quite enjoy standard super hero stories from time to time, like issues 139 - 140. But this is a Dr. Doom story. It demands to be epic. And it's not.

    "Claremont reportedly intended to do more with [the reserve X-Men], occasionally calling on these heroes (and more) to back-up or fill-in for the other X-Men as needed..."

    I never knew that. I would have liked to see Havok, Iceman and Polaris (in a different costume) coming together again. Their presence here -- like Doom's -- is anticlimactic. You could delete this middle issue of the trilogy and no one would ever know. The story would simply be a two-parter where their friends are kidnapped, the X-Men go after Doom, get trapped, free themselves -- and then Arcade apologizes and let's their friends go.

    Or, better yet, you could eliminate Arcade entirely and then write an entirely different story for how the X-Men first encounter Dr. Doom.

    Anyway, I could go on for days about how awful this trilogy is. It's especially awful in context, smushed between Claremont and Byrne's epic run and then the Brood saga just a little ways down the road.

    @Matt: "To paraphrase commentor Michael from last week's issue..."

    I'm famous! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Byrne gave Doom his identical Doombots to retcon any story he didn't like. Jim Starlin gave Thanos his clones for the same thing. I love that Dan Slott explicitly nullifies both excuses when he has Squirrel Girl beat both of them.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I just looked through the Savage Land issues the other night, and as far as I could see, Banshee does not think about his past with Interpol there. I must've been transposing scenes in my mind or something.

    Teebore -- "That was a typo..."

    Yeah, I don't usually go after typos since I make many myself, but that one was too good not to point out.

    Teebore -- "I wonder how long that goes on? know Caliban in #148 was someone that was tossed around while Byrne was still around..."

    Well, I know he's also said that he wanted to keep reading X-Men after his departure to enjoy Cockrum's art, but he could only hold on for about six months or so before he became too fed up with Claremont. Six months would take us up just past Caliban's first appearance to #149, which featured the return of Garokk -- another thing I could see Byrne being against. Not for any particular reason, but just because Byrne was against everything.

    I would be surprised if he didn't at least read issue #150, too. But that could be my weird mind at work. I hate stopping a series on anything other than a nice, round number.

    mortlstream -- "Doom is afraid of nothing."

    I don't think anyone's saying Doom is afraid of Arcade... just that Doom would consider himself above Arcade, and even if he were to team up with him, he would not tolerate his flippant attitude. Quite honestly, even without the match strike, I could see the real Doom terminating Arcade just for constantly calling him "Vic" to his face.

    mortlstream -- "BUT Claremont did have Arcade say 'Thanks for the light.'"

    Teebore -- "Good point. Whomever initiated it, they both had a hand it."


    But as we've seen before (and will see again), Claremont likes to "cover" for his artists' unsolicited contributions using dialogue and captions. Maybe he just hasn't remarked on it over the years in a show of solidarity with his collaborator? I've often gotten the impression that of all the artists he worked with, Claremont was closest, friendship-wise, with Cockrum.

    Michael -- "This costume is horrible. Easily the worst of all of Cockrum's X-Men costumes..."

    And Cockrum was usually a very talented costume designer. Look at Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, and the redesigned Cyclops -- heck, even Thunderbird and the Starjammers! This one was a big miss for him. Though it's clearly based on his various Shi'ar fashions as worn by Lilandra, D'ken, etc... it might work as something on a background character, or a member of the Imperial Guard. But for a (semi) main character, it's pretty bad. And way too busy.

    And as I think I mentioned a while back, even though I don't like it, it's the first costume I identify with Polaris because it's what she was wearing in her OHotMU profile. It's annoying when the default image of a character in your head is a version you don't like!

    Michael -- "I'm famous! ;-)"

    Credit where credit is due!

    Jeff -- "Byrne gave Doom his identical Doombots to retcon any story he didn't like. Jim Starlin gave Thanos his clones for the same thing."

    It's weird... I tend to be of the school that the characters belong to the company, no matter who created them, and the company and its talent may do whatever they wish, even if it's something I disagree with, since that is their right. But for some reason, I've always felt that no one should have the right to do anything with Thanos other than Starlin. But that's pretty much the only creator/character combo I feel that way about!

    ReplyDelete
  9. "To be fair, Polaris' original costume was given to her by Mesmero, a jerk who was mind-controlling her. "

    And in this issue, Havok is wearing a costume made for him by Larry Trask, and Angel is wearing a red version of a costume given to him by Magneto.

