Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Marvel 1981 Week--Uncanny X-Men #151!

Well, it's still Marvel 1981 Week, and we're hopping around from book to book with November 1981 cover dates. What's up next?

Damn! Once again we're off by 1 on an anniversary issue!

One note about this cover: everyone is all sad, seeing Kitty off...but Nightcrawler is just lounging on the porch railing. Dude, show some respect for Kitty!!

One good thing--since the cover reveals that Kitty Pryde is leaving, they don't draw it out as a surprise reveal. They're right into it on page 1!

And our creators?

So, Kitty's parents are pulling her out and sending her to a more normal school. Hard to blame them. Still, there's one obvious solution:

Oh, so now using the "these aren't the droids you're looking for" powers makes you a villain? After the literally thousands of people you've...adjusted to protect your secrets or get your way, you suddenly draw the line now?

Meanwhile, Kitty's not happy:

And there's an especially good reason why she's so sulky:


Storm flashes back to remind readers of exactly who Emma Frost is (this was only the second time she showed up):

Yup, she almost tortures you to death, but you (and the rest of the X-Men) will accept her when she "reforms" and joins the X-Men. Yup, completely buying that.

One thing I've noticed over the years is that the...density...of Chris Claremont's writing is variable, depending on the artist he's working with. Some artists, he seems to trust to portray what his scripts called for. Others, he doesn't seem to believe that they're communicating what he wants, so he pours on the verbiage to an unholy degree:

Wow...there's a couple of square millimeters in the panel you didn't shove balloons into, Chris...

Also, "we assumed that the White Queen had been slain"?? But Kitty knows she's alive!! What the heck does that say about the investigative skills of Xavier's graduate students? Seriously...

The others say goodbye to Kitty, but Peter...gets a little bit more intimate:

Dude, she's a minor. I'm calling the police.

At the last second, Storm decides to drive Kitty to Massachusetts...

And we reveal once again how stupid the X-Men were. They just assumed Frost was dead, while Kitty did actual research:

This next panel just might be my favorite:

Yup, complaining about the filthy rich while tooling around in that car. Priceless.

Oooh, an attack on preppies!! Future archeologists can use that to date the story!!

As Kitty gets moved into her new room:

Again, the stupidity of Ororo and the X-Men is astounding. The Hellfire Club "wouldn't be brazen?" That's sort of their whole modus operandi!! And then, wearing as much clothing as she ever has:

What happened? Well, as Storm drives off...

It is nice how Frost's use of Storm's powers results in her being nearly naked...

Meanwhile, we learn that it's all part of a plan:

Thank you, Mr. Claremont, for letting us know the mansion was "venerable" and the area not just fashionable, but "ultra-fashionable." I'm betting you were paid by the word.

And, in case the reader hadn't figured out the whole deal yet:

Is she more upset about the new body, or the outfit?

Interlude--it's time for a Luke and Leia moment:

DUDE--she's your sister!! OK, foster sister, but still...fortunately this interlude is broken up by:

CRAP!! Sentinels?? Good thing someone was apparently spying on your kissing match from the mansion:

The Sentinels? That can't be a coincidence, right?

OK, so the Hellfire Club is using a bevy of be-jumpsuited ladies to run a secret Sentinel program. Leaving aside the inherent risk--most of the HC is mutants, so even if you're programmed the Sentinels to ignore you, there's a lot of backfire potential--that's pretty cool!

But Nightcrawler is pretty pissed that his smooching got interrupted, so:

Wait---cases of plastique?!? In a school?!? Maybe Kitty's parents were right to pull her out...And don't tell Wolverine, or this might cause Schism 30 years early...

So, ten seconds, and Kurt wipes out all the Sentinels. Gee, I guess they're not so tough after all...

But then "Storm" shows up, and:

Hey, wait a minute!! Ororo's decision to drive up Kitty was a last minute thing!! What if Nightcrawler had driven her up? Would you have taken his body, if that had happened, Emma? It's just awfully lucky for your plan that the most powerful X-Man is the one who unsuspectingly walked into your trap, is what I'm saying. (Of course, maybe Frost psychically manipulated Storm into volunteering to drive Kitty up...but wouldn't Xavier have sensed something??)

Meanwhile, Ororo wake ups, and finds that having telepathy can be kind of a pain:

But still, she manages to escape, and find Kitty, But...


SPOILER ALERT--everything gets resolved next issue. Everyone gets their body back, nobody is killed or goes to jail, Kitty's back at Xavier's, everyone agrees to a stalemate...the whole two issues might as well have not even happened.

And, yeah, they're all going to accept and trust the White Queen in the near future. Yup, really. Absolutely.


Hey let's look at another X-Title...


Hey, there ARE no other X-Titles in 1981. We're pre-New Mutants, there's no second X-Men mag, there's no X-Factor or X-Force or Generation X or...

So really, aside from random guest appearances by Beast or Angel or Iceman, all we've got left is:

Ah, Dazzler, you insane relic of a bygone era! Roller skates and disco jewelry, well past disco's heyday. But in 1981, you were the only mutant they felt deserved her own book. Take that, Logan!!

In this issue, Dazzler goes to Project Pegasus, chats with Quasar, accidentally frees Klaw. You know, the usual day for a pop star with light powers.

Yes, that is a Sienkiewicz drawn and Romita inked cover.


Dougie said...

I remember sitting on a number 70 bus in Glasgow in 1981 and wincing at that panel where Emma quotes a hunka Lear- as you do, when you've stolen the body of the biggest female star at Marvel (aside from Dazzler, obviously). I still don't like it but I do like Sherman/Mcleod

SallyP said...

Egad, I have this...bought it new, I did, and at the time, I thought it was the Most Fabulous Thing Ever!

Give me a break, I WAS pretty young.

And yet, God help me, I have read worse.

Nick Yankovec said...

Not my favourite story by Claremont, but then stories following a big anniversary issue normally are not great. But, it had the advantage of being very full with lots of dialogue, certainly much better value for money than 99% of comics now. And the Hellfire Club were still great villains back then!

Martin Gray said...

Such great artists there - I love how James Sherman occasionally has someone mug to camera or look outward at the reader.

I do miss that period, when there were quiet days at school, interrupted only occasionally by the odd Sentinel.

And don't get me started on the X-Men recruiting villains. We need Roy Thomas to write a story revealing that in the X-Men's first encounter with Emma Frost she planted seeds in the mind of Xavier, Cyclops and co ...