Wednesday, October 29, 2014
X-amining Uncanny X-Men #247
In a Nutshell
Rogue and Master Mold enter the Siege Perilous
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Marc Silvestri
Inker: Dan Green
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Foreman: Tom DeFalco
Just as Master Mold is about to blast Rogue, the X-Men arrive, called by Psylocke and teleported to New York by Gateway. Though there is nothing they can do to save Senator Kelly's wife, mortally wounded helping Rogue, they're able to destroy Master Mold, aided by their invisibility to his sensors. Back in Australia, Jubilee explores the town but decides to stick close to her hiding spot for fear of getting caught. In New York, the seemingly-destroyed Master Mold re-constituents himself. His integration of Nimrod's programming complete, he's now able to detect the X-Men and hold his own against them. As Dazzler stumbles into a crater created by a reflected blast and discovers the Siege Perilous in her jacket pocket, Rogue absorbs Colossus' mutant power, transforming her flesh into steel. She flies into space, then comes racing back down, her speed aided by gravity, and crashes into Master Mold with the force of a meteor.
Rogue and the remains of Master Mold end up in the crater along with Dazzler, who realizes they can use the Siege Perilous to defeat the robot. As the portal opens, Rogue tries to force him through, but Master Mold resists and grabs Rogue so that neither can enter without the other. As Rogue pleads with Dazzler to blast them both into the portal, Nimrod asserts himself, telling Master Mold that their synthesis has resulted in a new life form, that they've essentially mutated. Just as Dazzler blasts the robot, Nimrod insists Master Mold fulfill his prime directive, and Master Mold explodes. The force of the explosion sends the remains of the robot, as well as Rogue, into the Siege Perilous, much to Dazzler's horror. In the aftermath, Senator Kelly tells Sebastian Shaw that Project: Nimrod will receive all the federal support it needs, and a new group of Reavers vow to destroy the X-Men. The Reavers, in turn, are being watched by Nanny, who promises Orphan Maker they're going to save the X-Men, whether they like it or not.
Firsts and Other Notables
Following Wolverine's leave of absence last issue, Rogue is the next member of the team to leave the X-Men in this issue, as she gets pulled into the Siege Perilous along with the Master Mold/Nimrod. The first X-Man to enter the Siege Perilous, Rogue will actually be the last to emerge, and this issue marks her final appearance in the series until issue #269 (and it'll be a while even after that before she rejoins the X-Men). This marks Rogue's first extended absence from the book (beyond a few issues here or there) since she joined the team in issue #171.
Jubilee pops up briefly in this issue, exploring the town while the X-Men are away and ransacking Dazzler's closet, which creates some chronological issues with the backup story in X-Men Annual #13, as that story very clearly showed Jubilee arriving in the Outback immediately after issue #244, but then proceeded to show her acclimating to life in the town beyond the state she's in this issue. I suppose these scenes could occur in and around the events of that backup story (she does reference here her "hidey hole", presumably the room she made for herself in the earlier story), but you have to squint a bit to make it all work.
The closing panels of this issue tease the return of the Reavers, in what will be a new incarnation of the cybernetic criminals than when they first appeared, comprised of the remnants of that group joining Lady Deathstrike and the three cybernetic Hellfire Club mercenaries that Wolverine nearly killed (last seen in issue #205) and being led by the recently-escaped Donald Pierce. This smaller group of Reavers will serve as the main villains of the "Dissolution and Rebirth" story arc and stand as the book's chief post-"Inferno" antagonists, though they'll be quickly dispatched after Claremont leaves the book.
Because apparently you just don't let go of as good an idea as a nursery rhyme-themed villain wearing egg-shaped armor, Nanny and the Orphan Maker, last seen in X-Factor #40, make a brief appearance at the end of this issue, setting up their larger involvement in the subsequent issue.
The final page of the issue, with Nanny watching the Reavers watching the aftermath of the X-Men's battles, is perhaps an intentional echo of the final panel of issue #97.
