Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Austen Run, Part 1 - Uncanny X-Men #410 (2002)


Uncanny X-Men #410 (October, 2002)
"Hope, One of Three"
Writer - Chuck Austen
Pencils - Ron Garney
Inks - Mark Morales
Colors - Hi-Fi
Letters - RS & Comicraft's Saida!
Edits - Mike Racht, Mike Marts, Joe Quesada
Pres - Bill Jemas
Cover Price: $2.25

One of the features I've long been considering for our little X-Lapsed Family of Content is -- retrials.  Revisiting older runs, that I'd already read -- to see how they've aged.  This idea came to me after receiving a bit of feedback about my dismissal of Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men as rather lazy and unambitious.  I had to admit to myself that it'd been ages since I read it... and, in reading that particular run piecemeal (remember, issues of AXM only came out when Whedon felt like actually sitting down and doing the thing Marvel was paying him for), so perhaps I was being a bit hasty... or biased... or whatever.

So, I sez to myself - "Self... you've already got an audio Sunday Special Series.  Why not have a written one as well where you can revisit and retrial some old X-Stories?".  I then sez to myself, "Self, that's a fun idea... but, ya know what - I'm not in the mood to read any Whedon stuff right now."

So, we're not going to start with Astonishing X-Men.  We'll eventually get there... if I don't get hit by a bus or distracted by a butterfly in the interim... but, I wanted to start elsewhere.

With a run so reviled... a run that had claimed so many X-Fans back in the long ago.  Friends, today we're going to begin our revisit of...


Spanning from Uncanny X-Men #410 to #443, the Austen run ran for nearly two uninterrupted years.  If you're saying to yourself, that's a lot of issues crammed into less than two years... well, you'd be right.  Marvel was big on double-shipping back in those days (imagine that!), and they passed the savings (and quality) on to us!

Now, Austen would take over Uncanny from Joe Casey, who was supposed to be a breath of fresh air for our favorite mutants after years of baffling stagnation.  What Casey gave us instead was... Banshee in an SS Uniform, Stacy-X the Mutant Prostitute who sexually satisfied Bill Clinton during an unnecessary scene, and a twist on the Mutant Massacre... which replaced the Marauders with... some dude with a flamethrower calling himself Mr. Clean.

It wasn't great.  It wasn't necessarily bad -- but, the cockiness with which Casey entered the gig really caused many an X-Fan's x-pectations to soar.  The uninspired stories we wound up getting really didn't live up to the hype.  Having to be compared to cohort Grant Morrison's work on New X-Men only compounded the disappointment many of us felt.

So, what's Marvel to do?  Why -- they call in their favorite pinch-hitter of the day to swoop in and stop the bleeding!  Chuck Austen had been something of a utility player for Marvel since the Jemas/Quesada regime took over -- and seemed to be getting gigs left and right -- some fill-ins, some ongoing.  That's a very Marvel thing to do... even to this day!  Just hand over a percentage of the line to a single writer, and -- as we know, that never leads to things like stagnation, all of the characters having the same "voice", or overall phoned-in efforts, right?

Ahem.

Anyhoo... enough pre-ramble - Let's get into it -- the can't miss debut of Chuck Austen on Uncanny X-Men!

--

I almost used a cropped version of this for our "The Austen Run" banner...

In perhaps a sign of things to come, the Austen run begins in the only way it can -- with someone taking a gob of viscous white fluid to the face.  Soon enough we might just be able to relate to this poor fella.  Anyhoo, this is Sammy the Fish Boy... or Squid-Boy.  He's being "hated and feared" by a group of bullies, who surmise that he was the product of his mother "doin' the nasty" with a bottle of Mr. Bubble.  I hope she managed to get a t-shirt out of the deal.

I wonder if Sammy's mom thought it was as much fun to get dirty with Mr. Bubble as it was to get clean?

Anyhoo, they "fear and hate" Sammy for a bit before shoving him into a mud puddle and leaving him to writhe around a bit.  Sammy pulls himself up, declares that he's the biggest loser who ever done lost.  Also, a turd.  He arrives home shortly after, and is informed by his mother that he's gotta get himself cleaned up -- they've got company tonight.  Sammy says he'll be right there... but first, he's gotta go out to the field.


Despite the fact that Mom says no... he does anyway.  This "field", by the way, is basically a junkyard right in the middle of their suburban Vancouver neighborhood.  Sammy laments the fact that he looks the way he does... and wishes he wasn't a Mutant.  Nothing we haven't seen or heard before.  This is almost too traditional an X-Men story, innit?


Sammy climbs into his secret clubhouse... which, doesn't seem like the most secure location to hide what he's about to show us.  In addition to a swimsuit poster of "Brie!", a poster of the cover of Uncanny X-Men #402 (March, 2002), those puppets from the N'Sync album cover, and some cans with the Ghost Writer thingie on it... Sammy's got a gun!


Whodathunk this guy would be that up on pop culture?  Well, I mean... bygone pop culture -- I dunno.  Whatever.  The important part is the gun of course.  Worth noting, Vancouver gets the Daily Bugle -- that's a heck of a circulation, innit?


So, Sammy's got a gun... and he heads back home where he plans on ending his life.  Instead, he's met with tonight's dinner guest: Charles Xavier!  And he comes with an opportunity.  Sammy smiles and begins to cry... and, all joking aside, we get to see that this visit saved his life.  And again, all jokes aside, it's actually quite well done.


Elsewhere, the Blackbird is headed toward Scotland for a mission.  Our team includes Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Angel, Monet, Iceman, and Stacy X.  Stacy is complaining that Chamber just upped and left the team to go off to college.  Perhaps it's worth noting that Chamber was a (relatively speaking) high-profile "get" for the earlier Joe Casey run.  It felt as though Jono was being positioned as the (non Emma Frost) "breakout" star of the recently-cancelled Generation X.  That... didn't quite work out.  Anyhoo, Stacy's kvetchin'... and Monet shushes her by calling her a "mutant prostitute", which would be like calling me an "idiot blogger".  Sometimes things just are what they are.


Stacy claps back because, lest we forget... women be snippy at one another.


From here we get our ROLL CALL page, which gives us the run-down on our cast, including a reference to Stacy-X being "slutty yet fun", as if to suggest that the two must be mutually x-clusive.  I hate being the guy who points out things from back in the long ago that "haven't aged well", but... yeah.  Anyhoo, not near as important as Stacy's promiscuity... the Blackbird is coming under fire, and our heroes are very likely to die here.


