Uncanny X-Men #232-234
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #232, Uncanny X-Men #233, Uncanny X-Men #234
I will give some credit to Claremont for allowing this plotline to develop behind the scenes as if it were happening in parallel to the events in the past year, since the Brood have already infected a number of people at the point that this story starts (although perhaps the Brood should have spread even further by now). By comparison, when Claremont introduced the Adversary circa issue #188 and then let that plot hang until issue #220, there didn't seem to be any new developments, so the Adversary basically politely waited until it was hit turn to be the bad guy. Granted, the Adversary works in mysterious ways while the Brood by nature want to lay eggs and improve their species, especially with mutants, as quickly as possible.
It's not quite clear to me how the X-Men get involved at this point. If the idea is that Havok's memory wipe has now fully cleared, that's not stated (and there's no recriminations). Alternatively, if they went back to the desert to look for clues about Polaris' abduction, that's also not said. We are somewhat deliberately left in the dark about how the X-Men get involved here because the first half of issue #232 follows the story of the paramedic from when the Brood first landed near him and some fellow campers...
...to his nearly running Havok and Polaris off the road (as seen in #218), and then through the period where he's been going around unknowingly infecting mutants with Brood eggs.
It's on page 18 of issue #232 where we first see the X-Men, and they are played as mysterious strangers from the paramedic's perspective. It's done well.
But the paramedic grabs Colossus, lifts him, and throws him at Psylocke, knocking both through a wall and onto the ground below. Psylocke survives because she's wearing a new suit of armor.
The whole issue is played out horror movie style, and for at least part of it, the X-Men are the monsters. Especially Wolverine, who wants to kill the paramedic. Only he, Storm, and Colossus have faced the Brood before (as Rogue acknowledges), and Wolverine is most comfortable with the fact that unless you have a healing factor or a magical giant space whale, you're going to die once you've got an egg in you. Rogue tries to stop Wolverine (and of course gets her costume shredded in the process).
But soon the rest of the Brood that the paramedic infected show up.
Since all of these Brood were hatched from mutants, they all have super-powers. These mutant-spawned Brood don't appear outside these three issues, so i won't be listing them as characters appearing or highlighting each of their powers, but here are their names (and i'm sure for the most part you can guess their powers): Blindside, Brickbat, Divebomber, Lockup, Spitball, Temptress, Tension, and Whiphand.
The one i will call out is Temptress, who emits pheromones that possess the X-Men, so soon the team is fighting not only super-powered Brood but also each other. And that situation gets worse when Rogue touches Temptress and gets overwhelmed by her personality.
This puts Temptress in a category with Magus, Spiral, and the African Hunger Demon from Heroes For Hope as creatures with personalities stronger than her own. We can assume Temptress' powers had something to do with that, though, and it's not that any Brood would overwhelm Rogue.
I do think it's fun and creepy how the Brood take on the personalities of their hosts, such that they use words like "bunkie".
While the battle rages on in downtown Denver, an amphitheater is being constructed west of there where a preacher named William Conover will be giving a sermon. He's seen here with his wife Hannah, who has debilitating arthritis.
Conover is a believer in mutant rights and admonishes the workers when they make anti-mutant comments about the battle in Denver as it's being reported on the radio.
And i do mean radio, because the X-Men are unable to be captured on television thanks to the spell cast by Roma when the X-Men "died".
Another theme during the X-Men/Brood battle is Havok's fear of killing someone with his powers. He eventually does let loose against the Brood and starts to worry that the killing gets easier each time.
During a fight in a diner...
...there's a couple making out the whole time, unaware of what's going on around them. Feels like a "real person" cameo, but it's not anyone i recognize.
The fight eventually makes it over to Rev. William Conover's sermon. Wolverine is infected with a Brood egg at this point, but Conover goes to him and prays. He thinks the Lord is answering his prayer and dispelling a demon, but Wolverine thinks his healing power is just kicking in.
When it's all over, Trish Tilby flies all the way from New York to report on it.
You can also see in that seen above that Hannah Conover's arthritis has been cured, if by "cured" you mean that she's been infected by a Brood egg from another paramedic. There seems to be a serious anti-religious (or at least anti-faith healing) message in this final issue, with the Reverend being shown to be wrong about his healing abilities both by Wolverine's thought bubbles and now this. We'll see these characters again in a 1996 X-Men vs The Brood series by John Ostrander and Bryan Hitch.
