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

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #210

"The Morning After"
October 1986

In a Nutshell 
The Marauders make their move as the X-Men hunt for their missing teammates. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: John Romita Jr. & Dan Green
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
In Los Angeles, a Hellfire Club soldier named Richard and his girlfriend Tommy, a former Morlock, are hunted by unseen pursuers. Richard is struck by an energy blast, and urges Tommy to leave him behind. She slips aboard a train heading east. In San Fransisco, Dazzler is possessed by a psychic entity named Malice, a teammate of the group hunting Tommy. In New York, the X-Men search for the missing Phoenix and Nightcrawler. At the mansion, Kitty modifies Cerebro so that non-telepaths can use it. Shortly thereafter, it alarms, indicating one of missing X-Men has been detected, and Kitty, Colossus and Illyana leave to investigate. Meanwhile, Magneto arrives at the Hellfire Club and sees X-Factor from afar, whom he recognizes as the original X-Men. Inside the club, Sebastian Shaw offers Magneto the title of White King, to be claimed in his own name or the name of the X-Men. Magneto agrees to consider the offer.


Elsewhere, Nightcrawler is chased into a derelict warehouse on the Hudson River by an angry mob when Kitty, Colossus and Illyana arrive. Kitty admonishes the crow, and manages to disperse them. When she asks Nightcrawler why he didn't just teleport away, he tells her he has lost his power. Meanwhile, in Central Park, Wolverine and Storm track Rachel's scent to the point where it disappears, and they determine there's nothing further they can do for their teammate. Beneath the streets, Tommy emerges from a subway car and heads for the Morlock Tunnels, but just outside she's caught by the group that killed her boyfriend. Announcing themselves as the Marauders, they thank her for leading them to the rest of the Morlocks, then tell her she'll soon have lots of company just before they kill her. 

Firsts and Other Notables
The Marauders make their first partial appearance, in shadow. As of yet, we don't know much about them besides the name of their group and their homicidal tendencies. They do mention having a boss, who will eventually be revealed to be Mr. Sinister, making this the first reference (albeit indirectly) to that character.


One member of the Marauders who does get named this issue is Malice, a psychic entity who can take control of other people's bodies (placing a choker with a face on it around her victim's neck when she does so) and appears for the first time as she takes control of Dazzler, who is still in hiding as a member of Lila Cheney's band. We'll next see her in issue #213.


To a lesser extent, the Morlock Tommy, a young woman who can make herself paper thin (and is also brightly colored for some reason), make her first and last appearance, serving as the Marauders' first on-panel victim. It's said in this issue that she is responsible for leading them to the Morlock Tunnels (thus enabling the ensuing massacre to commence), but later issues will somewhat contradict this by revealing that Gambit was tasked by Mr. Sinister, the Marauders' leader, to assemble the team and lead them into the tunnels. It could be argued that, in this issue, Tommy merely led them to the door, so to speak, while Gambit showed them how to open it.


The X-Men learn of X-Factor, at least in terms of them being mutant hunters for hire, this issue (which seems a bit odd given X-Factor has been doing their thing for a while now, but the X-Men have been in San Fransisco and then in the Morlock Tunnels for most of that time) and the original X-Men appear as X-Factor in the book for the first time. In one of the first crossovers between the books (we'll see this same (mostly) scene from X-Factor's perpsective in their ninth issue), Magneto and X-Factor witness each other from afar and recognize one another, though neither is in a position to confront the other (and Magneto assumes that Jean is Madelyne, which, presuming he tells the X-Men of this encounter some point off panel, will cause some problems later down the line when the X-Men start hanging out with Madelyne again).
 

Magneto is offered the title of White King of the Hellfire Club in this issue, with Sebastian Shaw arguing that in the face of rising anti-mutant sentiment, the X-Men and Hellfire Club must work together to survive despite their differences. The remaining Lords Cardinal, including the White Queen and Selene, all appear, and though Magneto will ultimately accept their offer on behalf of the X-Men, it will be sometime before we see any of the Lords Cardinal again in the book, and the X-Men's alliance with the club will largely become a non-starter.  

