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[WIR] X-Men II: Focussed Totality Is A Song Within Her When Ah'm Blastin'!

Laminator_X

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Validated User
Some of that was because he got fired prior to the harvest. I recall some of his notes being posted to COMICS-L on Bitnet in like, 94, maybe 95. I don't remember much of it now, but I remember being struck at the time how some of his plans were followed by later writers, some not, and some appearing in varied form.

I have searched for an archive of the Bitnet COMICS-L in the years since X-Men Forever appeared, hoping to compare them, but I have not yet found any such record.
 

Spatula

More Ideas Than Time
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Some of that was because he got fired prior to the harvest. I recall some of his notes being posted to COMICS-L on Bitnet in like, 94, maybe 95. I don't remember much of it now, but I remember being struck at the time how some of his plans were followed by later writers, some not, and some appearing in varied form.

I have searched for an archive of the Bitnet COMICS-L in the years since X-Men Forever appeared, hoping to compare them, but I have not yet found any such record.
This isn't sourced but it sounds plausibly accurate:
 

JJ Hall

Last Red Hot Swami
Validated User
Sorry; burned my fingers in the kitchen. Had to cut back on typing for a bit.

May 22, 1984

At the movies:


On the radio:


New Mutants 19

Where were we again?



Right, yes; Dani's in a bad way. Both the policeman on duty at the hospital and the nurse who talks to them tell her friends they 'shouldn't get your hopes too high." A blinding blizzard no one can drive through settled over the area as Dani was brought in, so the kids are allowed to stay in an empty room until the storm breaks. Once they're left to themselves, Roberto angsts at not being able to go after the monster, but Sam "comforts him with the assurance that it will certainly attack again at the hospital. He brought the team's uniforms in a duffel bag, so they all suit up. After asking Sam if he thinks it's okay, Rahne puts on Dani's belt, "a keepsake from her mum." Hoping to learn more about the beast she fought, Rahne changes to her transitional form to use her psychic rapport. Sienkiewicz's take on it looks a bit different, and not just to the readers; the characters see it too:



Probably something linking back to that Cloak and Dagger stuff. It's hard for her to "see" anything through the mindlink, so she forces it and makes contact, though she may regret that:



Rahne doesn't get a lot from the encounter, just that Dani's positive the bear will attack again and that "the beast is mortally scared of her." She's far too afraid to harm her even more to try again, so that doesn't help a lot, but Illyana points out that if the Bear is coming, they won't have any choice but to fight it anyway.

Time passes, and Rahne keeps a vigil outside the operating room. The surgeons are still at it, cutting so deeply that the Scot calls it 'butchery!' She's in her half-wolf form as she looks on, so when the cop, Tom Corsi, sees her he freaks the hell out and pulls his gun. She runs and turns back human out of sight, pretending she was just spooked by him and sleep-deprived before. As she hoped, Corsi dismisses what he saw as a trick of the light and is too angry at himself for almost shooting a kid to get mad at her. He puts her back in the room with the others and moves on, worried that Dani's dire situation 'and that storm -- are driving everyone buggy.' He tracks down that nurse from before, Sharon Friedlander, and strikes up a talk as Alfred Hitchcock goes about his work:



As though on cue, the flirting couple summons the monster like a salt lick draws out deer:




Illyana is casting spells to protect Dani and the surgeons. She finishes them just as the Bear arrives:



Roberto's been going spin-crazy this whole time, outraged at being powerless to help Dani, so it's no surprise he launches himself at the beast on sight. It's too fast for him, though, swatting him aside and making for the OR. It slashes at Illyana too, but she's protected from harm by an ability she didn't know she had:



The fight takes place in stages, with the kids separated, then coming together, splitting up, and reuniting -- not just in location, but also in terms of teamwork (Amara has to remind Rahne not to abandon Illyana). The strange armour that comes to the sorceress's rescue confuses her, but an explanation will have to wait until later. The Bear is at once a bellowing animal and a looming storm cloud, a black mountain with claws and a suggestion of a face that roars in pain when it's hit but is intelligent enough to keep going for Dani despite the others' attacks. Finally, it decides on a new tactic to get rid of its target's defenders, and they all vanish in a flash, reappearing elsewhere:



Well, That's Not Ominous

On the Starjammer the crew are summoned to their battle stations in response to some weird readings Carol has picked up:



That's certainly one way to draw Carol's Binary hair.

