Characters Appearing: Beast, Cannonball, Cyclops, Gambit, Hazard, Jubilee, Professor X, Psylocke, Rogue, Rusty Collins, Skids, Stryfe, Valerie Cooper, Wolverine, Zero
Issue(s): X-Men #12, X-Men #13
Storywise, these issues continue the trend of creating mysteries without providing answers. We saw in previous issues that something labeled the Xavier File was on Professor X's desk, and we also saw Maverick kill a scientist named Alexander Ryking. This story at least ties those things together, but it also drags Professor X's father into Wolverine's origin, which seems unnecessary.
The idea is that Brian Xavier, Kurt Marko (Juggernaut's father), and Alexander Ryking all worked together at the Almagordo testing field. And it's implicated that the nuclear testing was actually a front for something more sinister. Later, Ryking created a facility in New Mexico considered to be a "Betty Ford clinic for rich super folks", and he kept his son there, a son that Xavier used to play with as a child. The son, Carter Ryking, aka Hazard, is a mutant with vague energy powers that are difficult for him to contain, and it seems that he's been kept sedated or at least imprisoned in the Ryking Hospital all of his life. But when he learns about his father's death, he breaks out.
Meanwhile, Wolverine interrupts a Danger Room session for Jubilee just as she was apparently going to demonstrate how well she's been studying her "don't get raped by the Blob" lessons.
We saw in the last arc that Wolverine had been doing some kind of research on the X-Men's computers. I'm still not sure what the results of that research were, but he happened to notice the Xavier File on Professor X's desk, and that's what he's upset about. Wolverine summarizes the file by saying, "Whatever your father did -- it reeks of the same garbage pile my own past does". We don't actually get to read the file, and the only other info is Xavier saying that the files claim that Brian Xavier's job "was actually an elaborate cover for government studies in genetic mutation". It's worth noting that Stan Lee's origin intention in having Xavier's father working at Almagordo was to imply that Professor X's mutation was due to his father's exposure to radiation. This may be going a little far, but the new information presented here almost makes it sound like Brian Xavier may have deliberately made his son a mutant. It's certainly a weird coincidence that both Xavier and Ryking's kids turned out to be mutants, but then again Kurt Marko's kid also wound up with unrelated superpowers, so i guess that's just the Marvel universe for you.
Xavier goes to Ryking's funeral, which is crashed by Hazard.
Xavier is kidnapped by Hazard, who reveals that he is the one that sent Xavier the file. Val Cooper offers to send X-Factor to rescue Xavier, but the X-Men of course say that they'll do it themselves.
Hazard is holding Xavier at Almagordo. As far as i know, in real life Almagordo was literally just a field in the desert where they detonated nuclear bombs for testing. Wikipedia says that the "only structures originally in the vicinity were the McDonald Ranch House and its ancillary buildings". (See the comments on Uncanny X-Men #49-52 related to the Beast's origin for more regarding this.)
But what the X-Men come across is more like a nuclear power plant or research facility...
...and that's before they find a secret sub-level where the mysterious bad stuff was supposed to be happening.
The X-Men get into a fight with Hazard that even they know is pointless.
And then Cyclops makes the mistake of destroying Hazard's containment suit.
This results in an explosion that destroys the facility. Afterwards, Hazard does not speak, so they get no answers from him.
I wasn't even sure if he was supposed to be alive anymore, but as Greg T. notes in the comments, Professor X says that it will be "hours before his plasma generation is a threat".
Xavier says that he's going to continue the research "in the places where my father lived". In the scattered papers that fall after the explosion, there is a piece of paper, seen by us but not by the X-Men, showing that Xavier's father along with Kurt Marko and Alexander Ryking were responsible for the Shiva Scenario that was a part of the Weapon X program.
I find the endless delving into the backstories of various characters to be tedious. I don't think we ever needed to know more about Professor X's dad, and in no way did his history need to be tied in to Wolverine's. I could just be projecting, but i feel like even the characters in the story aren't really interested in what's going on here. They all sound like they don't want to be here.
Also in this issue, Cannonball tries to reach out to the X-Men, but only Jubilee is home at the time.
And Rusty, Skids, and Zero steal a scroll for Stryfe.
I'll talk more about the use of Rusty and Skids in the Cable Blood & Metal mini-series, which also continues the plot about ancient artifacts depicting Apocalypse.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Stryfe collecting Apocalypse artifacts is the plot of the Cable two-issue miniseries. In that series, by the time Cable finds out what the thefts are about, there are only two artifacts left, both of which we see Stryfe attempt to collect. It's also mentioned that one of the artifacts that was already taken was a scroll, which could be a reference to what Rusty and Skids acquire here. So i'm placing this before the Cable mini. In issue #12 here, Psylocke is seen leaving the X-Men for a trip to visit her brother; that's a set-up for her appearance in Excalibur #55-56.
And she actually appears in Dark Angel #7-8 before Excalibur #55. And that means that this story needs to take place before Cable's face is destroyed in X-Force #6-10, since Cable appears in Marvel UK books that are concurrent with Psylocke's visit with Dark Angel.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
"It's unclear to me if Hazard is dead or just not talking afterwards."
Posted by: Michael | April 25, 2016 8:02 PM
So many direct Jim Lee swipes in the panels above....which also leads me to this belief....just how good of an artist is Jim Lee, if he is so easily copyable?
Posted by: Vincent Valenti | April 25, 2016 10:51 PM
"And it's implicated that the nuclear testing was actually a front for something more sinister."
I see what you did there.
Posted by: Max_Spider | April 26, 2016 3:32 AM
On top of what Michael says about Hazard's later appearances, Professor X says on the second last page of this issue, after Hazard's defeat "It will be hours before his plasma generation will pose a threat". (It's immediately before the "Talk, Ryking" panel you've included). So clearly Professor X (and by extension Nicieza) believe Hazard to still be alive at this point, and you'd think a telepath would know.
Posted by: Greg T | October 21, 2016 3:10 AM
Posted by: fnord12 | October 21, 2016 8:33 AM
Also Hazard shows up again in X-Men Legacy (he finally dies there, though.)
Posted by: Jon Dubya | October 21, 2016 4:17 PM
Comments are now closed.
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