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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #236

"Busting Loose!"
Late October 1988

In a Nutshell 
Wolverine and Rogue fight to escape the Genoshan citadel. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Marc Silvestri
Inker: Dan Green
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Petra Scotese
Editor: Bob Harras
Magistrate: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Genosha, Wolverine and Rogue, having been transported there by Pipeline, battle a group of Magistrates before Wipeout arrives and removes their powers. Elsewhere on Genosha, Philip Moreau wakes up to a call sending his father, the Genegineer, into work. En route to the Citadel, the Genegineer is made aware of the situation by the Chief Magistrate. Back in Australia, the X-Men teleport into the cell of the captured Magistrates, and Psylocke reads their minds, learning the truth about Genosha: that their economy is built on the genetic manipulation and slave labor of mutants. The X-Men then depart to rescue their friends. Back on Genosha, Rogue, traumatized by the harsh treatment she received at the hands of the Magistrates once her powers were removed, hands over control of her body to the Carol Danvers persona, in the hopes that Carol can help her and Wolverine escape.


When a group of Magistrates enter Rogue's cell, Carol is indeed able to escape and then free a wounded, powerless Wolverine, dressing the pair as magistrates. Elsewhere, Philip learns that his girlfriend Jenny Ransome tested positive for being a mutant, and having been recaptured, is poised to undergo the mutate process at his father's hands. Back at the Citadel, Genoshan scientists are struggling to get a reading on Madelyne when the demon N'astirh appears on a monitor and triggers an explosion that knocks out the power. Taking advantage of the confusion, Wolverine and Rogue sneak into the hanger bay and steal a vehicle. As they leave the Citadel, Rogue, still under the control of Carol, vows that they'll get their powers back and make Genosha regret ever laying eyes on them.

Firsts and Other Notables
The full extent of Genoshan society is laid out this issue, as we learn its citizens are required by law to submit themselves for genetic testing. If they're a mutant, the individual is transformed into a mindless slave (or "mutate") and branded with a number, with the Genegineer responsible both for overseeing the mutate transformation process and for making any modifications to a mutant to alter their powers based on the current needs of the state. 


This issue marks the first appearance of Phillip Moreau and his father, the Genegineer. Both are fixtures of future Genoshan stories.


Though unnamed, Chief Magistrate Anderson, the head of the Genoshan magistrates, also appears for the first time.


Wipeout, another "free" Genoshan mutant, makes his first appearance. As his name suggests, he is capable of wiping out superhuman abilities. 


Rogue is essentially raped this issue, off panel, by a group of magistrates after Wipeout removes her power. Though it's established later in the issue that they "only" touched her against her will, the effect of wanting physical contact for so long only to have it come in such a violent, repulsive manner deeply affects Rogue, and she's forced to allow Carol Danvers' personality to take control of her body in order to affect an escape.


N'astirh makes his first appearance in X-Men, looking for Madelyne at S'ym's request in both Australia and Genosha.


It's revealed that Jenny Ransome, with whom Madelyne was working last issue, is Phillip Moreau's girlfriend and a mutant, with latent healing abilities. Her father, a government minister, switched her test results to protect her, but when the other girl died during the mutate process, his crime was revealed and the Press Gang was sent to retrieve Jenny. The Genegineer is planning on changing her power so that she can manipulate metal and rock rather than flesh, as the government needs more mutants in the mines at the moment.


Great cover on this one. 

A Work in Progress
In addition to the reveal that Genoshan society is built on mutant slave labor, we also learn that the headquarters of the Genoshan government is the Citadel, while the capital city is Hammer Bay. Genosha is also said to be a technologically advanced nation (they have flying cars, for example).   

Pipeline is unable to send clothes along with a person, so Wolverine and Rogue show up in Genosha naked. Pipeline is able to run modifications on his targets, such as adding a program to sedate them, though his sedate program didn't work on Wolverine and Rogue. 


In addition to the more recent "the X-Men are invisible to detection" routine, the computer virus introduced to the US network in issue #158 comes up again, as the Genoshans find no reference to the X-Men in any of their files, and all efforts to log data on them get wiped out.


It's revealed that a small imprint of every person whose mind she's ever absorbed resides in Rogue's psyche.


I Love the 80s
Rogue refers to the Magistrates weapons as a "Lucasfilm light show". 