Nimrod's consciousness asserts itself within Master Mold this issue, and the resultant fusion of the two programs results in an evolved life form, which enables Master Mold to see the X-Men, but which also, Nimrod points out, makes them a mutant. The Nimrod/Master Mold amalgamation is then blasted into the Siege Perilous along with Rogue. A later story will establish that Bastion, the anti-mutant zealot and central antagonist of the 90s crossover "Operation: Zero Tolerance", is the new form of the Master Mold/Nimrod fusion which eventually emerges from the Siege Perilous.
Senator Kelly's wife Sharon, introduced last issue, dies this issue as a result of injuries sustained helping Rogue escape Master Mold, which simply reignites Kelly's anti-mutant prejudices. It's a pretty blatant bit of what we'd today call fridging, as Sharon was very clearly created only so her death could have an impact on Sentator Kelly, except neither character is, relatively speaking, all that important to the series at this point.
Sharon's death does motivate Kelly to change his stance on Sebastian Shaw's proposed Project:Nimrod from last issue, though nothing really comes of this (aside from the suggestion that Nimrod exists in a time loop whereby his actions in the past trigger his creation in the future) and we won't see Kelly or Shaw (in X-Men, at least) again until after Claremont has left the book.
Just in time for the team to get broken apart, a new corner box image appears on the cover, mimicking X-Factor's "characters in action" approach in lieu of the team's headshots.
The letters page includes a ballot for Comic Buyers Guide Fan awards, as well as a joke ballot for the Marvel Assistant Editors Awards (which were left of the main ballot, of course).
A Work in Progress
As the X-Men attack Master Mold, prior to Nimrod's programming asserting itself, they are fully invisible to the robot.
Havok is pleased to able to cut loose with his power against a robotic opponent.
Storm and Colossus perform a fastball special, with Colossus as the ball.
The rest of the X-Men learn about the Twelve this issue, though Dazzler casually dismisses the notion, thinking it's simply a reference to the X-Men.
Longshot is bummed out that he couldn't do much against a giant robot. Dazzler consoles him, telling him that's why they're a team, but he worries he doesn't fit in.
Storm notes that Morlock Healer's abilities only work on mutants, a detail I don't think had been previously established before.
Donald Pierce is referred to as the Hellfire Club's former White King; I believe he was actually it's former White Bishop.
I Love the 80s
I think that might be a joke at the expense of cross-dresser/transgenders in Jubilee's reaction to the women she followed from the mall being called X-Men, but if so, it certainly flew over my head as a kid.
It's established that aside from the property damage, the only casualty of the X-Men's battle with Nimrod is Sharon Kelly.
And with that, we say goodbye to Rogue, as the dissolution of the X-Men continues. Perhaps because the "Dissolution" story serves as a kind of last hurrah for the Oz X-Men, even though the bulk of this issue takes place in New York, it is jam packed with stuff specific to the X-Men's time in the Outback: the Siege Perilous is used for the first time since issue #229, the X-Men's invisibility to electronic scanners is a key element of the plot and of the Master Mold/Nimrod's development, and the return of the Reavers, the villains who facilitated their move down under in the first place, is teased.
Claremont also continues his bit of narrative housecleaning, begun last issue, involving a subplot even older than the X-Men's Australian stint. After being co-opted by Master Mold, this issue reveals that Nimrod's consciousness hasn't been fully eradicated, and together, the two Sentinels have evolved into some kind of new life form. Of course, this leads to the amalgamated robot getting blasted into the Siege Perilous, and whether or not Claremont intended for that to be the end of Nimrod's story, it stands as his final word on the matter. Thus, we get an an unceremonious end to the long-simmering "Nimrod as protector of the disenfranchised" subplot, and that's a subplot that has to go down as a wasted opportunity, as both Claremont and other writers could easily have mined that material for some interesting stories. But the effort in at least tying it up, in a manner that can be read as conclusive (even if later writers add to it) is still appreciated.
Tomorrow, the New Mutants battle Freedom Force in New Mutants #78. Friday, X-Factor heads into space in X-Factor #43. Next week, Daredevil gets a visit from Blob and Pyro in Daredevil #269.