Nightcrawler has seeming lost his power as of this issue. It will return next issue, though it will be unreliable when it does.

As of this issue, Cerebro is modified so that non-telepaths can use it.


Though John Romita Jr.'s run on the title ends with the next issue, he will merely be providing layouts for Brett Blevins pencils, making this issue the final pairing of Romita Jr. with inker Dan Green (at least until Romita's second run on the book). 

The cover to this issue is another iconic, often homaged X-Men cover.

A Work in Progress
As Dazzler schleps around stage equipment, we're once again reminded that mutants are generally stronger than regular humans, regardless of whatever other powers they have, something that doesn't get brought up too often. 

Rogue hasn't angsted about it a lot lately, but we get a moment where she reflects on her inability to touch anyone after saving some grateful construction workers.


She also mentions carrying a stash of cash in her belt at all times, the better to pay for her purchases at Bloomingdales.

Colossus returns to wearing his original yellow and red costume, saying all of his new ones have been damaged.


Kitty is now able to control her power to the point where she can solidify her forearm while phasing the rest of her body.

  
Storm admonishes Wolverine for his actions against Rachel, not disagreeing with his intent to stop her from killing but saying it never should have come down to Wolverine having to kill Rachel, and that the X-Men, as a team, should have handled the situation together.


I Love the 80s
I'm not sure if its meant to be a reference to Dr. Strangelove or not, but the zeal with which a store clerk declares you can't fight in Bloomingdales is hilarious.


"Ah, Illyana, my sister, I am now going to tell you information you already know about yourself out loud, as though someone who may not know the information we both already know is listening to us."



Human/Mutant Relations
A shopper at Bloomingdales confronts Rogue for being a "mutie", sparking a confrontation between himself and one of the construction workers she rescued earlier.


In a nod to the fact that the general public is often seen lauding the superpowered Avengers even while they fear and hate the mutant X-Men (a hypocrisy that is never properly addressed in the Marvel Universe), a cop tells X-Factor that mutant or superhuman makes no difference to him.


Nightcrawler is chased by an anti-mutant mob, in a deliberate echo of his first appearance. 


Kitty admonishes the leader of the mob for saying Nightcrawler "obviously" isn't human, pointing out the Nazis once said the same thing about Jewish people. 


In a delightfully cheeky rejoinder, when Kitty is told she shouldn't talk to her elders in such a way, she responds that she doesn't, to the ones she respects. 


Teebore's Take
In many ways, this is another Quintessential Claremont Quiet issue, a downtime story set after a big action story that allows the characters a chance to breathe and reflect on recent events while subplots are advanced. But it's also a lot more than that. For one thing, it continues to add to the air of menace surrounding human/mutant relations, giving Kitty another chance to confront bigots with the illogic of their hatred (and in a bit more eloquent manner than in similar times past). It also, one month after Louise Simonson used an issue of Uncanny X-Men to setup a story in X-Factor, formally acknowledges the existence of that title by having Rogue and Magneto react to their public mission, in the process bringing us the closest yet to a direct crossover between the titles.

But even while, plotwise, it's mostly reacting to the previous story arc, this issue is also setting up the next one. As that arc is "Mutant Massacre", which will shake up the book like it hasn't been shook since Giant Size X-Men #1,this issue also, retroactively, serves as a last gasp for a certain era of X-Men. The "classic" New X-Men roster is long gone: Cyclops is a wife-abandoning cad, Banshee is retired, Storm is punked out and powerless. But the Romita Jr.-era X-Men have been around almost as long as the original New X-Men were, and for fans of that era (like myself), this issue is somewhat bittersweet, an ending of sorts to a certain style of X-Men story. As a result, it's another personal favorite, one last chance to enjoy this iteration of characters in this setting before the story this issue is setting up comes along and blows it all up. 

Next Issue
Tomorrow, the New Mutants star in the "very special" New Mutants #45, followed by X-Factor #9, in which the conflict with Freedom Force escalates, on Friday and next week, Longshot returns in Uncanny X-Men Annual #10.