Later, Carol references Star Wars as she and Wolverine escape the Citadel.


It's in the Mail
The letters column is a page and half this issue, with letters discussing the post "Fall of the Mutants" status quo along with a quite a few complaints regarding the artificiality of keeping the X-Men separate from everyone else for so long. The Ann Nocenti Colossus limited series is also announced as having been moved to Marvel Comics Presents, while the bi-weekly summer shipping schedule is said to be an annual event.

The bottom half of the second letters page is taken up by an ad for "Inferno", one of three in a series. 


Teebore's Take
In Uncanny X-Men #200, in the midst of Magneto's trial, James Jaspers said he was unaware of any country where it was a crime to be a mutant. While it's debatable whether Jaspers (or, for that matter, Magneto and the X-Men) should have been aware of Genosha at that time (given the fact that this issue presents them as something of an economic powerhouse), with this issue, as we learn about its economic and social relationship with mutants, it's made clear that Genosha is just such a place, where it is a crime to be a mutant and Magneto's worst fears have come to pass, existing right alongside the X-Men. 

Currently a metaphor for apartheid in South Africa (it will later be used as stand-in for Israel, Bosnia and any number of political and social hotspots), Genosha is arguably Claremont's greatest thematic contribution to the series since "Days of Future Past". Where that story established the price of failure should Professor Xavier's dream not become reality by showing us a dystopic future where mutants are systematically exterminated and the world is on the brink of extinction, with Genosha, those stakes are transported to the present day.  The mutants of Genosha are living in the kind of world "Days of Future Past" warned about.

With the introduction of Genosha, it's made clear that the X-Men are no longer fighting to prevent a world of mutant subjugation from coming to pass. It already exists, in the present, at the core of a thriving, technologically advanced society. Now they are fighting to contain that world, to prevent it from spreading elsewhere. The future is no longer just a grim specter haunting the X-Men; in Genosha, it has taken form, and threatens everything in which the X-Men believe.   

Next Issue
Tomorrow, we look at the debut of Excalibur's new series in Excalibur #1. Next week, more Genoshan shenanigans in Uncanny X-Men #237.

34 comments:

  1. This is my first read of this story, somehow in all my years of X-reading I never got around to it. I t definitely is living up to the hype so far. I didn't realize this was the first appearance of Rogue's Ms. Marvel personality. What a brutal way to bring it out. Psylocke's interrogation of the Magistrates really sells the horror of the situation and I really like the shades added to the story by having Ransome's father's act killing someone. When Claremont is on, he's on.

    Didn't Pipeline transport a bunch of fully-clothed Magistrates last issue? I just assumed the lack of clothing was a precaution against weapons or something. (or Claremont just wanted some naked fightin'). Thank goodness for strategically-placed debris keeping our youthful innocence intact.

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  2. If they make an X-Men movie based off this storyline, I think Jennifer Lawrence would make a great Chief Magistrate Anderson...yea, I know she's already playing Mystique.

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  3. Ya know, Genosha's existence totally feels like one of those things the X-Men should have knew about years ago considering how well established it apparently is, but I'm willingly to let it slide since this is a top 5 Claremont X-Men story, IMO. Perhaps even top 3, alongside the Wolverine in Japan two-parter and Fall of Ashes/Dark Phoenix redux/Cyclops Crowning Moment of Awesomeness.

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  4. Forgot to mention: That ad for Inferno might be my favorite Mr. Sinister artwork of all time. Silvestri's version of him is still the gold standard.

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  5. Great issue, made better by Silvestri's art. It's relatively easy to make a fight with the Brotherhood or Reavers visually interesting. It's much harder to make an issue with generic thugs and scientists compelling, but Silvestri pulled it off.

    It's Claremont's show, though, and he killed it. I'm surprised it wasn't collected in trade, as Dark Phoenix, DoFP, From the Ashes, and Asgardian Wars were. It's up there with those stories, and it plays with more mature themes to boot.

    Speaking of mature themes, the assault Rogue suffered is heartrending. It got under my skin a lot more than the various pains the X-characters suffered elsewhere. I don't want to read about rape (or near-rape) in super-hero comics, but Claremont wrote about it better than anyone has since.

    - Mike Loughlin

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  6. I know S'ym was created as a parody of Dave Sim and Cerebus well before Mr. Sinister was created...I guess Claremont just lucked into the horrible S'ym-N'Astirh/Sinister pun.

