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Friday, April 25, 2014

X-amining X-Factor #30

"Kiss of Death!"
July 1988

In a Nutshell 
Infectia makes her move in Iceman. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Penciler: Walt Simonson
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Petra Scotese
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Infectia watches from afar as Iceman and the kids play a game with one of Boom-Boom's timebombs on the deck of Ship. As Cyclops and Marvel Girl depart for Dallas to track down Cyclops' son, Cyclops admonishes Iceman for his immature behavior. After they leave, Iceman and Beast head into the city for a party at the Hard Rock Cafe. Beast, upset by the crowd, goes outside, where he spots Infectia using her power to transform a police officer into a monster. Meanwhile, in Dallas, Cyclops and Marvel Girl arrive to find Freedom Force waiting for them, while in Omaha, an armored figure lowers its ship over a house. Back in Manhattan, Infectia pretends to be chased by the monstrous cop into the Hard Rock Cafe, feigning fear and asking Iceman to protect her.


Iceman battles the creature, trying to prevent it from exploding like the other monsters X-Factor had recently fought, but when Beast joins the fray, trying to tell Iceman what he saw, the monster explodes. Elsewhere, Death breaks into a Worthington Industries facility, looking for information about the Right. In Dallas, Freedom Force confronts Cyclops and Marvel Girl, telling them they've failed to register per the Mutant Registration Act. In Manhattan, Infectia continues to charm Iceman, tricking him into taking her back to Ship. When they arrive, a smitten Iceman begins to show her around, much to the consternation of the kids, who immediately don't like her, and Beast, still angry that Iceman won't listen to him about what he saw. As Iceman and Infectia walk the deck in the moonlight, Infectia stops, leaning in for a kiss...

Firsts and Other Notables
This issue marks the first appearance of Nanny, who appears briefly in the shadows of two panel. We'll eventually learn she is a former Right scientist wearing egg-shaped armor, determined to capture children in order to protect them. She probably deserves to be labeled as Louise Simonson's worst creation, simply for how much she'll be used between now and the relaunch of the line relative to how interesting she is (as a character and a design), but I still think that "honor" belongs to someone like Bird-Brain or Gossamyr. 


Angel's quest for Candy Southern takes him to Worthington Enterprises this issue, where he digs up information on the location of possible Right bases.


A Work in Progress
Iceman's reaction to Cyclops' crack about leaving the kids unsupervised is genuinely humorous. 


In a sign of X-Factor's growing popularity, it's revealed that Iceman is now making money off some advertising endorsements, though Ship provides the team with everything they need.


Jean notes that she's had no luck tracking down her missing sister or her kids.


Cyclops acknowledges the death of his brother, and even comments on his relative lack of reaction up to this point. 


Freedom Force, who may as well move their headquarters there by now, are still in Dallas. I'm fairly certain the events of this story have to occur after New Mutants #65.

Destiny notes that Marvel Girl is an anomaly, making her future unable to predict. I don't believe anything specific comes of this, so we can probably just chalk it up to all the weirdness Jean has experienced by this point.


I Love the 80s
In the absence of X-Factor, the kids are excited to spend the evening watching Rambo Nukes Commando in Nicaragua, which all else aside, would be a terrible title for a movie.


Iceman's statement that Ship provides him with everything he needs prompts a surprisingly baudy comment from a female admirer.


Iceman and Beast attend the opening of a Hard Rock Cafe, which is later referred to as "trendy", and shown to have its own bouncer.


Young Love
Boom-Boom's crush on Iceman, not long mentioned, pops up briefly. 


Human/Mutant Relations
The cop whom Infectia transforms believes all mutants belong in jail. 


After defeating Infectia's monster, Iceman insists on posing for pictures for the media, saying it's for the good of human/mutant relations.


Teebore's Take
This issue continues the Infectia story while also moving forward Cyclop' quest for his son. Fortunately, it hits some different beats than the previous issue, with Infectia instead hitting on a gullible Iceman while using her power to create a monster to "attack" her. Meanwhile, Beast more or less catches Infectia in the act, but lacks the necessary intelligence to communicate that directly to Iceman (or to stand up for himself). There's plenty of entertaining characterization here, it's nice to see Iceman in the spotlight for once (even if he is being played like a chump), and I love Walt Simonson's rendition of Blob, but the story still suffers from the presence of Infectia. The biggest problem is that while her goal is very clear, we never really get a sense of exactly WHY she wants Ship so bad, other than because she does. As a result, though there remains fun bits on the margins of this story, it's a story which continues to succeed despite its chief conflict, rather than because of it.

Next Issue
"The Evolutionary War" begins in X-Factor Annual #3 followed by New Mutants Annual #4.

11 comments:

  1. Things that make Nanny even worse:

    1. She's the villain in the first issue of Uncanny drawn by Jim Lee.

    2. She kicks off the "Storm as a child thief" story line, which isn't very good and would have been simplified by just having Storm transformed by the Siege Perilous.