The pair are travelling so fast that it's pointless to even try to send a warning back to Earth -- the aliens will arrive before any message could, and they're sure to be noticed when they do. If their loved ones do come to harm, though, both Chris and Lilandra vow to avenge them.

Script: Chris Claremont
Pencils: Bill Sienkiewicz
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The tension mounts effectively over the course of the issue, with the snowstorm isolating the hospital from the outside world and the threat of the monster engendering a fearful atmosphere. There's still room for a laugh, though:



The violence of the attack is vivid, and the final page provides an excellent escalation that puts the team in "Well-and-Truly-Fucked" territory; no second act sagging here.

Next Time:

 

Patchwork

Registered User
Validated User
Sienkiewicz art really strongly suits the story here. It's perfect for playing to the growing tension and feeling of the story.
 

dmjalund

Polychromatic Pikathulhu
Validated User
Head canon/fridge moment: Dani’s powers aren’t just mental, they have a spiritual element. So when she summoned the illusion of snow to cool Rahne off, she was also summoning a snow spirit which actually cooled her down
 

JJ Hall

Last Red Hot Swami
Validated User
May 22, 1984


On the radio:


Secret Wars 5 of 12

The big thing Reed was reacting to is the arrival of Galactus's solar system-sized ship at Battleworld:



The healer is freaked out by the sight, so she leads Johnny back to her place. He thinks it's because she's "one fast mover," but she sets up something that will let her pick his brain through the power of drugs:



They see into each others' minds, witnessing their recent memories. Johnny learns his friend's name is Zsaji as she gets an understanding of what's going on, and they make out when it's done.

Peter is moping about how he's somehow certain he'll die on Battleworld and never see Kitty again: 'All my big plans for us, for a few years from now, when you are old enough . . . what are they now? Dust!' Xavier's summons interrupts his reverie, and he comes running with the others:



He shows them the big ship up in the heavens and Magneto tells everyone to get ready to go, sparking conflict over who's in charge:
Rogue: "What are we-all going to do?"
Magneto: "You, Rogue, and the others will go now and prepare a ship! We may have to move quickly against Galactus, if as Xavier and I fear, this event foreshadows hostile action on his part! In the meantime Xavier and I shall try a more subtle approach! You heard me! Go!"
Logan: "Since when do you give us orders?"
Ororo: "I am leader of the X-Men!"
Scott: "That's right!" . . . Though with stakes this high perhaps I should be, given my experience!
Charles: "Listen to me, my X-Men! Until further notice I shall give the orders . . . here and in the field! Now please do as Magnus said! There is no time for discussion!"
Scott: "All right . . ." For the moment, anyway!
I don't remember Scott making any trouble over Ororo being placed over him later on, so that momentary resentment probably won't come up again, or have an effect on events if it does, but it's another example of Shooter's own understanding of the characters, as Claremont didn't write Scott like that when he served under Ororo before. Arguably, he overstepped himself in taking initiative in instances where he should have waited for orders, inadvertently undermining her, but frankly thinking himself the superior/rightful leader? Not so much.

Magneto attempting to boss around the team goes over like a lead balloon, given he's at best thought of by the X-Men as a well-intentioned extremist they can hold their noses to work with if necessary, and as the team heads out to follow Charles's instruction the X-Men's leader warns his old frenemy that "imperiousness for the sake of expediency is not wise!" You know, because he's such a warm, friendly sort.

At Doombase Piledriver/Brian Calusky of the Wrecking Crew decides he'd like to commit suicide:



. . . If Volcana/Marsha Rosenberg is supposed to be plus-sized in any way other than height, that didn't come through in the artwork at all, so the insult doesn't even make sense. Marsha wants to make something of it, but Owen brushes it off until Brian makes the mistake of calling him a nerd, his berserk button. Brian's friends sit it out while Owen turns his suit into a super hard material, freezing him into a prisoner within it, and Marsha follows up by driving his face into some mud. They extract a bit of brown nosing out of the others, then flounce off, leaving Brian's teammates to save him from suffocating.