18 comments:

  1. Okay. Now I'm interested again (can you tell I've been feigning it lately?). As I've said before, I have a weird relationship with the rest of Claremont's run. He's not writing the X-Men I want to read about, with regards to casting and behavior -- but the stories are so engrossing that it's hard to get too upset about that. Essentially from this issue up to "Fall of the Mutants", the X-Men's adventures become one long, single saga again, which I love. And then after a short break in the Outback, the sprawling saga continues again from "Inferno" through to the very end of Claremont's run.

    Anyway... Love the cover. Even if it does feature mohawk Storm, this is one of my very favorite X-Men covers. The caption, while a little corny, really helps to sell it.

    "The Marauders make their first partial appearance, in shadow"

    John Romita, Jr. designed the Marauders -- I've seent his model sheets in a collected edition -- yet he barely had a chance to draw them in the comics. I've still never read a satisfactory explanation for his departure from the series, but all signs point to it being abrupt and unexpected.

    "...Magneto and X-Factor witness each other from afar and recognize one another..."

    X-Factor's uniforms look fine in their own series, but for some reason here they look like pajamas. Why is that?

    "Nightcrawler has seeming lost his power as of this issue. It will return next issue, though it will be unreliable when it does."

    And I believe it stays unreliable aaaalllll the way up to Alan Davis's run as writer of Excalibur, circa 1992 or so. I tend to wonder if Claremont intended it to be permanent, maybe to get the character to rely more on his other abilities?

    "She also mentions carrying a stash of cash in her belt at all times, the better to pay for her purchases at Bloomingdales."

    Is it just me, or does the coloring make Rogue look absolutely hideous in that scene, after the make-up artist is done with her?

    "Colossus returns to wearing his original yellow and red costume, saying all of his new ones have been damaged."

    Yay! Nothing beats Colossus's orignal costume. Though Illyana has a point in calling attention to the "really bright colors". At this point, the X-Men pretty much all wear darker shades, and it'll only get worse following "Mutant Massacre", when primary colors vanish almost entirely from their collective wardrobe.

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Matt: And then after a short break in the Outback, the sprawling saga continues again from "Inferno" through to the very end of Claremont's run.

    Plus, there's two really good, traditionally-structured stories during that Outback break. But yeah, after "Mutant Massacre", this pretty much becomes one big sprawling saga again.

    I've still never read a satisfactory explanation for his departure from the series, but all signs point to it being abrupt and unexpected.

    I've always heard he left to do Star Brand, either by choice or because he was assigned (and either way, he probably figured the only way to improve on being a part of comics' best selling title was to launch the flagship book of an entire new universe, because of course no one knew then what a flop it would be). Though that doesn't really explain the seeming abruptness of his departure.

    X-Factor's uniforms look fine in their own series, but for some reason here they look like pajamas. Why is that?

    I'm not sure if its the pencils, the inks or the colors, but you're right.

    And I believe it stays unreliable aaaalllll the way up to Alan Davis's run as writer of Excalibur, circa 1992 or so.

    Wow, I had no idea it lasted that long. I just assumed it was back to normal by the time Excalibur rolled around.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "then tell her she'll soon have lots of company just before they kill her."

    I'd feel bad for her if I didn't think Tommy was a stupid name for a girl.

    "The X-Men learn of X-Factor, at least in terms of them being mutant hunters for hire"

    Yeah, I get they were in San Francisco but they were airing commercials for X-Factor in Alaska. You'd think California would be included too. (Unless maybe they could only afford commercials in Alaska where airtime is, presumably, cheaper? Or just so Cyclops could rub Maddy's nose in it?)

    Anyway, given the who the X-Men are, you'd think they'd keep more current on mutant-centric events like X-Factor popping up on the scene and very publicly kidnapping mutants.

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Dr. Bitz: I'd feel bad for her if I didn't think Tommy was a stupid name for a girl.

    Also, if she wasn't stupidly rainbow colored for no reason.

    Unless maybe they could only afford commercials in Alaska where airtime is, presumably, cheaper? Or just so Cyclops could rub Maddy's nose in it?

    I'm pretty sure the commercials just aired in New York and Alaska, all so Cyclops could rub Maddy's nose in it.