These issues also have a focus on Madelyne Pryor back at the Australian base. Here she is worried about her missing baby.
While she's sitting there, the television suddenly turns on and shows her that her husband is with Jean Grey, who is still alive.
She gets so upset she punches the monitor, which causes an electrical discharge that knocks her out.
While she's knocked out, she dreams of flying, and then the dream starts to go sour. Cyclops shows up, and so does a featureless Jean Grey. Scott starts pulling off Madelyne's features (and her son) and giving them to Jean.
Madelyne later encounters S'ym in what is increasingly clearly not just a dream.
He tempts Madelyne into accepting power to hurt Scott for what he's done to her, and she casually agrees, thinking it is only a dream.
But if it is someone's dream to dress Madelyne up in an S&M outfit, it probably wasn't her own.
Just a random note on Gateway, since the lettercol previously hinted that there was a dark secret about him that may one day destroy the X-Men, and since he never talks or gets thought bubbles. In issue #232 the omniscient narrator confirms that the X-Men have earned his friendship. So whatever it is the X-Men have to worry about, it's not because he doesn't like them.
More importantly, Gateway also shows up during Madelyne's dream while looking over her in real life, but he first gets chased away by dream Cyclops...
...and later simply watches as she takes the path towards S'ym.
On the final page of this issue, the X-Men's computer screens have repaired themselves from Madelyne's punch and are showing the X-Men returning home (they were also visible on these computer screens in Uncanny X-Men #230).
The issue ends with Madelyne passed out and bleeding on the floor. The image reminds me of the one from Uncanny X-Men #100, with Wolverine having gutted the fake Jean Grey, but it's probably just a coincidence that Madelyne is wearing a short green skirt.
An important note is that with these issues Bob Harras becomes editor of the entire X-line. He was already editor of X-Factor but now he's taking over X-Men and New Mutants as well. It seems inevitable to me that the books would be consolidated under one editor, and i'm surprised it took this long (it happened to the Spider-books in 1985), but the fact that it's Harras, and not Ann Nocenti (who was previously editor of X-Men and New Mutants) is probably a sign that the walls were closing in on Claremont in terms of editorial control. I'm sure the reason the X-books weren't consolidated earlier is because Claremont had major problems with the premise of X-Factor, so the fact that it's Harras taking over the other X-books instead of vice versa is probably telling. But now the books should in theory be coordinated better, and of course we're already seeing the developments for Madelyne Pryor that will lead into Inferno. Beyond that, the most immediate noticeable change is that the lettercol has a Coming Attractions blurb that is promoting all three books, something i haven't seen previously outside of the (non-)crossovers. And one of the things that's announced is that Classic X-Men #25 will insert Apocalypse into the power-up of Moses Magnum in Uncanny X-Men #119.
The X-Men book is bi-weekly during the summer months, starting with these issues.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Despite this ending with Madelyne lying bleeding on the floor, next issue is not a direct continuation. The MCP places Wolverine's appearances in Marvel Comics Presents #1-10 and Wolverine #1-3 (and yes, Marvel Age annual #4) between last issue and this one.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showColossus, Dazzler, Gateway, Hannah Conover, Havok, Josie Thomas, Longshot, Madelyne Pryor, Psylocke, Rev. William Conover, Rogue, S'ym, Storm, Trish Tilby, Wolverine
Oh man my favorite issues from the Outback era. It's also my favorite brood story as I never cared much for them. I read these books til the covers were coming off.
Posted by: Robert | July 15, 2014 3:12 PM
I didn't think these issues were anti-religious: just the opposite, Conover is a good man, he's like Rev. stryker's mirror opposite. Even the healing factor scene isn't necessarily showing him for a fool, as it reads to me like saying miracles can be real, they just have scientific explanations (or pseudo-scientific Marvel magic explanations). The "they'll be back" note at the end is of course a sort of horror-genre wink. Again, I'm not so sure it's meant to mock Conover so much as remind us that evil is never entirely defeated, which is actually in keeping with a lot of religion.
These are fun issues. They were my introduction to the Brood, so ice always known they don't have to be boring, even though they almost always are.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | July 15, 2014 9:30 PM
About Maddie not being worried- for starters, we saw her vowing to get back the baby in issue 230, and every issue except issue 231-232 have Maddie either helping someone, worrying about the baby or being depressed. It's understandable that Maddie would take sometime to relax.