When Galactus's ship appears, Victor orders his forces to get ready to go. Amora goes to see him instead and makes the case for just making a break for it. She's attempted escape herself, but can't get through the Beyonder's barrier that keeps Battleworld isolated. (Galactus didn't appear to have problems summoning his ride, but it might just be a one-way thing.) If they pool their powers, the two of them might get through, or so she reasons, and offers to fix his disfigurement for him if he helps her. Victor's momentarily tempted, but masters himself before he makes a mistake:



Charles combines his telepathy with Magneto's little-used mental powers to hammer through the Big Guy's mental barriers to talk to him:



while Reed tries to strike up a chat in person. Galactus finally notices them, but his only response is to mentally brush aside the gnats, causing them to recoil in pain. A robot drops down from the ship to dispense with the "pests," and it's pretty strong:



Steve, Ben, and Johnny manage to put it down, but Victor's team attacks right afterward. Their leader holds back, waiting for the battle to distract Galactus for the instant he needs to make his move, but Marsha and Ultron come close to ruining that plan when a combined energy blast puts the heroes on their back heel. They, and Victor's plan, are saved by the arrival of the cavalry:



Galactus glances down at the struggle, just for a moment, and Victor teleports up to his ship in that moment. The villains are quickly routed and teleport back to Doombase themselves, though not before Dirk gets a hard hit on Peter. Much like Bruce, his role here seems to be to get injured/incapacitated to show the situation is serious. His team want to carry him back when they withdraw, but Charles insists they leave him where he is. Scott barks at the others to do as he says, but he also questions the decision (Ororo does not speak in this portion of the issue). Magneto, demonstrating why it's been some time since we've seen him working with a group of followers, tells them not to be sentimental: "We cannot afford to be encumbered by casualties!" Charles calms his team by telling them if they'd moved Peter he'd have died, and that they can count on the healer his mental probing showed him is in the village to help him. She does just that, over Johnny's skepticism:




Reed and Steve confer in the aftermath, observing as Galactus begins constructing the machine he uses to consume planets. They wonder if the big man wants to win the Beyonder's prize, or if he may have some other plot, and also where Victor is.

He's up on Galactus's ship, marvelling at the advanced technology. It's beyond the level of anything he has, but he doesn't let that intimidate him:
I am but a virus on the greatest of worlds I now tread! Other men would simply blind themselves . . . or fall to their knees and worship . . . or perhaps, if they were less learned than I, they would lack the wit to react at all! Bu I, Victor Von Doom, shall find an answer here! No! I shall find a way -- a way for the virus to grow . . . to become strong . . . to overwhelm this mighty, pulsing world-ship . . . and then Galactus himself . . . and then the Beyonder! And then "answers" are of no concern -- for they shall simply be . . . my will!
Script: Jim Shooter
Pencils: Bob Layton
Editor: Tom DeFalco

Some pieces move around the board, but that's about it. The fight is okay.

Next Time:

 

JJ Hall

Last Red Hot Swami
Validated User
June 5, 1984

At the movies:


On the radio:


Uncanny X-Men 185

Gyrich briefs a committee at the Pentagon on Rogue, outlining her recent past as understood by the government and the plan to apprehend her:



Raven storms in, outraged that this guy who shouldn't even know that weapon exists has the only prototype in his hand. Val is there too, and defends the plan as a tantalizing opportunity to put superhumans on a level with everyone else:



I love that Raven clearly feels betrayed here, without any self-awareness that that she almost murdered Val last issue for coming close to learning she's a mutant. Any further objections Raven has are shut down; she's told the operation against Rogue already has Oval Office approval.

At the X-Mansion Ororo interrupts a session between Rachel and Charles to report that Rogue's gone. Her bed hasn't been slept in, and her behaviour has been erratic since rescuing Rossi, who's conveniently off on another mission and can't be contacted. Ororo's worried she might be in trouble, so Charles leads her to Cerebro to look for her.