    Seriously though, you could fudge the timeline a bit and suggest the X-Factor ads didn't start airing in earnest until after the X-Men left San Fran. But even then, considering X-Factor has, in its short time, become pervasive enough in the Marvel Universe that we've seen kids plays X-Factor/Mutants instead of Cowboys/Indians, the X-Men need to take some blame for dropping the ball.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "and Magneto assumes that Jean is Madelyne, which, presuming he tells the X-Men of this encounter some point off panel, will cause some problems later down the line when the X-Men start hanging out with Madelyne again"

    Should we just assume he never told them about it? Or at least, never went into specifics? Things got pretty hectic after all, right after this. Would he be qualifying his, "Hey, I saw the original X-Men calling themselves X-Factor" with an added, "Oh, and by the way, there was a redheaded lady with them. I assume that's his wife. Right? Someone mentioned to me once that his wife looks just like Jean Grey. So I just assumed. I mean, I didn't hear them say her name or anything, I was kind of far away and I only saw them for a few seconds. Anyway, just so we're clear, Scott's wife is a member of X-Factor, so next time you see her, ask her about that."

    "To a lesser extent, the Morlock Tommy, a young woman who can make herself paper thin (and is also brightly colored for some reason), make her first and last appearance, serving as the Marauders' first on-panel victim."

    So much goes on in this issue that I always kind of forget about this bit and am somewhat surprised when I re-read it. It's a bit poignant, isn't it? A mutant girl and a Hellfire guard, in love? And we never find out how they met, we just get to see them right before they're murdered.

    "Colossus returns to wearing his original yellow and red costume, saying all of his new ones have been damaged."

    Back in the comments section of my write-up for this issue, people made fun of the "new wave" line, which still annoys me. I think it's a great line, acknowledging a fashion trend of the time that made superhero costumes almost seem tame. But of course people make fun of it. (Meanwhile, Grant Morrison's line in an X-Men issue about how they love superheroes in India because the costumes look like Bollywood ... everyone says "Oh, another brilliant pop cultural allusion by Morrison, WHAT A GENIUS WHERE DOES HE GET HIS INSANE IDEAS."

    I am bitter.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "Kitty is now able to control her power to the point where she can solidify her forearm while phasing the rest of her body."

    That won't last long. :)

    "
    "Ah, Illyana, my sister, I am now going to tell you information you already know about yourself out loud, as though someone who may not know the information we both already know is listening to us." "

    But notice the lettering in that word balloon. That was added after the fact. Presumably by Shooter, Mr. "Every Issue Is Somebody's First."

    "I'm not sure if its meant to be a reference to Dr. Strangelove or not, but the zeal with which a store clerk declares you can't fight in Bloomingdales is hilarious."

    Ha, the Strangelove connection never occurred to me. Deliberate or not, I like it!

    "And I believe it stays unreliable aaaalllll the way up to Alan Davis's run as writer of Excalibur, circa 1992 or so."

    More or less. After his recovery, the deal is that he can teleport once a day without strain. Anything more leaves him feeling weak. Similarly, of course, Kitty remains in her "permanent phase, have to concentrate to stay solid" status quo during that time. (Which I always thought was stupid. How does she stay solid when she sleeps?)

    "I tend to wonder if Claremont intended it to be permanent, maybe to get the character to rely more on his other abilities?"

    There is a thought-balloon from Kitty in an Excalibur issue that I think was explicitly spelling out his intentions: namely, that he wanted every member of that team to have a definite weakness/limitation/Achilles heel.

    "Seriously though, you could fudge the timeline a bit and suggest the X-Factor ads didn't start airing in earnest until after the X-Men left San Fran."

    Or just assume that the X-Men were too busy to sit around watching TV. Not everyone can be a gentleman of leisure, Teebore. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's a bit poignant, isn't it? A mutant girl and a Hellfire guard, in love? And we never find out how they met, we just get to see them right before they're murdered.

    I think that's one of the reasons I'm kind of fascinated by Tommy (along with her appearing in the animated show) - she has this fairly dramatic implied backstory, but all we get to see is the tragic ending. I kind of like her rainbow-hued skin, too, but I'm a sucker for pastels like that (yes, I'm still girly). Like I said before, I latch onto weird fringey X-characters.