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  7. I just fucking hate when people use the word 'rape' in connection to this issue. There are two female characters, Anderson and in later issue Carol Danvers, on-panel saying "nothing (much) happened", and apparently the intended perpetrators too bust into Rogue's cell claiming they were told not to touch her by their superiors.

    It's the horrific psychology of the situation, her being a girl in her teens, with the hormones of such, and suddenly having powers making it impossible to anyone to touch her even if she wanted to taken away, and her other powers too that make it nigh-impossible for anyone to touch her if she didn't want to, in an all the wrong situation. No wonder the associated guilt related to those powers play havoc in her head, in awesome Silvestri scene.

    It could be an awesome subtle look into Rogue's mind and a worthy sequel to the SHIELD Helicarrier issue. Instead, we get some of the refrigerator people going around spouting what's essentially rape fan fiction, possibly because they are in dire need to actually be able to name any more widely known female character who was "raped to give a male character motivation" which they insist is a common occurrence in comics.

    It's a comic book by the damn Chris "Avengers Annual 10" Claremont, and the the body in question is housing Carol Danvers' mind in it. Not likely.

    I've seen people justifying their fan fiction by saying it's what would happen "in real life". I won't even address with the obvious criticism to such thought, but "in real life" too there are people like the high Genoshan officials here who would not allow their troops gang rape people because they claim, and possibly even genuinely feel, that they are good decent people with high standards, while they go on doing vile evil things they have somehow justified to themselves. That's the real horror you should be taking with you from this issue.

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  8. "The Genegineer is planning on changing her power so that she can manipulate metal and rock rather than flesh"

    Of course, she ends up getting neither power, right? She just becomes super-strong and invulnerable...

    "Great cover on this one."

    Yes, it is.

    "they have flying cars"

    A bit too technologically advanced, even by Marvel Universe standards...

    "Pipeline is unable to send clothes along with a person"

    I think he has to, otherwise the Magistrates would always should up naked and weaponless...if I recall, we do see him later transporting the Magistrates along with their weapons and clothes in future stories, so it must be something he is able to control.

    "The bottom half of the second letters page is taken up by an ad for "Inferno", one of three in a series."

    I always liked the Illyana ad the most.

    "While it's debatable whether Jaspers (or, for that matter, Magneto and the X-Men) should have been aware of Genosha at that time (given the fact that this issue presents them as something of an economic powerhouse)"

    Maybe they just have really great anti-Cerebro shields? Though it does make you wonder how many mutants there are world-wide at this point in the series, and how many of them are on Genosha for them to have enough mutants to push their economy that forward.

    "I won't even address with the obvious criticism to such thought, but "in real life" too there are people like the high Genoshan officials here who would not allow their troops gang rape people because they claim, and possibly even genuinely feel, that they are good decent people with high standards, while they go on doing vile evil things they have somehow justified to themselves."

    What? People get raped and abused in prisons all the time. It's not that much of a stretch that something like this would happen, especially with in the context of this storyline and set-up. Of course a bunch of racist (or, genetically superior thinking?) police officers will have their way with a mutant who was trashing them moments ago. Gotta put that uppity super-strong gene-trash in her place!

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  9. wwk5d, the obvious critique I was talking about was that perhaps you shouldn't extrapolate things too much with what would happen "in real life" when you're talking about superhero comics. Yes, things like that do happen and your case why it could have happened to Rogue too is a good one, and indeed "threats of worse" reads right there on-panel. It's just a bit silly to say that's what totally would happen "in real life" when the scenario is such that a superpowered mutant has just been transferred naked by modem and then has had her superpowers removed.

    I don't know though if the Genoshan humans actually feel they're genetically superior or if they rather justify their actions by in reality being genetically inferior which those in the law enforcement just try masking to be superiority.

    What I'm trying to say is Rogue certainly wasn't raped and trying to claim otherwise for whatever reason clashes with the official canon of things. I'm being willfully difficult in this matter because too many people try substituting their rape fan fics into the issue which is massively awesome issue and needs not such thing.

    Just look at the Genegineer: adamantly opposing the Magistrates doing anything to harm Rogue, but given change he would with little trouble put her on his table and totally mess here genes to transform her into a fleshy machine.