Raven and Irene discuss the issue, and while they don't much like their girl being targeted to be made an example as a message for supervillains to beware, there are other things to consider and weigh as well:



Irene claims not to be able to see much of he future due to recent space-time continuum jiggery-pokery, so it's up to Raven to decide what to do. She elects to contact Forge and tell him what's going on, outraging the inventor. His agreement with the government gives him the right to veto their use without his permission, so Val outright ignoring that has him steamed:



While all this is going on, Rogue is in Mississippi, enjoying herself in and on the banks of the famous river:



They talk, and Rogue finally tells the story about the boy she put in a coma the day her power manifested:



They then hash out how Ororo threatened to quit the team rather than serve on it with Rogue -- she's moved past that, accepting that Rogue isn't the person who hurt Carol anymore. Talking about Carol riles up the younger woman's self-hatred, though, which helps Ororo grok that her relationship to her powers is all messed up. Except for Logan sharing his power with her in Tokyo, every time she's used her mutant ability has been an act of violence, so she offers to let Rogue "see the world through my eyes":



Ororo loses consciousness, and Rogue is filled with wonder at the way the world looks now; "patterns of energy" that link the sun and wind and water. She makes a little raincloud appear and disappear, having so much fun she instinctively reaches down to pull more power out of Ororo before she stops and scolds herself for the presumptuous move. Naturally, this is the moment Gyrich and Cooper track her down:



She whips up a storm to send the feds reeling, only to regret the act when she sees the tugboat from before in danger. Ororo's abilities fade from her, leaving her helpless to save them until her friend wakes and disperses the storm for her. The tug took damage during the tempest, so the X-Men pull it to shore as Ororo explains what the government believes about the death of that SHEILD agent, as told to her by Raven when she called to tell the X-Men of the danger to Rogue and where to find her.

. . . Wait. She knew about the coming assault team and let Rogue knock her out to play with her cloud-making powers? Without a word about the danger? Questionable choice.

Anyway, Forge's private jet comes swooping in, the heroes stick to their guns helping the tug's crew despite the danger from the Neutralizer, and Gyrich lines up his shot, putting all the pieces together for the central event:



Forge runs out into the river and swims to Ororo, helping her out of the water before she can drown. Rogue is swept downriver by the current, and, somehow, the tugboat crew are all fine as well. Forge gets on Gyrich's case for, you know, zapping the superpowers out of an innocent woman:



Right, the law. Call it a hunch, but I'm willing to predict he's not going to be satisfied with the law's ability to hold Gyrich or Cooper responsible for anything they've done here.

It's My Timeline and I'll Cry If I Want To

When Charles ducks out to talk with Ororo, Rachel finds she can't resist reaching out to Scott, revealing her connection to him:



Are we to interpret that bit where Rachel hears Madelyne's voice and thinks it's her mom as confirmation that she and Jean sound the same? I guess that's not a big deal given how much they look alike, but I'd thought this period at least would have her moving in a more explicitly not-Jean direction. Also, this is the fifth comic Rachel has appeared in, and the fourth in which she bursts into tears (the only exception is her first appearance, #141). Each time she's had a reason, of course, but I note Claremont isn't contriving reasons for her to laugh or sing or dive carefree into swimming holes, you know? He's contriving reasons for her to cry. Over and over again.

Dire Threat

Forge is singled out in a scrying pool by the leaders of the Dire Wraiths, who identify him as the inventor of the Neutralizer. It can't be used on their kind, yet, but a few more improvements and it could. If that happens, every human soldier they fight will be able to banish them to Limbo like Rom can, so they decide to nip that problem in the bud:



Script: Chris Claremont
Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

A huge status quo shift for Ororo, Rogue fully transitions into her My Power Is a Curse! character, and a US government attack that doesn't seem like it passes the legality smell-test further demonstrates mutants have something to fear from authority. This one seems like a pretty big deal.

Next Time:

 

Pazu

Registered User
Validated User
This was one of the first back issues I bought, after I started seriously following the X-Men in late 1987. I reread it so many times I think I must have had it memorized at some point.
 
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