Posted by: Michael | July 15, 2014 10:30 PM
What Michael said. I lost a lot of respect for Claremont after what he did to Maddie.
Having Harras become editor of the X-Books would not help improve matters in the long run. It was the beginning of the end for me as a reader. I still wonder how the female characters would have fared had the books gone under Ann Nocenti's watch instead.
Posted by: Clutch | July 16, 2014 5:24 AM
I've added the scenes with Gateway because i think those scenes are more ambiguous and it doesn't look to me like he's summoning the mannequin. I also don't think Storm has any specific culpability. After that initial moment all of the X-Men seem to have accepted Gateway, with Rogue specifically befriending him, and as that narration capsule shows, the guy is intended to be friendly even if his behavior in the Dreamtime is another dropped thread.
I do maintain that Scott didn't mean it when he said he wished Maddie dead (i really don't think Simonson would write her character to be such an irredeemable cretin, even if that's basically the end result anyway), and i don't think Maddie really meant it here when she picked the path of becoming a villain to get vengeance on him. It's clear she thought it was a dream, and she was just hurt by finding out about Scott and Jean. People say and do terrible things when they are hurt, but it doesn't mean they mean it.
My issue continues to be the long unaddressed plots and how that hurts the characterization of all the characters involved. I'd say there's three reasons for the lack of a quicker resolution. The first is just Claremont's style of having multiple subplots boiling at once, which is great when the plots don't have a sense of urgency but when it's someone's missing baby/sister/siblings it makes you raise your eyebrow when the characters are instead shown having practice sessions, playing Santa Claus, goofing around washing dishes, deciding to play Casablanca in Madripoor, and going out for shopping and haircuts. The second is the firewall between X-Men and X-Factor, which says the Marauders & Mr. Sinister are X-Men's problem and the missing Summers baby is X-Factor's problem even though both teams should have a stake in each. And the third is that they are saving the resolution to the "Maddie problem" for Inferno, which means in the meantime we've been in a kind of holding pattern.
I think i've been pretty hard on all the x-characters for failing to address the various plot threads that have been dangling and i don't mean to single Madelyne out. I'll talk more about the Goblin Queen stuff when we get there in Inferno; so far Maddie has just passed out and had a dream.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 16, 2014 8:42 AM
I liked Maddie as support and sure wished that lasted longer. I think this was a really good showing for the Brood since now we see the results of them getting super powers. But I was confused, I thought before the whole species were supposed to all get the superpower? So if one got Wolverine, one got Colossus then they'd both be super regenerating Broods of steel.
Posted by: david banes | July 16, 2014 3:24 PM
@David- no, the idea has always been that each Brood only gains the abilities of its host. So if one infected Colossus, it would gain the ability to turn into steel, if one infected Wolverine, it would gain a healing factor, etc.
Posted by: Michael | July 16, 2014 7:59 PM
I can't say that I see anything wrong in denouncing faith healing, nor do I think that is even inconvenient to religion. Faith healing is dangerous and less than respectful to the faithful.
Having the child missing, Madelyne under Claremont's pen and Scott under the Simonsons' all at once seems to have created a very difficult dilemma from a creative standpoint. X-Factor and the X-Men would by rights have established contact, albeit in a tense way, long ago. Yet at the same time it was desired to keep the firewall Fnord speaks of, leading to an unlikely setup. Many characters became difficult to understand for that - not only Madelyne and Scott, but also X-Factor and the X-Men as a whole, although it is a bit easier to explain with the X-Men. Still, we are at a time when the team votes whether to kill Alex just because, and Alex decides to join the team anyway. That is just poor characterization for everyone involved.
Speaking of killing, Gateway should of course not be killed just because he is mute. Then again, he is written as very much a cypher, probably because Claremont had indeed fallen into a holdin pattern and wanted to keep his options open. I see these dream scenes with Gateway and Madelyne and I feel like he wanted to hint to the widest possible range of future plots without commiting to anything.
To be fair, this is a lot like Scott's allucinations in X-Factor a few issues ago; one gets the sense that by the time some writer decides how seriously we are to take those scenes they will long have become irrelevant already. It is probably no coincidence that such a dialog-oriented writer such as Clarement chose to introduce a mute character with dream-related powers; that is just about as much freedom to communicate without committing that he could aim to have.