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  10. Whether or not Rogue was "actually" raped in this story is, I think, irrelevant to the fact that this is a narrative that explores sexual violence, and does it in a really thoughtfu way-- for superhero comics of the time, at least. This at least the second time that Claremont has handled this well. The Magik miniseries, and Illyana's story in general, is I think one of the more sensitive and "real" depictions of child sexual abuse that I've read in comics. The fact that in both of these cases any explicit depiction of rape is downplayed just makes the stories more powerful, and is at least part of why they don't count as Women In Refrigerators to me. These are stories about rape and abuse and its effects rather than stories in which rape is used as a plot device or an artificial way of raising the stakes.

    It's of course interesting and in some ways ironic that it's Carol Danvers who comes to Rogue's rescue here. Both because Carol was a part of one of the most notorious and tacky rape stories in superhero comics (Marcus!), but also because there are serious rape overtones in the story where Rogue steal's Carol's powers-- from a thematic standpoint, Rogue is Carol's rapist.

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  11. "you shouldn't extrapolate things too much with what would happen "in real life" when you're talking about superhero comics"

    Well, the story is an allegory about apartheid in South Africa...so "real life" is already a part of the story.

    "Whether or not Rogue was "actually" raped in this story is, I think, irrelevant to the fact that this is a narrative that explores sexual violence, and does it in a really thoughtfu way-- for superhero comics of the time, at least."

    True. I do wonder if the original plan was for Rogue to be raped, but then they realized it might be a bit too heavy, and then backtracked from that?

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  12. Ben: Whether or not Rogue was "actually" raped in this story is, I think, irrelevant to the fact that this is a narrative that explores sexual violence, and does it in a really thoughtfu way-- for superhero comics of the time, at least.

    You're correct when it comes to the appreciation for the story or what it's trying to say, though there is a heavy Rogue-specific tilt to it all. But it is not irrelevant if and when the story is presented as a high-profile example for the allegedly common happenstance of a female character getting raped in the best refrigerator fashion for to further the plot for male character(s) which actually seems to happen "a lot" online whenever someone wants to lash at the comics as a misogynistic form of media. Never mind the actual facts, names like Rogue or Carol Danvers get dropped, possibly because no one outside the scene knows Sue Dibny.

    Which is a damn shame because essentially it is a superhero comics story of a non-superpowered woman - Carol Danvers! - busting loose from a prison and dragging along her WOLVERINE, who would probably need to be demoted a notch or two to call him an Alpha Male.

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  13. "Maybe they just have really great anti-Cerebro shields? Though it does make you wonder how many mutants there are world-wide at this point in the series, and how many of them are on Genosha for them to have enough mutants to push their economy that forward."
    The dialogue in issues 237-238 imply that the Genoshans have a couple thousand mutants out of a population of several million but it's enough to make their economy work.
    It's possible the Genoshans have anti-Cerebro scan but the dialogue in issue 238 implies that ordinary Genoshans know that the economy is driven by mutants, they just don't know they're slaves. If there are several million Genoshans, you would think that the X-Men would have heard about it and inquired into how they were treated. The X-Men's reaction in these issues isn't "But we thought the mutants on Genosha were working voluntarily". It's "What's Genosha?"

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  14. I really like Pg. 17 — especially the bottom half, which you posted. Overall I'm still much fonder of Silvestri's layouts than of his detail work, no matter whether the finished product looks more like his own style or like Green's.

    Xavier and Magneto would had to have been aware of Genosha, retroactively speaking. I appreciate that Claremont wanted to tackle what it represents, as both allegory and straightforward story material, but it's more retcon than mere revelation and hard to swallow as a fully formed, entrenched society in the greater scheme. On the one hand it's something of a logical extension of mutants really being "1 in a million" — as Byrne pointed out, that would make the mutant population 4,000-5,000 in a world of 4 billion to 5 billion people; on the other hand, Genosha must be an island of 100,000,000 (an unlikely number, to say the least) just to yield 100 mutants without kidnapping or otherwise repatriating mutants from elsewhere in the world. Not that "1 in a million" ever necessarily became canon.