    And Wolverine, Storm, Colossus and Nightcrawler are only on a team together because Krakoa planted a hypnotic suggestion into Professor X's brain that he recruit a second team of X-Men.

    ReplyDelete
  10. "I recently flipped through the Fantastic Four issue where Byrne addresses this scene, and thought it was funny that when Doom comes across this Doombot, after it tells him what caused the mark on his armor,"

    Funny how in X-Men 147, the "Doombot" gets struck by Storm's lightning, caught in falling debris when the stone masonry of the floor it's standing on is shattered beneath it, and also gets pounded around a bit by Colossus and Wolverine ...

    ... yet the only thing that left a mark for the real Doom to notice was the match that Arcade struck.

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Teebore - I agree that Starlin has written the best Thanos and seems to get the character the best. I'm not sure I'd want to limit future writers from being able to use him ever, though.

    Is anybody else reading Wolverine and the X-Men? I think it's been fantastic so far. I have my own "pick and choose" continuity I use for X-Men. Generally, it includes anything by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Chris Claremont, Jim Lee after Claremont left and Morrison. If WATX keeps this up, I'll probably be adding Aaron to that list.

    ReplyDelete
  12. @Dr. Bitz: What if Doom WAS a ginger?

    Everyone knows Doom's hair is the charred black color of Richards-induced failure...

    @Michael: This costume is horrible. Easily the worst of all of Cockrum's X-Men costumes -- from either of his two runs.

    It is not very good at all.

    You could delete this middle issue of the trilogy and no one would ever know.

    You really could. Heck, Storm's team of X-Men don't even know about the events of this issue by the end of the next.

    @Jeff: I love that Dan Slott explicitly nullifies both excuses when he has Squirrel Girl beat both of them.

    On the one hand, I like the idea of bots and clones has a handy way of explaining in-universe inconsistencies. On the other hand, I like the idea of creators having to deal with, good or bad, the ramifications of their characters' actions within a shared universe, even when those characters are written by other writers.

    @Matt: I don't usually go after typos since I make many myself, but that one was too good not to point out.

    Agreed.

    Not for any particular reason, but just because Byrne was against everything.

    Ha!

    I hate stopping a series on anything other than a nice, round number.

    Ditto.

    I've often gotten the impression that of all the artists he worked with, Claremont was closest, friendship-wise, with Cockrum.

    Me too. Could be he took all the heat from Byrne on that one to deflect it from Cockrum.

    @Jason: And in this issue, Havok is wearing a costume made for him by Larry Trask, and Angel is wearing a red version of a costume given to him by Magneto.

    Haha, good point. I always forget that Havok's costume came from Trask, and how ridiculous it is that he still wears it. You'd think Professor X could adapt the technology so he wouldn't have to wear an outfit given to him by someone who wanted to eliminate his race.

    And Wolverine, Storm, Colossus and Nightcrawler are only on a team together because Krakoa planted a hypnotic suggestion into Professor X's brain that he recruit a second team of X-Men.

    Third team of X-Men. Don't forget Vulcan, Darwin, Petra and Sway. :)

    ... yet the only thing that left a mark for the real Doom to notice was the match that Arcade struck.

    Holy crap! How have I never thought of that in all these years? That's almost as ridiculous as what Byrne was trying to fix in the first place.

    @Jeff: Is anybody else reading Wolverine and the X-Men? I think it's been fantastic so far.

    I'm woefully behind on my current comics reading (usually about a year out) so I haven't gotten to it yet, but I've been picking up the issues and have heard generally good things about it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think it's kind-of cool that four reserve / former X-Men are the only ones on the cover except for head shots of the current team. (Also, I just noticed that Banshee has recoil lines around his hands from firing the gun. Nice attention to detail, Cockrum! On the other, um, hand, Iceman looks like he's just firing wildly, even given that everyone is blasting in a different direction.)

    Had we found out before that Colossus doesn't breathe armored up?

    Doom sure worked up those traps fast. What's funny is that the Murderworld ones don't seem specific to the X-Men, with the possible exception of Iceman in the ice rink — although there was no way to know the reserves were coming, so it's probably just ironic. Yet Doom had tailor-made special rooms, a tactic of his dating back to his first or second appearance in Fantastic Four but not something you'd expect was easy to do on such short notice. it's also strange that Arcade is so surprised by the Storm robot when there are similar simulacra at Murderworld. In both cases the almost zero lead time, particularly where Doom and the Stormbot are concerned, is very much in the vein of stuff you have to overlook (and easily can, when you're a kid) as just part of largely juvenile [in a non-judgmental sense] superhero comics. The fact that the four reservists are standing just in the right spot for the trapdoor chutes still rankles me, though.