We see in the distance that the Blackbird is being bombarded by flaming balls of fear and hate.  The X-Men attempt to eject from the 'bird before it takes the brunt of it... Nightcrawler manages to make landfall, crashing into a castle... because this is Scotland, and everyone there lives in castles.


Back to B.C.... Professor X is chatting up the Squid-Boy family about this opportunity.  He'd like to take Sammy back with him to have him learn more about his Mutant abilities and whatnot.  Sammy notices Charles' accent... and I have to remind myself that this issue isn't too far off the earliest X-Men movies - so, yeah.  This quick chat is all it takes, before the day is through - Sammy's on a jet to Xavier's.


Outside, there's a fella sorta rattling Charles' cage about parking his jet in the middle of a residential neighborhood... which, yeah - he's got a point.  Xavier promises it won't happen again... but, in the event that it does, he'll give the fella a tour of the rig.  Sammy is in awe of this, considering that Xavier, if he wanted to - could just use his "brain powers" to send this lookyloo away.  Charles says he'd never* do such a thing... which is absolutely adorable.  They board, and Sammy is introduced to Cat Beast.


Before they take off, Xavier uses his "brain powers" to deduce that Sammy's got a gun.  That, of course, is a big no-no.  Sammy hands it over, claiming he only brought it because he didn't want anyone else to find it and get hurt.  Hmm... shouldn't lie to a telepath, but whatever.

I'll credit Austen for his restraint in not having Charles ask "Is that a gun in your pants, or are you just glad to see me?"

Xavier then decides to check in on the Scotland-bound team... and finds that they're all kayoed!  All x-cept Stacy.  She's freaking out as none of the rest are breathing.  The Prof tries to calm her down and teach her C.P.R. - but she's still all shades of wacked.


She finally calms down enough to let Xavier "take over" so she can administer C.P.R.  Moments later, Nightcrawler wakes up with an "Ay carumba", which... I'm not even sure where to start with that.  He then spies Stacy blowing into Warren's mouth... and accuses her of kissing him.  Ya know, I thought Kurt was a pretty x-perienced guy, you'd figure he'd know the difference between making out and saving a life -- maybe all he knows of C.P.R. is what he's seen on 90's sitcoms where guys used it as a way to make out with unwitting and prone girls to great hilarity?


We wrap up the issue with the reveal that... the Juggernaut is here!


--

Well, there we have it - the first Chuck Austen issue of Uncanny X-Men... what'd we all think?

I think what struck me most was how, relatively speaking, "safe" this issue played things.  I mean, sure - there's a bit of turn of the century cringe here... but, at it's core, this is a pretty timeless sort of X-Men story.  The kind where, I'm sure we've already read something just like it... I just couldn't point you to where.

This was so traditional, that it's using tropes we still see today.  We're given a fish out of water (har!) Point of View character, through whom we meet the X-Men.  What's different in Sammy, however, is the way that he looks.  This isn't a POV character like Kitty Pryde, Jubilee... or even Nathaniel Carver from Generation X (vol.2) - this is a kid, who, I believe is only supposed to be 10 years old at this point, who has been driven to the point of... well, we all saw what he very nearly did.

It's almost hard to believe that such a by-the-numbers  (and mostly solid) X-Outing will eventually lead to things like the Draco, Lorna going nutty (because women be crazy, amirite guys?), Northstar showing up to repeatedly remind us of his sexuality, and all the banging (oh Lord, the banging).  There's plenty of reasons why folks point to this era as the time when they finally walked away from the X-Books... but, we're not to any of them just yet.

I suppose we could talk about some of the cringe and "haven't aged well" stuff, eh?  Monet and Stacy's snippiness was... ya know, I'm not even sure it's that it "didn't age well" - I'm not sure it was all that great back in 2002!  I'm sure there was a contingent of, in the immortal words of Bill Jemas, ahem "Fanboys who love Bad Girls" who dug them going back and forth -- it's as subtle as a kick to the crotch, and about half as fun.

We'll give Austen a bit of slack here for now... we'll be patient during this revisit, and allow him to establish a voice for his chosen characters.  So far, it's shallow-city, but -- again, there's only so much you can do with a story where your titular heroes are only given a handful of pages to show their stuff.  I mean, that's fair - right?

Anyhoo - I suppose this is the point in the discussion where I ought to begin my paragraph with the word "Overall"... and so...

Overall, this wasn't half bad.  I'm not sure it was "half good" either, but it was (mostly) inoffensive... and my biggest complaint (from a storytelling angle) is that it's probably a little too traditional.  I mean, it's not going to be Morrison's New X-Men... heck, it's not even going to be Claremont's X-Treme X-Men - but, we need an Uncanny, and here it be.

Please let me know your thoughts on this run... and this little side project!

--

*Always

Generation X-Lapsed, Episode 05 - Generation X (vol.2) #5 (2017)

Generation X-Lapsed, Episode Five

Generation X (vol.2) #5 (October, 2017)
Writer - Christina Strain
Art - Alberto Jimenez Albuquerque
Colors - Felipe Sobreiro
Letters - VC's Clayton Cowles
Edits - Robinson, Shan, Paniccia, Alonso
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: August 16, 2017

Spotlight on: Eye-Boy!

After being stressed to the optic nerve(s) by his supposed mentor, poor Trevor can no longer control his uncanny abilities!  Too bad he's been unwittingly drafted into a woodland critter mob war!  And, no... I'm not joking.

It's a story of beatboxing Rat Kings, and owl-based testicular trauma... you won't wanna miss it!

--

@acecomics / @cosmictmill / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com

chrisandreggie.podbean.com

chrisisoninfiniteearths.com

xlapsed.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com/

facebook.com/groups/90sxmen

Saturday, April 10, 2021

From Claremont to Claremont, Episode 2f - Wolverine (vol.2) #48 (1991)

From Claremont to Claremont: An X-Men Podcast
Episode 2F

Wolverine (vol.2) #48 (November, 1991)
"The Shiva Scenario, Part 1: Dreams of Gore, Phase 1"
Writer - Larry Hama
Pencils - Marc Silvestri
Inks - Dan Green
Colors - Steve Buccellato
Letters - Pat Brosseau
Edits - Gaffney, Harras, DeFalco
Cover Price: $1.75


Y'all remember Weapon X, right?  What if I were to tell you that there was a sequel... that managed to be ten times as confusing... and had about one-tenth the impact?  You'd be jazzed, right?  Well, today you can hear my good pal Joe (@IowasJoe) and I talk all about the first chapter of it!