    Are we supposed to read the "Gen" in "Genosha" as having "gene" or "genetics" as its root, by the way? I've always read it in my head as "jen-oh-shuh" or "guh-noh-shuh" rather than "jeen-oh-shuh" and never made the etymological connection, maybe because I was only vaguely aware of it as a thing, but pronunciation aside I'm just curious as to whether it was founded / rededicated with the genetic manipulation that's at the heart of its society reflected in its name.

    I finally realized what Psylocke's furry butterfly totem reminds me of (besides the Lorax): '70s Superman antagonist Karb-Brak.

    I still can't see how we're not supposed to look at Mr. Sinister and automatically think Colossus.

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  15. @Jeff: // I didn't realize this was the first appearance of Rogue's Ms. Marvel personality. //

    We got at least one major story before this in which Carol Danvers' personality came to the fore — Uncanny X-Men #182 — although this might be the first time Rogue more-or-less willingly lets it and/or causes it to happen.

    @wwk5d: // A bit too technologically advanced, even by Marvel Universe standards... //

    Not so sure about that. SHIELD has flying cars. Doom, without looking it up, probably has similar tech, although surely not shared with the Latverian public. Wakanda might. I'm willing to let this slide by equating Genoshans benefitting from the wicked fruits of (and thus being complicit in) the subjugation of mutants with, say, the dividend checks that Alaskans get as a return on the state's oil wealth or the perks of working at Google or some other Silicon Valley compound. We know the technology is possible in the Marvel Universe, albeit kept in the hands of a few; in Genosha, it's in the hands of the still presumably few (see my comments above / response to yours below) yet, relatively speaking, a majority of the general populace.

    @wwk5d: // Maybe they just have really great anti-Cerebro shields? Though it does make you wonder how many mutants there are world-wide at this point in the series, and how many of them are on Genosha for them to have enough mutants to push their economy that forward. //

    Exactly.

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  16. "when the story is presented as a high-profile example for the allegedly common happenstance of a female character getting raped in the best refrigerator fashion for to further the plot for male character(s)"

    What male character's plot is being furthered here?

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  17. wwk5d: What male character's plot is being furthered here?

    Probably Colossus'. There is no male character, except an useless short dying Canadian, but that does not stop them promoting #236 as the One Where Rogue Was Fridged. Just like Carol Danvers was in Avengers #200 and Black Cat in some later origin story implant. A woman raped offer a male character motivation. That's an actual case someone made and is to be found online. And I should have taken this there and not pour on you guys, yes.

    Blam: Are we supposed to read the "Gen" in "Genosha" as having "gene" or "genetics" as its root, by the way?

    My Finnish translator-editor told us to look up the word 'genocide' in the dictionary if we wanted a sneak peek what Genosha is all about after the part 1.

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  18. @Teemu,

    You might not like the word "rape" being used in conjunction with this issue, and I get that. In fact, it's *not* rape, but I took it as near-rape. I didn't distinguish sexual abuse and near-rape- they all fall under "horrible things" to me- but if you do I respect that.

    I think you're right that using this issue and calling it a "fridging" moment is wrong and misses the point entirely. Let me rephrase what I wrote: Claremont dealt with a sexual crime being committed to a character much better than most other comic book writers.

    The fan-fiction thing... blech. That's just wrong.

    Honestly, though, I think there are reams of terrible real-life stories about (usually) men in power sexually abusing women or other men. I don't see the idea that Rogue could have been raped as being far-fetched at all, unfortunately.

    Still, boiling this issue down to that one scene (powerfully uncomfortable though it is) is highly reductive and unpleasant, especially if mis-read.

    - Mike Loughlin

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  19. Mike, my wording in my first post was actually tremendously bad, and the thing I really have problem with is the people insisting Rogue was raped and their skewed cases based on that willful misinterpretation.

    Though I am taking chief magistrate Anderson's depiction of the happenings at the face value, according to which Rogue likely wasn't in real danger past some groping, the magistrates had their superiors there to step in if things went "too far", but it's also possible that Anderson might be dressing up the truth a bit for the Genegineer. Carol's later Inferno-era account may be about Claremont clearing some unclarity on the matter, but canon-wise that is what goes.

    On other matter, I never had problem with Genosha suddenly appearing out of nowhere. It's kind of new area opening up in a computer game, totally cool with it.

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  20. "Probably Colossus'. There is no male character, except an useless short dying Canadian, but that does not stop them promoting #236 as the One Where Rogue Was Fridged...A woman raped offer a male character motivation. That's an actual case someone made and is to be found online. And I should have taken this there and not pour on you guys, yes."