    Just how did Doom get Storm's costume off after she was turned to organic chrome if, unlike Colossus, she can't move herself, and how did he get the new threads on and likewise turned to the metal?

    Why do robots removing their faceplates to reveal circuitry never fail to creep me out?

    ReplyDelete
  14. in the early pages of his first appearance, Banshee is stealing stuff of his own volition

    Acting! I mean, if you're going undercover, you have to commit.

    The panel which so enraged John Byrne:

    I'm with Byrne here too, in principle if not the need for what some might call a tortured or even petty retcon. Doom would've grabbed and probably crushed Arcade's wrist before he even got the match back to his cigar just out of reflex.

    We've never actually seen someone killed in Murderworld.

    I thought of this even before reading the issue or your analysis, just based on the cover copy — "X-Men vs. Murderworld! Guess Who Wins?" Me: "If one assumes that the inherent purpose of Murderworld is to actually kill its captives, then, gee, I'd have to go with the X-Men. Also, Deadshot is the world's lousiest world's greatest assassin and Pizzeria Uno is the wrong name for a chain."

    Havok uses his power to burrow a tunnel to Murderworld, which is all well and good, except the tunnel ends up having nice, perfectly even edges. 

    You're focusing on this when the guy's power is depicted as perfectly round concentric circles that always face the reader?

    At one point Scott trips and loses his blindfold, unleashing "the awesome, nigh-irresistible power of his optic blast" in front of Lee.

    I love that Scott tells Lee he owes her an explanation and she says "it can wait 'til this storm's over" when all he has to do is say "I'm a mutant." He even has time for the optional "I fire red force beams from my eyes that I can only control with special lenses. I'm on leave from a team of what folks call 'superheroes' known the X-Men." The whole point, after all, is that they're not going anywhere soon.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Matt: every one of Claremont's ideas that he had vetoed while they were co-plotters began to show up immediately after he left

    That does kind-of make sense, though.

    Dr. Bitz: Or what if Doom is Arcade!?

    Come on. Everyone knows that Arcade is Kang. (I grant that this would've been a lot funnier back when Kang's identity was in a constant state of revision.)

    Michael: Or, better yet, you could eliminate Arcade entirely and then write an entirely different story for how the X-Men first encounter Dr. Doom.

    Just yesterday I replied to your comment in the #146 post with a way to leave Arcade out of it.

    Storm and Stevie are at Lincoln Center when Doom kidnaps the ballet troupe for a private command performance at his castle. Storm tries to stop him, fails, and is brought back to the castle because she intrigues him; we could still get the dinner scene that way. Stevie, freaked out by what she saw, alerts Xavier and friends back at the mansion, so they head off to rescue her.

    

Given that comment subscription is no longer a thing, there's probably just as little chance that you're checking back to read this than there was that you read that, but you're welcome. 8^)

    Teebore: On the one hand, I like the idea of bots and clones has a handy way of explaining in-universe inconsistencies. On the other hand, I like the idea of creators having to deal with, good or bad, the ramifications of their characters' actions within a shared universe, even when those characters are written by other writers.

    I agree. I've noticed that I tend to be sympathetic to the current writer, too, as long as the idea isn't totally stupid. Byrne making Lockjaw an actual Inhuman who was more disfigured than most was touching, but I can see why later PTB wanted to do away with that — although making it a practical joke that was played on Benjy Grimm was kind-of obnoxious both to him and to Byrne.

    ReplyDelete
  16. @Blam: Had we found out before that Colossus doesn't breathe armored up?

    I believe so, but I'm not entirely sure. I want to say we first learned it when the X-Men went into space in issue #99.

    Yet Doom had tailor-made special rooms, a tactic of his dating back to his first or second appearance in Fantastic Four...

    Ah, thanks for reminding me that Doom's proclivity for personalized traps dates back to his first appearance. I'd forgotten about that.

    The fact that the four reservists are standing just in the right spot for the trapdoor chutes still rankles me, though.

    Ha! Something else I never thought of, but of course, won't be able to ignore now. :)

    Just how did Doom get Storm's costume off after she was turned to organic chrome if, unlike Colossus, she can't move herself, and how did he get the new threads on and likewise turned to the metal?