Joe is also kind enough to sit in the hot-seat for the POD-FILE segment!  It's a great time as always - hope to see you there! 
--
@acecomics / @cosmictmill / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com
chrisandreggie.podbean.com
chrisisoninfiniteearths.com
http://www.dcnoisepodcast.com/
xlapsed.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com/
facebook.com/groups/90sxmen

Friday, April 9, 2021

X-Lapsed Origins - Amazing Adult Fantasy #14 (1962)


Amazing Adult Fantasy #14 (July, 1962)
"The Man in the Sky!"
Writer/Edits - Stan Lee
Art - Steve Ditko
Colors - Stan Goldberg/Matt Webb
Letters - Artie Simek
Cover Price: $0.12

Waitasec... I thought we were talking about Captain Britain ova hea'!

Well, yeah - we are... and we will be again very soon, but I just couldn't resist sharing this one.  As I say on the air, X-Lapsed Origins is all about discussing seminal moments in X-History that are still relevant today... and well, you can't get much more "seminal" than this story... I mean, it's even referred to (in the slim X-Men Rarities (July, 1995) trade paperback) as: "Marvel's seminal mutant adventure..."

Now, what is it we're going to be discussing then?

Well... Marvel's first mutant!

I... I know what you're thinking -- "that strange man in the super-professional-looking X-Lapsed Origins bubble atop this page doesn't look like Namor", and no, dear reader... he does not.  That's because, at the time this story was produced... Namor hadn't yet been referred to as a Mutant!

Namor may have been on the board since the late 1930's... but, it wasn't until Fantastic Four Annual #1 (July, 1963) that it was suggested that he might just be a Mutant (this Annual, it's worth noting, shipped two months before X-Men #1).  Here, check it out:

Fantastic Four Annual #1 (1963)
Stan Lee (w) / Jack Kirby (a)

So, who in all hells are we going to be talking about today?  How bout I stop vamping so we can dig into the most important (and certainly the most valuable) issue of Amazing Fantasy ever!

--


We open with a young man flying... this is Peter Parker Tad Carter.  Let's learn a little bit about him before we move on, yes?  Ya see, Tad's dad is Brad... and Tad's Dad Brad was irRADiated by his job as an Atomic Scientist.  While he researched, his body would absorb bits of radiation -- not enough to kill, or even harm him... but, it would allow him to pass some unexpected abilities to his Son.  Remember, this is why they call 'em Children of the Atom, eh?


So, young Tad becomes pubescent Tad... at which time, his strange and uncanny powers begin to appear.  He can move things with his mind... he can read other peoples' minds.  His first thought is to try and use these amazing powers to help humanity... in fact, he even tries to think of ways in which he can teach others to do the same!


After class, he decides to try out his powers on his friends... who, at first - find them to be incredible.  Then... they find this whole thing to be a bit creepy.  After all, who wants some weirdo kid pokin' around inside your mind, right?  Before this kid can take a swing at Tad, our hero levitates him... which, ya know - if the other kids weren't freaked out already... they sure as hell are now!


They declare him to be a Mutant... and decide to, ya know... fear and hate him.  Also, beat him up real good.


Before they can, however... they are flung about by an unseen force.  That same unseen force then grabs our hero and yanks him into the sky.


Tad's mind is then filled with the voice of another... a man who promises him that he's not alone.  There are many mutants out there... and, in fact - Tad's on his way to meet them right now!  This voice informs our hero that they are the next step in human evolution... and yet, they stay hidden because the world... ya know, fears and hates them.  Tad cannot understand why humanity would hate them so much... with all the help they can provide, it doesn't make any sense to him.


We wrap up with The Voice (it's not Professor X... or Magneto, in case you might be wondering... though, I doubt you were) telling our lad that humans are too primitive and savage.  Well, he's not entirely wrong, is he?  Mutants will band together and wait... until mankind comes of age.  Or, ya know - the Summer of 1963... whichever comes first!


--

Well, okay... maybe Tad Carter isn't actually the first Marvel Mutant... I mean, there was that guy who popped into his head... and he said there were already many, many mutants.  I guess Tad's just the first Marvel Mutant we were ever meant to actually meet!

I tell ya what... this was something of an eye-opener for your humble host here.  I think many of us have heard the story that Stan Lee originally wanted to launch the X-Men as simply "The Mutants"... but Martin Goodman, or whoever was cashing the checks at the time wasn't keen on it... didn't think anyone would know what a "mutant" was.  He was probably right.

It's clear from this story, however, that Lee was very excited about this "mutant" idea and concept.  It's also clear just how much of the X-Men mythos comes right outta this little five-page ditty.  The "Children of the Atom" being born out of the Atomic age... the uncanny powers... the world that "fears and hates them" -- it's all right here!  Absolutely amazing.

To be completely honest, I wasn't aware of this character until picking up the X-Men Rarities trade out of a dollar box earlier today.  I might just have to turn in my Fake-Ass Comics Historian badge.  What's more, I didn't even pick this up for the "seminal adventure" either!  I snagged it because Generation X is on the cover... and, I thought maybe I might be able to add to my pal Jesse DeJong's Generation X continuity list with something totally new (it's not, by the way... the GenX story included within is just a reprint of the 1994 San Diego Comicon promotional story "Open Volley").

So, we met our hero... now, we ask: where in all hells is Tad Carter, the first Marvel Mutant we were Meant to Meet today?  Is he on Krakoa?  Is he stuck in the Resurrection Queue?  Is he chillin' in Moira's No-Place?  Is he in a jar of formaldehyde at XENO's chop shop?

Well... I don't think we can answer that... all's we can do is talk about what we do know, and friends - it's not much.

Who can we turn to for any of these answers?  Well... I'll answer that question with a question -- can you think of any prominent X-Men creators who loves and appreciates Marvel lore and continuity enough to dig this guy up?

Maybe... John Byrne?

Well, of course John Byrne.

It's been literally a lifetime since I read any of these stories, and I can tell you with 100% certainty that when I did, I had zero idea of the significance of this character.  John Byrne decided to flesh out Tad's story in the pages of... X-Men: The Hidden Years!

Why, he even gave the "mysterious benefactor" in Tad's head a name and story -- he's Tobias Messenger, the founder of a group of Mutants called "The Promise".  This was an idea so groundbreaking that... it's never been referred to outside of Hidden Years.

As for Tad Carter himself... well, he was saved by Tobias and the Promise... and was swiftly thrown into suspended animation!  He wakes up once every decade to try and search for new members of the Mutant Movement... ever waiting for Humanity to "come of age" so they can reveal themselves.

I wonder if he survived M-Day?

These are the things that keep me up nights...

Anyhoo, I hope you enjoyed this installment -- I hope you, like me, learned something new about our favorite heroes!