    And yeah, Rogue's makeover was pretty tragic. I know bolds were in during the 80s, but yeesh, dial it back a bit.

    ReplyDelete
  8. And this is where I came in--my first issue of the X-Men! I got it in a package of like 30 Marvel comics from the JCPenney catalog, most of which I had no familiarity with. And while I enjoyed them all, only the X-Men issue, with its sense of foreboding and violence, prompted me to start buying issues continuously. And even despite his limited appearance, I was immediately intrigued by Wolverine. Just who IS this bad-ass talking to the Mohawk chick? The whole aesthetic made the X-Men just too cool, and that cover remains one of my all-time favorites. I was surprised and a little disappointed to not find it as a t-shirt at the recent comic con I attended.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Teebore -- "Though that doesn't really explain the seeming abruptness of his departure."

    I think I linked it here a while back, but on his now-defunct blog, Jim Shooter made a somewhat cryptic comment that Claremont had Romita "removed" from the series. So make of that what you will, I guess.

    Jason -- "Meanwhile, Grant Morrison's line in an X-Men issue about how they love superheroes in India because the costumes look like Bollywood ... everyone says 'Oh, another brilliant pop cultural allusion by Morrison, WHAT A GENIUS WHERE DOES HE GET HIS INSANE IDEAS.'"

    I agree, there. I was also really irritated by the scene in Morrison's first issue where the X-Men all discussed how silly it was that they ever wore costumes in the first place. It's one thing to write the costumes out of the series for a reason, but don't make that reason be that they never wanted to wear them in the first place. It just doesn't ring true to the many times they wore them when they didn't have to (especially in Wolverine's case)!

    Say, Teebore -- I meant to ask yesterday: Are you going to look into any of the ancillary "Mutant Massacre" crossover issues? I know it touched Daredevil, Power Pack, and Thor at the very least, though I'm pretty sure Thor is the only "essential" chapter, as it continues a cliffhanger from X-Factor (plus it's written and drawn by Walter Simonson, of course).

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wait. It's only written by Simonson. I forgot it was published after the point where Sal Buscema took over as regular artist. But still.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm gonna have to break my comments down to two parts so before I discuss my likes/dislikes of this issue I have to get two things out of the way:

    1) I wanted to read the "Mutant Massacre arc for the longest time (I started reading comics in the 90s and by then these issues had become rather pricey.) When I finally got the trade I was stoked! Yet as much as I was entertained by much of the crossover, I was a kinda disappointed with the storyline overall. I detail some of the reasons when their individual issues get posted, but the biggest problem for me was that for a story that was suppose to be killing off the Morlocks it...well didn't. The Morlocks turn out to be roaches because no matter how many times they are exterminated (there have been about 3 or 4 attempts after this story, including M-Day) there always seems to be a colony in the tunnels. Even in this story, I think the creators "oversold" the destruction of the Morlocks with lots of melodramatic "telling" of their near-extinction while showing very little of the sort (although that might also be a comics code problem.)

    2) This is the issue that confirmed that the people in-universe have something to the people out-of-universe because nobody likes Phoenix! I mean think about it. The X-Men are dealing with some dangerous enemies at this time, with more on the way. X-Factor enflammed genetic-based bigotry is also a concern. In the midst of this a wayward teammate is missing (after being stabbed, mine you.) How does Rachel's close-kit teammates respond:

    Rogue goes on a shopping spree (and pretty much says "good riddance" while trying on dresses)

    Kitty whines about how Phoenix "betrayed her."

    Storm and Wolverine just shrug and say she's probably better off anyway (and make it more an issue about "teamwork and not rushing off" rather then, you know Aesops about the dangers of giving your own teammate the three-clawed handshake.) Combined with the fact the team doesn't mention Rachel at ALL, after this issue and I just read this subplot, stunned that the X-men didn't just straight-up push Phoenix toward's Spiral's dimensional gate themselves.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Some thoughts:

    1) Tommy looks kind of dumb, but I like non-human looking mutants. Even if her looks had nothing to do with her powers, they justify her joining the Morlocks to escape persecution.