Add to that to the plotlines put on hold with the Marauders and Lorna, to say nothing of the whole continent that they are staying away from, and I get a strong sense that Claremont is bidding his time, waiting for an opportunity to "take back" his X-Nest or at least decide how to deal with the new Editorial.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | July 17, 2014 12:32 AM
"Harry Palmer" is probably a reference to the Michael Caine character.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 19, 2014 1:10 AM
"X-Factor and the X-Men would by rights have established contact, albeit in a tense way, long ago."
Hard to say. The in-story explanation isn't necessarily foolproof (the X-Men seeing X-Factor ads and assuming they've gone bad, X-Factor seeing the X-Men pal'ing around with Magneto and assuming THEY'VE gone bad), because as people have pointed out, if old associates have gone bad, wouldn't you be more likely to track them down and attempt to redeem/stop them than to simply ignore them?
But there IS some leeway there, especially later on, where the X-Men go to ground (ie, they're deliberately avoiding contacting people they know), and then go even MORE to ground (ie, pretending they're dead). And in the later stage, Maddie is actively in control of nearly all of the information being funneled to the X-Men, and she has a vested interest in keeping them from taking Scott's side. As for X-Factor, they've got their own ton of problems to keep them distracted, and hunting for the X-Men when the X-Men don't want to be found isn't necessarily something they'd be able to succeed at even if they wanted to.
It's not the ideal scenario, but it's not entirely ridiculous as presented, either.
In some sense, you could say that the period between the Marauder attack and Fall of the Mutants (and even for a short period before the Marauder attack) they were mostly out-of-touch because they were all dealing with other issues that all seemed way more important, while after Fall of the Mutants, they were actively being kept apart on the X-Men side, while X-Factor didn't even realize the X-Men were still alive. Thus giving us Inferno as the first time they reasonably cross paths.
Posted by: ParanoidObsessive | July 22, 2014 3:27 PM
I don't think any explanation particularly works. The closest to a sensible approach would be from X-Factor, because Scott knew that Xavier had personally contacted Magneto. He doesn't trust Magneto, but knowing Xavier was dying, he could sort of see Xavier's point. And whatever Magneto said about Xavier's disappearance, the X-Men would probably have recognized Lilandra (and Corsair) from his description. Magneto never met either of them, would know nothing about Lil's psychic link with Charlie or the Starjammer's ability to heal Xavier. One assumes that the X-Men were paying very close attention to Magneto's earliest training sessions with the New Mutants as well, although this was never referred to, to see if he was going to form a new Brotherhood.
Cyclops (and X-Factor, after he told them) wouldn't trust Magneto, but it's at least plausible that they wouldn't pay close attention. Granted, it's more plausible that one or more of them would at least take a weekend, drive up to Westchester and see what's going on.
After the Mutant Massacre and the disappearance of Sara Grey, her children, Maddie and her child, it really starts falling apart [Perhaps Sara's kids are mutants, maybe Cerebro can find them; Logan has an enhanced sense of smell, maybe he can help Scott find his son] and this is ESPECIALLY true from the X-Men's point-of-view.
Magneto knows the original X-Men have become mutant hunters, and Wolverine knows all five of them (including the dead one) were in the Morlock tunnels during the massacre. Even if that's the only two pieces of information they have - never mind X-Factor's ads on tvs, buses, newspapers or public superhero battles - it's very much worth investigating. In this crucial time where anybody they know can be attacked, I find it impossible to believe that Wolverine and Magneto would have kept this information themselves. ["Maybe Phoenix returned and is somehow possessing the original X-Men!"]
And that's without the bombing of Sara's house or the X-Men's plan to fake their deaths. Granted, it took a call from Lila Cheney to get them to check up on Dazzler, but is there any reason to think they wouldn't deliberately keep tabs on people they know and care for, even before moving to Australia? With their computer system and Gateway's assistance, they might be able to intervene if, say, the Marauders are attacking the New Mutants. Or Warren Worthington. Hey, whatever happened to that guy? Funny how the high-flying playboy is never in the news anymore. Because he's never been in trouble and needed the X-Mens' assistance before.