X-Lapsed, Episode 163 - S.W.O.R.D. #3 (2021)

X-Lapsed, Episode One Hundred Sixty-Three

S.W.O.R.D. (vol.2) #3 (April, 2021)
"Everywhere Man"
Writer - Al Ewing
Art - Valerio Schiti, Ray-Anthony Height, Bernard Chang, Nico Leon
Colors - Marte Gracia
Letters - VC's Ariana Maher
Design - Tom Muller
Head of X - Hickman
Edits - Bissa, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: February 10, 2021

Spotlight on: Manifold -- the teleporter who isn't a teleporter... or something.

This is a fine issue that manages to walk the difficult tightrope between moving the S.W.O.R.D. story moving forward... while playing into the King in Black mass-crossover event!  We've got a few mysteries introduced here -- it's going to be fun to try and suss 'em out!

Also: Mailbag & News regarding "The Summer of Reign of X"!

--

@acecomics / @cosmictmill / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com

chrisandreggie.podbean.com

chrisisoninfiniteearths.com

xlapsed.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com/

facebook.com/groups/90sxmen

Thursday, April 8, 2021

X-Lapsed, Episode 162 - Excalibur #18 (2021)

X-Lapsed, Episode One Hundred Sixty-Two

Excalibur (vol.4) #18 (April, 2021)
"Mad Women"
Writer - Tini Howard
Art - Marcus To
Colors - Erick Arciniega
Letters - VC's Ariana Maher
Design - Tom Muller
Head of X - Hickman
Edits - Bissa, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: February 10, 2021

If we did "Legacy Numbering" here at the Chris and Reggie Channel... this would be Episode 550!  But, we don't... so, it's not.

What it is... is Excalibur day.  The hunt for Betsy Britain continues... still.

Hey, least we got some great Mailbag to dig into!

--

@acecomics / @cosmictmill / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com

chrisandreggie.podbean.com

chrisisoninfiniteearths.com

xlapsed.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com/

facebook.com/groups/90sxmen

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

X-Lapsed, Episode 161 - Runaways #33 (2021)

X-Lapsed, Episode One Hundred Sixty-One

Runaways (vol.5) #33 (April, 2021)
"Come Away With Me, Pt II"
Writer - Rainbow Rowell
Art - Andres Genolet
Colors - Dee Cunniffe
Letters - VC's Joe Caramagna
Edits - Kathleen Wisneski, Nick Lowe, C.B. Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: February 3, 2021

Going a bit (or maybe more) off the beaten X-Path today, to discuss the first of three issues of Runaways (vol.5) we'll be covering on the program.  We've got Wolverine and Pixie pullin' a rescue... but, what happens when the rescuee (Molly Hayes) doesn't even realize she'd asked for help?

Plus: Some Great Mailbag!

--

@acecomics / @cosmictmill / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com

chrisandreggie.podbean.com

chrisisoninfiniteearths.com

xlapsed.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com/

facebook.com/groups/90sxmen

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

X-Lapsed, Episode 160 - King in Black: Marauders #1 (2021)


X-Lapsed, Episode One Hundred Sixty

King in Black: Marauders #1 (April, 2021)
"Queen in Red"
Writer - Gerry Duggan
Art - Luke Ross
Colors - Carlos Lopez
Letters - VC's Cory Petit
Design - Tom Muller
Head of X - Hickman
Edits - Bissa, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $4.99
On-Sale: February 3, 2021

Welcome to the HoXPoXDoXSoXRoX King in Black cash-in one-shot.  If we used to refer to certain Crisis on Infinite Earths tie-ins as "Red Sky Crossovers", I suppose we can call this a "Symbiote Dragon Sky Crossover".

Here, the Marauders very nearly get involved with the main King in Black story (rescuing the Cyclops Who Laughs and the Storm Who Laughs)... before being distracted by a passing boat.

--

@acecomics / @cosmictmill / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com

chrisandreggie.podbean.com

chrisisoninfiniteearths.com

xlapsed.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com/

facebook.com/groups/90sxmen

Monday, April 5, 2021

X-Lapsed, Episode 159 - Hellions #9 (2021)


X-Lapsed, Episode One Hundred Fifty-Nine

Hellions #9 (April, 2021)
"Funny Games: Level 1"
Writer - Zeb Wells
Art - Stephen Segovia
Colors - David Curiel
Letters - VC's Ariana Maher
Design - Tom Muller
Head of X - Hickman
Edits - Amaro, Basso, White, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: February 3, 2021

Who swiped Sassy Sinister and his Stinky Cape?  What's more -- is anything we see here REAL?

Today we're havin' a cuppa with our dear old friend, Mastermind... who we might wanna let take a sip first.  It's all Funny Games til someone poisons the tea!

--

@acecomics / @cosmictmill / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com

chrisandreggie.podbean.com

chrisisoninfiniteearths.com

xlapsed.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com/

facebook.com/groups/90sxmen

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Generation X-Lapsed, Episode 04 - Generation X (vol.2) #4 (2017)

Generation X-Lapsed, Episode Four

Generation X (vol.2) #4 (September, 2017)
Writer - Christina Strain
Pencils - Amilcar Pinna & Martin Morazzo
Inks - Roberto Poggi & Martin Morazzo
Colors - Felipe Sobreiro
Letters - VC's Clayton Cowles
Edits - Robinson, Ketchum, Shan, Paniccia, Alonso
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: July 17, 2017

In today's issue, Call Me Jubes' kids hit the caves under Central Park to track down the entity who dunnit to Face.  Imagine their shock when they discover it's someone they already know!  I'd say that's a spoiler... if the cover of this issue didn't already spoil it!

Also: A focus on Bling! and why she's so adamant on becoming an X-Man - and Quentin Quire ducks out of a group hug!

--

@acecomics / @cosmictmill / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com

chrisandreggie.podbean.com

chrisisoninfiniteearths.com

xlapsed.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com/

facebook.com/groups/90sxmen

Saturday, April 3, 2021

From Claremont to Claremont, Episode 2e - Excalibur #43-44 (1991)

From Claremont to Claremont: An X-Men Podcast
Episode 2E

Excalibur #43-44 (November, 1991)
"Home Comforts"
"Witness for the Prosecution"
By Alan Davis
Inks - Mark Farmer
Colors - Glynis Oliver
Letters - Michael Heisler
Edits - Terry Kavanaugh
Cover Price: $1.75 per

In this segment for Episode Two, Jesse (@stiznarkey) and I have got TWO issues of Excalibur to cover!  For everyone who's tired of talking about Otherworld in our mainline X-Lapsed program (okay, maybe I'm the only one tired of that) - here's some more!