    Well, you can see it that way, but I don't. It's neither a fridge moment nor a Gewn Stacy moment since no male character has motivation or had their character progress. Now, if we had Wolverine having to rescue poor traumatized Rogue, then I can see the point. But as it is, it doesn't really fit that type of definition or interpretation.

    The issue isn't really weather Rogue was raped or not. The thing is, she was somehow molested and assaulted to the point where she just couldn't handle it. It makes sense for her character. While I'm sure Storm or Psylocke would have been affected it as well, I don't think either of them would have been traumatized by it to this degree (Storm, being CC's favorite warrior woman, would have probably compartmentalized it and probably had a private discussion about with Wolverine later).

    My only problem with this is that we never see any follow-up of what happened to Rogue. After this adventure, she's giving Longshot a sexy dance* dressed in short-shorts and a bikini top. Oh well.



    *ok, she was roller-skating at the time, but this is Silvertri, and we're getting to the point where his art has the women looking like they're posing in a late 80s heavy metal video.

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  21. wwk5d: Well, you can see it that way, but I don't.

    My whole point has been arguing against such thing. I was attempting to paraphrase... or sumting. I think my case would have been helped, sort of, had I been open and honest from the beginning that the thing I really hate is the (more extreme version of) feministic approach to superhero comics as a misogynistic media. Not completely unwarranted in all counts, perhaps, but #236 is one of those issues you sometimes see shoehorned to fit such predetermined worldview and presented as a straight Fridging example. Yes, I also think it shouldn't be humanly possible with a Claremont story with Claremont women protagonists, but there we have it.

    My only problem with this is that we never see any follow-up of what happened to Rogue. After this adventure, she's giving Longshot a sexy dance* dressed in short-shorts and a bikini top. Oh well.

    There kind of was in #244 where Carol forcibly takes the control of the body from Rogue and recaps how Rogue has been (off-panel) dealing with her Genoshan experience. The Mind Control Central Blog has nice collection of associated Rogue/Carol panels: http://clarmindcontrol.blogspot.fi/2013/05/regaining-rogue-part-ii-so-you-think.html

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  22. @Jeff: Didn't Pipeline transport a bunch of fully-clothed Magistrates last issue?

    Yeah, I realize in hindsight that it's clearly a choice Pipeline makes - likely, as you suggest, to prevent any weapons coming over and to discombobulate his targets as much as possible.

    @Reese: If they make an X-Men movie based off this storyline, I think Jennifer Lawrence would make a great Chief Magistrate Anderson

    I could see that.

    @Jeremy: Ya know, Genosha's existence totally feels like one of those things the X-Men should have knew about years ago considering how well established it apparently is, but I'm willingly to let it slide since this is a top 5 Claremont X-Men story, IMO

    It's definitely a case where, if this story wasn't so good, I'd be much harsher on the blatant retcon that is Genosha. But it's a lot easier to overlook that stuff when it's in the service of a quality story.

    @Mike: . I'm surprised it wasn't collected in trade, as Dark Phoenix, DoFP, From the Ashes, and Asgardian Wars were.

    Me too. It seems like it'd make a neat collected edition. Maybe all the "Inferno" setup has scared Marvel off of it?

    I don't want to read about rape (or near-rape) in super-hero comics, but Claremont wrote about it better than anyone has since.

    Ditto on both counts.

    @wwk5d: Of course, she ends up getting neither power, right? She just becomes super-strong and invulnerable...

    Something like that, yeah.

    My only problem with this is that we never see any follow-up of what happened to Rogue. After this adventure, she's giving Longshot a sexy dance* dressed in short-shorts and a bikini top.

    Yeah, I would have liked more follow-up as well. Claremont doesn't brush it under the rug entirely (as others have pointed out), and I get that stuff like "Inferno" is going to take precedence, but I'd have liked a little more time spent on Rogue healing/coming to terms with what happened.

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  23. @Ben: Both because Carol was a part of one of the most notorious and tacky rape stories in superhero comics (Marcus!), but also because there are serious rape overtones in the story where Rogue steal's Carol's powers-- from a thematic standpoint, Rogue is Carol's rapist.

    Wow, that's a really great observation. It adds a whole nother level of complexity to Rogue's situation.