    In the first Milligan/ Allred issue of X-Force, Zeitgeist tossed out a comment about how he prefers teammates who look human. I thought intra-mutant prejudice added a touch of belivability to the Marvel U. I'm not a fan of the Morlocks (too farfetched, even for super-hero comics), but the concept of non-humanoid mutants banding together makes sense.

    2) I like the "new wave" line because I think both Claremont and Colossus were out of touch enough to think they were hip to use it. I like Morrison's Bollywood line because the idea makes sense. One's an appropriate groaner, the other's feasible.

    I'm not a fan of super-heroes in comics having disdain for costumes because they are a genre staple. Hawkeye used to look ridiculous but I bought the idea of someone running around in that costume next to Captain America and Iron Man. Now, he looks generic and fades into the background of any Avengers team picture.

    (Yes, his current comic is enjoyable. He doesn't need a costume there because the stories aren't all typical super-hero fare.)

    Spandex looks stupid on film, but movie-style costumes look blah on the page.

    3) Like Jonathan Washington, I found the Mutant Massacre slightly disappointing when I read it in the '90s. It' not bad, exactly, but I always pictured it being bigger. The final issue, nicely drawn by Alan Davis, is the highlight (other than Colossus's attack on Riptide) but is separate from the main action. I feel like the story didn't have a proper conclusion. I had the same reaction reading the Kree-Skrull war (only 4 issues of Neal Adams? that stupid ending? Gah). Too much hype.

    - Mike Loughlin

    ReplyDelete
  13. Now on to what I love about #210

    What I liked:
    1) The three X-Men confronting the violent mob. Kitty's speech was really poignant. And yes she has been giving a bit too many "soapbox moments" around this time, but let's remember that's it's actually Colossus who confronts the mob first. Kitty's just follows his lead. This was an excellent showing for Peter before he's written out of the books, proving once again that he's the "heart" of the team (Earlier Kitty lamented the seeming futility of the Xavier's dream and the X-Men's role in it. Peter then aptly demonstrates why it's still important. Even during these "dark" times. Something that I feel factors into his return to the team.) If nothing else it makes his actions NEXT issue all the more shocking.

    2) The two window-washers. I mean I know as one-of characters they're not particularly deep, but sometimes it's nice to see that not EVERY human is a one-note bigot. And on a related note, the Tommy/Hellfire Club merc paring were ace too. Unlike Uncanny X-Men 205, this was a in media res scene that works, since here we are given enough information to read between the lines, given the pair a tragic "Romeo and Juliet" vibe (especially since as a Morlock, Tommy probably never really met too many "nice" humans)

    3) I give kudos to this comic and X-Factor for finally trying to resolve a huge dichotomy about the Marvel Universe where the Avengers don't get harrassed like the X-Men, despite them all having super-powers. Too bad this explaination will be ignored anywhere other than the x-books (until the post-Civil War era anyway, where it will become status quo).

    4) The ending. Even knowing what was going to happen, I have to admit I felt a delightfully sadistic sense of glee at the "surprise." The Mauraders, of course could have just killed the Morlock earlier, but waiting just until she's engulfed in a false sense of security before springing the trap (and then taunting her about her mistakes to boot) is a spectacular delight of senseless cruelty. Indeed, one can even "fan-wank" the haphazard retcon that way: that the villains could have just relied on Gambit, bit that at least some of them chose to follow Tommy simply because they're psycho mofos that like to screw with people.

    ReplyDelete
  14. @Jason: Should we just assume he never told them about it? Or at least, never went into specifics? Things got pretty hectic after all, right after this.

    That's the obvious explanation, though I'm pretty sure Wolverine speaks of X-Factor in a way that he indicates he's aware of them beyond their ads, which suggests Magneto did tell them about X-Factor, though it's not, as you say, outside the realm of possibility that he never brought up "Madelyne".

    It's a bit poignant, isn't it? A mutant girl and a Hellfire guard, in love? And we never find out how they met, we just get to see them right before they're murdered.