On the plus side, this is Alan Davis Otherworld... which is far more whimsical and less up its own butt than anything we see nowadays.

Also: Jesse's in the hot-seat for the dreaded Pod-File!  Who would play him in a movie about his life?  Hit play and find out today!

--

Friday, April 2, 2021

X-Lapsed, Episode 158 - X-Factor #7 (2021)

X-Lapsed, Episode One Hundred Fifty-Eight

X-Factor (vol.4) #7 (April, 2021)
"Suite No. 7: Scientia Vincere Tenebras"
Writer - Leah Williams
Art - David Baldeon
Colors - Israel Silva
Letters - VC's Joe Caramagna
Design - Tom Muller
Head of X - Hickman
Edits - Shannon Andrews-Ballesteros, Jake Thomas, Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: February 3, 2021

Lorna's lyin'... everyone's dyin' - just what in the world is goin' on here?

Plus: the mystery surrounding David's original death thickens... could there be two Prodigys... er, Prodigies running around in the 616?!

--

@acecomics / @cosmictmill / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com

chrisandreggie.podbean.com

chrisisoninfiniteearths.com

xlapsed.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com/

facebook.com/groups/90sxmen

Thursday, April 1, 2021

X-Men Archives Featuring Captain Britain #2 (1995)


X-Men Archives Featuring Captain Britain #2 (August, 1995)
"Friends and Enemies"
"If the Push Should Fail..."
"A Crooked World"
"Graveyard Shift"
"a rag, a bone, a hank of hair"
"Attack of the Binary Beings!"
Writers - Dave Thorpe, Alan Moore, Paul Neary
Art - Alan Davis
Letters - Jenny O'Connor
Colors - Helen Nally
Edits - Paul Neary & Gary Russell
Cover Price: $2.95

Welcome to our second X-Men Archives compilation post!  If you're reading along with us daily... first, thank you - and second, there's actually an all-new chapter included at the end of this installment!

It ain't great - but, it does shed a bit of light on the departure of Dave Thorpe... which is quite interesting (in my opinion, anyway).

I hope you all enjoy!

--


We open with a "Crommie" walking down a darkened London street... we'll learn that "Crommie" is code for someone who lives on Cromdale Road... and that each neighborhood in this Crooked London is occupied by turf-protecting gangs.  So, this Crommie... Jeff, is wandering through "enemy territory".  He's doing so in order to check in on a girlfriend of his, who he misses dearly.  He is attacked.  Nearby, Captain Britain and some members of the Avant Guard prepare to taint the water supply with the Junkheap Juice in order to jumpstart "The Push".


Brian still seems kind of uneasy about going through with this... but appears to talk himself into it, by revisiting his own recent experience with the stuff.  If you recall, he was devolved into a monkey not too long ago... and only after dipping into the juice was he returned to his more Beautiful British Blonde form -- even stronger than he was before!  He also reflects on the fascist-led Status Crew members he'd had a run-in with... who, seems to evolve mentally after engaging with the juice.  His thoughts are interrupted by the nearby gang-beating of the poor Crommie lad.



Captain Britain swoops in, and gathers both Jeff and his local girlfriend, Sharon.  The hooligans hurl insults in his direction, but all Brian wants to do is get these kids to safety.  I mean, these baddies seem more annoyed than astonished to see a man who can fly!


Brian drops Sharon off at home before taking Jeff back to Cromdale Road.  There, he finds that the Crommies have taken up arms... and are looking to enter into some gang warfare with the hooligans.


--

Well... this was a pretty weak one, wunnit?

I kinda get what they're going for here... showing these Crooked Londoners as clannish, territorial, and warlike, and maybe justifying the use of the Junkheap Juice to enforce an evolutionary "push" onto them... but, this just kinda fell flat.

I mean, even if we take it as a Romeo and Juliet riff, where we have a couple in love, from two different (and opposing) groups... this still doesn't quite work.  Mostly due to the fact that Sharon doesn't seem all that interested in Jeff.  She doesn't want to see him hurt, but there's nothing here that says they're anything more than passing acquaintances.  Well, maybe Jeff's a bit smitten - but, Sharon seemed more put out than anything.

I gotta wonder if Dave Thorpe realized his time in the writer's chair was coming to an end here, is it feels like we're still in world-building mode.  Almost half of this story is devoted to recap, and setting the stage for what's about to come.  I dunno... just not a great outing.

Art was still top-notch... so, at least there's that.  Hopefully things will pick back up next chapter... which, again - is Dave Thorpe's swan song before these pages start getting even more crammed with words!

--
--


Picking up right where we left off, Captain Britain is delivering the Crommie lad, Jeff back to his Crommie kin.  They're happy and relieved to see him, however are outraged at the Block 45 Gang for attacking him.  They've bout had enough... and it's time to finally put an end to this turf war.  Brian bugs out to check in with a member of the Avant Guard to see how close they are to getting "The Push" flowin' through the reservoirs.  While there, chatting up the Guard, Cap is shocked to see -- his old pal Jackdaw!  Jack tells Brian that he's got a plan to stop the fighting while The Push is being prepared.


And so, lickety-split, Brian Britain is back in battle... well, stopping a battle, I suppose.  He uses his forcefield to push the warring gangs apart while making a sorta God-like speech, threatening retribution and whatnot.  This... doesn't work so well.


Thankfully, it does manage to buy Jackdaw enough time to enact his plan... which is, well -- so very British.  Ya see, he offers them all tea.  They ain't in the mood to drink, however.  And so, Jack uses his mental powers to convince them to drink... and so, they do.  Here's the rub -- the "tea" they're drinking is actually laced with the Junkheap Juice... so, a few sips in, it's all good in the hood(s).


We wrap up with our good guys celebrating the fact that The Push was a success... This weird London has been 95% successful in its evolution... so, high-fives all around!


But hey... we're certainly not going to leave this on such a high note, are we?  After all... who was that fella from the first chapter?  Ya know... dude with a little mustache, and a teapot shaped helicopter?  Who was that guy?  Anybody remember?  Well, Brian, Jackdaw, and Saturnyne (with a "Y" now) sure don't.  Whatever happened to Mad Jim Jaspers?  Well... seems he was just biding his time... letting the heroes do their thing before deciding to strike -- and boy, does he!  We wrap up this run of Captain Britain stories with this alternate London... going all shades of (literally) CROOKED!


--

Well, that'll do it for the Dave Thorpe run!  Really setting the table for what's going to be, perhaps, the most memorable and iconic work ever done with the character of Captain Britain.