There's some leeway to make the point that the two teams are plausibly kept apart, but most of it falls apart thanks to the strong continuity Claremont had built up which made the X-books so good in the first place. Even before Maddie became the one controlling their information, they knew Warren as a mutant, a founding X-Man, someone who had worked as a reserve member before, and remained a superhero with non-mutant teams since. So did Hank. So did Bobby. Scott had basically left the team and was kidnapped from his honeymoon to be in "Secret Wars."
I'm beginning to think the only reason Wolverine was a successful secret agent is because he killed everyone who got in his way and nobody could believe one man was responsible. That is really bad intelligence gathering.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 22, 2014 9:42 PM
Regarding Scott's suspicions about Magneto and Xavier- the X-Men found out Magneto told them the truth about Xavier in space in issue 203, so they probably passed this info on to Scott, since the X-Men are just receiving a post card from Scott and Maddie in issue 206. So Scott probably felt that Magneto told the truth about Xavier but was planning on betraying the X-Men later.
Posted by: Michael | July 22, 2014 10:39 PM
But that's just as implausible as my version, or what the books actually showed. Xavier suddenly vanished from Earth and Magneto was the last to see him alive, they're at least going to ask what happened. And I don't see them accepting Magneto as the new headmaster if he doesn't answer honestly. Peter would ask Magneto what's going to happen to his sister under his tutelage, and tell Rachel to scan Magneto's mind to ensure he's answering honestly.
Yes, the comics themselves say Wolvie kept the info about Jean to himself, but that's where the internal consistency of the mutant titles falls apart. Maybe he started doubting his senses (which he admits to later) but he didn't doubt his senses any other time. The other four original X-Men had no reason to be in the Morlock Tunnels during the massacre. Neither did the New Mutants, and he smelled them too. And then they vanished before everything exploded. But the X-Men never worried about them.
If we're supposed to take the danger they're in remotely seriously, they need to consider the fates of the loved ones they're faking their deaths to protect. Alex was opposed to the whole idea of being an X-Man, but instantly rejoined the team once he learned of the danger facing mutants, X-Men and everyone he loved. What if whoever captured Lorna is going after Scott next? Warren, Hank, Bobby, Moira, Dazzler, COL Rossi, Forge, Brian and Meggan, Kurt, the list goes on and on of people they might at least check in on, once in a while. Rachel had a telepathic link with her baby brother [the "Inferno" issues] and never directly or indirectly contacted Mom and Dad even when he was kidnapped by Nanny.
I can accept that the X-Men and X-Factor had internally-consistent reasons to stay apart until "Inferno" (my single favorite issue of "X-Men" opens with Wolvie kissing Jean) but it really doesn't work if you treat the titles or the characters as legitimately consistent with what came before.
Again, this is really bad intelligence gathering. Did Carol Danvers do all the heavy-lifting (probably, it's a Claremont comic) and Logan was just there to kill people?
Posted by: ChrisW | July 23, 2014 12:12 AM
Looking up the references for a different post, I see that in "X-Men" #211, Wolverine saves Storm from getting shot in the head by Cyclops' optic blast, adding that Angel, Beast - *ALL* the original X-Men are there (emphasis in original but I added to it.) They're prevented from teaming-up then and there, but it boggles the mind that they wouldn't immediately try to make contact as soon as they get back, and keep trying until they find something. And that's without opening up the Jean Grey can of worms.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 23, 2014 7:32 PM
Getting back to the Brood, fnord, I think you're asking the wrong question when you're wondering why the X-Men took so long to go after the Brood.
Posted by: Michael | July 23, 2014 10:50 PM
Or maybe the computer was programmed to track down Brood. It is supposed to be a super-computer.
Posted by: clyde | July 24, 2014 9:10 AM
Claremont confirmed in Comics Interview #56 that these issues took place over 1 night.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 8, 2014 4:42 PM
It worked perfectly that they went bi-weekly at this point. You have great art again (after the odd one issue fill-in), you have a fantastic villain set-up, and you don't have to wait a month with each cliffhanger to find out what happens next. This made for a fantastic summer.
Posted by: Erik Beck | August 6, 2015 11:21 AM
Man, there's a lot to talk about with this issue, all of it interesting (if not always for the reasons Claremont may have intended).