    @Anonymous: It's possible the Genoshans have anti-Cerebro scan but the dialogue in issue 238 implies that ordinary Genoshans know that the economy is driven by mutants, they just don't know they're slaves. If there are several million Genoshans, you would think that the X-Men would have heard about it and inquired into how they were treated.

    Yeah, if nothing else, you'd think word would have just gotten out from the general populace by now - no Cerebro needed, just word-of-mouth amongst the general population that Genosha is a really nice country that does some interesting things with its mutants.

    Then again, the X-Men have been pretty insular of late, dealing with their own issues and cut off from "the general public". Then again again, Genosha has clearly been around, using mutants as slave labor (even if most people just know it as "they put mutants to work") for awhile.

    @Blam: I've always read it in my head as "jen-oh-shuh" or "guh-noh-shuh" rather than "jeen-oh-shuh"

    Yeah, I've always read it as "jen-o-shuh" too, and I believe that's how it's pronounced on the X-Men animated series (FWIW, though that show had a lot of interplay with the X-office at the time, so somebody there clearly thought that's how it's pornounced).


    I finally realized what Psylocke's furry butterfly totem reminds me of (besides the Lorax): '70s Superman antagonist Karb-Brak.


    Ha! I can see it.

    @Teemu: but #236 is one of those issues you sometimes see shoehorned to fit such predetermined worldview and presented as a straight Fridging example.

    For what it's worth, I in no way was attempting to argue (nor believe) that Rogue's assault in this issue is a case of fridging - the assault doesn't force Rogue to be rescued by a man, nor does it further anyone's story but her own.

    Like Mike said, I don't really make the distinction between "sexual assault" and "rape" in this case. Yes, the magistrates didn't rape Rogue in a technical, legal sense, but they clearly sexually assaulted her (whether they realized that's what they were doing or not is irrelevant - for Rogue, a woman who had so long yearned to touch and be touched by others, to find herself touched unwarranted by people meaning to do her harm - that's sexual assault). But either way, I don't think this is a case of Claremont writing in that incident just to further a male character's story, or for cheap dramatic effect.

    Finally, let me just express my gratitude to everyone for managing to discuss a tricky issue in a respective, even-handed way. This is the kind of conversation that could have easily spun out of control, and on most places on the internet would have, so I'm deeply grateful that we continue to be able to avoid those kinds of irritating histrionics and have civilized conversations amongst ourselves here, even when we do disagree with one another.

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  24. Teebore: For what it's worth, I in no way was attempting to argue (nor believe) that Rogue's assault in this issue is a case of fridging

    That was clear to me from the beginning. I should have attempted to be much more clear I was arguing against things said by totally other people elsewhere.

    Yes, the magistrates didn't rape Rogue in a technical, legal sense, but they clearly sexually assaulted her (whether they realized that's what they were doing or not is irrelevant - for Rogue, a woman who had so long yearned to touch and be touched by others, to find herself touched unwarranted by people meaning to do her harm - that's sexual assault).

    With all that I agree full-heartedly. From what Carol later on says in #244 does suggest it could have been "only" harsher kind of sexual harassment but from Rogue's specific starting point it's quite enough to drive her nearly catatonic. I would perhaps like to people therefore see it as a Rogue story foremostly rather than a rape story but I kind of have to acknowledge that a case could be made to read it that way too. As long as things are kept canonical, of course.

    Also, I find it only starts to dawn on me how massive this is in Rogue/Carol relationship and how talented Claremont really was in not bluntly hammering it in: both Rogue and Carol have a case of herself being the victim in what happened on Golden Gate Bridge (Carol of course a bit better case), and even if Carol in this issue's context is a bit of a saving angel when she takes the wheel, it's not exactly wrong of Rogue to think later on that what's merely a mental residue has no right to do so, and specifically by using such a trauma to do it.

    It feels kind of cheating to use Siege Perilous to solve it finally, with Shadow King controlled Ms. Marvel perhaps made too clear a villain in the match-up. It also feels disturbing to think how much of Rogue's falling for Magneto afterwards was really about gratitude...

    Finally, let me just express my gratitude to everyone for managing to discuss a tricky issue in a respective, even-handed way. This is the kind of conversation that could have easily spun out of control, and on most places on the internet would have...