So, whatta we got here?  Well... until the final page, it's hard to see this little "gang war" story as anything other than filler.  I suppose it gave us a bit of insight as to the "micro" and "macro" influence the Junkheap Juice was going to have on the UK.  We know that, in the grand scheme of Saturnyne's task - this UK needs to be a bit more evolved on the whole.  But, with this story, we were able to get a (literal) street level view of the evolutionary process.  So, in that regard... yeah, I suppose this worked.

We get the surprise return of Jackdaw... which, is definitely more set up for the Moore run... as will become evident... err, maybe next chapter?  His plan to serve the warring gangs tea was... kinda cute, I guess.  Not really sure why Brian didn't just grab a gallon of the stuff and just pour it on the street folks like he did with the Status Crew a couple of chapters back.  Seems like that'd be the "go-to" for a situation like this, doesn't it?  Oh well...

I think our main takeaway from this chapter is... obviously, the ending.  Mad Jim Jaspers... a fella we've only seen once before, and who was treated kind of like a joke... turns out to have been laying in wait for just the right moment to let loose with his "crookeding" of London.  For folks only familiar with our current-year "Ecks of Tens" era X-Books... this is why Jasper's area in Otherworld is referred to as "The Crooked Market".

I do have to wonder how this played out for readers of the day.  My first experience with this era of Captain Britain actually starts with the next chapter... where Mad Jim is already sorta-kinda established as our "big bad".  So, for me, this reveal wasn't all that shocking.  Well, it actually wasn't shocking at all.

Overall -- as much as I enjoyed these last nine or so chapters, I'm happy that we're through "The Push", and that the two-part Turf War story is in the rear-view. 

--
--


We open in England... not our England, of course - the Crooked one.  We see a bank of monitors being... well, monitored by the Status Crew.  They are identified as protectors, which is something we have seen in practice.  Of course, they answer to fascists - but, they are - to their minds - protecting the country.  They've been in power for a decade, and their first order of business was to kill all of the super-heroes.  All's been quiet ever since... until now.  The Major, upon seeing the Crookeding of London, assumes that the cause of this is the recent arrival of Captain Britain (and to perhaps a lesser-extent, Saturnyne)... he declares that they have no choice but to unleash -- The Fury!


We shift scenes over to the good guys... and the Crookeding of London is making the building they're holed up in start to crack.  Brian wonders if this is a side-effect of "The Push" - Saturnyne assures him that it's not.  They all head outside before being crushed... and find themselves faced by - well, The Fury!  This horrendous monster is introduced as a Cybiote whose specialty is... killing super-heroes.  It Blasts the Bejeezus outta Betsy's Beautiful Blonde British Brother Brian!


Brian slumps to the ground... but rallies for a counter-attack.  This is quite unsuccessful... The Fury doesn't even seem to notice that Cap bashed into him with all of his might.  Saturnyne siccs the Avant Guard on the beast... but, c'mon... that ain't gonna do jack.  Seeing that this fight is futile... her Royal Whyness blips out with her crew -- leaving Brian and Jackdaw to fight The Fury on their own!  Worth noting, that while The Fury is scanning Captain Britain here, the narration mentions that the monster was responsible for taking out "the atomic powerhouse called Miracleman" - that's isn't going to be the last mention of that character during this run... we're even going to get to see him (from behind) in a panel!


She also leaves poor Dimples behind!  The Fury makes short work of him.


Then -- Jackdaw!  Brian rushes over and cradles Jack's dying body.  The li'l Elf isn't too worried though... knowing that Merlin'll whisk him away to Otherworld before he dies just like the last time.  Only... he doesn't!


An enraged Brian lunges at the Fury... and is swatted away as though he's nothing!


We wrap up with our hero looking toward the sky... and seeing a teapot-shaped helicopter.  The man inside unrolls a ladder and introduces himself as -- someone who Brian has already met... Mad Jim Jaspers.


--

Well, this was just wonderful -- wasn't it?

This chapter was the first bit of vintage Captain Britain I got to experience back upon the release of that turn of the century "Alans" collection.  I was not expecting much, to be honest -- and really, only bought the thing because, a) I'm an X-Completionist, b) people online were so excited to see this back in print, and c) I heard about the controversy surrounding the indicia snafu, and didn't wanna miss out.

Well - this was all I had to see to know I'd be hooked.  I wanna say I read the entire collection in one sitting... such a captivating, and actually kinda scary story.  The Fury is an amazing antagonist... a horrifying perversion of metal with only a single mission statement: Kill Super-Heroes.  We don't have to worry about rationalizing, justifying, or humanizing The Fury.  It is only here to kill.  And, how bout that design?  Simple but horrendously scary.  I love how its eyes are instantly recognizable.  If you were to see those glowing shapes in the darkness, you'd know exactly what you're about to be dealing with.

I love the presentation here - I mean, how can you beat The Fury?  There's a reason why Chris Claremont originally wanted to use The Fury for the Mutant Massacre -- I mean, really - how do you beat it?  This is gonna be a fun read.

Let's talk "playing the ball where it lay", because this is a problem I have with a lot of current-year comics.  New writers come on and much of what came before their run is immediately jettisoned to make room for their "opus".  Here, Moore is playing with the concepts and table-setting established by the Dave Thorpe run.  Mad Jim Jaspers, the Status Crew, The Push.  Now, this is kind of a chicken and egg situation, I suppose - I'm not sure how much input Moore might've had in setting up what was to be his run... but, if he's simply building off of the foundation Thorpe had put down - this is a heckuva way to do it!

Now, we lose Jackdaw here.  This was one of the few things I remembered about these early Moore chapters -- and why I was kind of confused when Jackdaw was already killed a few chapters back.  I knew he wasn't long for the world -- but, was sure that wasn't his actual death.  As for his death scene here -- it's really well done!  I love that he isn't scared... he's sure Merlin was going to save him -- but then, he didn't!  Really such a powerful little scene there.

Saturnyne establishing herself as less heroic was a nice touch.  We've never been sure exactly what her constitution or alignment was to this point.  We know she had a task to accomplish -- and that she was willing to work alongside Brian in order to get it done, but that's really all we knew.  Now we can see her a bit more clearly -- she's looking out for herself, and only for herself.  She even leaves her poor lovestruck assistant, Dimples behind without a thought!

One last thing before we close out - this chapter includes a mention of Miracleman -- and, if you know me, you know I'm going to talk about that.  I'm a little confused here, as at this point (1982), Miracleman is still known as Marvelman.  I wonder, did these panels read "Marvelman" in the original Marvel Super-Heroes (UK) mags?  Or, was it always "Miracleman"?  One might suggest that this Miracleman isn't the same as the Miracleman we all know -- but, a bit later on during this run, we're going to actually see him.  It's from behind, but there's no mistaking that this Miracleman is Mike Moran.