    3. Orphan Maker is an awesome code name wasted on her dumb sidekick.

    4. She's an egg.

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  2. I interpreted Bobby's line about advertising endorsements as a joke or Bobby boasting, not the literal truth.

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  3. I was hoping to read that panel with Iceman's comeback to find it something like, "Right, Scott, because you would NEVER leave a child unsupervised."

    I kinda like Egg-Nanny. But that's only based on her three or four Claremont-written appearances in Uncanny. I've not read any of her Weezie-penned appearances here (and have no desire to).

    I feel like in a past comments thread I named my contender for worst Louise creation, but now I don't remember who it was. When I think of it, her most annoying characters are ones she didn't create but that she just makes painfully annoying, like Boom Boom and Rusty. That whole clique who starred in the X-Terminators mini, I just really dislike.

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  4. @Jason: I was hoping to read that panel with Iceman's comeback to find it something like, "Right, Scott, because you would NEVER leave a child unsupervised."

    That would be extremely harsh in the Marvel Universe world. And extremely valid point in the borderline world between MU and our reality, because of all people Cyclops left his kid in the care of Rob Liefeld.

    In the Inferno the plan was to use Nathan Christopher as the means to bring dark to the World, but I think Liefeld succeeded much better in that than N'Astirh.

    Does Scott have any kid that didn't get lost in the time stream?

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  5. Nanny is bad because her basic schtick - killing parents & stealing the children because she wants to "protect" them - can be effectively used. Heck, latter day Geoff Johns did it better with Kryb, as he constrasted the horror of her actions against her genuine love for the children. You know you've made a misstep when Johns can outdo you at the same basic concept.

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  6. The real irony is that several issues from now all of X-Factor decides to leave several babies in the hands of Mystique (really, was Medea unavailable?), with predictable results.

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  7. @Jeff: She kicks off the "Storm as a child thief" story line, which isn't very good and would have been simplified by just having Storm transformed by the Siege Perilous.

    For me, that's her biggest knock. Pretty much anything involved in that storyline. Including Gambit. ;)

    4. She's an egg.

    Ha!

    @Anonymous: I interpreted Bobby's line about advertising endorsements as a joke or Bobby boasting, not the literal truth.

    Could be. It is the kind of joke Bobby would make.

    @Jason: I've not read any of her Weezie-penned appearances here (and have no desire to).

    She's not noticeably different here than in Uncanny. I mean, it's not like she's a character with a terribly distinctive voice or anything.

    That whole clique who starred in the X-Terminators mini, I just really dislike.

    I've gathered. :)

    While Rusty and Skids will get quickly written out and then mostly ignored (and thus, don't really amount to enough to care), Boom-Boom and Rictor go on to much better things during the 90s and the 00s, so I don't even consider them in the running for her worse creations (and, of course, Boom-Boom isn't technically her creation, though she certainly did a fair amount of development on the character).

    @Teemu: Does Scott have any kid that didn't get lost in the time stream?

    I don't think so, though I suppose it depends on whether you consider Nate Grey one of his kids and jumping from Age of Apocalypse to the main-MU "lost in the timestream".

    @Mela: Nanny is bad because her basic schtick - killing parents & stealing the children because she wants to "protect" them - can be effectively used.

    I'm not sure I follow. But I agree that Nanny's schtick never quite works right (it doesn't help that I think she was created for a very specific purpose - a physical antagonist for Cyclops and Marvel Girl to fight during their "hunt by Cyclops' baby" story pre-"Inferno", but then was continued to be used by Simonson and Claremont off and on.

    @Anonymous: The real irony is that several issues from now all of X-Factor decides to leave several babies in the hands of Mystique (really, was Medea unavailable?), with predictable results.

    Hey, she was the government; what could go wrong? :)

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  8. Teebore: I don't think so, though I suppose it depends on whether you consider Nate Grey one of his kids and jumping from Age of Apocalypse to the main-MU "lost in the timestream".

    I did consider him one and I do consider him leaving his own timeline and going into another one with a different past is a schoolbook example of being lost in the timestream, especially from the viewpoint of his legitimate timestream.

    Also, he was AoA Cyclops kid? He has the coolest daddy. I massively loved Scott having taken an evil turn in the world without Xavier, and sporting long hair and stub and one-eyed visor with the classic colors.

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  9. Nanny got that going for her that she's a cyborg. For a short while she could boast having killed an X-Man, a thing the Reaver cyborgs couldn't do, which is hilarious.

    Also, she really did get the raw end of the deal when getting stuck into a cyborg armor body compared for example to Michael Collins Deathlok, who at least got to look like a zombie robot.

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  10. "I've gathered. :) "

    I have to keep saying it until I finally work through the childhood trauma those characters caused. I consider these comment threads to be my weekly therapy sessions. :)

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  11. Man, Freedom Force was in Dallas a looooooong time.

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