Gateway's Morality and Maddy's Corruption: My take on Gateway is that he's being played as a Magical Native/Magical Negro sort of character, one who implicitly acts under a set of restrictions. He never speaks, which suggests that he's not allowed to or that there's some restriction on him; even though the Reavers are clearly his enemies who've pressed him into service, he never, say, teleports them into an active volcano to be rid of them; and here, he seems to be very limited in what he can actually indicate or communicate to Maddy or the X-Men.
There is an uncomfortable subtext here -- well, a lot of them, really -- around Maddy. Her dream seems to indicate that the whole "hollow clone who accidentally got part of Jean's soul" idea is already in place; read that way, the scenes above might well be Gateway and S'ym both acknowledging that. Maddy's dream isn't her anxiety that she's not a real person but Jean is, it's Maddy subconsciously *learning* that she's not "real" and Jean is. What Gateway summons may well be the piece of Jean that Maddy absorbed, the piece that will -- in Inferno -- be restored to Jean when Maddy self-destructs. So perhaps the idea is that Gateway is bound by "fate" or "destiny" or whatever, and that, as with the Adversary, there's some kind of necessary mystical-cosmic thing going on. Or perhaps it's just that Maddy is already, by virtue of her nature, the bad guy, the person who's taken in part of Jean Grey but doesn't want to admit that or let that stolen essence go.
This is a crappy, crappy treatment of Maddy, and it only functions as a defense of Gateway insofar as the story has already decided that Maddy is a thing pretending to be a person, one who can't cope with learning that about herself and so becomes a corrupt vessel of supernatural evil. It's certainly no real defense of Claremont or the editors, though some of this is down to the fact that Jean's return -- which Claremont didn't want back when it actually happened -- was always going to make Maddy look like a cheap copy or a temporary replacement.
So maybe Gateway is, in effect if not intention, a representation of the clumsy, disgusting plot mechanics needed to get everything to the eventual status quo; certainly his ill-defined powers and elective mutism make him more a plot device than a character as it is.
The Sentient, Self-Repairing Computer: I looked at Nathan Adler's very extensive article on the computer and the Outback stuff, and I noticed a sequence there in which we see that the computer has "grown" into the caverns under the Outback base. Now, we know that Claremont is busily repurposing the Captain Britan stuff he can use and approximating his old plans for Mutant Massacre; and we know that he can certainly use characters and concepts that predate Moore, even if Moore used them.
In Moore and Davis's run, we get a sentient computer than also grows into the caverns: the Mastermind AI, which is Otherworld technology. And here, we have the X-Men in Australia largely because of Roma's involvement, and we'll soon have other Captain Britain and vague Arthurian stuff playing a prominent role, such as the Siege Perilous crystal. Additionally, this issue seems to connect Dreamtime to Limbo, and Fall of the Mutants already connected Native American mythology and the Adversary's demon dimension to both Earth and Otherworld. And as Nathan Adler points out, there's also some sort of link between Dreamtime and the astral plane as well, since we will much later get hints that the Shadow King is the menace to the spirits that Gateway is holding off. So the Outback compute may have been intended to be something connected to all of that; even the name "Reavers" is tied to Captain Britain's very first villain.
Additionally, the Mastermind computer eventually started directly manipulating people: it tried to drive Brian Braddock mad, and later it did things like mind-controlling his housekeeper Emma for the greater good, even when this contributed to Emma's death. Here, we have one character who seems to be constrained from doing things he should want to if he's the X-Men's friend -- Gateway -- and later we'll have the implication that Psylocke is being influenced from outside when she manipulates the team into going through the Siege Perilous crystal.
Now, unlike Nathan Adler, I tend to think Claremont is modifying plots on the fly and noticing points of connection as he goes along, and that his use of sword-and-sorcery tropes, the Marvel UK stuff, and vague comic-book mysticism more generally is a lot less calculated and controlled. This may be because, at this point, he's aware that editorial influence might scotch any overly specific plans he has; it may also be because he's still repurposing fragments of an earlier, aborted plotline while simultaneously trying to coordinate with a bunch of other writers.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 27, 2015 9:38 AM
I'd further add that we have another example of an X-Men character with pieces of her soul missing (and unfortunately, it does seem to be "her" most of them time in these stories): Magik. And Magik is portrayed as the victim of Belasco and the demons of Limbo.