    It's hilarious really, but our heroes from the pages of the comic books would have had plasma, optic beams and furniture flying long time ago.

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  25. "It feels kind of cheating to use Siege Perilous to solve it finally, with Shadow King controlled Ms. Marvel perhaps made too clear a villain in the match-up."
    That wasn't Claremont's original intention- he planned to merge the two into one personality with split eye-color and control over Rogue's powers.

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  26. Let's not forget, Rogue did once throw a fit when Nightcrawler tried to kiss her once, in "jest", that louse (the issue where they fight Magus). So it probably wouldn't take much to put Rogue in a state like this.

    "It feels kind of cheating to use Siege Perilous to solve it finally"

    As we'll see, once the X-men go through the Siege Perilous, they all kind of achieve one of their fondest desires but in a tainted way (except for Colossus). It's not a cheat so much as in Rogue's case it was resolved really quickly...

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  27. wwk5d: Let's not forget, Rogue did once throw a fit when Nightcrawler tried to kiss her once, in "jest", that louse (the issue where they fight Magus). So it probably wouldn't take much to put Rogue in a state like this.

    At least Nightcrawler thinks so after Rogue exclaims "You?!" and drops him into a puddle, but somehow I always felt that particular reaction by Rogue was more because of her then-fear of absorbing people with special physiology because she didn't quite know if she would get Colossus' steel or Nightcrawler's tail. Nimrod had just arrived in the previous issue and very soon Rogue would go on absorbing both Colossus' and Nightcrawler's power at the same time to fight him.

    Then again, we did see the name "Cody Robbins" dropped a lot back then, and on general note Kurt is spot on.

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  28. I'm sure she might be apprehensive about absorbing Kurt on occasion, but not Colossus, since he can turn his steel appearance on and off.

    I think the way CC presented that scene as an info dump by Kurt, we were supposed to take it face value...

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  29. I missed all the conversation, so I'll just note that I love the "Inferno" ad. It's actually got four segments -- one each for X-MEN, X-FACTOR, NEW MUTANTS, and EXCALIBUR. Years after the crossover, like sometime in the mid-nineties, my local comic shop found a stack of the full fold-out poster ad in their back room, and gave them out to regular customers. I still have mine framed and hanging on the wall in my "den".

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  30. I've never seen the Excaliber...and didn't even know there was one! Who was featured in it?

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  31. wwk5d -- "I've never seen the Excaliber...and didn't even know there was one! Who was featured in it?"

    You aren't the only one. I have seen the "Inferno" ads referred to as a series of three more than once over the years. Maybe the fourth one never saw print anywhere other than this comic shop poster?

    Anyway, it features Archangel, Nathan, and Rachel -- you know, the three main stars of EXCALIBUR.

    Really, I have no idea why it's those three. Maybe since EXCALIBUR was so tangential to "Inferno", they just asked Alan Davis to draw some random characters involved in the crossover?

    Here's a small picture I found online of the poster I have: X-Men Inferno Poster

    If I remember later, I can try to get a better shot of mine.

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  32. Matt: Anyway, it features Archangel, Nathan, and Rachel -- you know, the three main stars of EXCALIBUR.

    Really, I have no idea why it's those three. Maybe since EXCALIBUR was so tangential to "Inferno", they just asked Alan Davis to draw some random characters involved in the crossover?


    Rachel, because she and her mental link with Nathan as of UXM #201 was the vague connection needed to have Excalibur join the fun, and Archangel because he did go through some soul searching and ws a bit demonic before Beast talked him to be their very own Archangel but the X-Factor poster was already spoken for.

    Arguably Kitty as Illyana's best friend could have played a poster-eligible role in Inferno but that would have meant Chris handing her over to another writer and her being in the Excalibur has an amount to do with Chris not wanting to.

    Also, there is still to be conversation to be had if you want to, methinks. For example, it's scary really now much this issue is *not* a superhero comic. Superpowerless people escaping from enemy prison, what is this really, Commando For Action and Adventure?

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  33. Way late on this comment thread, but just wanted to point out that I enjoyed how courteous N'astirh (a demon) is every time he tries to call Maddie: "Oh sorry--is this an inconvenient time? I'll try back later." A nice touch that can go overlooked.

    Enjoying catching up on these recaps as I follow along 3 years behind. I'll catch up eventually...

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