Overall - this is a goodie, which I implore you all to check out.  This is just the opening salvo for The Alans... and, at the risk of over-selling things, it gets even better from here.

--
--


We open with The Fury watching the broken Captain Britain as he pulls himself into Mad Jim Jasper's teapot chopper.  It's made clear here (and even clearer in just a bit) that despite Brian apparently fleeing... the cybiote beast is not done with him.  We next join Beautiful Bri as he questions Mad Jim - blaming him for everything that's gone on since he'd arrived in this twisted version of London.


This leads us to a bit of a quick n dirty origin for Mister Jaspers... and the take on him that we would see very briefly during the Claremont run leading up to the Mutant Massacre.  James Jaspers was a power-player in the government, who made the suggestion that it would be in the best interest of everybody that super-heroes not only be banned... but wiped out.  He used scare tactics to sway the people to his cause... and even created The Fury as his means to an end in achieving his goal.  Ya see, the gimmick here is that Jaspers himself is a Mutant (with reality-warping powers, naturally)... and, he didn't want any super-powered competition.


It's also made quite clear here that "Mad" isn't just a silly descriptor for this fella... he's flat-out insane.  The scene twists a bit -- and Brian can see that the inside of this tiny teapot chopper is actually quite huge... impossibly huge.  Deep inside, he sees a banquet hall and a long table.  Seated there are some of his fallen friends, including Algernon, Dimples, and poor ol' Jackdaw.  They all have sinister smiles on their faces.


Brian is then approached by the face of a child, who asks him for some money.  This is the same child who Brian had creepily asked if they "believed in magic" a few chapters back.  Our hero can't take it anymore - and so, he books it out of the chopper.  Unfortunately for him, he cannot summon enough concentration to attain flight... and so, he crashes down to the ground below.  Turns out he's landed in a superhero graveyard.  He walks past several headstones (including one for... Miracleman!).


He finally comes across the open grave for Captain UK.  Now, we've heard a little bit about this Captain earlier in this run... but, outside of knowing that they had vanished, we don't know all that much.  Brian kneels down before the freshly dug grave and sobs.  He wants to know why Merlin would send him to such a place.  He doesn't get long to ponder this, however, as... The Fury has not given up its hunt.  The Cybiote Blasts Betsy's Beautiful Blonde Brother Brian from Behind until all that's left of him are a Bundle of British Bones!


We wrap up elsewhere, with a woman suddenly shocked to attention -- as though somebody had just walked over her grave.  Hmm...?


--

Another great chapter -- and what an ending!

The Fury achieves its goal in taking out -- what might be the only remaining hero on this Crooked Earth... and we get to learn quite a bit about Mad Jim Jaspers.  I love how silly and petty his entire rationale is.  He's a powered Mutant... and, ushered in this wave of fear over the masses simply because he didn't want any super-powered competition!  How great (and "Mad") is that?

I enjoyed seeing his origins... finding out that this weirdo creep was, at one time, a mover and shaker in the government.  Not only that, he was apparently a trusted member of government.  Seeing this again only makes me wish that Claremont was allowed to use him as part of the Mutant Massacre.  For folks unaware (though, if you're reading this minutia-laden blog post, you probably already know this), Claremont had introduced Sir James Jaspers during the Trial of Magneto in Uncanny X-Men #200 (December, 1985) - allegedly with designs on using him (and The Fury) as part of the Mutant Massacre.

From Uncanny X-Men #200 (December, 1985)
Chris Claremont (w) / John Romita, Jr. (a)

He is presented as a normal fella here... and, I would have to assume that most American X-Fans of the day didn't have much of a clue that this dude was significant in any way.

The "madness" effects here were very well done.  I loved Jaspers' hat changing from panel to panel... as well as the nightmarish banquet scene which haunted Brian to the point where he literally threw himself out of a hovering helicopter!  It was a great way to show just how Jaspers' madness was permeating into our hero's mind... and a sure sign of just how powerful a whatever-path Mad Jim truly is.

I suppose we ought to talk about the death of Captain Britain here, no?  I'm not sure anybody was buying this for a second... but, there's a certain amount of genius to it which might not be immediately apparent to those of us reading this in collected edition... or, with four-decades of hindsight.  This is actually the final Captain Britain chapter to appear in Marvel Super-Heroes (UK).  Marvel Super-Heroes (UK) #389 (September, 1982) only features a three-page text-piece on Cap by Alan Moore (included below).

Captain Britain would actually vanish for five-months (publishing time), returning as a strip in Marvel UK's new anthology mag, The Daredevils - which, in addition to Cap, would feature: Daredevil (duh), and Spider-Man.  This sort of break in publication isn't something we see often... my mind immediately goes to the couple of months that DC Comics dropped the Super-books from the schedule following Funeral for a Friend.  It's a great tactic to really "sell" that our character might actually be gone.

We wrapped with a shot of a woman... who, I mean - we all know this is Captain UK, right?  It's not like it's being presented as a big secret or anything -- but, this is worth mentioning as it's a seminal bit in the journey to establish the Captain Britain Corps.

Overall - still really enjoying this -- and I hope you are as well!  Please feel free to drop a comment or shoot me an email!

NEXT CHAPTER: Captain Britain's strip returns... five-months later - in a completely different Marvel Mag!  Boy howdy, these British books are hard to navigate!

--

Alan Moore Text Piece from Marvel Super-Heroes (UK) #389:




--
--


We open with the proclamation that Captain Britain is dead.  We zoom into a small planetoid shape, which the deeper we go looks more and more machine-like... full of metal pipes and whatnot.  When we finally arrive at the core, we meet Roma and her father, Merlin who have been able to collect a precious few pieces from the remains of Captain Britain... mostly some of Beautiful Brian's British Bones.  Also, I'd assume a rag and a hank of hair, if the chapter title is to be believed.


Roma is tasked with using these remains to craft a new body for our hero... while Merlin attempts to piece together splinters of Brian's personality - which conveniently facilitates a look back at Brian's memories... ie, his character-career to this point.  While Roma does her hoodoo, Merlin tells us a little bit about who Brian Braddock was.  He was a twin, part of a poor family, a somewhat introverted student of science.


He fancied himself a student of physics, as it was a cold and precise science, without any ambiguities.  Hmm... in the Marvel Universe?  I'd think concepts of physics would be anything but precise there.  Anyhoo, his parents would pass away in an accident, which only made Brian more introverted and withdrawn.  One day while working at the Darkmoore Research Centre, the place was attacked by a man named Joshua Stragg - also known as The Reaver.  Brian fled the scene, however, stumbled into his own origin story - wherein, he was offered that choice - ya know, the Sword or the Amulet.  Brian would become Captain Britain.  Roma wonders if he'd have been happier just living an ordinary life... but, Merlin ain't hearin' none'a that.