    Good catches. I have no explanation for the former, but perhaps, once he successfully removed her costume, draped her new clothes onto her, then turned them to chrome as well (no matter what, once again the X-Men are getting disrobed by their captors)?

    Acting! I mean, if you're going undercover, you have to commit.

    Haha! Fair enough. Then again, if he was acting, you wouldn't think the Ogre would have needed the explosive headband to force him into attacking the X-Men.

    I'm with Byrne here too, in principle if not the need for what some might call a tortured or even petty retcon.

    Yeah, it's not that I disagree with Byrne so much as his way of handling, especially since, as Jason pointed out, the Doombot in question should be damaged far beyond the remnants of a match strike.

    You're focusing on this when the guy's power is depicted as perfectly round concentric circles that always face the reader?

    Fair enough, though some later artists (like Jim Lee and Larry Stroman, I believe) depict his power with the circles kind of going/facing everywhere, which gives his power a more suitably chaotic visual look.

    The whole point, after all, is that they're not going anywhere soon.

    Exactly. And, having just re-read issue #148 for tomorrow's post, he STILL hasn't had that discussion with her. How dumb does he think she is?

    Byrne making Lockjaw an actual Inhuman who was more disfigured than most was touching, but I can see why later PTB wanted to do away with that — although making it a practical joke that was played on Benjy Grimm was kind-of obnoxious both to him and to Byrne.

    Agreed on both counts.

    ReplyDelete

  17. Teebore: if [Banshee] was acting [the criminal], you wouldn't think the Ogre would have needed the explosive headband to force him into attacking the X-Men.

    First of all, of course, we're all dealing with the natural inconsistencies of retcons — even if the aim of such retcons is to enact or maintain a larger consistency.

    Just as we're dealing with inherent tropes of still largely juvenile comic-book stories, which is why of course the trapdoors were under Havok, et al. or why Lee Forrester's dad was killed by D'Spayre when she was about to visit him with Scott, and so on — or why I was just joshing about the artistic representations of Havok's power. Even freakin' Alex Ross, to my constant surprise, never showed the glow of Green Lantern's power-ring aura coloring him green all over instead of just outlining him (as it actually would).

    Second of all, in that same vein you can't really apply the new reality/logic/continuity of the latter story to the former or Byrne's explanation of this Doom as a Doombot would be totally invalidated by its thought balloons. I kind-of take the Hypertime-ish tack that every single story takes place in its own continuity to some small degree, even if most contradictions outside of artistic license are only apparent over time, which is why every Marvel Universe story since Fantastic Four #1 "happened" but the FF hasn't been around for 50 years.

    Teebore: How dumb does he think she is?

    It's not so much that he thinks she's dumb, like she wouldn't figure it out so he should tell her ASAP to get in front of the story, as it is that it just makes more sense to take a minute and explain. There really isn't anything to explain except for details that could only be helpful; clearly, she has to figure that he has some kind of curse/disability-cum-superpower; the context wouldn't take long, with the only iffy prospect being that mutants do have that general "feared and hated" vibe going on.

    ReplyDelete
  18. "Just how did Doom get Storm's costume off after she was turned to organic chrome if, unlike Colossus, she can't move herself, and how did he get the new threads on and likewise turned to the metal?"

    I think the intent was he cut her costume off and just re-dressed the statue in the garments, which remained cloth (probably hard to tell since the decision was made to color the garment white and the limitations of the time didn't allow for the metal links holding it together to be colored distinctly).

    ReplyDelete
  19. @Anonymous: I think the intent was he cut her costume off and just re-dressed the statue in the garments, which remained cloth

    Ah, that could be. I suppose he could have just recreated her costume as well.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh man, it would be hilarious if Doom had an uncharacteristic fear of Gingers. "Doom fears naught, save fiery red hair and freckles!"

    Doom has no unfounded fears.

    The sorcerous explanation would be that he had heard a prophecy from the dark forces he meddles with that one day there would come one who would rob lief from everything.

    The scientific one is that he used his time machine and went to see the 90s.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wow! Surprised by how little love Cockrum's Polaris costume gets. I agree that the Steranko one is more iconic (and still better than the modern version they gave her several years ago, but I do like ths Shi'ar outfit. Of course, I was a big Legion fan -- and this outfit has elements of the one wore by Shrinking Violet and, to a less degree, Infectious Lass. Too bad this team didn't get more outings -- Havok and Polaris were so underused back then (and not being used that well today).

    ReplyDelete

Comment. Please. Love it? Hate it? Am mildly indifferent to it? Let us know!