    It is poignant, and a great use of in media res storytelling. It suggests a fully formed story somewhere that we're just not privy to.

    I think it's a great line, acknowledging a fashion trend of the time that made superhero costumes almost seem tame.

    I do too. And I hear you about the frustrating Morrison love.

    But notice the lettering in that word balloon. That was added after the fact. Presumably by Shooter, Mr. "Every Issue Is Somebody's First."

    Ah, I had not ever noticed that before! Good catch.

    Which I always thought was stupid. How does she stay solid when she sleeps?

    I've often wondered that as well...

    Or just assume that the X-Men were too busy to sit around watching TV. Not everyone can be a gentleman of leisure, Teebore. :)

    I dunno, if Kitty has time to go on dates to concerts, it seems like at some point some X-Man would have plopped down in front of the TV for a bit. :)

    @Mela: I kind of like her rainbow-hued skin, too, but I'm a sucker for pastels like that

    I've just always been confused by it. I guess it's supposed to be one of those random physical mutations that doesn't really relate to the power (like Nightcrawler), but its just so bold a look that it sticks out to me.

    @Johnny: The whole aesthetic made the X-Men just too cool, and that cover remains one of my all-time favorites.

    Mine too.

    @Matt: Jim Shooter made a somewhat cryptic comment that Claremont had Romita "removed" from the series. So make of that what you will, I guess.

    Yeah, I've read some vague things (mainly from Romita's perspective) that Claremont wasn't his biggest fan, but it seems like if Claremont did want him off, he'd have lined up a replacement or planned for it to happen at a more natural end point. Then again, maybe not.

    Are you going to look into any of the ancillary "Mutant Massacre" crossover issues?

    Yes, I'm planning on covering all the non-X-book tie-ins, though probably all in one post, as, like you say, all but Thor are pretty tangential to the main story/the X-Men narrative as a whole.



    ReplyDelete

  15. I have never seen a bus-side ad that wordy.

    Not just you, Matt. Colors from this era aren't really known for their subtlety, granted, so you would expect it to be tricky with such blunt tools to sell visually that Rogue had newly applied make-up, but the result is just ghastly.

    I actually really like that cop's "What's the difference?!" after Jean points out that the Avengers be not mutants. The idea of Magneto looking over and assuming that Jean is Madelyne is nice too, although I understand that it's merely a little oasis of sense-making in the larger fustercluck of the contrivances that keep X-Factor apart from their old friends and that apparently this is problematic in light of Madelyne's actual return and that (as Dr. Bitz points out) X-Factor is something that should be on the X-Men's radar even apart from it being all over the news.

    Jean doesn't actually remember when Hank, the Professor, and Phoenix (who in continuity no longer was Jean) thought the rest of the X-Men were dead nearly 100 issues ago, but you'd think that just touching base might be in order after Jean was revived especially in this crazy life of theirs. Let's not forget too that Hank was a longtime Avenger and would probably the first call made by Cap upon Jean's return, his being a mutual friend and freaking genius biologist. No matter how alienated they might feel by the arrival of Magneto, Jean should call up Ororo for a cup of coffee, say, even if it's under the larger plot guise of sussing out whether the X-Men have been brainwashed, making sure the younger students are okay, whatever.

    As a wise man once said: "Grr. Arrgh."

    There are playing-card suits on the Inner Circle's table and chairs, even though the hierarchy is based on chess pieces.

    Shouldn't Cerebro detect the members of X-Factor and the other mutants who live in their headquarters?

    ReplyDelete
  16. @Jonathan: Even in this story, I think the creators "oversold" the destruction of the Morlocks with lots of melodramatic "telling" of their near-extinction while showing very little of the sort (although that might also be a comics code problem.)

    Yeah, I think some of that is tied to restrictions from the code - there's only so much grisliness they could depict, and I think they pushed the boundaries even with what they did show.

    As for the Morlocks resiliency, I know what you mean, though I don't really blame this story for that. It clearly intends to wipe out most of the Morlocks (with Callisto and Sunder in X-Men and Masque, Caliban, Leech and Skids in X-Factor being the only survivors, and all of them move out of the tunnels as a result) and Claremont really only returned to the tunnels once more to show a few survivors. All of the subsequent "hey, there's still Morlocks!" were post-Claremont, and while it bugs me, I don't hold it against this story.