As Captain Britain, Brian would find his worldview challenged (science vs. sorcery) having some strange adventures indeed... tangling with Vampires, Dire Wolves, and the Children of the Shadowlands.  This would ultimately drive him kinda batty... to the point where, at one point he threw himself from a plane.  Hmm, that seems to be a tough habit to break for our hero.  He'd land in the drink, and wash up on a beach in Cornwall without any of his memories.  He'd live in solitude for two years before being called upon again... this time, teaming with Dane Whatshisface, the Black Knight in Otherworld.


From here, we skip ahead to Captain Britain (in his current day togs), finally at peace as a being of both science and magic, being sent outta Otherworld along with his Elfin Associate, Jackdaw.  Sent back to Earth... but, not his Earth.  This is the story we've been covering to this point.


Then, a quick n dirty retelling of the last several chapters - Mad Jim Jaspers creating The Fury as a way to eliminate all super-types in his crooked world (except himself)... and The Fury ultimately SKARAKing Beautiful Brian to death.


By this point, Roma has finished putting the pieces back together... and Captain Britain's body is finally ready to receive some magical shock paddles.  Merlin does the thing... and our hero is back among the living.  As he wakes, he's sent plunging back down to Darkmoor, and the circle of stones.  Brian wakes up, and thanks God that he's back on his home Earth.


We wrap up back in Otherworld, with Roma asking her father why he didn't show himself to Brian.  To which, Merlin shapeshifts (for some reason) asking which form he should have shown him.  Roma sheds a single tear for the poor doomed Captain, and we're outta here.


--

So, uh... I guess this goes to show that not ALL Otherworld Resurrections are wonky, eh?

All told, not a bad little chapter.  While I'd have preferred getting on with the story itself, I can certainly see why they dedicated an entire chapter to the retelling of Captain Britain's origin story here.  First, he's been off the board for a (relative) while at this point - five-months out of publication.  Second, this is the first issue of an all-new ongoing series - as such, this might be "somebody's first" issue, and therefore, their first run-in with Captain Britain.

It was well told, and as a chapter in an anthology, didn't overstay its welcome.  It gave us some context to just how complicated a character Captain Britain truly is.  I feel like many kids of my vintage might've written the guy off upon first meeting him as "England/Great Britain/UK's Captain America" and nothing more.  Just a derivative and dull character, who acted in the interest of his country - and really wouldn't be all that interesting to read about.  Well, many of us came to learn that there's quite a bit more to Brian Braddock than the Union Jack uniform.

Really not much more to say about this - I can't remember if they're heading anywhere nefarious with Merlin... as that final scene kinda creeped me out a bit.  Not sure what that was all about.  Also, the opening bit with the Satellite/Planetoid gave me some real Monitor/Harbinger vibes from pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths!  Wonder if there might've been any cross-pollination there?

Overall - a necessary chapter, but probably not the most exciting.  Still quite well done.

--
--


We close out this issue of X-Men Archives with... a bit of filler.  This is the story that appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes (UK) #385 (May, 1982).  Ya see, the story that was supposed to be slotted here was, according to several British comics historians, supposed to be an overtly political tale which would mirror some at-the-time recent events going on in Northern Ireland.  Marvel UK wasn't keen on all'a that... and, in fact, artist Alan Davis allegedly threatened to quit the book if the story went to print.  This is what would lead to Dave Thorpe leaving the strip.  While on the subject of Dave Thorpe, my research tells me that Alan Davis attributes the Marvel Universe "616" designation to him.  That's news to me - I had always seen Alan Moore credited with that!  Anyhoo - there's not much to this story... it's pure filler, wherein "Binary Beings" spot Captain Britain and Jackdaw passing through limbo on their way from Otherworld to the Crooked Earth (if we were numbering this chapter, it'd be zero).  The gimmick here is... well, unclear.  One of the Binary Beings represents the mind... the other, the body - I think?  Our heroes find themselves zapped on board.


Brian finds himself before another pair of Binary Aliens... who have apparently taken Jackdaw for dissection.  Poor elf can't catch a break.  I think these aliens assume that, since they are two-person acts - then so too is Captain Britain and Jackdaw?  I think?  This is kind of a mess.


Captain Britain fights his way to Jackdaw - and rescues him before a chicken-headed scientist can start cutting him into pieces.  Brian grabs the chicken-head's "other half" (again, I think...) and threatens to take him out if they're not allowed to leave.


Our heroes go to flee... and find themselves engaged in battle with robots.  Jackdaw uses his psychic energy to amplify the alien teleport system... which ultimately boots them from - wherever the hell they were.  It's actually a cool little effect here - the panel itself actually crumples like paper, with Jack and Bri kinda getting tangled in it.


We close out with the revelation that neither of our heroes will remember this encounter... and, honestly - that's probably for the best... because I doubt they'd be able to explain it if they did!


--

So yeah... kind of a mess here, eh?  I mean, it's hard to hold it against them, considering the circumstances.  It reeks of "last-minute fill-in"... and, as it turns out, there's a reason for that.  Paul Neary was in a tough spot... Dave Thorpe had set up his story... and was getting ready to, assumedly "take it home" - it's not as though Neary was going to take the wheel completely and create his own ending for "The Push", right?

And so, instead we get "An Untold Tale of Captain Britain"... which doesn't do anything to muck with the status quo... or throw any wrenches into future stories.  It's a disposable outing... that the characters (and readers alike) will forget as soon as they read it.  It's just holding Captain Britain's place in Marvel Super-Heroes (UK).  Nothing more, nothing less.

More on Dave Thorpe's departure.  In my research for why we got this weird little filler story, I found some sites which stated that Alan Moore wrote the final page in Marvel Super-Heroes (UK) #386... ya know, the one that introduces the concept of Crooked London - and reintroduces the character of Mad Jim Jaspers.  Earlier in our coverage, I "thought out loud" in print, asking if Thorpe had set Moore up for his run -- turns out, if this information is accurate - he did not!  He wrote up until "The Push" went through... and was outski!

There are some great resources out there if you're interested in learning more about Thorpe's clashes with Marvel UK editorial and his leaving the book over politically-motivated storytelling.

Overall - as a story, this one wasn't at all interesting... but, the behind the scenes stuff almost makes up for it!

--

Captain Britain's Uniform (by Alan Davis):

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...