Recall that it was originally Magik, not Maddy, who was supposed to be the Final Boss in Inferno, and what we have here is Claremont repurposing another plot that he's been blocked from using. Instead of Ilyana losing pieces of her soul and becoming corrupted as a result, we're getting the idea that Maddy has no soul of her own, only a stolen piece of someone else's....and becoming corrupt as a result, with the endgame being that she plays the Inferno role originally intended for Magik.
This is, as noted above, a really awful iteration of Claremont's recurring theme where "the violated woman" -- which we would instead call, say, an abuse or assault survivor -- discovers that "leaning in" to the trauma and the feeling of corruption is empowering, albeit in a negative, potentially destructive way.
This is unutterably creepy to me and I hope most other readers. It's a weird thing, too, since Claremont seems to be interested in BDSM themes in his work. BDSM communities are very, very big on the idea that it's consensual roleplaying, which makes the odd use of metaphorical rape in Claremont's stories seem like a case of serious misunderstanding. More charitably -- and at the risk of being an internet psychoanalyst, with all the untrustworthiness that implies -- I think it may be the old problem that the writers see all this stuff as simple fantasy, meaning that no "real" people are getting hurt and it *is* all roleplay and make-believe...but then asking us to take other characters in other situations seriously and become emotionally invested in them as if they're "real." This is especially the case in really fantastical stories where the plot elements are "impossible," such as stories where masters of disguise and shapeshifters trick people into sleeping with them through fantastical impostures. In many of these cases, writers seem to ask us readers to *ignore* or downplay the resonance with real-world sexual assault on the grounds that the plot elements are "impossible" and therefore "not like" the real thing.
But you can't have it both ways, guys; you can't say the metaphor corresponds to reality and real consequences over here, and that it doesn't over here. And you certainly can't ignore the way the story allegorizes something unhealthy just because you've decided that here it's "just" a plot element or "just" an airy fantasy. (And how often is this a male writer deciding that what happens to a female supporting character doesn't count except as a complication for the main characters in the story, or that what happens to a male character can't be rape because "getting some" is what all men are supposed to want?)
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 27, 2015 9:54 AM
THE DAREDEVILS #2 featured the Mastermind AI in a cavern similar to the one here in Australia, and the computer had grown to fill an entire cave, like it does here (as mentioned by Omar). There's even an impressive image of this cavern.
One does wonder about the relationship between Madelyne and the computer. She learns how to work it very quickly; she is the only one who can get it to work; when she smashes it, it connects to her dream and shows it on its monitors. Since the Masermind AI has manipulated people before, such as in CAPTAIN BRITAIN Vol. 2 #9, one wonders what the AI's plans were for Maddie. Something involving the Warpies that it was charged with protecting and preparing, perhaps? Was there a connection between the Warpies and the Inferno babies?
Posted by: Andrew Burke | June 6, 2016 12:11 PM
I should mention that the Warpies were later brought to Muir Island in UNCANNY X-MEN #254.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | June 6, 2016 12:14 PM
I'm pretty sure there was a follow up two issue series about this particular sect of brood, finishing up the dangling thread of the minister's wife? Anybody know why I'm talking about?
Posted by: Jayz406 | June 24, 2016 1:03 PM
Sorry, just saw that you noted it in the entry. Great work as always fnord.
Posted by: Jayz406 | June 24, 2016 1:07 PM
I found the way Claremont started mid-story really jarring at the time, but I quite like it now. Probably his best "Outback" story. The in-story reason for faking their deaths was so they could silently strike at their enemies, this is one of the few occasions when they actually do that.
Another plus, is that we are shown the first signs that the awful Scott/Jean/Maddie triangle is finally drawing to a close. "Inferno" is a poor story, but it does at least end the present status quo. Reading the below the line on this page, there have been quite a few comments trying to justify the X-Men and X-Factor being kept apart, but I don't see how you can. The X-Men fought with Cyclops on the Blue Side of the Moon to save Phoenix. They were clearly traumatised by their failure to do so. It would have been inhuman of Cyclops not to tell them of Jean's resurrection as soon as he knew about it himself. Even if you take the view that Cyclops is a bit of an arsehole, who is still sulking because they wouldn't let him be leader in #201, that still wouldn't explain why he hadn't told his brother or Polaris. They were original X-Men, they would have been as upset about Jean's supposed death as anyone.
Posted by: Bernard the Poet | May 4, 2018 8:58 AM
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