    Combined with the fact the team doesn't mention Rachel at ALL, after this issue and I just read this subplot, stunned that the X-men didn't just straight-up push Phoenix toward's Spiral's dimensional gate themselves

    There's definitely a sense that someone (Claremont, whomever) wanted Rachel GONE, and fast, so he wrote her out quickly, and paid little more than lip service to her departure within the book itself (which, granted, is still more than we'd get these days).

    If nothing else it makes his actions NEXT issue all the more shocking.

    Good point.

    I mean I know as one-of characters they're not particularly deep, but sometimes it's nice to see that not EVERY human is a one-note bigot.

    Agreed. I always like it when we get that random one-off human who's like, "yeah, I'm not a bigot. Deal with it". It makes the examples of bigotry all the more effective when there's some contrast to it.

    Too bad this explaination will be ignored anywhere other than the x-books

    Yeah, I always wished that got picked up elsewhere. Oh well.

    ReplyDelete
  17. @Mike: I'm not a fan of super-heroes in comics having disdain for costumes because they are a genre staple.

    Ditto. Ad I'm on board with your Hawkeye example. I don't think his classic look would translate well to a movie, but that doesn't mean the movie look has to invade the comic.

    Spandex looks stupid on film, but movie-style costumes look blah on the page.

    Exactly.

    I feel like the story didn't have a proper conclusion. I had the same reaction reading the Kree-Skrull war (only 4 issues of Neal Adams? that stupid ending? Gah). Too much hype.

    I got to read this early enough in my comic reading that it wasn't too over-hyped for me(beyond feeling like it was a big deal for the characters, which it was), but I know what you mean. The Kree-Skrull has always felt more like a loose connection of standalone stories than an actual war arc, and "Mutant Massacre" is definitely oddly constructed in the way that it pretty much climaxes in the first issue, and everything after that is denouement.

    @Blam: No matter how alienated they might feel by the arrival of Magneto, Jean should call up Ororo for a cup of coffee, say, even if it's under the larger plot guise of sussing out whether the X-Men have been brainwashed, making sure the younger students are okay, whatever.

    Definitely. It's one thing to say, "yikes, the X-Men are friends with Magneto now? No thank you, let's do our own thing" and quite another to simply make no entreaties to your friends or even check to make sure the New Mutants are okay (not that Jean knows about them, of course, but Scott does, and he presumably shares her concerns). I mean, if the whole idea of X-Factor is to help mutants , and they think the X-Men
    are comprised, shouldn't the first thing they do be to storm the mansion and "rescue" the New Mutants?

    As a wise man once said: "Grr. Arrgh."

    Indeed. :)

    There are playing-card suits on the Inner Circle's table and chairs, even though the hierarchy is based on chess pieces.

    I think those actually may go back to Byrne, but I could be wrong.

    Shouldn't Cerebro detect the members of X-Factor and the other mutants who live in their headquarters?

    Probably? Honestly, the range and use of Cerebro has varied so much over the years that it's hard to say. On the one hand, it sometimes seems limited in how far it can detect mutants, and then it seems like it can boost Xavier's power to worldwide levels. And of course, it ostensibly goes off whenever a new mutant, anywhere manifests, which suggests a pretty far reaching range.

    But then, X-Factor aren't new mutants (though Rusty and Artie were - maybe none of the X-Men were paying attention when Cerebro alerted to them? They were in San Fran at the time) so I guess Cerebro wouldn't detect them unless someone was actively looking for them?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Richard is struck by an energy blast, and urges Tommy to leave him behind.

    No! Au contraire, he's begging Tommy to help him, to give him his gun, but Tommy runs away.

    She and Richard had a traditional against-odds romance going, but by doing that she also abandons the trope of "I ain't gonna leave you behind!" and thus the story neither won't go like in the movies. Scalphunter even taunts her about it in the end... "Together you might have had a chance. Alone, nope."

    ReplyDelete

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